In my previous post, I mentioned that I got COVID from my recent trip to Australia. I had a mild case – coughing, sneezing, and general fatigue. But rather than nature take its course of two, three weeks, my dad suggested I take Paxlovid. This 5-day drug treatment made by good old Pfizer required a prescription so I made a virtual appointment at Accelerated Urgent Care. A few hours later, I picked up my prescription from Rite Aid pharmacy.
Taking drugs made in a lab is “good idea, bad idea.” If you grew up in the 90s, you might remember the cartoon Animaniacs. The show had a revival in 2020 where many of the viewers are now parents. They updated the jokes for modern sensibilities, like a song about the First Ladies of the United States. Back in the 90s version, there was a segment called “Good Idea, Bad Idea” where the silent character does a “good idea” thing and the “bad idea” is the same thing, except by changing one word or even the inflection of one word.
On the one hand, the meds are strong. Right after I took my first Paxlovid dosage, I felt way better. Way better. I was still coughing and still congested, but I could sleep better that night.
On the other hand, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Here is a snippet of the email I got from the nurse warning me of all potential side effects and what to do. “Informed consent” is what the legal concept to reduce liability. Informed consent reduces zero, nada, rien, side effects when I do start taking the drug treatment.
I was telling my family and friends that I lost my sense of taste after I started the drug. I started experiencing symptoms Tuesday night, Wednesday morning but I was still eating normally. I could taste all my food – whether it was smoked salmon, squash soup, or fried vermicelli. Paxlovid left this weird taste in my mouth which temporarily turned off my taste buds.
Here is a variety of foods with diverse flavor profiles I could not taste:
- Blueberry muffin
- Steak, onion, green pepper, and jalapeno pizza
- BBQ ribs
- English breakfast tea
- Pickled ginger
Yes, it’s bad when siracha has no effect. Usually, if I put about a small dollop in my food, I can taste even after mixing it around with the other parts of the dish. But when I barely taste it, it’s bad. Same with #6: pickled ginger. Normally, I don’t eat them when packaged in those supermarket sushi boxes. On a whim, I ate 2 pieces and barely tasted it.
On top of it all, I haven’t slept well in over five days. Either I am too tired to get out of bed but should, or I am too wired to sleep. I had three very vivid dreams while on the medication. I think that should be on the list of side effects: may give vivid dreams and nightmares.
Back to normal?
I honestly am not sure what to think. Certainly while under the influence, don’t make major life decisions like quitting your day job and forming a garage rock band. Don’t buy a brand new car.
Perhaps the worst part is the mental focus required – to be optimistic, to wait for the day when all the symptoms go away, and to stop feeling sorry for myself.
I think I’ll end here. Next time, I’ll post happier things like pictures of my trip to Melbourne.