If You Think COVID 19 is just Another Flu, You Need to Read This.

Certain COVID patients lie in bed, staring at an open coffin leaning against the hospital room wall.



Somehow they know the grave is calling.


Each of them was breathless and had an itchy chest discomfort despite all objective measures looking good.



Let me attempt to illustrate with a long-winded simile.


Picture this. You’re out on the lake boat with a few friends, enjoying the warm weather, sipping beer. The sun reflects off the water, shining in your eyes, blinding you momentarily, but the boat hits a small wave. You stumble, but instead of regaining your footing, you trip, falling face-first into the water.


You start swimming toward the surface when you feel a small nip at your heel. Then another. Then a few at a time inching up your leg, each one like a pinch or needle prick.



You look down and see small fish taking ant-sized bites out of your flesh. These miniature piranhas won’t kill or maim you quickly. But you and only you know how disturbing this feeling is. You know your time is ticking if help doesn’t come fast. Hopefully, aid comes before more piranhas.


When you reach the surface, all your friends are still on the boat. They laugh at you, sip beer, and tell you to swim over. But beneath the gentle waves, the fish pick you apart, bit by bit. Unable to swim over because of the rising horror below.


As a doctor, I was one of those friends on the boat. I’d throw a life raft or let down a ladder. I’d turn the boat around and get you. But I can’t swim for you. I can’t climb for you.



I walked into patient rooms day after day, expecting these patients to say things were better. They never did. The virus was slowly plucking away at the working lung tissue. Days later, those patients spiraled and ended up with machines breathing for them.


The patient’s who did poorly predicted their own deterioration with an eerie sense of impending doom. I assume the lung changes from the disease can account for this. No one on the outside could see the alarm signals blaring, but those patients heard the sirens loud and clear.


Not everyone who gets sick from coronavirus will die, but many of those who do die will know it far before you or I or anyone else. The patients know the feeling of being eaten alive from the inside out.


There’s no bloody mess, just constant micro-injuries of the lung tissue which go on unmeasured by any of our fancy blood tests, monitors, or body scans.



Some people will fare better after falling off the boat into Lake COVID, either by nature or by training. Those who are most healthy, resilient, and confident more often make it out of the lake alive. The sickest among us will drown immediately. The virus eats alive those of us in between. A few will limp away from Lake Covid, disabled for life.


Our best bet is to avoid boating on Lake COVID at all.


Stay home. Avoid enclosed spaces. Wear a mask every place you’d have to wear pants. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.



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Until next time my people.





Thanks to Barb Mclean for the line about pants.

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