Last year I glossed over some details in my own article "Was I asymptomatic?"
Again, last March I went to the ER with Kidney Stones. When I went to the ER, I vaguely recounted that the staff seemed rattled. In hindsight, I am a little more comfortable sharing some more specific details.
When I arrived at the ER in the Spring of 2020, it was the second time around on the Kidney Stone merry-go-round, I kind of knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Once I was admitted, I was wheeled through an empty ER and into an empty visitor waiting room, which seemed odd. Once I sat there for about 10 minutes, a nurse walked in and said are you "blah blah blah." I didn't hear him and looked at my wife. She nodded yes, so I responded "yes" and the nurse gave me a shot and a pill. I was the only patient in the visitor waiting room. About 10 minutes later, the first waves of pain started to subside. Then the doctor came in and I said I felt much better since I got the first shot.
Uh-oh. The doctor left the room and came back about 10 minutes later. Again, the ER was NOT bustling. It was EMPTY. The lead story on the local news was of the coming pandemic. The doctor and the nurse returned and the doctor explained that I had accidentally received the wrong pain medicine and apologized on behalf of the hospital. He kind of nudged the nurse to apologize, then the nurse became argumentative and said he wasn't apologizing because he asked my name and I said "yes." Then he stormed out of the room and I think he may have quit right then and there.
The doctor then explained that they would have to do an x-ray, yada, yada, ya, but the meds that I were given were similar to those he would have prescribed anyway. (Don't get me wrong, they worked fine. It was just unnerving.) After a while I was wheeled away for tests. Then I returned to the empty ER and put in an overflow room with another Kidney Stone patient. She revealed that she was in the ER two days prior and burned through all of her pain medicine. She couldn't figure out why she wasn't getting her refill. After a few hours, the ER doctor returned and said...
"You have a large kidney stone lodged in your ureter." Yeah, I knew I had a kidney stone, didn't know exactly where it was. The location was crucial for later in the story. The patient next to me asked my doctor for more medication through the curtain while she was waiting.
Due to Covid, my personal doctor wouldn't see me in person. The urologist wouldn't see me in person. I traversed the medical system through teleconferences and going to the hospital for tests. After a few weeks of shuttling back and forth, the magical kidney stone was not dislodging, but growing, in the ureter. Also, some other symptoms started to set in, namely "no daytime fever, but night sweats, random racing heartbeats, headaches, mild shortness of breath and lethargy."
Soon it was surgery time. Emergency Surgery in an empty hospital.
I passed my Covid pre-surgery test and met my urologist for the first time about a half an hour before surgery. After surgery I continued to to have symptoms unrelated to a normal kidney stone surgery.
Urologist examined the stone, followed up and discharged me as a patient. Official Result: Successful kidney stone surgery with no complications.
Throughout the year, I was exposed to a number of co-workers with Covid and never officially tested positive. Can I prove I had Covid in a court of law? I cannot. What I can prove though, is during the multiple trips to x-ray, scans picked up nodules on the lungs and scarring consistent with pneumonia. My primary care physician kept asking about when I had pneumonia. To this day, I still don't know when I had pneumonia. You think I would have noticed that.
But throughout the year, other strange things continued to happen to my body. Dizzy Spells. Brain Fog. More and more night sweats. And my already poor hearing seemed to be deteriorating.
So when I finally got the first Moderna Shot, there was a sense of relief. 7 days later, I was at the Urgent Care with an official diagnosis of Uvulitis. My throat had swelled shut. The doctor said "not strep. Not Covid. An unknown virus."
I asked "could it be the Moderna Shot?" He shot that right down. "Absolutely not."
Got my second Moderna Shot, and, surprise, surprise, 7 days later, I was at the Emergency Room with an official diagnosis of Uvulitis. My throat had swelled shut. Again. Same ER doctor as last year with the kidney stones. This time, though, we were given a room in the ER. The doctor was relaxed and confident. He immediately gave me a steroid shot and stayed in the room while my breathing passages opened up, making small talk. If I knew his name, I would recommend him to you right right now. He seemed a little unsure of the cause of my ailment until I told him the coincidental timing of my Moderna shots.
"I have seen one other side effects case like this, you would be the second. The timing is more than a coincidence." He gave me a prescription of steroids and sent me on my way.
Would I get the Moderna shots again? Yeah probably. Because I had Guillain Barre Syndrome as a younger man, an infectious disease doctor put it this way. "Statistically, you are much likelier to die of Covid than GBS." Great. I am writing about this today because Covid is still new. The Moderna vaccine is still new. The variants are new. Everything is happening in real time. As the USA Today puts it "we're Apollo 13-ing this vaccination rollout."
And yet I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I only had mild issues and the jaded would say my anxiety heightened all of my medical issues.
I don't plan on writing about Covid ever again.