This is a good question that we may never find the answer to. This is a personal story but it also incorporates the stories of thousands of people who have similar stories. While the conspiracy theorists and denial theorists are trying their hardest to twist the Covid story to be unrecognizable, some people–millions actually–are silently suffering with and dying from Covid.
What’s with the chasm between those that don’t believe and those who are sick?
One thing: those that are in denial haven’t yet caught it… I wonder what they will say if they do catch it? It won’t be pretty I can assure you that.
What’s The Story?
Covid harms, even if it doesn’t kill. In fact, I never had Covid. Or so I thought, until I got a phone call from my pulmonary doctor asking: “When did you have Covid?” I was at the steepest part of my daily 3-5-mile hike in the hills and I just about fell on my face! I said “What do you mean? I have not been sick at all!” And then he explained that on my last lung CT scan a week earlier (October 2020), I showed the classic ground-glass-opacity shadow, what is a potential “scar” from Covid.
Ground-glass-opacity is not pneumonia, though most commonly that term is used for simplicity. Ground-glass-opacity is like a bathroom window, which is deliberately made to high opacity to prevent seeing through it. So ground-glass-opacity means it is an area of the lung that has “something” that cannot be seen. This article shows a wonderful image that compares 3 images with ground-glass-opacity lungs with 3 images with pneumonia and 3 images with normal lungs. So you can see the differences. The top 3 are ground-glass-opacity, the middle 3 are pneumonia, and the bottom 3 are healthy normal lungs.
Ground-glass-opacity is a Covid “trademark” of sorts.
How Did I Get This?
I haven’t the clue. It just appeared out of the blue. So you may ask: how come you got a CT scan? You must have had some issues!? A legitimate suggestion. However, it is false. As an asthmatic with a mild emphysema from having been a smoker from age 11 to 28 (yes, I beat myself up over this many MANY times!), I get lung CT scans as routine twice a year, to make sure all is cool and there are no changes. I am a senior by all age calculators, and so high risk on top of that with the stupid smoking in my youth (3 packs a day).
The first CT scan was in February, because at the start of January I was sick with something but back then we didn’t yet know of (or had) Covid. I was put on antibiotics and then a checkup with CT scan in February showed all clear! And I was fine. I weightlifted all through January, I mean serious weights, like deadlift of 160 lbs was my last lift before everything came to a halt because of Covid lockdown. So I wasn’t really sick if I could weightlift all through it…
Then I had a rotator cuff injury that surfaced with vengeance in the summer and I was heading for an MRI of the shoulder in October, when I was told that I had an order in for CT scan of the lungs. This would have been “business as usual” for a person with my history and two CT scans a year as normal. And I was not sick at all between the start of February and October at all. With gyms closed and rotator torn, I moved to daily hiking in the hills, 3-5 miles, having a great time. So clearly not sick at all.
And then my doctor called:
“When did you have Covid?“
and the world came to a stop. Literally.
He sent me for another CT scan in November to test how it was healing, and while he said it was looking better (I have yet to see it), I actually was feeling quite ill at this point. My breathing was quite impacted. At first I thought it was just psychological… if you are told you are sick, you will feel ill, even if you aren’t ill. So I tried to ignore it. But it started to affect me even at my hikes…
Since I have never had the swab test and I haven’t paid much attention to it, I cannot tell you how good/accurate those tests are. However, there are other ways to tell if you have Covid, but you need a cooperating doctor to order the tests, or use a service, such as RequestATest to get it out of pocket. Here are the most important blood tests to get–and I also wrote the marker of Covid when you got the test result:
- high neutrophils
- low lymphocytes
- neutrophils/lymphocytes ratio> 3.3
- high WBC
- high von Willebrand factor (vWF)
- high platelet
- creatinine and BUN,
- high BUN/creatinine ratio
- low potassium
- high bilirubin
- high Alkaline phospathase, AST, ALT (liver panel test)
- high amylase
- high lipase
- high IL6 (interleukin 6)
I bolded the two most important factors to check. I didn’t have any of these but had Basophils too high.
I asked for a CBC Differential blood test. This looks at your immune system–the white blood cells–in addition to the red blood cells. So you can see if there is anything abnormal. In my case basophils were high but nothing else. Basophils are inflammation markers. High basophil shows that there is an inflammation, but not necessarily an infection. So I took a very short course of Prednisone to reduce the inflammation. It greatly helped, but the moment I stopped, the stuff came back again. And when I write “stuff”, I mean sputum, phlegm, and all the nasties in huge amounts. So my next drug was Augmentin in a horse size pill. I have not been good with this drug a while back when I was still eating the SAD diet and it was placed on my allergy list then. But this was THE drug to go for so I also bought a box of Benadryl and got an epipen, just in case…
No problems at all with Augmentin–I suppose having changed my diet to keto and carnivore (seasonal changes time to time) over 5 years ago, my gut and entire body recovered enough to not have any issues, other than itching in one palm. Which was fine. I just scratched like an idiot, but continued. And wow, I am doing great now! I suppose I still had some infection–be it Covid or just some opportunist bug settling into the damaged lung areas. So once again I am feeling great.
The Question: When Did I Have Covid?
I am afraid, this question may never be answered. I either had Covid the first days of January, before anyone else had it–I doubt this very seriously–and then had the long-Covid part (after effects) hit me 9 months later, OR, and I think this is more plausible, I had an asymptomatic Covid infection not too long ago, and the ground-glass-opacity damage is new. We will never know. The prognosis: no clue. If the lung can heal (some say it can), I will heal the thing.
Why Did I Write This Story?
So that YOU listen up!! This is serious stuff! If it can happen to me, it can happen to you and everyone else. So take care, protect yourself and others! Don’t listen to naysayers and conspiracy theorists! This stuff is real! This stuff can hurt you even if you never realized you had Covid! This stuff can end your life!
Comments are welcome, as always, and are moderated for appropriateness