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My prayers were answered and I sailed on up to and right through the wedding day with nary a twinge of any sort.
However my prayers obviously expired soon after the wedding date, and on the following Tuesday evening, July 5, I felt the slightest scratch in my throat. By Wednesday I had a
not-terrible headache along with my not-terrible sore throat. By Thursday night along with those symptoms I was also coughing up a storm and by Friday afternoon my coughing storm had morphed into a coughing hurricane.
I took The Test and a dark line appeared under the "T" before the solution finished swimming across the little window.
And she did. But, along with the cough syrup, she also importuned me to take a round of Paxlovid, the so-called "COVID pill." Her concern was my age and the fact that long-haul COVID symptoms can come calling weeks after the initial onset of symptoms; but Paxlovid, along with tamping down the immediate COVID symptoms, also tended to knock out the long-haul COVID.
So I said yes to the Paxlovid.
My doctor warned me that Paxlovid was not in plentiful supply at the moment. She knew it could be picked from Riverside Hospital, which was on the other side of the city, two freeways over from where I live. However, she suggested that if I wanted to call around to the pharmacies in my part of town she'd phone in my prescription to any pharmacy I could find that had some Paxlovid on hand.
Happily, our local Meijer's had some Paxlovid in stock, and so my mate was spared having to take on the Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic to drive to the hospital across town to procure me my Paxlovid.
Now, the Paxlovid dosage works thus: Each dose is a group of three pills. One takes the three-pill dose twice a day, morning and evening, for five days.
it was a heavy, terribly bitter taste with undertones of metal and overtones of vomit. I had the impression that the taste originated on the roof of my mouth, but far back, above the tunnel to the esophagus. It wasn't that food tasted any differently than ever, until it it mixed with the horrible taste, then it tasted horrible, too. And when the horrible-tasting food landed in my stomach, my stomach felt horrible as well until the food came back up. You get the picture.
I turned to the internet for some enlightenment. I learned that what I was suffering from was a phenomenon known as "Paxlovid Mouth." Apparently only about 6% of Paxlovid users are smote with Paxlovid Mouth. Apparently I drew one of the unlucky numbers.
Though the bitter, metally, vomitty taste was in my mouth all the time, it was the worst for the first few hours after a dose but would wane to a low point just before it was time for the next dose. Thus I was able to figure out a strategy for keeping some food down: When I woke up in the morning and the taste from the previous evening's dose was at low ebb, I would eat some dry toast and take my Paxlovid a little while afterwards. Then I wouldn't eat all day - I couldn't eat all day - until the evening, by which time the wretched taste was again at low tide and at which time I'd have my second meal of the day, a cup of beef bullion and crackers. Then I'd take my second round of Paxlovid and brace myself for a long night of Paxlovid Mouth-induced insomnia until morning came and I could down some more toast.
And so it went for five days. I didn't starve, but by Tuesday morning I'd lost five pounds.
I took my last dose of Paxlovid on Wednesday morning, July 13. By the next day my Paxlovid mouth was gone and I was officially COVID-free.
That's a tough question. The coughing was certainly no picnic. Neither was the Paxlovid. In the end I couldn't answer the question because, the Paxlovid having K.O'd the COVID pronto, I have no way of knowing how bad the COVID might have gotten without the dreadful Paxlovid treatment.
Some questions are better left unanswered, anyway.