The bad news: I have COVID-19. So did my husband.
The good news: my friend Dr. Chris Ebert-Santos urged me to trot to the hospital and get an IV of monoclonal antibodies.
When Dr. Chris texted me her advice, I didn’t feel so bad. By the time the infusion was scheduled for the next day, I felt bad.
The trickiest part of getting the infusion is not urinating. You drink a lot of fluids because you have a respiratory infection and you need to urinate.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you are not allowed to use public facilities. You are contagious and your pee is an infection. Something definitely happens to your self-esteem when you realize you’re a disease vector. Disgusting. I am a biohazard. Great. It’s not enough to feel terrible. Now I am also a danger to the public.
The first thing everyone wants to know is, “Where do you think you caught it?”
dr. Alan Dulit called me. He’s doing contact tracing for Summit County. He wasn’t as interested in where I caught it, as in who I might have shed the virus on.
I thought I was talking about this topic, but apparently not. When I feel sick, I look back a few days to find out how I got sick. Dulit told me I probably contracted it five to seven days before I showed symptoms.
I was at a meeting at a friend’s house six days before I got sick. People were eating, drinking and talking. I usually had my mask on and shoved food under it. I walked around the room alone and took a glass of water.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough. Dulit was especially interested in knowing who I had talked to for 15 minutes in the time I might have gotten rid of the virus. None of those people got sick, but my husband did.
He was at the same event where I think I contracted COVID-19, but he seems to have gotten it from me. That’s probably because we talked to several people during the event. His symptoms started a few days later than mine.
I had a pretty typical case. It felt like the flu. The monoclonal antibody infusion stopped the disease progression, but I still had symptoms for about two weeks. Strangely enough, the worst symptoms occurred in the last days of the illness.
The last day I was sick, I thought I was starting the illness all over again: I had aches in my body and my temperature dropped. A day later I was healthy. It was a very strange journey.
My husband still suffers from neuropathy. He injured his shoulder in the last week of September. It wasn’t bad. It was almost cured until he got COVID-19. It was as if illness found the weakest link and was attacked cruelly. For much of the past two weeks, my husband was disabled. He couldn’t move without significant pain. He described the intensity as a “12 on a 10-point scale,” and he couldn’t sleep because of the pain.
I think the most disappointing part of this experience was the lack of helpful knowledge and genuine support from some primary care providers. It seems to me, because the disease is so new and the information is unfolding day by day, they just don’t know what to say.
The good news is that the monoclonal antibody infusion is covered by Medicare, which covers my health care. The bad news: The infusion is apparently being billed for $14,800! For the record, it took me hours to squeeze that information out of the hospital and government.
By the way, we are both Pfizer vaccinated and boosted. Unfortunately I got my booster on a Thursday and got sick on Sunday which was too early for the booster to help protect me. Get your booster six months after vaccination!
More good news: we’re thankful we survived. Everyone knows someone who didn’t.
If you’re feeling grateful, think about helping hungry people eat this Thanksgiving. Demand has nearly doubled for Thanksgiving To-Go, a local program that provides grocery cards to the needy. You can contribute at your local church or Colorado Interfaith Council’s Summit website.
And if you don’t want to miss the chance to contract COVID-19, you can virtually share your gratitude at a local Thanksgiving unit service at 6 p.m. Nov. 21.
Susan Knopf’s “For the Record” column appears fortnightly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at [email protected].