A Covid-19 Journal

By Connie Ussery

Ron and Connie Ussery, long-time members of our Fellowship, have recovered from Covid-19. They led our Sunday service and talked about the experience on Nov. 22. This is Connie’s journal of that experiment. But first, here are some background resources for context:

  • Ledger-Enquirer’s October 9   article  https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/coronavirus/article246317800.html  WTVM in Columbus covered it also.
  • Google the October 11 CBS “60 Minutes” story about Monoclonal Antibody Studies.  It’s titled, “The Most Promising Treatments for Covid-19 so Far.” 
  • IACT Health is a clinical research institute on Talbotton Road in Columbus.
  • NOTES:  Ron and I had the second pneumonia vaccination about a year ago.  We had the flu shot as soon as it was offered in August.  We have been taking zinc and vitamin C.  We periodically use sinus rinse if sniffling.

My Journal

Oct 3—Ron and I had negative rapid tests at Peachtree Immediate Care on Macon Road.

Oct 6—I take my monthly Emgality shot for migraines and expect usual side effects of low fever, headaches and lethargy as well as a wakeful night, all of which I get.

Oct 7—I feel worse. By mid-afternoon, my fever is 99.5 and I am coughing when I lie down. I do a sinus saline rinse and spray my throat with Chloroseptic spray.

Oct 8—At 5 a.m., I make an online Covid-19 test appointment for 11 a.m. at Peachtree Immediate Care. Positive.

My Symptoms—coughing, dizziness, confusion, fever of 101.3, lethargy.  

Treatment at this point was zinc (Cold Eeze), codeine cough syrup, alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen, low dose aspirin (3-4 a day). Mucinex and Tylenol/Ibuprophen were prescribed for every 4 hours so I set an alarm on my phone to take it throughout the 24-hour period. I gather information from everyone I know who has had Covid-19 and from my friend who is infectious disease specialist.

Oct 8—Ron gets negative rapid test at 5 p.m. at Peachtree Immediate Care.

Oct. 9—Ron reads the Ledger-Enquirer article about the Pfizer vaccine clinical trials at IACT Health and contacts them for more information. The Regenron Monoclonal Antibody study is featured on October 11 on “60 Minutes.” IACT, a clinical research institute, is doing the this study as well. 

Oct 12—We report to IACT.  I have worsening cough, chest tightening and fever of 101.  Ron is fine, but his 30-minute Covid-19 test is positive. (He would have started the Pfizer vaccine study for people who are in proximity to Covid-positive patients, but he was already positive.)

We enter the 30-day Monoclonal Antibody Study as patients 10 and 11 with agreement to return every other day for two weeks and then twice a week for two more weeks for a total of 12 visits.  At each visit, we get a follow-up regular Covid 19 test as well as vitals check and symptoms review with technicians (and a physician’s assistant if needed).  We download an app to record daily symptoms and severity for 30 days.  We also agree to three more blood work-ups. Regeneron offers $250 per person, per visit for participation in the trials.

Treatment and procedures—Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Kingsley, who is conducting the study.  Medical history includes questions about autoimmune conditions that might have disqualified us from the study.  Blood work-up with 15 vials for the initial blood testing prior to intravenous treatment.  I am Type A positiv+, Ron thinks he is O. Technician says type O patents seem to have milder symptoms or none.

The one-time intravenous treatment lasts one hour, followed by a 30- minute saline flush, then two hours of observation for immediate side effects. We have none. 

At home, we continued codeine cough syrup, Tussin DM cough syrup, Vitamin D (125 mcg), Vitamin C (500 mcg), B-12 for foot and hand neuropathy (1000 mcg), Zinc Sulfate (220 mg), Famotidine (Pepcid AC) tablets (20 mg) and baby aspirin to fight the slight chance of blood clotting in major organs that some have reported. We take Tylenol or ibuprofen every four-six hours for headache and body aches and fever.

Oct 14—IACT vitals check.  The physician’s assistant sends me to ER for a chest X-ray because I have a dry crackle sound in lower left lung and pain on deep breath.  The X-ray was negative for pneumonia but a ProAir inhaler was prescribed, taken every four hours along with Mucinex.  I have lost my sense of smell and taste. I have very minor pain and numbness in both feet. Neither of us has much energy, except Ron is more active throughout the day.  

Oct 15—My breathing improves a little.  I sleep almost all day and night.  Ron seems fine.

Oct 16—My breathing continues to improve and I have no more fever, but Ron develops minor cough and more lethargy.  Both of us continue to sleep 2-3 hours during the day. We are active in the mornings but crash after a light lunch.  

Oct 17—Outside walking dogs and inside cleaning out closets all morning. No ProAir inhaler or cough syrup needed. Slept about two hours at most during the day.

Oct. 18— I develop mild lower gut pain. Drop all aspirin and ibuprofen.  Breathing normally. Ron’s cough is gone. He has no fever at all.

Oct 19—Day 11 for me, which would mean isolation is over if I have no symptoms. No fever for either of us.

Oct 20—The physician’s assistant assures me that some gastrointestinal issues are likely a Covid symptom and not to worry.  

Oct 23— According to the physician’s assistant, we are released from isolation with no fever or coughing for either of us.  I post that we are through it all and start getting some feedback from others who have survived.  We continue covid testing twice a week after October 26.

November 9—Our agreement with the Monoclonal Antibody study ends.  We consider ourselves fully recovered.