But I had a difficult night. I got woken up multiple times with tachycardia. I tried meditating at 1am. An hour later I was back at 140bpm while asleep. The heart rate alert woke me up. I tried some Wim Hoff breathing. Still couldn’t get it down. I took an Ativan I was getting so concerned. That knocked me out but it didn’t do much for my heart rate. I woke up to these readings on my Whoop.
It seemed clear that all the fun and games I had planned for the day were not going to manifest. I went to get additional readings. My pulse oximeter gave me a 94 reading which isn’t awful but it’s not great either. I then went to Welltory and did a long HRV reading. So I’ll be in bed if you need me.
I was feeling pretty good this morning. Like maybe I had finally kicked Covid after four days of moderate symptoms. But as the evening comes in I feel tired, achy and a bit disoriented. I’m swiftly deteriorating into some kind of sundown syndrome. I just want to go to sleep and wake up feeling better. I haven’t cleared Covid just yet.
I’ve been waiting a few hours, hoping I’d feel well enough to write something coherent. But it doesn’t seem to be lifting. So I’m left with chronicling where I’m at. I did some work this morning wrapping up some deals that we are trying to close before the end of the year. There is something amusing to me about working on Christmas Eve while sick with Covid. It’s like I’ve got an inverse of my very festive Christmas last year. This year instead of focusing on home and the holiday I’m focused on the future and the outside world.
Aside from feeling shitty I’m in a great place. Deals are coming together. I’m optimistic about how I’ll spend my time next year. I’m happy about so much of what I’m being given. So feeling sick on Christmas Eve isn’t so bad. Sure I’ve got a killer headache. And my whole body hurts. But I’ll make it through.
I wonder if people who are unconvinced by a mind body connection have simply never been sick. I’ve never been convinced by clean theories that suggest our mind is somehow independent of our flesh. I say this today mostly because the needs of my body are very much privileged over that of my mind.
I happen to have Covid. It seems the easily transmissible omicron variant has found it’s way to me. And I’m quite tired. I thought I felt fine this morning but my Whoop suggested an alternate theory.
I took it easy today but I still took a phone call and a meeting. I felt fine. And then as I attempted to stay awake for a movie for a restful afternoon I just simple didn’t. My body overcame any intentional acts from my mind. It was time to rest. I was in a phase of recovery. It’s wise to honor that.
I made one of the rookie mistakes in coping with illness today. Yesterday I came back positive for Covid. It was pretty mild. So I didn’t cancel any of my appointments. I went to therapy. I still had an on and off work day with a few obligations. And now I feel like shit
Basically I ignored my own advice. I wrote a post about how to effectively beat back an illness in a post I called “How to be sick.” And just a few days later I forgot everything I said. I feel very on my own bullshit.
My experience of Omicron has been quite mild. It feels much more like an inflammatory condition than a respiratory one for me. My whole body aches. I ran a slight fever. I’m exhausted. And I have awful brain fog. Like my normal speed of thinking has slowed ten fold. I can still recall the topics or even general contours of what I want to say. But then I can’t quite get the specifics to form in my mind. It really is like living through a fog.
So I need to wrap this post up and go to bed. I am sick. It’s mild but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. So I need to treat myself gentle and make sure I help myself get well. If you get sick don’t push yourself. It will only extend the experience.
The worst has happened. After nearly two years of being ambiently aware of Covid as a risk in the world I have tested positive. I honestly didn’t think I had it. I feel a little bit sick. I briefly ran a fever. I mostly felt the malaise from the inflammation. Little did I know that the game had changed with Omicron. That was all Covid.
I think we are in the middle of public communication crisis. The new symptoms for Covid are not severe coughing but the sniffles. And the vaccine doesn’t give you neutralizing immunity. It sure does help reduce the severity of the infection if the mildness of my symptoms are any indication. I worked several days before I realized the extent of the illness. And in no way had we reduced our daily caution. The only time I spent indoors with other people was when I had to go to urgent care for a torn ligament in my ankle.
I’ve got to be honest. This is going to happen to you. It’s happening fast and you probably didn’t see it coming. From when Omicron first got identified to me getting ill was less than two weeks. We have a rapid test shortage which means only those with flexibility and money will know if they are sick.
It’s going to be a very ugly month. Not because anyone is going to get extremely sick. But rather a lot of us are going to be a little bit sick. Let’s be gentle with each other when it happens. We are all going to be really miserable together.
Everyone I know seems to be sick right now. My husband is sick. My media friends are sick. My finance friends are sick. My random internet friends are sick. No one is in bad shape but everyone is miserable. If Omicron is as transmissible as it seems you’ve got a good shot at getting sick in the next month or two even if you are fully vaccinated. Don’t panic. I’ve a ton of experience being sick so let me give you some advice on how to get through the misery in one piece. Being sick is an opportunity. You’ve got this.
Stay in bed: your body has diverted all your energy to your immune system to fight off invaders. You are going to be tired. Don’t try to overcome it with stimulants like coffee. That’s just going to make it worse. Accept that you won’t be as focused or as energetic. The less you try to push through it the faster you get better. Cancel everything. If you want to get back to normal the fastest path to that is letting yourself heal.
Intake lots of nutrients: your body needsall the help it can get. Now is not the time to restrict calories. Eat vegetables and high quality protein. Eat healthy fats. Take a multivitamin. Consider taking Vitamin C and Zinc. Drink broth as it keeps you hydrated and gives you nutrients. Here are some ideas from the Cleveland Clinic.
Take care of yourself: tempting as it may be to order junk food, binge watch tv and doom scroll social media, you need to build up your vitality and constitution. This is what had worked for me. Being in bed tightens up your muscles so do a basic stretching routine for ten minutes twice a day. Don’t overstimulate your autonomic nervous system. Go out in the sun and keep your circadian rhythm normal. Meditate even if it’s only a few minutes. Do deep breathing. Take a hot shower even if you can’t stand up for too long. Brush your teeth and your hair. Talk to to your family and let them know how love them. If you have the strength do something artistic or creative. You must maintain your humanity. That means finding rhythms that build you up.
Accept Help: being sick robs you of many of the building blocks of modern identity. If you have built your self acceptance on concepts like hard work and being productive, it’s going to make you feel shitty when you are in bed and can’t do anything. Being sick is a reminder that self acceptance is the key to happiness. You are more than what you do or produce. You are a human being worthy of love simply because you exist. At your weakest and your sickest you are as worthy as at your best. Be ready to accept help from others so you can accept yourself. Be ready to be cared for by others. You do not owe anyone anything. Your existence is enough.
Chances are you are used to feeling healthy. Being sick is going to rock your reality. But you will overcome it. Cultivating empathy for yourself is the best path for doing so. Don’t judge yourself. Care for yourself as if you were your own child. Without judgement. Good luck!
Imagine you’ve got a disease with a clear biomarker. I’ve got an autoimmune condition called ankylosing spondylitis. One of the ways to spot it on a blood test is to look for an elevated CRP or sed rate.
Maybe I want to find a way to connect with other patients. I provide proof of biomarker to join an autoimmune discord just like you provide proof of ownership of an NFT like they do in the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Maybe I want to join a group of other patients who are pooling their medical data so they can stop being in an N of 1 and have a chance to participate in new research for my own disease. I could join AutoimmuneDAO and contribute to funding, meme-ing, and researching my condition. If we discover a treatment protocol or drug through our DAO we’d have ownership in it. Imagine a token for your own patient DAO. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. VitaDAO is doing this for longevity research. This is the future that web3 can bring to healthcare.
The value is in the algorithm. But without me and without my data it wouldn’t be worth anything. They have a product and an algorithm because of my biometrics. And yet we’ve found no way to meaningfully integrate ownership and interoperability in healthcare yet.
Let me give an an example. There are multiple companies that make their money by recruiting clinical trial candidates. Why? Because you need aggregate data to run a study. Those companies have the same basic data analytic team as a marketing team at a direct to consumer product company. They know how much a patient (or customer) is worth and the cost to acquire them. You are worth a lot because you represent a demographic that has value in its totality. And yet most clinical trials fail to recruit people because patients just don’t see a benefit to participating. You’ve got no ownership or upside and the costs are significant. So science suffers.
But what if instead of being valuable to marketing and recruiters you could own a portion of the aggregate? Being a token holding biomarker “proof of disease” validated member of a patient research DAO flips the incentives. A breakthrough on a disease that treats you and you’d also own some of the proceeds of it’s intellectual property. Whoever brings web3 to healthcare is going to be doing a significant good for humanity. Web3 can improve diseases, move forward science and get us all paid.
Modernity is tough on our bodies. We sit hunched over glowing screens for hours and we call that necessary. We rationalize ignoring our meat sacks as logical. Cartesian logic like “I think therefor I am” is a convenient an excuse for disembodied living. Except eventually it will catch up to you. Maybe not for a while but it will. Maybe you’ve noticed feeling shittier recently.
I’ll tell you how it starts. You feel sluggish. So you stimulate your system. Maybe you drink more coffee and eat more sugar. Then you notice you don’t sleep as well. That makes you even more tired. So you stop moving as much as you did before. You don’t track any of this so it’s hard to notice till the effects compound. Then you notice aches and pains and you think well maybe it is just getting older. Maybe you start to have a back problem and friends tell you they have the same problem.
It’s the slow downward spiral of misery and it’s probably happening to you. It happened to me fast and hard but the path is the same. We accept feeling badly. We accept that deterioration is a fact of life because we’ve got to work and take care of the kids (if you are lucky enough to afford a family). We just accept lower standards of living because we get worn down.
It just doesn’t have to be like that. This shitty quality of life doesn’t have to be the new normal. Fuck the doctors who can’t diagnose you. It’s systemic. You’d be lucky to find one things so broken because it’s a place to start. Most people are justly subtly broken. But it’s not reached the acute stage where our medical system finally kicks in. Doesn’t mean what you feel isn’t real.
The shitty part is next. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to change your life. No doctor or health practitioner is coming to save you. They an give you a piece of the puzzle but you’ve got to assemble it. If you commit to getting well it’s going to cost you willpower. Because the path out is hard work. It’s nutrition, sleep, lifting heavy things, going outside everyday, taking supplements and vitamins, meditation and mindfulness. Frankly it’s a lot. I spend a third of my day on it so I can live what’s left well. But I no longer feel subtly shitty all the damn time.
I’ve seen remarkable benefits to the entire mess but it’s taken over a year of dedication to see the compounding effects. Taking vitamins isn’t quite like taking a pharmaceutical that way. But I suppose everything is dependent on dose. And yet I tend to apply a completely different moral valence to my supplements then my pharmaceuticals.
When I was a teenager it felt like the war on drugs had mostly devolved into scar tactics. After school specials, assemblies with terrifying speakers, and the general media landscape showing “this is your brain on drugs” probably gave me an unnecessarily limited view of how to approach drugs. Recreational drugs were bad but I also knew that pain medications were deadly. It didn’t help I had a family member who was an opioid addict.
The running gag on South Park with Mr. Mackey telling the kids that drugs are bad mmm kay logged into my subconscious. And not in a sun skeptical way. I appear to have taken it at face value.
Except drugs are neither bad or good. I wouldn’t dream of considering my various supplements and vitamins as making me bad or weak. Those keep me healthy and function. I also take prescription medications. Those also keep me healthy and functional. It’s the same thing. I don’t take them for kicks or to get high.
But the idea I absorbed from childhood that I’m supposed to regard things like pain killers with intense skepticism continues to hinder my progress. I was warned by the orthopedist I may need to up the anti-inflammatories I take for my spine as my ligament injury heals. But I am still reluctant to take the prescribed dose. Despite being under the supervision of two doctors.
I’ve got to learn to let go of this attitude. Drugs are good mmmkay? Tinkering and tweaking and looking for improvements are great. No one deserves to be in pain. It’s not morally better no matter what religious nonsense we may have absorbed. Sure pain is a terrific teacher. But it’s perfectly alright to chose to forgo it. We can chose to grow without inflicting any more pain on ourselves than necessary.
The mobility aids dropped off by my concierge doctor had me feeling much more optimistic that whatever the diagnosis I could manage. A walker could easily get me to the bathroom on my own power. A shower chair was arriving from Amazon so I could finally wash up with something other than wet wipes. We’d also acquired an infrared sauna, a number of supplements to supplements to support ligament recovery, and some cold compression devices. I’m hoping it get an electro-stim device as well.
The orthopedist we’d begged our way into first thing this morning had good news for us. I’d torn two ligaments but it was pretty run of the mill. For once I didn’t have an exciting diagnosis. It was boring and simple. It wouldn’t require any surgery. It would be two weeks of keeping all weight off my ankle and then a slow introduction to physical therapy. If all goes well I’ll regain mobility in a month.
I’ll be wearing a boot and using a walker for a while but we can slowly introduce weight bearing activities at physical therapy within a few weeks. Maybe by Christmas I’ll be able to get myself up and down stairs. Since I don’t want to miss our Christmas tree being upstairs for the entire season.