Undiagnosed, Day 15

UPDATE March 28, 2020; Day 15

When I have too many posts in a row that start with the reminder that this is part of a series, people get confused which one they commented on, so … mixing things up. I will add this to the main giant original post. https://www.facebook.com/pfanderson/posts/10157284631197903

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a long full night’s sleep, and that this was unusual. I was still tired though, and still took a quick catnap over lunch. Last night was back to usual. What’s usual? Well, there isn’t an actual daily consistent pattern, but what’s close is that I chill all day (huddle over my computer with a blanket on my lap and another wrapped around my shoulders) and burn all night. Some nights, that’s waking up sweating, over and over. Other nights I wake up hot and dry, my throat is burning, and I can’t get back to sleep. Last night was roughly 5 hours of sleep. It was a hot, dry, throat burning night, and when the thunder and lightning started, I knew it was time to give up and get up, and take a ColdEeze. Usually, the sore tight throat goes away when I have my second ColdEeze of the day. And, yes, I already have a scarf around my throat and a blanket on my lap.

NOTE: I did go for a walk yesterday, towards the end of the day when I felt better. My son went with me, because I got a little wobbly, but I made it around the block. I’m counting that as a win.

How’s kiddo? Well, so far so good. If he’s actually sick, we can’t tell. Maybe I was just worrying because he had brief symptoms. Maybe he is sick, and contagious, and it’s just so mild that we can’t tell by looking. Time will tell, maybe. Someone asked if it could be allergies. Yes, we both have seasonal allergies. No, this is not them. How do I know? Zinc. I’ve been doing this for over a decade. Because I’ve been taking zinc as a kind of a prevention, pretreatment, a priming dose, I’ve noticed very quickly that it does absolutely nothing for allergies. It also doesn’t do much for bacterial infections. So, if ColdEeze helps symptoms, even a little, those symptoms aren’t allergic, or an infection that could be helped by antibiotics, they’re viral.

Folk have also been asking me about the new diagnostic clue making the news — for some people, a warning sign prior to developing symptoms is a lessening of the ability to smell and taste. My experience with this is a little warped, and it may make a useful example of why these signs and symptoms may not always be terribly useful, except in hindsight.

So, first, was my sense of taste and smell altered? Yes. The day before I got sick, all I could really taste was sour. After that, when I started the ColdEeze, mostly what I taste is salt and sugar; with salt tasting good, and anything sweet tasting foul. I’m over-salting and over-spicing everything in an attempt to have flavor. HOWEVER, is this meaningful or significant? I didn’t think so, or I’d have mentioned it sooner.

Why didn’t I think it was useful info? Partly because this is a respiratory thing for me, and that means congestion and such will interfere with smell. I don’t find that surprising at all. Partly because I’m taking ColdEeze, and it’s well known that it kind of destroys the sense of taste, and can actually cause permanent damage in this area. Last but not least, under normal circumstances I’m a supertaster, and so even with taste damped down, I’m still probably tasting more than expected. When this started, it wasn’t dramatic, like I couldn’t taste anything, but more like food was bland. Since I was not eating at home the day before I took ill, I didn’t know what to expect for flavor, and assumed it was just the way it was prepared.

Undiagnosed, Day 14

I will add this to the original post.

Reminder! My case is an assumed-to-be-the-real-thing-so-you-quarantine case of COVID, not an official presumptive, nor confirmed.


I slept 11 hours. I slept ELEVEN hours. Wow. Of course, this means I didn’t take any ColdEeze for 11 hours, so I woke up congested, with a sore throat, and a small cough. Hunh. And tired. How can I sleep 11 hours and be tired? Not sleepy tired, but low energy. And my hands are just a little shaky. That’s not a surprise. It happens whenever I’m tired.

Meanwhile, the kid getting sick has me thinking back to when I got sick, and remembering things I haven’t shared here, which may be entirely irrelevant. Things like the day before I developed symptoms I had a CRPS flare (chronic pain). I was slightly more tired and out of focus than usual (but it was Friday, so that’s not a surprise either). About 14-15 hours before symptoms started I had a tiny catch in my throat. It went away right away, but I’m thinking THAT was significant.

So, kiddo? He woke up feeling mostly fine. Slightly froggy, but no sore throat. OTOH, his stomach is still full from dinner last night, and I’m thinking maybe he’s going to be one of those folk who gets COVID19 in the gut instead of the respiratory system. I’m not prepared for that. I prepared for all kinds of things, but I did not stock up on gastritis stuff that the kid can tolerate. What was I thinking? I was thinking I was prepared for a normal case of influenza, and for the respiratory business, and for quarantine food and supplies. I wasn’t thinking about a major extended case of gastritis. So now, I’m worried.

Undiagnosed, Day 13


Today was mostly a good day. My energy was good. No chilling, no sweats. Some fatigue, but manageable. Friends helped get just a few things we were out of (a little produce, some cheese for the kid). Greatly appreciated! Had offers from three other friends to pick things up, but we don’t actually need that much, luckily. We will before much longer, thought.

We had been trying to reach kiddo’s doctor to get a letter to say it was okay for him to go back to work. They need workers, he’s worried about losing his job if he’s away too long, we need the money, and my official quarantine should be over tomorrow (except it won’t be, for me). The doctor sent the letter, and we were very happy, until … he started coughing, got froggy, and a runny nose. Oh.

So, now, kiddo is sick-ish, and we are waiting to see how bad. I’m still kind of fatigued and worn out. Hopefully, he won’t get it any worse than I did. If we’re lucky, maybe better. But we told his job he can’t come in, and no one is happy about that.

Undiagnosed, Day 12


2nd week is tougher. Kiddo wants to know why I’m so weak. No answers. Last night was night sweats. Today I got to mix up chills and heavy sweating. Naps. Multiple naps. Weak. Really weak. Took today off work. Asking for help from other medical librarians for some of the questions coming to me over social media. Answering what I can. Missing all the cool free concerts and movies being streamed. Bummed.

Things I learned today. Kiddo probably can’t go back to work until I quit having symptoms. Not sure yet. Some people have viral shedding for weeks after their symptoms resolve. HOWEVER, they don’t think they are actually contagious. And viral shedding is usually undetectable at 20 days after symptoms start. So that’s good. Ish. And because of the whole surfaces thing and my being too weak to clean, no one should come into my house for probably a month after I get better. Erring on the side of caution.

Undiagnosed, Day 10-11

Reminder! My case is an assumed-to-be-the-real-thing-so-you-quarantine case of COVID, not an official presumptive, nor confirmed.

I didn’t get Monday’s update written, or today’s. I’m tired and worn out. The pattern with this has been sort of good-day/bad-day, but this has been three bad days in a row. I’m exhausted. I’ve been trying to work from home, because I ran out of sick leave before this all started, AND because I see such a need for good information right now, AND because I felt well enough to do so.

NOTE: The university is offering an extra supply of sick leave for pandemic response stuff, but I’m afraid to use much of it because what if this is NOT COVID and I get it for real later? What if my kid gets it? What if I need it for something else related? Not to mention that I almost always work from home when I’m sick, but I almost never get paid for it. I kind of like not having to use my vacation time to work from home when I’m sick.

Anyway. Sunday was really awful chills again, really bad. Monday was bad fatigue. So was today. Some runny nose again all three days. Taking ColdEeze still. Not helping as much as it did. Today, after I finished work, I slept for three hours, then lay on the couch not moving because my phone was too heavy to pick up. I think I need to take tomorrow off, like, the whole day. Kiddo is scared because of my fatigue and weakness, but my breathing is okay, so I’m calling it good, right? This is Day 11, I think. Talked with some other HCP folk in a similar boat. All of us assumed to have COVID but not tested. All of us weak as kittens right now. So, I’m not alone. 🙂 TTYL.

Undiagnosed, Day 9

UPDATE Sunday, March 22

It’s taken me a while to do the update today, because I’m having another not so great day. The whole time I’ve been home, I’ve been thinking, well, I’m already sick, I can safely ignore the no-touching-your-face prohibition. Ah, well, it turns out there’s a reason. It’s not just to keep from catching COVID19. It turns out different parts of your body can catch it in different ways. Who knew? It can infect your mouth, throat, lungs, gut, eyes …

For days, my left eye has been watering more than my right, and I just kept wiping it, sometimes with tissues, sometimes with my fingers. Yesterday, my left eye started to really hurt. I figured it was irritated from my wiping it. Then it looked swollen. I thought, darn it, I have an eye infection, and I’m under quarantine, on a weekend, at night. What am I going to do? So, shrugging, and feeling inspired to be creative, I put microscopic dots of Bactroban ointment on my finger and very gently smeared it around with my eye closed. It still hurt while sleeping (or trying to sleep) last night, but it starting to get better today. This is probably not actually COVID, it is probably actually irritation, but I learned that COVID can actually cause conjunctivitis, and there are research articles about it. Hunh.

In other news, having another roller coaster day. Felt well enough yesterday to do a short workout. Today, I slept in almost to 11am, haven’t felt like eating (but I made myself do it), super tired, just took another nap. And chilling again. All wrapped up in blankets. Lots of chilling. Some fever flashes. Slightly headachy.

So far, working through this, since ColdEeze has been what helps me feel better each time this happens, I keep taking it. It’s a real good thing I already had it in the house, because price gougers are all over ColdEeze right now. The first week, I went through two bags of 18 lozenges and 1 bottle of 25 chewable gels. That’s a lot. I have now opened another bag of lozenges and another bottle of gels. Hoping I have enough.

Undiagnosed, Day 8

UPDATE Saturday, March 21

I felt pretty good again by the end of the day yesterday, but I don’t trust it. Still congested, and woke up with a tiny bit of chest pain that went away after a few minutes. Didn’t even hesitate, started off my day with another ColdEeze. Last night my son coughed. And then coughed again. I made him take a ColdEeze, too.

I’ve been hearing a lot of people who are starting to use ColdEeze because of what they’ve read here, but they aren’t using it in a way that is likely to help them. I’m also seeing a LOT of price gouging online around ColdEeze, which is normally $7.99 a bag, and right now in Amazon varies from $20-$40 a bag, for 18 lozenges. That’s a lot of money for not a lot of protection. I need to do a completely separate post about ColdEeze and zinc, but for what I put here, let me keep it short. The active ingredient in ColdEeze is zinc gluconate. Research also shows that zinc acetate is effective against some coronavirus species. I don’t know about other forms of zinc. What the research shows is that these are effective against virus TRANSMISSION and REPLICATION, and that Vitamin C can block it from working. That means, it works best if you take it BEFORE you get sick, or immediately as soon as symptoms develop. If it is past 48 hours after you got sick, it’s probably too late for it to be really effective. This is probably part of why, for treating really sick people with COVID-19, the docs are having to add a second drug to the zinc to get it to work.

So, for me, why has it worked so well? I have taken a priming dose of zinc during flu season twice a week or more for over fifteen years. I always keep it in the house. I talk about it a lot, and you can find posts from me about ColdEeze going back to the dawn of social media. That means my body was ready to use zinc to the best advantage. There’s a really good chance it might not work as well for someone else. I’ll try to draw some pictures to help explain what works best and what doesn’t. I may need help from an artist, if anyone’s interested!