Skip to content

The COVID days part 2

IMG_3475

 

The COVID DAYS: 

Now we are on our way back to Arizona. Before we left, we tried to get a COVID test in San Diego at three different places. Our thought was that Arizona would be more difficult to get tested as the numbers were higher and everyone was rushing out to get tested. Well, after trying for 3 hours we failed. I could not get a test without an appointment and every test site was all booked up. So, we headed back to Arizona. I felt pretty good on this 3rd day and drove until we got to Yuma. My symptoms included moderate achiness in my entire spine which again was 100% controlled by Tylenol. I did have a little sore throat and minimal sinus stuff. Really not a big deal so far. On our drive Allison was working the phone trying to find a place to get tested in Arizona.

We were looking to get a rapid test as we wanted to know quickly so we knew what to do next. We must communicate to our patient base and everyone we spent time with on vacation. Allison reached out to friends in AZ and looked online to find testing sites. It turns out our friends were the most helpful. We found a place that would be open on a Saturday that had the rapid test available. We could not make an appointment but could walk in. Awesome news, so, we made it to the test site in Avondale by 7:00 pm.  We pulled up to the test site and I was preparing for my nasal swab procedure. I walked up to the door and a sign read that they just ran out of rapid tests. So, we got in the car and went to another site. It’s now 7:30 and they said they were not taking any more walk-ins even though they were supposed to be open until 10 pm.  This was a major epic fail, 0 for 5 places, and two different states.

So, we just finished day three and no official diagnosis. My throat was getting sore and I was hoping for a strep throat infection. I know my innate immune system is kicking into high gear in this phase. A few things to keep in mind to maximize this phase include the following routine. I beefed up my Vitamin D supplements immediately. I usually take about 4000 iu’s per day as a maintenance dose but boosted it to 16,000 iu for the first 3 days. I also immediately started the zinc/vitamin C lozenges 3-4 times a day. These always taste terrible to me and I really dislike them.  I remember Zinc as an important mineral with COVID and there are many studies talking about vitamin D. The bottom line about vitamin D is that if you have appropriate levels, then it significantly reduces respiratory illnesses and complications of pneumonia. I remember reading one study that would recommend extremely high doses of vitamin D up to 40,000 iu per day in the beginning. I was confident my vitamin D levels were good as I was very tan and had been supplementing consistently all year. Another action I took revolved around mouthwash. I read a study that said that it helped with COVID, so I did it 3 times a day. It did give my throat significant relief and it taste much better that salt water and vinegar.

Next, I stopped all sugar or anything that would raise glucose levels quickly. I always remember from nutrition seminars how sugar suppresses your innate immune system by 50% for 5-8 hours after you ingest it. Your innate immune system stimulates your adaptive immune system’s response, and this is important for the second phase of this process. Lastly, hydration and sleep are always important. I tried to sip on water consistently and slept when I could. At this point I was able to go 12 hours before my achiness would return and only took Tylenol 2 times a day. By day 4 my achiness was minimal and have not taken any Tylenol since. I never really felt like I had a fever, but I did have minimal chills. So, if I had a fever it would have been extremely mild.

Finally, on Sunday we went to the testing site at 8 am and waited in line. The process wasn’t too bad. Poor Allison had to wait in line for me as I was extremely dizzy on this morning. This dizziness would come in waves and to this day I am not sure if it was from the sinuses, anxiety, or from the lungs and decreased oxygenation. There is no way I could have waited outside as it was hot and humid. I think I would have passed out. Thankfully, I stayed in the air conditioned car while Allison got the paperwork and checked me in. It took about 25 minutes and we were 23rd in line to get tested. Another 2 hours ticked by and I had to go into a back door. I still don’t know why we can’t walk in the front door, but I went to the back of the building and waited about 5 minutes in the heat and then they let me in. I walked in and was seated on a stool. There was a Doctor sitting at a desk on the computer asking me questions. She was about 6 feet from me with just a surgical mask on. I specifically noticed that it was not a N95 mask as I feel like I have become an expert on this topic lately. I thought this was a little strange as she is seeing possible COVID patients all day. However, after a brief history of symptoms she offered me a rapid test only because I was a health care provider. They did check my O2 levels with the fingertip sensor which was 98% and my temperature was 98.6 degrees. The ‘nasal violation’ (as Ryan calls it) wasn’t too bad and the person performing it was all protected with PPP as I have no idea what she looked like. The entire test was about 5 minutes and we were on our way back home. The test site that we used is called NextCare. The website is: https://nextcare.com/locations/az/

On the way home I remember telling Allison that I know the test will be positive. I had not been sick in over 9 years and that if I get any type of cold symptoms especially in the summer that it had to be COVID. We got back home and got a call with in 5 minutes saying that my test was positive. Even though my symptoms were getting better on this 4th day, the next 24 hours were the most difficult. The realization hit me and of course my mind was racing in all sorts of directions. Allison went into immediate action and went to the office to send an email to our active patients to cancel the next couple weeks. My head was spinning of ‘what if’s’. I have watched the news like everyone else and have heard about all the doom and gloom. I had to keep reminding myself of the statistics that were available to keep me calm. I had waves of mini anxiety attacks and was paralyzed with analysis. My mind raced through everything I had read. Understanding the immune system, I know the Adaptive Immune system kicks into high gear in days 5-8 and that is when the cytokine storm can really cause troubles in the lungs. Time was of the essence as now it is day 4.

Allison was a little concerned as I became extremely quiet as I really had no idea what to do next. I couldn’t listen to anything, read anything at all, or even watch a movie. One of my biggest concerns was how this could affect my family, friends, and their personal lives. Obviously, my son Ryan, who swims for Cal Berkeley, would now have to quarantine, get tested, and a positive test could jeopardize training for the entire group of Olympians and potential Olympians. Plus, the impact this might have on all the people that I had been near on my vacation. What if they got this and didn’t fare well? The impact on others was more worrisome than the fact that currently I am the only one with the virus. This emotional stress was significant and all by itself would suppress my immune function. Managing this emotional stress was very challenging the first 24 hours. You feel alone, scared, and guilty.   You have the feeling that it’s your fault for possibly infecting others. The research says that it is possible to infect others 48 –72 hours before symptoms appear. The good news was I had not seen any patients for 6 days. Most cases of people with exposure to a person with COVID develop symptoms 4-5 days after exposure. So, the 3 days before I had any symptoms is the time period that I could possibly give it to others. Once you have symptoms, the corona virus is most infectious early on and decreases through day 10. After day 10 you are no longer contagious. This is the current understanding of this virus, but everything seems to change as more data is published. The bottom line is, it is not your fault or the fault of anyone else. This is how most viral infections spread, and in my opinion, with the number of cases worldwide, this pandemic will have to play itself out.

To manage my emotional stress, I listened to music, watch sitcoms, and just kept on my same routine of vitamins, light exercise, hydration, and rest. I would also get in my pool and just float around. The water temp is 88 degrees now and this was very therapeutic. My mind was racing over possible actions to take. If I need a Doctor who do I go to? My number one goal is to minimize my chances of this Cytokine storm and stay out of the hospital at all cost. Getting on a ventilator is not a good option and if you need to be hospitalized, you’re all alone and cannot have an advocate with you which is never good.  Therapies that I had read that were successful in preventing hospitalization range from Hydroxychloroquine, Z-pack, and inhaled steroids for the lungs, Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

The research on the Hydroxychloroquine is limited, controversial, and now seems political. Some articles say it doesn’t work and that it causes a problem on an EKG. So, most doctors will not prescribe it. I had read many studies which had different conclusions about this drug. To summarize what I had learned was that if you take Hydroxychloroquine with a Z-pack and Zinc within that 5-7th day, it had extremely good results of preventing the need for hospitalization and a ventilator. There is not a lot of research with double blind studies yet, however, the ones that says it doesn’t work are seriously flawed. They were giving doses of Hydroxychloroquine large enough for an elephant and giving it in late stages after patients were already on oxygen or ventilators. All medications are toxic by definition and have side effects. The bottom line is this is probably not an option for me because you cannot find a doctor or pharmacy to even get it. I know this drug is safe at appropriate dosing as it has been around for a long time and is even safe for pregnant women. I was more interested in actual Doctors who were seeing a lot of COVID patients and had success in keeping them out of a hospital.  The following link gives a great interview of a Doctor in New York who has seen thousands of COVID patients.

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/07/15/hydroxychloroquine-for-coronavirus.aspx

One thing I must say is that I have the best patients in the world. It is amazing what happened next. I now have Hydroxychloroquine and a Z-pack sitting on my counter, and now this is an option for me. Another therapy that I was interested in is steroids for the lungs. This virus infects the lungs and it just makes sense to me to try to control this inflammation early on.  And once again thanks to the same patient, I’m looking at budesonide on my counter as an option.  Please see this video of a Doctor using steroids with success in COVID patients. Some say it’s controversial but seems logical to me and again there is a window of time that seems to make sense to have a better outcome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pGEKSr5xRk

These doctors seem reasonable and are just trying their best to help the patients they are treating with COVID. This is in no way intended to be medical advice as different therapeutics and treatments are being perfected each week and must be individualized for each patient.  I personally believe that therapeutics or strategies to help you through a virus is more valuable than a vaccine.  Time will tell, but for now there is no vaccine and as stated earlier it is still uncertain that it will work. So, having a robust immune system that doesn’t overreact is the best cure to date.

I am now on day 5. My achiness is gone, I have mild waves of dizziness on and off. My throat was a little sore but managed with zinc lozenges and a tea called Throat Coat. I had some minimal sinus pressure and now loss of taste and smell. My appetite was terrible as food tasted like cardboard, and I had minimal stomach cramps. I had reached out to my circle of chiropractic doctors for support and to see if they had any other ideas to help me naturally get through this. My current supplement routine included:

Vitamin D: 8,000iu

Vitamin E: 400iu

Vitamin C powder: 3-5,000 mg

Vitamin A: 50iu

Zinc: 50 mg

I did some light stretching and Core exercises to get my lymphatic system circulating. This is extremely important as your lymph system sits on top of your vascular system and is mobilized by arterial pulsation (increased heart rate) or muscle contraction. I walked on the treadmill about ½ of a mile slowly, floated in the pool and kicked a little. I was also resting 9 hours per day as this significantly helps your immune function also. My energy was actually pretty good as it was very difficult to take a nap.

Since, I was doing so good on day 5, I decided not to take the Hydroxychloroquine/Z-pac therapy. I am 55 years old with no co-morbidities and so far, my immune system was working perfectly. If I started to get worse at this stage, I personally would have started it immediately.  I did take an inhaler powder steroid, budesonide, because I had a little heaviness in the lungs. I took it as a precautionary measure because I was a severe asthmatic as a child. I had been familiar to inhalers but have not needed any meds for asthma for 20 years. The heaviness in the lungs disappeared with in 12 hours of my first dose. I am not sure if it was the medication or just my adaptive immune system kicking COVID’s ass.

Day 5 was a big turnaround for me, especially mentally. My fear of this virus decreased significantly and there were 2 instances that turned things around. I asked my closest chiropractic friend, that I truly trust with my life about the hydroxychloroquine. He simply said, “It seems like you are doing great, is there something you’re not telling me?”  The answer other than fear was “nope, I am feeling pretty good.”  The second big turnaround for me was when I spoke with my brother Brian.  Brian has been a swim coach for many years and is a great motivator.  At one point in our conversation I was telling him that I have studied and researched physiology my whole career for this moment in my life.  He then said, “Well that’s right, we trained to live.”  As a family we have always trained for life.  We live a healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced approach.  This includes Chiropractic, exercise, proper diet, supplementation and a balanced lifestyle between work and play. I practice what I preach. The secret to optimal health and performance really comes down to your daily habits and routines over time – which I call the Chiropractic lifestyle. I live by this, and I am always tweaking and implementing what I learn on a continual basis.

By day 6, I was ready to start my normal lifestyle. I started back with a light weightlifting routine, stretching, core exercises, and walked ¾ of a mile. By Day 8, I was back to my normal routine and now was just waiting out my quarantine period. We were all extremely relieved as my immune system didn’t overreact.

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t focus on the news as they never talk about the majority of cases that respond as I have.
  • Have a daily routine that promotes health, wellness, optimal function. Train to live.
  • Have a routine when you’re sick that gives you the best chance to have your immune system function optimally.
  • Reach out to your circle for support. Since you can’t go anywhere, you need help with logistics and emotional support.
  • Manage chemical stress, emotions stress, and physical stress on an ongoing basis.
  • If you or someone you know has a bad response to this virus make a plan of what to take to the hospital. For me it would have been a phone, IPAD, with all the chargers. You would want to facetime with your family and support system as you would be on your own which is scary.

Most of you who have been patients with me for years already live a healthy lifestyle. Obviously, we can all improve in some aspects of our lives. Focus on one area that you can improve on and then just do that one thing. Make it a habit, and then move on to your next weakness. This is a constant never-ending process.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your well wishes, support, prayers, and food. You have no idea how much that means to Allison and me.  It is incredible to see all the community support. I hope this helps you in your understanding of this pandemic and lessens some of your fears.  My goal was to give you a firsthand account of my journey and to educate you a little along the way. Overall, the FEAR of this virus was way worse than my actual symptoms.  To be completely honest, the flu I had nine years ago was way worse than Covid.  I sadly realize that this is not the case for everybody and feel extremely fortunate that I had a mild case.

Now that you know my story, I want to make sure that during your next adjustment we can focus on YOUR health, YOUR wellness, and YOUR successful daily routine to be as healthy as YOU can be.

We are officially cleared to open back up. I am 100%, full of energy, completely rested, and better yet stronger than the last time you visited our office. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces underneath your masks.

Yours In Health,

 

Dr. Scott Hoffer

“It’s easier to STAY well, than to GET well.”

Chiropractic Websites by Perfect Patients