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Son has Covid- need help- 7/31 Update


Lisa R.
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Please do not quote. My healthy 22-year-old son has Covid-19. He has no underlying health conditions. He is recovering in another town that is 5 hours away. He was not vaccinated. (Please do not use this thread to discuss vaccines. We encouraged him to get it, and he did not. I only mentioned the fact that he was not vaccinated because it can sometimes affect the course of the illness.)

Today is his 10th day of symptoms, which include:

Fever -around 101 for the first 7 days, may have low grade fever or no fever now

Body Aches-significant

Fatigue-he can get out of bed to use restroom but nothing else. He is in bed all day. Talking on the phone is difficult and only lasts about 5 minutes.

Stomach issues

No taste and smell

Coughing/congestion

*No breathing issues or chest pain

Sent him a pulse ox from Amazon--not hospital quality, obviously, and it reads between 94%-97%

 

Three days ago he was prescribed an antibiotic (Z-pack) and steroid after a phone call to our local doctor. The day following this was the day his fever broke. Yesterday he did not take either medicine because he says couldn't eat food due to low appetite and stomach not feeling well. He's a very bright kid, but I can see his cognitive abilities are slower likely due to lack of food. He is drinking plenty of Gatorade and water. All day he lays in bed in the dark as moving around is difficult due to fatigue. We just sent a friend a list of groceries--soup, applesauce, etc. because nothing sounds good. This makes sense with no taste and smell.

Does this sound like a normal course of Covid? This fatigue seems severe. Anything else we could be doing? 

Update 7/28:

We brought him home on Monday. So, he lives in a very small town five hours from here. The only healthcare is a small clinic that fortunately had an x-ray machine. On his 10th day of Covid symptoms, he went to this clinic due to a low pulse ox, and  he was diagnosed with double lung pneumonia and sent to the ER. The closest ER was 40 minutes away and overrun with Covid. There were no beds left and anyone admitted with Covid would've stayed in the ER until a bed became available. He spent six hours in a Covid waiting room, much of it laying on a tile floor. Some of the other people in the waiting room were on oxygen. He had a CT scan and blood work and was discharged with an inhaler. Once we knew he was discharged, we picked him up. Friends drove him partway, and my husband met them on the road. We were so grateful! He arrived home around 11:30pm on Monday night. 

The hospital sent the CT scan and bloodwork to our local doctor, whom we trust. He said my son is "on the edge" of needing to be hospitalized or not. If he gets worse or does not get better, he will need to go to the hospital. We are less than five minutes away from a large hospital that can provide excellent care, so this is a much better place for him. We are monitoring him regularly and using the pulse ox. It's running 92-95. The doctor said the pulse ox should be fairly accurate, but I ordered a different one today so we can compare. We are getting some food in him now; he has lost over 15 pounds. 

I cannot imagine someone with an underlying health condition or someone elderly having this. I cannot.  

Thank you for all the comments and private messages. I came here for help, and I received it. You all are THE BEST.

7/31 Update:

DS turned a corner on Thursday, July 29. He came downstairs on his own that day and started eating. Yesterday was better, and today was better than yesterday. I found out his oxygen levels were in the 80s on Monday's ER visit, when he was discharged with an inhaler at the hospital that was full.  On his Wednesday ER visit at a different hospital near our house, the doctor said he could go home or be admitted. This is the difference between a health care system that is overwhelmed, and one that isn't. It was sobering to go through this process. He is moving in the right direction but just needs to gain back some weight and strength. He has youth and good health on his side. 

Thank you all, again. You've been wonderful. 

 

 

Edited by Lisa R.
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Sounds normal based on what friends have described. I’d call and make him take the zpac while you are on the phone and get him to an in person visit if things aren’t looking up at the 2 wk mark.

If he seems to cognitively not do well or not eat well I would consider making the five hour drive to get eyes on the scene.

 

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I hope he’s better soon.  I know it’s not scientifically proven but I’d probably do zinc and vit d as well.  If zinc is depleted it could affect the appetite.  And yeah I’d probably make the drive unless I was high risk.

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Does he live with anyone? Anyone actually had eyes on him? Video calls? I’d be wanting him to see someone at this point, given the lowered O2 and extreme fatigue and lack of appetite. Likely they’d say it was normal and send him home, but Id feel better if he could be checked out if I were you. Not sure how easy it is to get in in person where he is, or if it would require ER (it doesn’t sound like he would be able to drive himself, though). 

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In addition to the above, have him spend as much time as possible on his stomach.....that helps with the breathing.

Also, if his O2 drops to 92/93 when he walks around, talking, etc it is time to get checked out by a doctor/ER.

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7 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I hope he’s better soon.  I know it’s not scientifically proven but I’d probably do zinc and vit d as well.  If zinc is depleted it could affect the appetite.  And yeah I’d probably make the drive unless I was high risk.

I was going to recommend this too.  He sounds completely normal from what a few friends have said ( several were fully vaccinated).  

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27 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

In addition to the above, have him spend as much time as possible on his stomach.....that helps with the breathing.

Also, if his O2 drops to 92/93 when he walks around, talking, etc it is time to get checked out by a doctor/ER.

I was wondering this. So anything below 92/93 means going for medical care?

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13 minutes ago, Lisa R. said:

I was wondering this. So anything below 92/93 means going for medical care?

In general, they will keep you in the hospital until you are at 95 or above.   With covid though they have had to send some people home on oxygen that they typically would have kept due to being overwhelmed.

So yes, without prior medical issues, 92/93 is time for an evaluation....esp if it stays there longer or drops when person is walking or talking.

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17 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

In general, they will keep you in the hospital until you are at 95 or above.   With covid though they have had to send some people home on oxygen that they typically would have kept due to being overwhelmed.

So yes, without prior medical issues, 92/93 is time for an evaluation....esp if it stays there longer or drops when person is walking or talking.

I just asked him to do this next time he gets up. How reliable do you think a pulse ox purchased on Amazon for $14 is?

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I'm not exactly sure how you would look this up locally, but my nephew had an urgent care type company that came to his house, rather than go to the ER. Maybe that's something you could check into for him and even arrange if available? 

Edited to add: they came two days in a row, bc they didn't think he needed to go in but he was very sick and needed followup. 

Edited by katilac
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4 minutes ago, Lisa R. said:

I just asked him to do this next time he gets up. How reliable do you think a pulse ox purchased on Amazon for $14 is?

I think they are fairly accurate..

..we use that level of one at work for students on oxygen.   It would be ideal if someone healthy could try it and see if it reads 98 or higher.....but you don't want anyone else getting sick.

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4 minutes ago, Lisa R. said:

I just asked him to do this next time he gets up. How reliable do you think a pulse ox purchased on Amazon for $14 is?

Likely fairly accurate, but it can take a while to really register. Often they will show low for a minute or so before showing the accurate reading, in my experience. Even hospital ones take a few minutes sometimes. Especially if hands are cold it seems. 

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4 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Likely fairly accurate, but it can take a while to really register. Often they will show low for a minute or so before showing the accurate reading, in my experience. Even hospital ones take a few minutes sometimes. Especially if hands are cold it seems. 

Rubbing hands together or running them under warm water can improve circulation to get a better reading. It won't artificially increase the reading, only make it more accurate. Worth a try especially if he's having trouble getting a reading or it's variable or low.

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I’m so sorry. It sounds awful, you must be so worried.

It’s worrying that he missed taking his antibiotics. I would personally be thinking ER at this point, probably.

I can’t speak to Covid care at all, but a few practical thoughts, that you’ve probably already covered… Is there anyone who can check on him in person, someone you can call?  What about calling local (to him) urgent cares for advice about home care? Can you Instacart or door dash food to him? Will he go to the door to get it?

Would you consider going there and staying in a hotel nearby, dropping off food at his door? I know that sounds extreme, but long ago, our entire family was extremely ill, frighteningly so, and my mom drove 5 hours to do that. She stayed in a hotel and dropped food at our doorstep.  Would you want to do something like that? I don’t know if you could, but that might be something to consider.

I hope he turns the corner soon.

ETA: I misread above and thought his pulse ox readings were at 92/93.  That prompted my ER comment.  What are his pulse ox readings?  You will want those numbers.  My DS has trouble at 94 and under - 95 was always our threshold for the ER.  Pre-Covid.

Edited by Spryte
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Is it possible to go to him or bring him back to care for him. Usually 10 days out, you are not supposed to be infectious anymore. I would still take precautions. I had to go home and let my mom take care of me when I was 24 and got mono. I was really unable to care for myself because of the fatigue. I had to take a leave of absence from work for 2 1/2 months.

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1 hour ago, Lisa R. said:

I just asked him to do this next time he gets up. How reliable do you think a pulse ox purchased on Amazon for $14 is?

I got one at that price before Covid got bad in the beginning. It had great reviews checked against hospital ones and seems accurate as far as reading 98-99 for all of us usually, but dropped to 94-97 when I was really sick. 

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I would go get him and bring him home, and if he’s not up to traveling, I would go and stay with him until he recovers. I would also make sure he got a chest x-ray. 

I know it would mean taking a personal risk to do that, but he sounds awfully sick. 

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do you have a way to get him food like a soup made with bone broth, etc? My extremely healthy sister that’s older than your son passed it alone at home while also caring for her child but she had all these healthy foods delivered. Had abx prescribed but never took it because her fever broke with just the generic acetaminophen. 
ETA I second everyone saying I would find a way to be with him now. 

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I’m sorry. It does sound similar to my son’s course last year, though he has weight factors and his O2 was terribly low. But the rest and the length? Very similar, and living an unreachable distance drove me insane the whole time.

On a positive note, my son has no noticeable, lasting effects. It was a 2 weekish hell he never wants to relive, but he recovered well.

Edited by Carrie12345
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I do think it sounds like a normal course. The fact that there are no breathing issues is good as long as his oxygen stays stable.  My family members all turned a small corner after day 10. Hopefully that's true for him also. 

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8 hours ago, Lisa R. said:

Mild??

I'm not a medical person, but from everything I've read his case would, at least so far, be deemed mild. Apparently the general public's idea of what constitutes mild/moderate/severe Covid can be vastly different from what the medical folks and researchers mean.

I hope he feels better very soon. Like today.

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7 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Yeah.

Most of the people I know were down for at least 2 weeks and took more like a month to bounce back. Those were the mild ones.

Yep.  He’s not having breathing difficulties or the really bad, life threatening  symptoms.  The severe, bone crushing fatigue that lingers is really common with Covid.  It’s not a severe symptom.  It isn’t pleasant, but it’s pretty much par for the course with Covid.

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5 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

Yep.  He’s not having breathing difficulties or the really bad, life threatening  symptoms.  The severe, bone crushing fatigue that lingers is really common with Covid.  It’s not a severe symptom.  It isn’t pleasant, but it’s pretty much par for the course with Covid.

Also, at this point he's already on antibiotics and steroids. A chest xray showing pneumonia won't change that - if he has pnemonia they will prescribe antibiotics and steroids. Now, if his pulse ox is too low, that's reason to go in, for oxygen support or mononuclear antibody therapy. And they might prescribe an inhaler or nebulizer I suppose, but for the most part, he's on what he's going to be on unless his 02 sats drop. 

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Can he lie around outside in the sun instead of inside a dark room? It sounds like he could use some Vitamin D. I had the mildest possible case of covid, and I think Vitamin D supplements and regular sun exposure (it was during spring baseball season, so I was at a lot of games) contributed.

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This sounds like my ds last month.  Your son's oxygen levels are not bad.  My ds's went to the ER when his went below 90, were as low as 85, and they did nothing and sent him home.  My DIL's brother is an EMT and he told her that they routinely go out on calls where the COVID patients have levels in the 80's and they do not take them into the hospital unless they are having shortness of breath.  I would definitely have him get a chest x-ray.  My ds had two.  The first one was clear and the second one a week later was just starting to show cloudiness.  They put him on a strong antibiotic and he turned the corner at that point.  It was a full 3 weeks before he started feeling better.

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8 minutes ago, Teresa in MO said:

This sounds like my ds last month.  Your son's oxygen levels are not bad.  My ds's went to the ER when his went below 90, were as low as 85, and they did nothing and sent him home.  My DIL's brother is an EMT and he told her that they routinely go out on calls where the COVID patients have levels in the 80's and they do not take them into the hospital unless they are having shortness of breath.  I would definitely have him get a chest x-ray.  My ds had two.  The first one was clear and the second one a week later was just starting to show cloudiness.  They put him on a strong antibiotic and he turned the corner at that point.  It was a full 3 weeks before he started feeling better.

Her son is already starting an antibiotic though, so not sure what good the chest xray would do. 

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I sent you a pm but I'll also add this:

I had several days of GI/nausea/lack of appetite, along with the no taste/smell. I existed on APPLES for several days. They had texture, and I could get juuuust enough taste and it wasn't distorted. Bland foods were very gross to me -- spicy ramen was good to eat (even if the GI symptoms sent it straight through. Sorry, TMI.) 

It was almost like morning sickness: want to eat, need to eat, but ugh...everything sounds gross. (Funny enough, I ate lots of green apples when pregnant...)

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It’s interesting to hear how many people with Covid are being put on antibiotics. Of course it’s a virus and on TWIV they have said many times that only a minority of people with Covid end up with a secondary bacterial infection. Maybe it’s the usual thing about going to a dr and being given an antibiotic as a matter of course.

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I missed the part where he was prescribed a steroid. I’d try to get him to take the antibiotic and the steroid in case of pneumonia. 
It’s reassuring so many people can tell you they saw a progression like this and were ok soon after.  It seems long to me, and I do worry that when it hangs on this long pneumonia can settle in. Tell him to take his meds!  
My dads hung on like this and then turned.  Although he’s certainly not a young adult😀 so his case probably isn’t a good comparison! 
I hope your son turns the corner today! 

Edited by Toocrazy!!
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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

I sent you a pm but I'll also add this:

I had several days of GI/nausea/lack of appetite, along with the no taste/smell. I existed on APPLES for several days. They had texture, and I could get juuuust enough taste and it wasn't distorted. Bland foods were very gross to me -- spicy ramen was good to eat (even if the GI symptoms sent it straight through. Sorry, TMI.) 

It was almost like morning sickness: want to eat, need to eat, but ugh...everything sounds gross. (Funny enough, I ate lots of green apples when pregnant...)

We end up with a lot of the prepackaged fruit smoothies (Bolthouse, Naked..) when there's stomach upset here.  Ds gets the flu vaccine yearly and yet he also gets the flu yearly (except this year!!).  The smoothies are just heavy enough to sit in his stomach, have some taste, have some fiber, and get him the vitamins he needs along with the liquid.  It's not for everyone, but it works for him.

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1 hour ago, TCB said:

It’s interesting to hear how many people with Covid are being put on antibiotics. Of course it’s a virus and on TWIV they have said many times that only a minority of people with Covid end up with a secondary bacterial infection. Maybe it’s the usual thing about going to a dr and being given an antibiotic as a matter of course.

I was wondering about that as well.  

OP, so sorry that your DS is feeling so poorly.  Hope he recovers very soon.

 

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

I sent you a pm but I'll also add this:

I had several days of GI/nausea/lack of appetite, along with the no taste/smell. I existed on APPLES for several days. They had texture, and I could get juuuust enough taste and it wasn't distorted. Bland foods were very gross to me -- spicy ramen was good to eat (even if the GI symptoms sent it straight through. Sorry, TMI.) 

It was almost like morning sickness: want to eat, need to eat, but ugh...everything sounds gross. (Funny enough, I ate lots of green apples when pregnant...)

My SIL had Covid and her major symptom was nausea. She said it was the worst she's ever had, and she had rough pregnancies with never ending morning sickness, so her bar is high. The PA initially didn't test her for Covid because he thought she had a tummy bug since she had none of the other Covid symptoms. It was only on her second visit, when she wasn't getting any better on Zofran and had by then lost her sense of smell, that they tested her and it came back positive.

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I sent you a pm.   
 

Quite a few people we know in that age range have had cv19. Symptoms have been like a mild cold of a couple of days at most.
 

What you are describing is more like what older and with high risk factors people I know in NYC had had back before understanding things like Vitamin D and its co factors (such as A, K especially K2, E, magnesium etc) , C, Selenium, zinc, Quercitin (or IVM or hcq as zinc ionophore if available) etc, (and clot and cytokine storm avoidance protocols if something gets bad enough) 

as well as, super important, good ongoing nutrition and health maintenance (and even when not sick and severely fatigued, young adults may not eat as healthy as they might. At least without sense of taste all food could be to promote health since flavor would not be such a concern) 

 

Edited by Pen
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Update: He has double lung pneumonia. He's in an ER waiting room for the past several hours. The ER is packed with Covid patients, and the hospital is full. We are waiting to hear if they will admit him (they would keep him in ER as that is the only option), but they said they may not since they are so full. 

It is a 10 hour round trip, but we will go and bring him home to recover if he is not admitted.

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2 minutes ago, Lisa R. said:

Update: He has double lung pneumonia. He's in an ER waiting room for the past several hours. The ER is packed with Covid patients, and the hospital is full. We are waiting to hear if they will admit him (they would keep him in ER as that is the only option), but they said they may not since they are so full. 

It is a 10 hour round trip, but we will go and bring him home to recover if he is not admitted.

Sending some good thoughts his way.   I hope they are able to give him some treatment to recover.

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  • Lisa R. changed the title to Son has Covid- need help- 7/31 Update

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