Sunday, May 24, 2020

Where I've Been, AKA What a Long Strange Trip.....

   Well, the last time I posted here I was busily working my Homdoor Tandoor oven turning out naan bread with a lot of other dishes planned. That was the before picture.  A couple of days after I baked that delicious naan bread I got sick. It all started with a sore throat and quickly migrated to a cough, that was when I called my doctor, who checked with the Health Department and sent me to the hospital ER, masked, for a covid test.
   Alan dropped me at the emergency entrance (he was not allowed inside) and I was seen and questioned by an ER doctor who asked about fever, trouble breathing etc. I said I had no fever, no trouble breathing, in fact a couple of days before I got sick I did my 6 miles and felt great. For a few days however my stomach had been bothering me and I was having some trouble tasting things. Nobody asked me about any of that at the time, because those weren't things being asked back on March 9th.

   I was swabbed and tested negative for flu A and flu B, and finally for covid19. I was taken out masked through the ambulance bay so as not to come in contact with anyone. Alan was there to pick me up and they gave him a mask before letting me in the car to go home. I was told to isolate in a room until my test results came back. The results would be in in 2 to 3 days. I went home and immediately started isolating in the master bedroom, which has it's own bath so I would be out of everyones way. Fortunately we can do that. We have the room and the bathrooms. I grew up in a very small house with 3 generations. So we had 6 people and 1 bathroom, and nowhere to really be alone if one wanted to. It would be impossible to isolate as they wanted me to do back then.
   So I isolated, and the cough got worse, and pretty soon I was having chills and a low grade fever, and whatever it was had started going to town on my digestive tract. I communicated via Facetime, meals were delivered (not that I was eating much) with gloves and a mask and left in the upstairs hall outside the door. I'd open the door a crack, and take them in wearing a mask and gloves.
   Days passed, and I got more miserable. I was waking up in the middle of the night sweating, and I was sleeping most of the day.  I kept calling the hospital trying to find out my test results, and kept being told, they had no results yet. Finally, after 11 days in isolation, the hospital called at 9 o'clock on a Saturday night and told me I tested negative. Great I thought, but I still feel like hammered dog meat.  If this wasn't covid, what the heck was going on? I didn't leave my isolation room as I didn't want to get anyone sick, and I'm glad I didn't.
   Three days later the hospital called again, a cheerful voice told me I was negative. I said you guys already called me on Saturday and gave me this information. The voice said, "oh no, this is new information". Oooooohkaaaaay. I guess. This worried me, I was also worried as I wasn't getting any better and my gut issues were getting worse. Over the next two weeks the hospital called me twice more, both times giving me the good news I was negative and insisting this was all new information.
   A friend of mine who's a doctor said...hmmmmmmmm that sounds very weird, and not correct. Meanwhile, I was still in the bedoom, as I felt so sick and wasn't capable of going anywhere anyway. Every few days toward the end of this, I'd feel slightly better, I'd get out of bed, walk around the room, make a phone call. I thought. I'm done with this. Them the fever would come back and I'd be back in bed for another three days. My Internist tried different things to get to the bottom of what was wrong but nothing worked. One day when things were really bad, I called and got another doctor I'd not met before who did a telemedicine visit and prescribed a Z pack. Three hours after taking the Z pack I was sicker than before and the next day my own doctor sent me to a GI specialist.
   Around that time I was texting with some people I know through cancerworld who described similar symptoms to mine. Like exactly the same problems. One person lived in Wa  state and had not been tested but described being sick for close to 2 months. We then had a doctor join us on line and tell us about a percentage of covid19 cases, that instead of going to the lungs and causing pneumonia, went instead to the gut and did their own nasty  thing there. The doctor sent us a 23 page  study from the American journal of gastroenterology where they were describing covid19 in the gut. It sounded like a match. He'd explained that the false negative results from the testing being done was about 30%, and the swabbing of the nose, didn't often pick up stuff going on in the gut.  That required another type of test that none of us had had. So we were left with the knowledge that we might have had covid19 in a place where a lot of people weren't exactly looking at the time.

   We know now that it's a nasty bug that can attack a lot of different places. Gradually after about 8 weeks, the cough was gone, the fevers were gone,  but I was still  left with gut trouble. I had also dropped a lot of weight from not being able to eat. I don't weigh that much to begin with so that wasn't great. The GI guy wanted to do an upper endoscopy to see what was going off to the  outpatient surgical center I went. They did a great job at the hospital, everything was done carefully, no touching doors, elevators etc. I felt very secure having the procedure done.Turns out I had a great deal of inflammation, likely a result of whatever I had had. I am on my last week of medication, which has settled everything down. I'm back working out again, and I took my bike out for the first time (masked) yesterday.
   I was also advised to get an antibody test when a good one is available. Did I have covid?     
Some of those who treated me think maybe yes I did. From what I've read since, it would not surprise me, as I was as sick as I'd ever been. Officially, I don't really know. I do know I was sick, sick, sick for about 8 weeks. I felt worse than I ever had when I was having chemo, so there's that.  And then there's the mysterious other places covid goes, and the mystery of the continuing calls from the hospital every few days, telling me the "new information" that I was Negative!!!! Huzzah!
   Either way, I am better now. Every day I'm stronger, and there are no more relapses.  I am starting to cook again. Alan learned to cook through reading my blog recipes, and chatting with me on Facetime. He's learned well. The dog was staring at me as if he'd never seen me before when I finally emerged from the room, but a few treats in the right direction and we're all good now. I'm back at work writing with Alan, baking  a freaking ton of bread like everyone else...

...and getting out in the neighborhood, walking over to the neighboring farm and  visiting the critters.

So take care, I'm going to be firing up the Tandoor soon and doing a lot of shelf stable cooking!
 Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. This is harrowing. I am really happy that you are better and doing well.

  2. I am so happy to hear you're feeling better! Funny thing, I was feeling pretty miserable back in early spring and, although I tested negative for the antibodies and never ran much of a fever, I still wonder if it wasn't a mild case of COVID. Even now i'm still not feeling 100%, quite fatigued at times without much reason for it.

    Stay strong and stay safe!

    1. thanks Frank,
      i have a feeling that a quite a few people had it and either didn't or couldn't get tested when they needed to. Also one of my docs was saying that the false negative rate was up around 30+%. glad you're doing better, just take it easy.



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