Long Covid and post pneumonia update

I was up above 5000 feet last week and did not need oxygen.

This is wonderful! I was on oxygen continuously from March of 2021 for a year and a half. I was really getting better and then had my Covid booster in early October. I crashed again. Do I regret the shot? No, because the crash is because antibodies went back up. Only some of them, though. My muscles and lungs were not working well again, but brain was fine (ok, some people do not like my brain, but they are idiots) and aside from having to avoid gluten, no digestive stuff.

About a month ago I really started feeling my fast twitch muscles work again. It was two years in March since this fourth pneumonia and I’ve had something Long Covid like after each one. Recovery took 2 months in 2003, 2 months in 2012 and 6 months off in 2014 and then an ongoing mild chronic fatigue, so I worked about half of a regular family medicine schedule. I saw 7-10 people per day instead of 16-22. I was also a single parent running a business with two children, so that has a lot of energy draw as well.

On the second morning there, my pulse was 61 and oxygen level 98% on room air. HOORAY! I am back to baseline from 2014. Since it took 2 years to recover, I really do not want to do this again. No more pneumonia. I have had two more rounds of Covid, but apparently the super high antibody level made it really really mild. An immunologist tested the antibodies since I keep getting pneumonia. He said I have the highest Covid antibody level he’s ever seen. Protective was over 50 and mine was 25,000. I seem to be darn good at making antibodies.

Now what? I have felt better for the last month. I still get tired and have about a half day of the energy level from my 20s or 30s, which was high. I am hiking, up to 6 miles in a day twice two weeks ago. Now to start biking and maybe running. I don’t like to run but it’s good training. I want to ski next winter at least one day. Maybe I will swim too. I used to swim a mile twice a week, but it’s been a long time. Also my swim team daughter expressed scorn for my freestyle stroke. Sigh, children are born to humble us, which sucks.

I am still trying to see if I can work with Long Covid patients. I have rather too much experience with something very like it. But I think I would like to enjoy feeling well for a month or two, first!

Hooray! I hope other Long Covid folks are working their way out of the woods too.

6 thoughts on “Long Covid and post pneumonia update

  1. This is so interesting to me, obviously. For several months I had a hard time breathing while out walking with the dogs, but now it’s OK again. I live at 7500 feet. Periodically I get symptoms again (RLS, brain fog in particular, occasional intestinal problems — I still can’t eat veggies without expecting a challenge the next day). Mine hit, too, AFTER the October booster. I had Covid in early July, was fine(ish). Then the booster, a week later, 6-7 months of weirdness. I hope you can work with long covid victims. I truly hate being one.

    • drkottaway says:

      There is a great article in January Nature about the hard science studies regarding long COVID. It does peculiar things to the immune system. Rather than thinking the immune system is “broken”, I think of it as switching to “my person has to rest and be careful” mode. Our culture doesn’t like that much, but I think it is a recovery mode from a really nasty and nearly lethal virus.

      • I agree with you. I look at it as my immune system WORKING on something that’s really difficult and largely unknown. I did a thing today I wasn’t sure I could do — I walked up a narrow mountain-like trail at an altitude higher than this one and did fine. No pain, no trouble breathing, it was wonderfully encouraging and confirming of all I’ve been doing to recoup…

    • drkottaway says:

      When to get the next vaccine? I am going to ask my immunologist about an antibody level. If it is still way high, think I should wait.

      • I have a friend who’s a doc in Boulder who asked her immunologist friend about a month ago. He/she said, “Fall. This past vaccine (the bivalent vaccine) is holding well.” I’m good with that. If you find out otherwise, let me know.

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