COVID and Me

The worst COVID symptom I had was shortness of breath. Everything else was either standard or funny. Standard doesn’t mean good. It was really really unpleasant. But not being able to breathe fully was scary as heck.

The problem is, I don’t know if the low lung function was COVID or a panic attack. My oxygen meter never showed lung saturation under 94%. 94 was the lowest it went and it generally hovered between 94% and 96%. Also, the breathing issues responded extremely well to psychologically calming tactics. Of course, those little home-use oxygen meters aren’t serious, so I just don’t know.

Once again, the last thing I want to do is make any generalizations based on my own very individual experience. I’m simply sharing my experience because I feel like it. If I had to choose between having the symptoms I had with COVID every three months for the rest of my life and living through two days of PUPPPS once, I’d go with COVID without a second thought. I’d get really slim, so that’s a bonus.

13 thoughts on “COVID and Me

  1. That was my husband’s only symptom, when he had it. Chest tightness. For two weeks. He said it constantly felt like he was about to have an asthma attack. After about three days he stopped trying to use his inhaler, because it didn’t help.

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  2. Where I am, they made a huge deal about high fevers over 100.1 degrees F.

    The one person in my family with a fever didn’t have one over a low-grade 99.9, and they had the mildest case of the four of us.

    Another family member’s primary concern was back pain. Another was excessive fatigue and weakness. And I thought I just had a really bad sinus infection—no shortness of breath until maybe the second week. Then it was only when I climbed the ladder in and out of bed.

    Another family member who may possibly have had it but never went for a second test because she was quarantining in a house full of people who were isolating anyway, only ever had a rash.

    It still blows my mind how different it was for all of us.

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    1. That’s why I didn’t realize it was COVID for days! I had no fever or cough, so i didn’t make the connection. I thought I was having something gastrointestinal because most of the early symptoms were like that.

      So exactly, it’s completely different symptoms. Does anybody understand the mechanism? Does everybody feel it in the part of the body that’s already weakened? Or what?

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      1. We’ve talked about this a lot at work. My immunologist friend and I believe it has something to do with how COVID interfaces with the immune system. A lot of the most severe cases are described as having a quality similar to a severe allergic reaction, which indicates the immune system becoming confused over what it’s actually attacking. That can cause long-COVID, too, as well as chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

        Because the molecule attaches to ACE2 receptors, and those receptors are found virtually everywhere in the body, a lot of it probably depends on where the virus happens to concentrate. A lot of kids who have contracted COVID have tested positive with stool PCR while testing negative or weakly positive with nasal PCR. It could have something to do with the route of transmission—that’s the common sense assumption but it’s probably a lot more complicated and involves mucus membranes. Either way, the virus accumulates around the ACE2 receptor cells in the gut. The immune system reacts with inflammation and cytotoxic killer cells—basically it reacts by yelling “kill it with fire!” And then by setting everything on fire—including the surrounding gut flora, because the naive immune system tends to go overboard. Inflammation and general disruption of gut flora causes cramping, diarrhea, and nausea.

        But ACE2 receptor cells aren’t only found in the intestines. In a molecular mimicry scenario, the cytotoxic cells that kill off the COVID-producing cells have figured out that these cells all contain ACE2 receptors. So they start to make more cells that are designed to kill ACE2 receptor cells or those that are producing the ACE2 protein. That can cause an extended and seemingly unpredictable reaction, because of how these cells circulate—the cells in one area may look even a little different to cells in another area, and depending on the site the cytotoxic cells are made to recognize they can more greatly affect some organs over others.

        COVID is also considered on the hemorrhagic diseases spectrum, because it causes abnormal clotting. This can also be caused not only by a buildup of virus and virus-producing cells, but also by the immune system itself, as it cannibalizes the body to try to get rid of the virus. Systemic and local inflammation can also cause damage to blood vessels, which can cause heart problems, lung scarring, and other damage that can vary depending entirely on the immune response.

        Supporting this are a few case studies of leukemia patients who took an extremely long time to clear the virus but who had no symptoms—with no functioning immune system there wasn’t a chance for an overreaction.

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    2. Out of our family of 5, who were all sick with it, only the kids got fevers. I had a bad cold for 4 days. 2 older kids had a bad cold for 2-3 days, with a cough that lingered for as much as a week. The then-10-month-old had a fever for a few days, and five days of loose bowels: no respiratory symptoms at all. And husband’s only symptom was two weeks of chest tightness.

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  3. Forgot to add: also unexpected was the fact that people with asthma are effected just the same as anyone else—the thought was if you already had reactive airways then the virus would cause you more breathing issues. Instead asthma was quietly taken off the list of potentially complicating conditions when it turned out that this population followed the same unpredictable course of illness with no particular emphasis on lung involvement.

    That’s around the time when they started publishing details on the lungs of severe covid victims—they were inflamed and filled with micro-clots, and their brains had high levels of certain inflammation markers as well (caused by the “cytokine storm,” which is an exceptionally severe immune overreaction).

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    1. “also unexpected was the fact that people with asthma are effected just the same as anyone else”

      IINM the two biggest risk factors for a really bad course of infection are obesity and diabetes, any ideas on what’s up with that?

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      1. My mother is all of those risk factors: over seventy, “beer gut”, and poorly-controlled diabetes. She got covid and got over it in under two weeks, and was never severely ill. I’m inclined to think that even those risk factors aren’t the whole picture: there’s got to be something else in the mix that the data aren’t showing.

        I really, really want to see the numbers run against, say, vitamin D status (my parents are supplement freaks), time spent outdoors, pets in the house, maintenance medications, recreational drug use, social contacts, extent of efforts to self-isolate, and a whole grab-bag of other things. There is more to this story.

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        1. “more to this story”

          For a while I was convinced there were two (or more) illnesses spread at the same time and uncovered with the same test, one a lot more dangerous than the rest…
          Alternately there’s the idea that it doesn’t act like a normal virus because of what they did to it in the lab and there’s one (or a very few) factors that trigger extreme expression, something like blood types but much less obvious until they figure out what it is….
          Other ideas I have start going to the extreme paranoid so I’ll spare people….
          Mostly I just try not to think about beyond the fact that if it weren’t for the NPI’s people wouldn’t realize there’s a “pandemic”….

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          1. “For a while I was convinced there were two (or more) illnesses spread at the same time and uncovered with the same test, one a lot more dangerous than the rest…”

            From what I have seen in India vs. the US, I think your theory is very plausible. From talking to friends and family, I know too many people who are getting sick and dying from COVID in India. This includes way too many young people in their forties and fifties and some in their late thirties even, who straight out died of COVID. These are all upper middle class people — if you know about India, the upper middle class there has access to pretty decent healthcare and quality doctors — so it’s not the healthcare system. Most of these people were in good health otherwise. Obesity is not that common in India, and it’s rare to come across morbidly obese people. Diabetes is somewhat common though, and is due to genetic factors.

            If you compare this with the US, it’s very rare to hear of younger people dying of covid. Personally, I know a few people who died — everyone was above 70, and had various health conditions. This is also reflected in the data — the median age of death here I think is 78 or so? Anyways, this lends credence to your “two strains” theory. I’d be curious to see if it’s ever established in practice.

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      2. Many people report long-term gastrointestinal disruptions from COVID. I barely had any cough but gastrointestinal issues are still with me months later.

        I definitely think it’s been engineered. And engineered to affect particularly badly the people who aren’t Chinese and whom China doesn’t like.

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        1. “engineered to affect particularly badly the people …whom China doesn’t like”

          Explains India results… Except that India is not genetically… uniform at all… does anyone have any information on regional results in India (considering that in some ways it’s more like the EU, an alliance of ethno-linguistic political entities than a country country).

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