My Experience with Covid and Paxlovid

I recently made a trip to California with my wife and for a souvenir I returned with a case of the Chinese Commie Crud (tm Sgt. Mom). My SO has been fortunate not to have received the same luck so far. What follows is my experience with the virus and the drug that I was given, along with a slight side trip down the messy insides of the American health care system.

I returned from California on Sunday, and on Tuesday night I woke up with a crackling in my chest when I exhaled. I am super familiar with this as this is what always happens when I get “the flu” or at least, what I used to call it. I was hacking Weds morning and as we have a policy in place at work that states “if you are sick, stay home”, I, well, stayed home. I took a covid test just for kicks and was negative. Thursday I was worse, with a slight fever, stuffed nose, and more hacking. Another day off. Friday morning I woke up basically a train wreck with a high fever, and everything going the wrong way. I took another covid test and it lit up very quickly. No doubt about it.

The higher ups happened to be out of town, however orders were still being received on this end so I was told to do a video health thingee so I wouldn’t have to stand in line at the immediate care clinic. I did so and after paying $65 a Pakistani or Indian doctor appeared on my laptop and announced “boy do you look tired” to which I responded “you have no idea”. She was polite and knowledgeable, and prescribed me Paxlovid as I fit the age qualification. I asked her if this would be filled soon as the pharmacy was pretty close to me and she affirmed this and off I went.

When I arrived at the pharmacy the harried pharmacist said that she “just got the order in” – I was a bit surprised, but whatever, I was happy to wait a bit. Then came the news that they had prescribed me the version for people with renal issues, of which I had none. The prescription couldn’t be changed because they apparently had no way to get a hold of this doctor in any quick fashion – it was becoming apparent that the teledoc that I accessed through my local providers health care software wasn’t affiliated with the system at all. So this was a surprise. Undaunted I called my primary doctors office, who couldn’t even see the prescription in their records. Finally I was given a number to someone called a covid prescription person (or something like that). She was clearly a local (easily identified from her wonderful Wisconsin accent) and fixed it in maybe one minute. I was handed the Paxlovid course at no charge and was on my way.

The medicine itself is three tablets, taken twice a day over five days. From the little I read it appears that two tablets (nirmatrelvir, 150mg) are the actual covid inhibitors while the third one (ritonavir, 100mg) is so your liver can’t filter out the drug and it stays active in your system longer. Barely an hour after the first dose I developed a nasty case of Paxlovid mouth. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced and hope to god I never have to again. I also instantly lost my sense of taste.

On a quick side note, when your mouth tastes like a bitter, metallic sock and you really can’t taste anything else, you just don’t really want to eat. I forced down good ol chicken soup and other good food, but it was a task. One other side effect, I had some minor digestive issues.

So it’s now day 5. My fever is gone, I have no real ill effects, and only have one course of pills left to take, tonight. I was oh so tempted to stop taking the pills when I started to get better, but everything I read is “all or nothing” on the course so I am in for “all”. It will be over soon enough.

My only real remaining issues are an oh so slight lingering cough. I still can’t taste anything but the Paxlovid mouth is going away it seems even though I am still on the drug. Perhaps I am just used to it.

In general, I feel 100% cured. Covid itself was for me, “flu plus”, probably a bit worse than the flu I used to get every year or so. In fact, if I didn’t know what covid was, I would have just said that I had the flu and they would have probably given me TamiFlu. But I guess those days are gone now.

So did the Paxlovid work? I would have to say yes. Would my body have been able to clear the Commie Crud without it? I guess we will never know. My hunch is yes, but I think I made the correct choice. In fact I know I did as these were the orders from the higher ups, but ymmv.

9 thoughts on “My Experience with Covid and Paxlovid”

  1. The “Doctor” was probably in India or Pakistan. That is getting much more common now. Now that xrays are digital, not film, many are being read in India.

  2. I came down with a bad case of flu about three months before the official announcement of covid. Later (much later) reporting showed that this flu was out and about before the official timeline, so I suspect it was covid. It took about ten days to get over it whereas, for me, it usually takes three to five days to get over a flu.
    Was the test they provided to you the earlier one, or a newer one. I’ve seen elsewhere that the guy who created the earlier test said it was not being used the way it was designed, so the results being returned could be spurious.

  3. I had it in 2020 – I thought I had just an allergy but since my mother at the time was in an extended care place thought I should get tested before I go in and infect 100s of frail elderly patients (a la Mario Cuomo), and low and behold I had it. Amazing at the time once it was “public knowledge” the county called me – you would have thought I was a leper – but I was quarantined for 10 days (Which the window had probably passed since I had symptoms on the road for at least a prior 10 days). It lasted several weeks but its lingering side effects was fatigue – extreme fatigue. Get out of bed, have breakfast and want to go back to bed fatigue. That lasted 3-4 months. Didn’t have any medicine.

    I thought I had it again last Nov – I drove to MN for Thanksgiving and had what started out as a cold but durned into a respiratory virus. That lasted a month and when I tested came up negative for COVID.

    That was like a bad relative who didn’t know when to leave.

    Glad you are on the mend Dan!

  4. Thought I had it a year ago, chills, aches, etc. Never tested so maybe not. Took a week off and felt like a faker by Wednesday, so lucky.

    Read that there’s a new ICD code for being unvaxed or not completely vaxed. Various medical programs have been so quick to use it as a reason to withhold services you realize they have people who’s job it is to sit around and think of reasons.

    This “stomach flu”, on the other hand, was a solid week of unpleasantness, over like a switch turned off on the seventh day.

  5. Due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed for decades I got every respiratory infection going. Which was pretty much everything in-circulation if you have small kids in a city which is one of the major world travel hubs. The worst was easily Swine Flu in 2009. A whole different world of pain. Took me several months to recover from that. Rather that the in and out in under a week with everything else.

    Anyway pretty much all respiratory infections act on the body in pretty much the same way. Due to the nature of the beast. So more than two dozen infections have pretty much the same symptoms. Non specific symptoms. The only common specif symptom for SARs CoV 2 is a dry cough in combination with a very sore nose and nasal membranes. I mean so sore that that it throbs with a piercing pain all the time and none of the typical OTC drugs make much of impression. Not a typical symptom for general circulation respiratory infections. At least in my experience.

    Well at the end of February 2020 I had been in direct contact with a whole bunch of people who had traveled from the primary transit point for all infections in the West. Northern Italy. Got a dry cough, no energy, and the only time I have every had a very painful nose symptom. For almost a week. If Swine Flu was a 10 and a typical rhinovirus cold was a 1 I’d rate SARs CoV 2 as maybe a 3 or 4. But only because of the pain caused by the ORN infection. It was excruciating at times.

    So unless you had the nose pain (which is caused by the nerve cells being a point of infection) or had a proper pneumonia you more than likely had some other infection. The COVID tests are so inaccurate as to be worthless for diagnosis and one of the known sources of false positives is cross response to other human corona-viruses (HCOVs). Which account for the majority of serious “flu’s” and at any given time at least 1% of the adult population has an active infection during winter.

    The good news is if it was a SARs CoV2 infection you now have true immunity against new infections for around 5 to 10 years. Not the very short term partial immunity in some given by the “shot”. And if it was not SARs CoV2 it was probably a viral infection so the anti-virals would have worked pretty well against most of them. Does nt kill them but great reduces the viral load, which gives you body more room to respond.

    Best of luck for a full recovery. And watch out for opportunistic secondary infections while your system is fully recovering. Even when symptoms are gone it takes a while. A few weeks at least.

  6. interesting, never heard of Paxlovid mouth. My first bout of Covid was in Dec 2021. It was a 10 day affair. Used Ivermectrin to some success but a recent study says that is an inert drug for Covid. Had it last summer 2022 again, and used no drugs. Was a mild case. Get well soon.

  7. Have to wonder about some of the studies being done regarding Ivermectin. The drug companies have a vested interest in pushing their latest and greatest (and most expensive) drugs. Hope the study you mentioned was conducted by people completely independent from drug companies, their money, and their sway.

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