No, I haven’t caught it. I’m taking a break from the Ranch Wife’s Kitchen and Garden posts to talk about what I have been seeing, hearing and living with lately. If it differs from the official narrative, well, it’s my experience, after all. I’ve spent the last two years dealing with this damned pandemic in my family, my community and my patients. Here’s what I’ve learned from a real-world, empirical (based on observation and experience) point of view.
COVID By The Numbers
There is no question that the number of cases out there is way under-reported. Those of us in the trenches have, for some time, been reasonably sure that was the case. Now that home testing is readily available, the number of reported positives in the people who call me is about four times higher than it was when we were the only ones testing in our community. I don’t know for sure what variant it is, but Omicron seems the most likely, as it is widespread in California.
Symptoms of Omicron
I’m seeing/hearing a different pattern in terms of symptoms and the progression of the disease compared to the early days of the pandemic. In 2020, respiratory symptoms led the pack. Wracking coughs that hung on for weeks, fevers, severe headaches and fatigue, people who were terribly short of breath with the slightest exertion, and changes in the sense of taste or smell – all of these were typical. Of those symptoms, fatigue is the one I continue to hear about in almost every case. We’re not talking a little tired, we’re talking sleeping 16 to 18 hours and getting up exhausted. Headaches are still common as well. But I’m hearing a lot more about gastrointestinal symptoms – anorexia (disinterest in eating), nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – that last for several days to a week.
Symptom Severity (and Variability)
The severity of symptoms and the length of the illness is extremely variable. Some people have the sniffles for a few days and then feel fine. Others remain extremely ill for weeks, even months. I’ve seen “fragile” elderly patients in both groups and healthy adults in both groups. Kids and adolescents are nearly always in the first group. Even in people who have recovered, there are still some odd symptoms that hang on, like brain fog or sensory changes. My granddaughter, who was pretty sick in the first six months of the pandemic, still occasionally has trouble with math. Two other people I know kept smelling cigarette smoke in places that were unquestionably smoke-free.
It matters not a whit whether you are un-vaccinated or vaccinated, how many doses or whether you’ve had a booster – both groups in our patient population are getting COVID in pretty much equal numbers. People who have had COVID and then were vaccinated are also getting sick. Just these last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with two patients who were vaccinated, and have had COVID twice. One had COVID before vaccines were available, and was extremely sick; was vaccinated and had a booster, then got COVID again almost exactly one year later and was still quite sick but not quite as bad as the first time. The second was vaccinated, had a booster, caught COVID a few months later and had what I would call middle-of-the-road symptoms. Within two months, COVID struck again, and this patient was extremely sick and hospitalized with significant neurological symptoms.
Vaccine Side Effects
COVID vaccines DO have side effects, some quite significant. I have definitely seen that in our patient population. For example, it’s early days yet, but I’ve seen more cases of shingles in our population recently than I have in the past. Most of these people are vaccinated (and it’s not because our county/community has a high vaccination rate – we don’t). I’ve also had people with “long-haul COVID” symptoms after vaccination. Curious about vaccine side effects? You can see for yourself here: https://openvaers.com/openvaers and download the raw data into spreadsheets if you want to make some pretty charts: https://vaers.hhs.gov/data/datasets.html or look at this one done by someone else back in November: https://vaersanalysis.info/2021/11/12/vaers-summary-for-covid-19-vaccines-through-11-05-2021/
Germs vs. Terrain
When I’m handling triage calls, I get a lot of “everybody in the family tested positive.” Typically one person becomes symptomatic and the rest follow over the course of several days. One thing I find fascinating, however, is that in many families, one person (sometimes two) show no symptoms whatsoever and consistently test negative. This reinforces something I have long thought. It’s not, as Pasteur theorized, the virulence of the organism that causes disease. It is the weakness of the terrain (body) into which that organism falls. In other words, people get sick because their bodies cannot deal with invading organisms such as Omicron. I suspect the reason people develop the illness is due to ignoring the basics of health:
- Not eating sugar in any form
- Clean, pure water
- Healthy soils (and the foods/animals raised on them)
- Restful sleep
- Avoiding toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, tobacco, street drugs and most modern medicines
- Keeping the body in balance from a biological perspective, which includes such things as eating fermented foods to nourish the gut microbiome and maintaining the acid/alkaline balance
- Regular exercise
- Spending time in the sun every day
- Breathing deeply of clean pure air
- Spending time in nature.
As far as treatments are concerned, I know a number of people who used Ivermectin (we don’t prescribe it at my clinic). With one exception, none had side effects and all recovered, although one elderly lady in not very good health did wind up in the hospital because she couldn’t keep her oxygen levels up. The only Ivermectin side effect I know of was in a patient who is on the anticoagulant/blood thinner Coumadin, which is how I discovered Ivermectin can enhance the anticoagulant effect rather significantly. In most people, managing the symptoms seems adequate. That management includes vitamins D and C, zinc, elderberry syrup, and a homeopathic remedy called Oscillococcinum. Drinking plenty of fluids is important (2-3 quarts of water a day for most people), as is spending time in the sun and fresh air with a little gentle exercise to keep the lungs functioning. Ginger ale helps with all but the most intractable nausea and most people tell me they crave chicken soup in one form or another. Over-the-counter cough syrups works in many cases, and a prescription medication called benzonatate helps the more severe coughs.
So there you have it – not the official narrative, just one woman’s experience.