Covid aftermath, nearly a year out
It's been nearly a year
since I left the hospital after 40 days with Covid. My progress has been very
much up and down. My lingering effects of this terrible disease is fatigue,
getting out of breath quickly and memory loss. Now the good news. I was accepted
into UT Southwesters Long Haulers Covid study. I had a four-hour appointment
last week with a lot of testing. The doc said my lungs & heart look great
especially since I was on a vent for 6 days. After reviewing all of my previous CT scans, x-rays
and all the test I’ve done over the last year including that days test results. His simple explanation was that the heart,
lungs and brain just aren't working together properly. Part of this is my
arteries, blood vessels and capillaries have narrowed a bit over the past year restricting
blood and oxygen flow. There was a ton
of physiology behind his findings. He did
his best to simplify it a dumb it down for my wife and myself so we could
understand it. He said my body is working like an old battery that has a memory
problem. When it's fully charged it's only around 20 to 25% or so. Thus, my
shortness of breath and getting fatigued so quickly, my battery drains quickly.
The goal is reset my body back to 90 to 100% full charge.
I'm now on a prescribed workout plan to keep my heart rate around 125/130 for 30 min to an hour a day which means walking or riding my bike and lifting weights. The week of Nov 1st I start five weeks of EEC Flow Therapy. EEC Flow therapy begins by lying down on a padded therapy table, where EECP compression cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are wrapped around my calves, thighs, lower hips and arms. Then, using an EKG machine, a computer regulates the inflation and deflation of cuffs in rhythm with your heart. It imitates the benefits of passive exercise without straining the heart, leading to improved circulation, increased cardiac capacity, reductions in joint pain, reduced shortness of breath, and increased stamina. The before and after sonogram pictures of the body's arteries and blood vessel changes over three weeks are incredible. The program has now been extended to 5 weeks. They'll take sonogram pics of my heart and arteries at the beginning and after the first two weeks and then bi-weekly to measure progress. During this time, I'll still do my normal walking, biking and lifting.
Once done with the 5 weeks (25 sessions) he's going to do few pure oxygen treatments in a hyperbaric chamber at two atmospheres. As most here know I’m a huge scuba diver and want nothing better to be able to dive again. At the end of these sessions, he'll have a pretty good idea if I can re-enter the water and dive again, or what else I'll need to do to get there. However, he seemed very positive and optimistic with my prognosis going forward!
Workouts are going well and I’m looking forward to the Flow therapy, I'll give updates after a few weeks of Flow therapy and when I finish!
The disease sucks!
John 3: 1-21