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.