Sunday, March 31, 2024

COVID-19: Paxlovid

COVID-19 finally caught up with me last weekend. I woke up feeling sore and weak and achy. I had a mild fever. I was going to start a juice and rest routine when I thought: could this be COVID? Sure enough, I saw my first positive test result. My wife encouraged me to call the doctor to see if I could be prescribed Paxlovid, the antiviral medication for COVID-19.

The next morning, a Monday, I learned that Massachusetts has a free telehealth "clinic" that can determine if Paxlovid would help. I logged into the website, answered some questions, then waited for an online call. Within a half-hour I was talking to a Family Nurse Practitioner. She briefly discussed my answers, declared that Paxlovid would help, and confirmed my closest pharmacy. I had a box of Paxlovid within an hour. (Thanks to insurance, this was $25.)

I took the pills right away. Within a few hours, my soreness and achiness went away. I felt a bit better though my fever persisted. The next day, my fever began to subside. By day three I was feeling about 70-80% normal. This medicine felt like a modern miracle. The only side effect I experienced was a metallic taste in my mouth. Drinking water and taking cough drops helped with this.

The world has moved on from the state of high alert regarding COVID. By now I know maybe 6-12 people that got sick with COVID. During the early months of the pandemic, most just rested and let the virus run its course.  It's only in the past year did I start to hear about effective antiviral drugs. I have a feeling taking Paxlovid early in my illness helped with its efficacy.

This whole week I stayed home, though state guidelines suggest I could have returned to my office to work as early as Day 4 of my five-day Paxlovid regimen. For at least another week I'll be wearing a mask and carefully monitoring for a rebound (something that does occur with people who take this medicine). I highly recommend Paxlovid if you get sick with COVID. It's fast and effective.