You will have to donate 90 minutes of your time and go listen to the podcast if you really want the gory details. Interspersed with witty banter and expert commentary from Nurse Claire, of course. Thank you, Ann, for letting me tell my story.
None of what follows should be considered medical advice. I’m just relating what happened to me.
If you are a regular reader of this space, you are more than familiar with the FLCCC prevention protocol that I’ve been on for nearly a year now:
Note this is for prevention, not treatment. The treatment doses are much higher, as you will see. But I absolutely believe having been on the preventative protocol was essential to my weathering this, along with switching to the “early treatment” protocol as soon as I tested positive (Day 2). I have multiple underlying conditions/factors that put me at extreme risk for a severe outcome; I’ve known all along that if and when I did catch this thing, I better already be ahead of the game, playing with house money, or I was going to be in trouble. Another aspect of this is cardiovascular training: You want to be going into this with heart and lungs already ahead of the game – find an activity where you can get your heart rate elevated for at least thirty minutes a day. I’m both a practitioner and a hypocrite when it comes to this… if you want to hear my lifestyle choices excoriated, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Day One was a dry cough which I initially attributed to staying out too late the night before. But the next day I had a fever, got tested, and I was positive. Day 3 to Day 7 was a low fever, 101-101.5, flu-fatigue-like feeling, naps, lost taste and smell for a few days, but that’s about it. No respiratory symptoms at all, lungs and sinus totally clear. But turns out that it was down deep, doing its stealthy thing, like a bioweapon, and I had no idea. I was now following the early treatment protocol:
Note that the upper dose of IVM is 0.6mg/kg. For me, that meant half a tube of paste every day, taken all at once. I did that for almost two weeks before I backed it down.
Day 8 the fever broke, symptoms resolved, felt totally better. Taste is back = McDonald’s french fries with extra salt. Still testing positive, but man, this was way easy, and I feel great!
That lasted twelve hours, then my oxygen levels started to drop. What the hell. Yep… it was the cytokine storm. No shortness of breath or difficulty breathing at all. Zero symptoms. If you don’t have a pulse oximeter, stop reading this, go to Amazon and buy one. They cost $12. Of course I had been in contact with Nurse Claire throughout the ordeal, and she advised prone breathing exercises, forcing air deep into the lungs. We also decided to introduce prednisone right away to fight the cytokines… the majority of severe injury and death is due to this uncontrolled immune response… Covid – or at least the spike – tricks your own body into trying to kill you… does that sound something like an engineered bioweapon? Hmm.
By Day 10 it was turning into a losing battle. I believe a contributing factor is that I was prescribed albuterol by a webMD, which I had begun three days earlier. Albuterol is a bronchodilator, but guess what is a very well-known side-effect? That it can have the opposite effect in some people, and actually constrict the airways. I didn’t figure it out until I finally researched it, and of course I can’t prove I had an allergic reaction, but it sure is some coincidence. Also, I wasn’t taking enough prednisone, and my O2 levels dropped again… into the low 80s. Time to head for the ER.
Folks, do your research ahead of time. When suddenly it’s time for the ER, then it’s time for the ER; you don’t want to be caught having to google which local hospital is least likely to murder you. If you think you might need to be admitted, don’t even consider an Urgent Care, where you might not have any choice where they transfer you. Also try to steer clear of the large systems, many of which have decided to luxuriate in the fedgov covid cash. Many CEOs of these big chains have been quite public in stoking panic and spreading misinformation from the very beginning, holding press conferences and getting on TV. Do your research and decide today where you will go, if you need to go.
I happened to be lucky enough, or perhaps Providentially, where my carefully chosen hospital was a hundred meters from my front door. One of the only ones in AZ that hasn’t required staff to be “vaccinated.” They have a small ER that you can schedule online, but also three floors of inpatient, and a small ICU (God forbid). It is a hospital specializing in heart surgery, so they would NOT have an interest in filling up their beds with covid patients, or keeping them longer than necessary. They need their beds for high dollar surgeries.
My ER experience was a little rough; my first doctor was convinced I had clots, and he ran several tests including chest x-ray to confirm, but all were negative. Apparently they are seeing a TON of clots, because he still wasn’t convinced, so he ordered a lung CT which took six hours to schedule. No clots, but “post-covid pneumonia” confirmed, and my O2 levels continued in the 80s even being on 4L cannula for ten hours. I was being admitted.
In those ten hours in the ER, I was never on IV fluids, even though they dug my IV as soon as I got there. I ended up having to ask for water multiple times, as dehydration began to set in those last few hours. This definitely felt like neglect at the time. Was I being dried out, on purpose? Hydration might be the single most important thing in all of this. You need massive amounts of water and electrolytes… gallons per day, I am not exaggerating. Of course I always could have walked out, being on the first floor and just a few meters from the exit. But I needed acute treatment, didn’t want a $10K out of pocket AMA flight charge, and where was I supposed to go… I had already decided this place was my best chance.
Upon arrival in my hospital room, at midnight, it was all hands on deck, and I knew right away I was in good hands. Two nurses were already in the room, who spent the next 45 minutes tag teaming on full medical history, asking my explicit directives, explaining everything that was about to happen and getting my approval, saline IV immediately administered, along with an antibiotic and a massive dose of prednisone, with continued dosing every four hours. Even when these nurses found out I was unjabbed and on team pony paste, they were very respectful and super attentive. When the doctor offered remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies, and I refused, he respected my directives (or at least he obeyed them). Much more detail on the inpatient experience on the podcast, including a snorkel scare, smuggling contraband, OpSec surprises, and more. Long story short, between the prednisone and the supplemental O2, I was able to get my %SpO2 up to 97, and I was discharged at 10am. The last wrinkle was my insurance company couldn’t secure home oxygen delivery that day, so I ended up spending a second night. The hospital had already stopped treatment in the morning, when the doctor signed the discharge. So they gave me one more prednisone dose, kept me watered and fed, and I went home the next morning.
One more thing, and make of this what you will: No masks.
That’s right, even as a self-identified covid-positive inpatient, I never had to wear a mask. The nurses and staff walking the floor didn’t wear masks. Whenever the doctor needed to speak to me, he would crack open the door and talk to me, maskless, from the threshold. Whenever the nurses had to administer to me, there was a full PPE station outside every room, where they would don N95, full gown and full face shield. Upon exiting the room, they would immediately unveil the full kit into the “used” receptacle. Curious, I asked one of the nurses what was going on… did the entire staff understand the skinny? She responded with a knowing side-eye, and I could tell she was smiling behind her N95.
Home I went with two bottles of oxygen, and an oxygen concentrator delivered a few hours later. Script for a Z-pack and a nine-day declining dosage of prednisone, along with Symbicort (inhaled budesonide + bronchodilator). The concentrator is for at-home, the bottles are for leaving the house. I came down with a cold two days later, which added to the fun. On my fourth day home from the hospital, which was Day 15 overall, I was still testing positive. I was already out walking three miles a day at this point, although I had to monitor my O2 closely. On Day 17, I finally tested negative.
The doctor told me that clearing the lungs would take 2-3 weeks. It wasn’t a linear process, as I had good days and bad days. I also knew I wasn’t out of the woods, because of the risk of fibrosis: After the cytokine storm, your immune system switches gears, and tries to kill you a different way, by laying down acres of useless connective tissue in place of active lung tissue. This is where ongoing use of the inhaled steroid becomes vital. After the first week, I began to see lasting improvement, and at thirteen days (Day 25 overall) I didn’t need the supplemental oxygen any more. (See update below)
That was five days ago. I’ve still got two weeks left on my Symbicort inhaler, and I am going to use all of it. Also still taking expectorant-only Mucinex for any lingering blech, as well as the nasal lavage and Listerine twice daily, massive hydration, and continuing the protocol back down to the prevention doses. I got tested for antibodies, and they are off the chart.
I had many, many prayer warriors, and many Masses said for me, especially during the critical time. I am very grateful. I was also fully prepared for whichever way this might have gone. Which leads me to the final word regarding preparation. If you aren’t living in the state of grace, you really need to amend your life. There are ten days left in Advent; use them wisely. Go to Confession, and resolve to follow the will of God. Make a firm purpose of amendment to completely detach yourself from whatever is holding you back. If you trip up, get to Confession again and don’t waste any time. You should not ever remain with your soul in a state of mortal sin for more than a day, or even better, a few hours. Pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary while you are in mortal sin. She hears those prayers and she will endeavor to help you. This is really the only kind of prepping that matters. The eternal kind.
Epilogue: I had an acute high-stress event a few days after the podcast was recorded, with the normal adverse immune response. On top of the already existing inflammation, here comes some more, big cortisol party, plus a racing heartbeat. My O2 dipped, and I nursed it with supplemental. Now three days later, the stress event favorably resolved, some days better than others, and I continue to exercise. The fibrosis is also serious threat, and sometimes that doesn’t come until months afterward. We shall see.
That’s all, folks!