No Alcohol, Sex or Caffeine — Long-Covid, I Presume
September 21st, 2021 - By Patrick T. McBriarty
Just before midnight three Monday ‘s ago I awoke — not with the realization of society’s systemic racism, but as basic and personal. I was struggling to breathe alone in bed (so no cops were involved). This had happened once before 18-months ago. After a few minutes of deep breathing assessing my body and calming my mind I contemplated what to do. The tightness in my chest and constricted feeling at the back of my throat made breathing a conscious effort. Not bad enough to go to the hospital and doubtful they could do anything for me, nonetheless this was disturbing and frightening.
Finally, I got out of bed rinsed my sinuses with warm salt water to help some and decided to take a dose of ivermectin. I returned to bed picked up a book from my nightstand and read while I lay there monitoring my chest and breath for a change. Very subtly over 30-40 minutes the tightness in my chest lessened, breathing became easier and I was able to fall back to asleep. At 5 am it happened again. I awoke straining to breathe, though not as bad as before and a second dose of ivermectin soon let me to fall back to sleep. Trying to tapper off this medicine the incident was probably brought about in cutting back the dosing too quickly.
My intent here is not to complain, rather to share my experiences to raise awareness and understanding. I have suffered through the vast majority of this pandemic with little complaint, but now feel compelled to vent my frustration at the ongoing feeble feeble governmental and health care agencies to the pandemic. I feel like John Stuart trying to explain the Wuhan virus to Stephen Cobert. Hell, we still haven’t even clearly traced the origin of this virus. Shouldn’t good science be driving our world and local efforts? Where is the urgency to end the pandemic as people continue to get sick, suffer, and die every day?!!
This past two-weeks a media shit-storm of objections, lies, denials and fear mongering stirred up around ivermectin. Most of the hyperbole came from people who never suffered from Covid-19 nor had any experience using ivermectin. Media pundits and even news journalists derided ivermectin as “horse paste” or a “horse de-wormer” yet, for many people around the world ivermectin has relieved suffering and been a lifesaving treatment for Covid-19.
Recently popular comedian, UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan got thrown under the bus after contracting Covid and a rapid rebound. His was lambasted on the internet and by mainstream press for treating it with a variety of medicines including ivermectin which was referred to as a “horse de-wormer” drug. Well, yes, ivermectin is safely used in both human and veterinary medicine, but the ivermectin Rogan received was prescribed by a doctor and was not a veterinary formulation. Ivermectin is a very safe medicine for use in vertebrates and in many countries it is sold for human use over the counter and without a prescription.
Shouldn’t we be able to discuss medicine and science, particularly in a pandemic like adults, without major press outlets lying about important details or fear mongering with false reporting — from say, Oklahoma? It seems to me when news is delivered in an angry or indignant tone the goal is to promote some underlying agenda rather than offering honest reporting of the facts or clear truths. The politics and hyperbola surrounding ivermectin and at times Covid and the vaccines sound more like a dust up at a middle school playground than educated, well-informed adults discussing the science of immunizations, immune response, or viral transmission. Maybe this is an indictment of our educational system as too few of us are applying critical analysis, fact-checking, and problem solving skills to access this evolving crisis.
Throughout this pandemic the public health authorities have offered no real treatment for Covid. Let me restate that. If you were suffering from Covid-19, but not bad enough to be hospitalized the medical establishment offered NO outpatient treatment advice or assistance. You were on your own. And, if you turned blue and could not breathe then got to the hospital and they would try and make you comfortable. However, doctors were offering little reassurance and in the end simply try to make you comfortable. Ventilator anyone? I know not at all funny, and that is my point! Why are we tolerating this? Why aren’t we asking public health authorities the tough questions?
There is hope as a small but growing collection of independent physicians and researchers working directly with Covid patients are doing the heavy lifting of investigating, trying, and developing treatments to relieve the suffering and death brought on by Covid-19. Logically they have used the science and taken a multi-faceted approach to create treatment protocols for Covid. These protocols, which have been refined as more is learned, use off-the-shelf supplements, vitamins, and medicines to create effective treatments for Covid at all stages of infection. Yet, these treatments have not been widely publicized.
Much of the investigation specifically into ivermectin began in April 2020 after a pre-published Australian study showed ivermectin inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection and effected a roughly 5,000-fold reduction viral RNA with in 48 hours. This test tube study naturally spurred further investigation into its potential for human use to treat Covid. Subsequent studies and therapeutic trials in 2020 showed ivermectin’s efficacy in humans offering numerous anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating effects against SARS-CoV-2. And serendipitously nursing home residents in France, Virginia, Toronto, and other locations where dosed with ivermectin to control scabies outbreaks and as a result almost none got infected with Covid. Yet, during the same period health care workers closely interacting with residents a these same facilities who did not receive ivermectin were experiencing high Covid infection rates. So clearly this traditional anti-parasitic drug was doing something. Yet, the establishment continued to push back against the use of ivermectin to the point families began suing hospitals to get a dying family member ivermectin to save their lives.
These treatment protocols developed by independent doctors and nurses sharing information across countries and clinical practices soon determined boosting vitamins C, D, Zinc, melatonin, and quercetin along with a mix of medicines like aspirin, fexofenadine, famotidine (Pepcid), hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, fluvoxamine, steroids, statins, antihistamines, and others have allowed patients to recover faster and survive Covid-19. Early treatment is the key to curb or curtail the viral load, speed recovery, and improve patient outcomes. In parallel inexpensive preventative protocols were also developed to help stop Covid infections.
Vaccines are only preventative. And, a dying patient cannot wait nor will a vaccine (experimental or otherwise) do them any good. So critical care doctors confronted with infected patients use what is readily available. That is just plain common sense — something else that seems to be in short supply in this pandemic. And by the way, on September 1 the CDC changed its definition of “vaccine” and “vaccination” to replace the word “immunity” with “protection.” So in the past vaccines had to provide immunity, but now only need to be “protective” thanks to the CDC lowering our standards, seemingly to favor the powerful and profits at the expense of the public welfare
Not to say investments in vaccine research are not important, but from the beginning shouldn’t the focus have been on treatments and a multifaceted approached to defeat this virus? So far it seems as if anyone infected just becomes one more statistic and is pretty much written off. The narrative in social and mainstream media and more importantly funding for prevention was all the rage. Why has there little or no mainstream efforts on Covid-19 treatments? This seems to me beyond stupid, and at this late date in the pandemic nothing but criminal.
Days and weeks ticked by as I struggled to write and capture this story until the brouhaha on ivermectin rose to a fevered pitch. It was all too much for me and I thankfully lean on the excellent reporting in the article “The Drug that Cracked Covid” by six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, New York Times best selling author Michael Capuzzo in Mountain Home. The article tells of ivermectin’s growing Jekyll & Hyde pandemic characterization and details the astounding level of suppression and obfuscation of ivermectin’s efficacy by medical authorities. Most interesting to me the article claims President Trump received ivermectin, which may explain his rapid recovery from Covid in October 2020.
Unreported elsewhere, the Capuzzo’s article claims the President was given ivermectin. Imagine how awkward it would have been for the Administration if the public knew an inexpensive and effective Covid treatment existed at a time when negotiations for emergency vaccines were either in-process or recently concluded. Also imagine how many lives might have been saved if subsequently this dollar per pill, off-the-shelf, easily produced generic drug had been rolled out to treat Covid-19. This at that time when the U.S. the death toll from Covid-19 was “only” 300K souls. If this knowledge was withheld from the public and the world the implications for surviving families of the estimated 3.4 million people worldwide who died after October 31, 2020 would be staggering. It raises a potentially prickly accusation that the Trump administration and his attending doctors suppressed this information and resulted in millions of unnecessary Covid-19 deaths.
I initially got Covid the third week in March of 2020 and mostly recovered, went back to road biking, over did my workouts, and eight weeks later relapsed with little or no forewarning. And so began life with long-Covid. This prompted a process of elimination of multiple doctor visits to rule out any other possible condition for my symptoms. All were negative and it was clear, at least in my mind, I had Covid. However, without a positive Covid swab or antibody test none of the doctors would definitively say I had it. Nor did they offer any remedies or treatments and so was sent home to my own devices. My health fluctuated at 60–80% of full health and the virus had free run of my body for 10-months. Finally a couple days after posting my January blog a friend of a friend suggested ivermectin. My rant on the failure of U.S. fee-for-service health care system and experiment with EPOBoost is detailed in my March 2021 blog posts.
Long-haulers or those with a chronic infection are long past the contagious phase and can (if feeling up to it) mix freely with others, masking as appropriate. Having survived Covid infection they have natural immunity, which immunologically is more robust than vaccinated immunity, and natural immunity plus a single vaccination dose offers even greater protection. Having had Covid so early in the pandemic my fear of the virus were gone. I knew it would not kill me and with natural immunity there was little or no chance of my passing Covid on to someone else. Thankfully this also left me generally immune to the politics and fear mongering in the news and on social media. With long-Covid as the motivator I continued to research the virus and potential treatments.
By early-February 2021, being clued into ivermectin it was clear to me state and local public health authorities and national and international agencies like the CDC, FDA, and WHO were not sharing the whole truth. They were treating the public as if we were either stupid, incapable of handling the truth or both. With medical authorities and political leaders unwilling to be completely honest public trust becomes scarce. Masks were a case in point. Clearly masks were useful in hospitals for medical personnel but authorities initially told the general public masks were unnecessary and ineffective. Months later when enough masks became available it was obvious medical authorities had not trusted the public to ensure medical personnel got the masks they needed before stocking up on masks and PPE supplies themselves. Authorities were probably right given the run on toilet paper early on in the pandemic.
Yet, public health authorities never offered a convincing explanation for their change in stance on masks. It seemed clear to me the right thing to do was a mea culpa. If authorities had come clean, asked forgiveness, and explained the science on the advantages of masks (as much as 79% effective in preventing transmission) they could have built trust with the general public and in turn fostered greater compliance and public support for mask mandates. Similarly if regular updates and data on the effectiveness, complications, and monitoring of the experimental vaccines were shared we would have more public trust, but instead the public knows the pharma companies are indemnified from law suits and product liability and have no incentive to share data or be honest with the public.
Of course, these were not the only failures by medical authorities. They also glossed over the importance of fresh air, good ventilation, open windows, and getting outside as heavily promoted during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Yet for some reason, in 2020 medical authorities were barely willing to explain coronavirus transmission from person to person via small droplets in the air (aerosol) exhaled by folks in the early stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection. And, that confined, poorly ventilated, crowded indoor spaces promot infection. In addition, public health departments were much more robust in 1918 having dealt with contagions and pandemics in previous decades and had little or no political interference to take the lead to advise the public, dictate regulations, and implement active track, trace, and quarantine efforts to limit the spread, contain infections, and save lives. Today the “track and trace” efforts in the U.S. has been so anemic it seems like lip-service at best. For more insights on the 1918 pandemic co-host Christopher Lynch and I researched and produced a special Windy City Historians podcast, “Don’t Sneeze, Cough or Spit” in March 2021. Chris and I hope to update and re-issue the episode in the coming months.
My best days felt like the day before you are sick in bed all-day. You know, that feeling something is not quite right, you are tired and have a nagging desire to lie down, and struggle to make it through the day. Yet, with long-Covid a tough-it-out mentality and pushing through usually descended into a short-temper, loss of concentration and recall, basically brain fog, and fatigue. This became the cycle where on good days testing my limits or making up for lost time the day after resulted in a penalty. These retrogrades left me feeling completely crummy and fatigued to simply move from bed to the couch to watch videos and nap despite a good night’s sleep. It took days or weeks to slowly claw my way back to something close a previous “good” day.
Unknown to me on December 8, 2020, doctors from the Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) testified in front of Congress about ivermectin’s global and historic impacts in eradicating endemic parasitic infections and the rapidly growing published medical evidence demonstrating its unique ability for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Since 2012, numerous in-vitro (test tube) studies had reported ivermectin’s highly potent anti-viral effects against influenza, Zika, Dengue Fever and others.
Two days later, on December 10, the “Trusted News Initiative” (TNI) announced an expansion from focusing on election disinformation to now also combat the “spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.” This positioned TNI as the primary tool for deciding “truth” or “fiction” on the science and medicine surrounding Covid-19 and vaccines. Utilized across TNI members (AP, AFP, BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Facebook, Financial Times, First Draft, Google/YouTube, The Hindu, Microsoft, Reuters, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Twitter, and The Washington Post) by protecting emergency vaccines it helped drive the narrative and suppress Covid treatments. First initiated by the BBC in 2018, multiple internet searches revealed no website nor detailed information on TNI beyond two press releases issued by the BBC.
It seems TNI serves to systematically flag of whatever is deemed “false information” replacing the independent fact checking by individual social and media platform members. As a result platforms have acted in lockstep to support FDA, CDC, and WHO decisions to protecting vaccines. These public health authorities, originally setup as independent agencies for the public welfare, since the early-1990s have been increasingly funded (with strings attached) by donations from pharmacology companies, foundations, and high net-worth individuals. In fact, many FDA employees frequently migrate to jobs as pharma company executives. Such coziness between regulators and pharma companies undermines the public trust as these agencies operate without federal oversight and are only partially beholden to taxpayer money.
A couple articles referenced in the link here describe the details of TNI. Yet after reading these articles I am left wondering who is running TNI? And larger agenda for TNI remains unknown and has not been shared with the public. None the less TNI members have vociferously pushed back on any Covid treatments in a concerted effort to push mass vaccination. Why beat down ivermectin and other helpful off-the-shelf treatments? Are they really trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes? And anyone who raises doubts or questions about the vaccines too loudly gets tarred with the anti-vax, right-wing brush or labeled a kook (think Steve Kirsch or Nicki Manaj) whether fair or not their posts, videos, and reports are pulled down off the internet. The net effect of these actions appear to be purely to protect the profits and future revenue streams for Big Pharma & Big Health Care regardless of the truth or science.
Worse yet, political leaders seemed to have been co-opted in support of these efforts possibly through financial manipulation or political pressure to follow the herd and swallowing the vaccine narrative that, ‘only the vaccine can save us.’ It infuriates me more people are not raising tough questions and shaking the trees.
Even as I write this in September 2021, it still amazes and aggravates me that NO widely accepted early- or home-treatment for Covid-19 has been widely adopted or promoted by the mainstream media. The drum beat of “vaccine, vaccine, vaccine” from the press is unwavering. Why is there no discussion of treatment? Vaccines are preventative. How can we expect to return to normalcy via prevention and no clear worldwide plan. We must have international coordination and a plan to roll out treatments and prevention (vaccination) so anyone who gets infected by Covid-19 can be treated and those who have not been infected are offered protection for have any hope of returning to normalcy.
Alternatively, we can continue with disjointed national, regional, and local efforts until most everyone worldwide has been exposed and we are left to deal with variants of the virus similar to the last 100-plus years with influenza and annual flu shots. Covid will not just go away on its own.
END of PART I