I Got Nowhere Else to Go
I had to dig deep into the movie archives for this cinema metaphor. At a pinnacle moment in the film, "An Officer and A Gentleman," Louis Gossett playing the role of Gunnery Sergeant Foley is trying to finally break recruit Zack Mayo into dropping out of the Navy Officer Candidate school...as it appears he's doing some sort of supine plank. Ironically, planks were a regular thing for me when training for marathons, "Gunny" presses Mayo for a DOR (Drop on Request) in the midst of back planks. Mayo famously breaks down and yells back at Foley,
"I got nowhere else to go."
Well, Mayo, I have nearly exhausted the treatment options in Denver with my long Covid journey and I can relate...I have felt like I've run out of options and have "nowhere else to go."
Not quite...there appears one more place to go and that's the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota and not New York.) Okay, okay...it's an awkward analogy, but this has elements of being pushed to the brink of quitting, admitting that there are limited options, and of course there's recruit Mayo and Mayo Clinic.
It has been awhile since I updated these pages, (see 365 post) but a few developments on my side some of which were covered in my "One Year Later" interview with Claire Cleveland from Colorado Public Radio.
In the interview, I talk about the financial (I'm now on disability) and emotional strains on me and my wife. The "elephant in the room" is that I have had way too many mental discussions around mortality and as I discuss in the interview, "real discussions" about" my health and will I be around for weddings when there's currently no fiancé having dinner around Dexter Street on Sunday nights. (No pressure to my three kids.)
I've used the analogy of the tornado that "rips through town" leaving a path of destruction, and that is the beast that is "Long Covid" which my main man Dr. Fauci and team now call PASC. Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or PASC. The word "sequelae" comes from Latin, meaning a condition that occurs following a disease. The word "sequel" has the same origin. Along the way, it's been referred to as Long Haulers, Long Covid, and now PASC.
While there's a growing focus and light on this "odd" group of Covid patients that didn't die or simply were asymptomatic; the "short straw" patients got the PASC lottery ticket which is not one you want. Please, please, don't get me wrong. The focus should be on mortality, but as Fauci points out, we should care about individuals that are severely impacted in life with the "Tornado Rona."
Approaching fourteen months later, my symptoms still persist and my primary care (National Jewish Health in Denver) is first and foremost a lung hospital. As I've talked about here, I have no "pre-2020" issues or diagnosis of issues with my lungs.
My heart cath in January finally started to reveal some answers including a heart condition known as a pre-load insufficiency which could help explain the chest issues and shortness of breath. Alas, that alone can't explain all the issues I have when you add in fevers and weird neurological issues (leg twitches, tingling of the skin, burning feet, and generally wreaking havoc on any hope of sleep without drugs.)
In parallel, I have pH issues which could also start to explain some of the wicked chest burning I've got and most recently tests have revealed a potential for Addison's Disease or a freakishly low cortisol level. The later is leading me to more Dr. referrals; in that case I will be talking to an endocrinologist. All of the above could be tied to POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.) While National Jewish is world class, they have limited knowledge or bench strength on this topic; thus the trip to Mayo. I guess I do have somewhere else to go.