Y’s Men Say …

Y’s Men of Westport/Weston is one of the area’s most active groups.

The pandemic has curtailed many meetings, making their email blasts more important than ever. The most recent one included this first-person account of COVID-19. 

Let one man’s experience be a word to the Y’s.

You cannot overestimate the impact of COVID-19, one of our members told us last week.

His daughter recently came home, feeling fine. He did what every father does: gave her plenty of hugs.

The next morning she woke up feeling she had a light fever, like the flu. He took her for a test. She was positive, and so quarantined in her room for 2 weeks, though she only had symptoms for a day or two.

After a week his wife started feeling badly. He took her for a test. She was positive. He also tested both times and was negative.

Then a few days after his wife’s test he “felt like I got hit by a truck.” He also tested positive and put himself into quarantine for two weeks.

“Pay attention to how you feel.”

He took multiple tests and found that turnaround had increased due to the growing demand — sometimes as long as 5 to 7 days after exposure to have a test show positive. He had 6 negative tests before his positive.

His recommendations were, first: hydrate. Then hydrate some more. “Drink and pee.” Then some more. Flush the virus out of your system. He recommended taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) — not Advil.

Relax as best you can. The moderate case takes 2 to 3 weeks to pass. A more serious, obviously longer.

And pray for a vaccine.

He added: Wash your hands more often than you’ve been accustomed to, wear a mask, keep your social distance, avoid touching your eyes. Avoid indoor gatherings with people who are not members of your household. Wipe down deliveries,

Socializing, while socially distant.

The virus can grow even if you are careful.

He recommended buying a thermometer, a digital device if you don’t have one, and an oximeter, a small and inexpensive device that measures your blood oxygen saturation and heart rate.

Have you been hit by the coronavirus? Click “Comments” below to share your experience.

10 responses to “Y’s Men Say …

  1. Thank you for this important post Dan. It’s one thing to continually hear about Corona and another to be touched by it, especially when you are more vulnerable than normal. Be mindful for your own safety, but it’s so important to think about how you can affect others as well. Even the most minor of symptoms, aches, pains, fatigue must be checked out. Let’s hope the vaccine comes soon and this terrible situation becomes history. Again, very helpful info indeed Dan and thank you for sharing it.

  2. Jay Walshon MD FACEP

    While I appreciate anecdotal local stories, and wish this family well, my initial impression was colored with a tinge of dismay, and this should serve to reinforce what the overwhelming majority of the medical community has cautioned about.
    1. Although the temptation is certainly great and highly desirable under normal circumstances, fathers should NOT be currently hugging their daughters who do not reside within their household “pod” until a prudent period of quarantine has passed – generally stated as 14 days but likely safe after 10 days of being asymptomatic and testing negative. By now, certainly everyone should know and understand that the asymptomatic carriers living outside of ones domicile are the primary community spreaders, and those most vulnerable must be the most cautious and diligent.
    2. This anecdote suggests that these two parents did not self-quarantine immediately upon their daughter developing symptoms, nor even after she tested positive. The story suggests that they waited until they themselves became ill and tested positive. If true, this decision had significant potential to expose numerous individuals to the virus while it was incubating within themselves. By now the general public must understand that being asymptomatic in of itself does not make you safe. Hopefully an appropriate face covering was worn in public by these parents – especially crucial after their exposure – but once exposed self-quarantine would have been prudent understanding that the majority of face coverings being worn by the general public are not perfect and that potential for their own contribution towards asymptomatic community spread was significant.
    3. It is true that Tylenol is advised over Advil (and any other NSAID) or Aspirin due to the slight potential for developing adverse consequences seen when those are used during some other viral illness.
    4. While adequate hydration is certainly advisable, it is highly doubtful that it “flushes” COVID-19 from the body in any significant way – the immune system doesn’t work that way in viremia.
    5. While a pulse oximeter (measures the oxygen saturation in the bloodstream) is a valuable monitoring device for healthcare providers, the public should understand how they work, the possibility and causes for faulty readings, the individual’s baseline oxygenation, the fact that absolute numbers are often not as important as trends, AND that even a small downward change can portend a very serious consequence because the effects of diminishing oxygenation upon the body are not linear – AND of course co-morbid illnesses such as heart disease and COPD make one even more vulnerable to even “minor” changes in oxygenation.

    Again, I wish this Y’s man a speed and full recovery, and hope that others who read his story will learn from it to better protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community of neighbors.

    One final important caveat: Having a better understanding of COVID-19, improved therapeutics, more effective treatment protocols, and an effective/safe vaccine in the horizon MUST NOT translate to complacency during this holiday season as we are currently (and will be for too many months to come) at heightened risk to suffer enormous unnecessary and largely preventible tragedies.

    Thank you Dan for using this single anecdote to keep this important discussion alive during this time of COVID-19 fatigue. Wishing all my fellow Westporters a joyous and safe holiday season, and a better 2021.

    • Well said. People still don’t get it, almost a year later, and continue to contribute to the spread. This is why the pandemic will drag on and on and on.

      First, people rush to get tested, and think a negative test is some passport to do whatever they want, travel to wherever they want, enter into other people’s households/businesses, etc. Folks: the virus can take a week or two to show up and that assumes your test/results are accurate. Its widely accepted that much of the spread is asymptomatic spread. There are even some studies theorizing that one can be a spreader and have some “accurate” tests show negative, at least at the onset of infection. Please please please act responsibly! That means isolating/quarantining for the full time period.

      There was intelligence / information available to the general public as early as January what was coming our way. No one (generalizing) – not our leaders, the CDC, nor American public seemed to care, even during what should’ve been several wake-up calls. There have been events with thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands, allowed to gather (cough Sturgis motor cycle rally). These large scale events are still taking place to this very day, including several thousand person weddings and sporting events. CDC has been used as a political pawn and played games flip-flopping on vital information throughout the crisis. There was plenty of information coming out of other countries in January as to what was headed our way and everything that has happened has been predictable. There was even the Westport “super spreader event” right in the beginning where one person infected an entire party in town and likely contributed to multiple levels of spread/infection even beyond those that directly attended the party.

      Now I hear people’s focus shifting to “there is a vaccine coming.” Unfortunately, I do not think it will be a silver bullet! There are so many unanswered questions about the vaccines that are presently slated for final approvals. So far, it looks like none of the Covid 19 vaccines slated for final approvals are anything like a flu vaccine, that most of us are accustom to. The Covid 19 vaccines are generally using a process that has never been used before. The CEO of one of the companies that is producing a “top candidate vaccine” just came out the other day and said they have little-to-no data that supports their vaccine will stop an immunized host from being contagious and infecting others. Some of these vaccines take a month to become effective (one of them said 28 days), if they are even effective at all. Most don’t understand that a flu vaccine is only 40-60% effective and its something that has been engineered and refined for many years. Flu vaccines are required for many workers. Its highly unlikely that a Covid 19 vaccine can be legally required given all the unknowns around how safe/unsafe it is.

      Please remember, a flu vaccine only lasts a few months. Factor in the Covid 19 vaccine is new tech, won’t be widely available to the general public for some time, there are already questions as to whether it will stop someone from being contagious, the end result it will likely be overall effectiveness of LESS than the flu vaccines, which again, are 40-60%. The immunity gained from a flu vaccine typically only lasts several months and is intended to get people through the “flu season” to the point where the flu naturally withers away come spring/summer. Covid 19 has shown us that it is not slowing down and does not naturally wither away. Other unknowns are whether booster shots will be needed throughout the year even if the initial dose is effective, or if the initial shot protects against multiple strains and mutations that are spreading throughout the US.

      In summary, for anyone to think we are remotely close to the end of this, you are likely mistaken. It is not a time to let guards down. Every time we let our guards down we are making this thing exponentially worse and there is already exponential spread. Actions people are taking right now with Thanksgiving and Holiday travel is already putting Summer 2021 having a shred of normalcy at risk. Are we just going to keep spreading and be right where we are right now in Fall/Winter 2020-2021 come Fall/Winter2021-2022? Some of us have been acting responsibly since January/February/March and others are just prolonging the possibility of containment and return to normalcy. Its especially not fair to our front-line health workers including doctors, nurses, EMTs, and first responders.

      Another question I implore the general public to ask leaders: when will the American public get access to REAL PPE such as NIOSH N95 respirator masks? How is it nearly a year later and N95 are not being handed out like candy? When will someone finally denounce “six-foot social distancing” which many studies show as unsafe.

      Sorry for the rant.

  3. Thank you doctor

  4. Danny Amoruccio

    My in-laws who are in their 70’s contracted the virus. My father in law was asymptomatic and my mother in law felt tired and had diarrhea for 2 days.

    This baffled me, as I’d imagined the older you were, the greater the possibility of worsen symptoms – boy I was wrong.

    My spouse (age 42) on the other hand got it from them… Suffered with 3 days of body aches; 10 days of a fever; 14 days of congestion; 4 days of a sore throat.

    I live in the same house as all of them, never took precautions to wash my hands – just simply slept in a spare bedroom and stayed 6 feet away from my spouse and I NEVER CONTRACTED IT.

  5. As the writer of this piece, and as a layman, I thank Dr. Walshon for offering his more precise wording of the story’s essential elements.

    Let me add a point unmentioned because the piece was written as an internal newsletter — For over 40 years Y’s Men of Westport/Weston has offered retired and semi-retired men living in Westport and Weston weekly meetings at the Saugatuck Congregational Church with coffee, donuts, camaraderie, and a timely and topical speaker, in addition to over 20 activities from walking and hiking to bridge, a book club, an International Issues Discussion Group, a Travel and Events group, and many more.

    Today, we, like every social group has had to replace in person gatherings with Zoom meetings. Yet we continue to enjoy weekly speakers, and many of our activities continue. Global Issues and the book club are as strong as ever, and walking and hiking, gather as before, albeit more distanced. And we continue to seek ways bring back more of our activities in a socially responsible manner.

    To learn more about Y’s Men, please go to https://ysmenwestportweston.org, or email Randy Abrams at randalla@optonline.net.

  6. Kudos to Dr Walshon and Josh Stein (no relationship) for telling it like it is! We cannot wish the pandemic away or ignore it away. It is a plague that will remain a menace for many months to come. As Danny Amoruccio points out from his family’s experience- “Life is like a box of chocolates- you don’t know what you’re going to get!” COVID19 is a random disease in how it will affect any given person. From no symptoms to gasping for air to dying alone in an ICU. Pick you potential poison.

    But we have it in our individual power to contain the virus and not get sick from it- if we stick to a few basic rules. (see rules at the end of the post). A previous post “A Survivor’s Tale” April 21, 2020 from a Y’s Mens Club member summed it up-

    “COVID does not respect religious beliefs. Preachers and rabbis who insisted on regular prayer gatherings for their congregations have died of the virus.

    Nor will it respect political beliefs. The Midwest conservatives gathering to protest the state government telling them they can’t gather to protest will probably end up as victims of the virus — and their own ignorance of how diseases work.

    This is not just a disease of old people. Half of COVID-19 patients in ICUs on ventilators are younger than 55.

    The takeaways from all this:

    Old people can survive getting COVID.

    Take it seriously. It is a nasty miserable disease.
    Do your part to help lower the curve of this pandemic by social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and sheltering in place as much as possible.”

    Nothing has changed! I will add- when you let your mask down- you are letting your guard down. That goes especially for indoor gatherings in bars, restaurants and houses of worship.

    Things haven’t changed much since April- even the hospitals and ICUs are well on their way to being overcrowded again. And besides the death toll, it has become clear there are long haulers who stay sick for long periods with heart and blood clotting conditions- the vaccine won’t help them!!.

    Remember if 10 or 20 million have had the virus and almost 200 thousand are dead- there are still 300 million more potential victims to go in the US!

    Do the right thing for your self, your family, your neighbors and your town! There is light at the end of this tunnel- sooner or later a vaccine will be available- we all have to be patient so we won’t become a patient (or a statistic)!