Sun 2022-Sep-04

COVID-19 Chez Weekend: Index of Posts

Tagged: COVID / PharmaAndBiotech

This is an index to all the Weekend Reading blog posts about our experience of the two of us having COVID-19 here at Chez Weekend.

The Long, Sad Story

COVID-19 has basically taken a month-sized bite out of our lives. August might as well not have happened, for all we were able to accomplish. Even now, about 6 weeks past initial exposure and diagnosis, we both have extreme fatigue in the afternoons and I swear I’m experiencing brain fog.

Davis, et al. @ Lancet: characterizing post-COVID-19 cognitive function and other symptoms Callan, et al. @ BMJ: the lived experience of post-COVID brain fog The good news is that the brain fog lifts, eventually.

The bad news is that it takes 6-9 months to clear it completely, according to one quantitative study and one more qualitative study of the lived experience of post-COVID-19 brain fog. [1] [2]

I can’t wait for February 2023, and with it the full return of cognitive function! :-(

(Or, at least, as full as it ever was. You’re free to have an opinion about whether I was ever playing with a full deck to begin with. I mean, I admit some of my cards were a bit frayed around the edges, and now that I think about it, it seems to be a Tarot deck… but it’s a full deck, ok?)

Archive of COVID-19 Chez Weekend Posts

Here’s the story of COVID-19 Chez Weekend, in chronological order as we lived it, and insofar as we could blog it through the fatigue and brain fog:

  1. 2022-Jul-25: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: Day 0, Testing Positive & Getting Prescribed: 2 days after exposure to a gang of mouth-breathing Neanderthal frat boys on a bizarrely crowded & slow shuttle bus, I tested positive at 8am. But, good news: by 3pm, my (new) physician’s office had worked through the bureaucratic new patient issues, and I swallowed my first dose of paxlovid at 3pm. I don’t understand why we make it hard to get this stuff, at least after drug interaction review by a physician.
  2. 2022-Jul-26: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: After Day 1: In which we mull over the very mild side-effects, the not-so-mild disease effects, and how people learn to spell “diarrhea” (and why). The paxlovid patient-proof packaging may have caused me to say a bad word (which seldom helps).
  3. 2022-Jul-27: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: After Day 2: The Sore Throat from Hell, of course due to COVID-19, not paxlovid. And some thoughts on the use of velociraptors to open difficult medications and jars of tomato sauce. Though now that reads as though it were somewhat fever-driven. Somewhat.
  4. 2022-Jul-29: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: After Days 3-4: Extreme fatigue, to the point of sleeping pretty much the day through. If it was this bad with paxlovid, I would have likely been hospitalized (or doomed) without it.
  5. 2022-Jul-30: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: After Day 5: Last dose of paxlovid, more’s the pity. But I tested negative! Still felt kinda crappy, and had lost 8lb (3.64kg) of weight. Yes, I needed to lose weight. No, this was not a good way to do it.
  6. 2022-Aug-02: COVID-19 & Paxlovid: After Day 8: Still feeling weak & tired, with occasional hot/cold flashes. Having ruled out menopause, I tried a COVID-19 test, which said I was negative by RAT.
  7. 2022-Aug-04: COVID-19: Paxlovid Rebound, or COVID-19 Rebound?: Time for irony: I did a meta-analysis of 2 papers, comparing rebound probability with and without paxlovid, with the result that they are statistically indistinguishable. Then I tested, and yes: I had a rebound infection. Still, at least it’s not paxlovid’s fault! But… physician’s assistant refused a 2nd course of paxlovid, and wouldn’t let me through to anybody who could overrule that decision. Also, some frustrating data from the American south, where conservative doctors apparently won’t prescribe paxlovid, because they all think it “doesn’t work.” Sigh.
  8. 2022-Aug-08: COVID-19: The Power of Positive Thinking: Still testing positive. If you’re curious how I passed the time with books and YouTube, here’s where to find out. You can decide if my choices were deranged or not.
  9. 2022-Aug-09: COVID-19: Day 15: Still testing positive. Worse, the Weekend Editrix had been testing negative but feeling awful. So she went to the doctor and… tested positive. At least she got paxlovid, too. I was slightly jealous that she got more of the metallic/quinine taste side-effect than I did.
  10. 2022-Aug-11: COVID-19: Day 17: Still (slightly) positive. The Weekend Editrix continues paxlovid. Having both of us be sick simultaneously is way less fun than just one of us.
  11. 2022-Aug-15: COVID-19: Day 21: Felt better, and had a negative-looking test, so went ahead with some dental surgery. Yes, “dental surgery” as my first day out in 3 weeks. But… upon returing home a few hours later, the test had turned (slightly positive). I had warned the dental surgeon beforehand, so he took appropriate precautions. The Weekend Editrix’s symptoms continued to fade.
  12. 2022-Aug-19: COVID-19: Day 25: After 25 days, I tested definitively negative. The Weekend Editrix didn’t get a rebound, and thus also tested negative. As we worked through the Bayesian probabilities last December, we were then 89.4% sure we were negative. So why did we both feel weak as kittens, and falling-down tired? Ah, good ol’ post-COVID-19 syndrome!
  13. 2022-Aug-23: COVID-19: One Month Later: One month post exposure, we both test negative but continue to be nearly incapacitated (partly; especially in afternoons). Fortunately, there was news that the FDA asked Pfizer to run a clinical trial on longer doses of paxlovid, particularly with rebounds. So at least this won’t happen in the future to everybody else! Possibly.

The Weekend Conclusion

The Phantom Tollbooth: in the doldrums And that’s where we are now: in the doldrums à la Juster & Feiffer’s The Phantom Tollbooth. For, apparently, the next 6-9 months.

The cost of COVID-19 is high. If you, like the Neanderthals who infected me, don’t feel it applies to you, then that’s your choice. But please don’t inflict that choice on others, like us, who might be much more vulnerable. Mask up in closed, less ventilated spaces where you’ll be in close quarters with others, ok?

It’s what decent people do. So let’s all be decent to each other.

Notes & References

1: H Davis, et al., “Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact”, The Lancet, 2021-Jul1-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101019.

See § 3.3.1: 55.5% (CL: 52.5% - 58.8%) of patients still experienced “brain fog” in month 7, so that’s close enough for me to the median time to recovery. So, to my mind I say: see you in 2023-Feb. It’s very frustrating to hear people say “COVID’s over, man!” when the consequences to me personally are somewhat high.

2: C Callan, et al., “‘I can’t cope with multiple inputs’: a qualitative study of the lived experience of ‘brain fog’ after COVID-19”, BMJ Open, 2022-Feb-11. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056366.

Published Sun 2022-Sep-04

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