Opinion | Susan Knopf: Good news and bad news about COVID-19 | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Good news and bad news about COVID-19

The bad news: I got COVID-19. So did my husband.

The good news: My friend Dr. Chris Ebert-Santos exhorted me to trot myself over to the hospital and get an infusion of monoclonal antibodies.

When Doc Chris texted me her advice, I wasn’t feeling that bad. By the time the infusion was scheduled for the next day, I felt like crap.

The trickiest part of getting the infusion is not peeing. You’re drinking a bunch of fluids because you have a respiratory tract infection, and you’ve got to pee.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you’re not supposed to use any public facilities. You’re contagious, and your pee is a contagion. Something definitely happens to your self-esteem when you realize you’re a disease vector. Gross. I’m a biohazard. Great. It’s not enough to feel awful. Now I am a danger to the public, too.

The first thing everyone wants to know is, “Where do you think you caught it?”

Dr. Alan Dulit called me. He is doing contact tracing for Summit County. He wasn’t as interested in where I caught it as he was about with whom I may have shed the virus.

I thought I was up on this topic, but apparently I’m not. When I feel ill, I look back a few days to figure out how I got sick. Dulit told me I likely caught it five to seven days before I presented symptoms.

I was at a gathering in a friend’s home six days before I got sick. People were eating, drinking and talking. I had my mask on most the time and slipped food under it. I walked across the room by myself and had a glass of water.

Apparently that wasn’t good enough. Dulit was particularly interested in knowing with whom I’d spoken for 15 minutes during the time I might have shed the virus. None of those people got sick, but my husband did.

He was at the same event where I think I caught COVID-19, but he appears to have caught it from me. That’s probably because we spoke to different people at the event. His symptom onset was 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 suffered symptoms for about two weeks. Strangely, the worst symptoms occurred in the last days of the illness.

The last day I was sick, I thought I was beginning the disease all over again: I had body aches and my temperature dropped. A day later, I was well. It was a very strange trip.

My husband is still suffering from neuropathy. He injured his shoulder the last week of September. It wasn’t a big deal. It was almost healed until he got COVID-19. It was like illness found the weakest link and viciously attacked. During much of the past two weeks, my husband was disabled. He was unable to move without significant pain. He described the intensity as a “12 on a 10-point scale,” and he couldn’t sleep through the pain.

I think the most disappointing part of this experience was the lack of useful knowledge and real support by some primary care providers. It appears to me, because the disease is so new and the information unfolds day to day, they just don’t know what to say.

The good news is the monoclonal antibody infusion is covered by Medicare, which covers my health care. The bad news: The infusion apparently is billed at $14,800! For the record, it took me hours to squeeze that info out of the hospital and the government.

By the way, we’re both Pfizer vaccinated and boosted. Unfortunately, I got my booster on a Thursday and fell ill Sunday, which was too soon for the booster to help protect me. Get your booster six months after vaccination!

More good news: We’re grateful we survived. Everyone knows of someone who didn’t.

If you’re feeling grateful, think about helping hungry people eat this Thanksgiving. The demand has nearly doubled for Thanksgiving To-Go, a local program providing grocery cards to the needy. You can contribute at your local church or at the Summit Colorado Interfaith Council’s website.

And if you’d like to miss the opportunity to catch COVID-19, you can virtually share your gratitude at a local Thanksgiving unity service at 6 p.m. Nov. 21.

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