By Deborah Fallows. This is the kind of story we'll be telling about these times.
Hi, Deb: What you described sounds awful. We live in our minds, so without clarity and energy, our worlds dim.
Good choice about postponing jury duty. There will always be a new need for jurors. Our last trial, which Gail will conduct, was scheduled to start yesterday, but the judge postponed it. When we take on a case, we commit to finish it, and several of our cases have each lasted ten years or more, so we worry about retaining the mental clarity and fortitude to meet our commitment. In the age of covid, Gail has worried about remaining able to try our last case, a racial discrimination case against a large Texas oil and gas conglomerate. So far, we’ve dodged the virus, but we know it’s always lurking nearby. Now, at age 74, I might be losing my grip on middle age (which I dispute, vigorously), but I won’t take on any more cases. It’s time to start a new career, while I’m still young.
I rarely respond to Jim’s and your reports, but I always enjoy them and admire your wonderful work and insights. Though we no longer see each other, I treasure our friendship. I hope you both keep writing about this troubled world. You two are needed. My very best wishes to you both, Jim
Just a quick note to add my support. I'm so sorry this befell you and wish for your speediest and complete recovery. I'm such a fan of both of you, as you know. Heartfelt best wishes. Oh, and if it helps to hang out in Maine for a while to assist in your recovery, my place there is yours whenever.... Dan
I am a registered nurse. You just described my experience since early November to a T. Thank You. It is real. Real awful. Hang in there. We will get better and better.
Thank you for sharing Deb and here's hoping you are on the mend and also hoping you'll show up in Breaking the News more often.
I experienced something similar during perimenopause. I simply lost my ability to manage a number of projects and missed so many appointments and meetings I had to start writing them out on paper each morning and ask my husband to remind me not to forget that scheduled Zoom call in the next hour. I had to withdraw, regroup, and retrain my brain.
Two book recommendations for anyone else needing to slow down and regroup--Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat by Katherine May and Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing. I found both to be invaluable.
More Deb on "Breaking the News." Community property. No response required.
Deborah, Your long-covid story was of great interest to me. At age 81, having had 4 original Pfizer doses and 1 bivalent shot, I've managed to avoid covid so far. The very idea terrifies me. However, I can relate to some of your struggles with brain fog. I don't think I have dementia (would I know it if I did?), but my "senior moments" come more frequently than they used to. I was diagnosed with scoliosis 5 years ago and with osteoporosis last month, so my abilities have been increasingly restricted. Your story has given me several ideas I can make use of, so thank you very much for sharing your experience. Your brain fog is not evident in your writing.
This is from Jim Fallows, with a sincere thanks for everyone who has read Deb's piece and written with such supportive and informative comments.
She will respond to these comments as soon as she is able. Our household's thanks.
Such an interesting, and frightening, story. I had Covid late and a case very similar to yours. What surprised me most was how long it took to start to get my physical strength and stamina back. It reminded me of the recovery arc when I got Mononucleosis in college (40+ years ago!), so I found it more curious than frightening. My recovery seems to be on track now (after 7 months) but I really have to work at it and bad days are common.
Good luck to you!
The experience might be terrifying, the writing was inspired and inspiring, beautifully paced and concise.
I'm just coming out from under having finally caught DOVID this past week (thank god for Paxlovid!), I had the two Moderna vaxxes and the Bivalent - I'm sure those made it as "mild" as it has been, but if this was "mild" I definitely don't want to meet its big bad brother! This is the now one, which a county of LA Health Department report this week says is 10% of cases here. I made this mistake of going in one store and forgetting my mask. They can lie all they want that this is over - it's not! This multitasker is definitely hoping that my clear thinking through most of this continues.
Thank you, Deb, for sharing these experiences that "coincided" with the aftermath of your positive test for COVID. Whatever anxiety may have resulted was clearly countered by a willful instinct for adaptation in the search for new postures that left you with alternative forms of comfort and expression. We tested positive for the first time in early Dec '22, and our entire household of 3 adults (67,63,30) was treated with Paxlovid and seems to have come out of it without any comparable challenges; however, your account, along with others we've seen, offer guidance for what to look for as subtle (or not so subtle) indicators that something is still "there" (so to speak). Bravo et Merci!
"I avoided anything categorized as toxic: alarmist talking heads, mean people, or sad stories I could do nothing about."
My immediate reaction was, that alone would seem to be a cure for any number of ailments! And while that may appear facetious on the surface, lately I've been wondering about that relationship between our physical health and the toxic psychological inputs you describe above.
Recently I read Nicholas Kristof's editorial about the epidemic of chronic pain and its related opioid crisis in the US over the past few years. I found myself wondering how much we really understand about the body, the mind, and the effects of the various stressors that surround most of us every day. Could we be as ignorant today of the psychological or spiritual influences on our health as renaissance doctors were of the effects of pathogens? Will doctors in the future read about our daily lifestyles and medical practices and cringe, as we do when we read about blood-letting and other common practices from a few centuries ago? Of course we won't know the answer until then, but doesn't it deserve some thought?
Meanwhile I love a happy ending, and I trust your recovery will continue and your newly recovered lucidity will flourish. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for you to have experienced what you did. But, long Covid or not, I trust that in the future you will continue to follow your own prescription and avoid "anything categorized as toxic." Indeed, I think that's great advice for all of us, at all times, Covid or no.
Deborah Warm thanks for chronicling your personal struggle with the long-term affects of Covid. We all read imprecise articles about these long-term affects, but they don’t seem real to the millions of individuals who wish to believe that Covid, especially for young people, is no worse than a bad cold.
At 89, with some immune problems, I (and my wife) remain extremely cautious as we enter our 4th Covid year. So far we have not had Covid. Meanwhile, a majority of our family have experienced Covid—sometime twice.
The lengthiest Covid experience was our 21 year old grand son (graduating next week pre-med from NYC). With a brutal study schedule, he acknowledges that he was ‘out of sorts’ for about two months. He soldiered through, but it was a most difficult time, despite his lock-step discipline.
I hope that your personal experience is shared with a wider audience. Whether for the young [party time again1} or for us oldies, Covid remains serious with long-term affects that could upset one’s life.
Covid reminds me of John Lennon: “Life [Covid} is what happens when we have other plans.”
Vitamin D. Minimum dose 2000 IU/day. The immune system doesn't function on all four cylinders without sufficient D. Sufficiency is >40ng/ml. It's quicker to absorb it from the sun than in pill form IF the sun is high enough in the sky that your shadow is shorter than you are. On a decent dose in pill form, if you're very deficient it will take about 6 weeks to reach sufficiency. Or you can take more--like 10,000 IU/day. Docs of a certain age were taught that it's easy to get a toxic dose. My doc argued with me when she found out I was taking 3000 IU/day. (I now take 5000 4x/week--cheaper and almost identical dose to 3000/day.) She eventually came around. I wasn't about to stop taking something that had basically ended cases of colds and flu for me. My siblings and I have also not had COVID. Could be the caution genes (my parents put seatbelts in the '57 Chevy in 1961; we had the first Peugeot wagon in France with rear shoulder belts in 1965--my father solved the simple topological problem that enabled the installation), the D, or the combination of both, but my sister did a lot of vaccinating during COVID.
It's amazing how that fog that comes in on the little cat feet gets so much publicity.
Dear Deb, I‘m sorry to read about what you‘ve been going through, but relieved to read you are improving. As Gail and I finish our careers as trial lawyers, we worry most about not being able to finish a case because of covid and brain fog. I think often of you and Jim, and I wish you both well. Your friend, Jim