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Covid has reared its ugly head.......(Update in Main Post)

I started with some symptoms yesterday and tested positive today while I am at home prior to a scheduled trip later in the week. The doctor stated isolate for 5 days from the start of symptoms, mask for an additional 5 days. I hope to start Paxlovid tomorrow. I will also get a formal test for insurance purposes.

Thankfully, I was not signed up for a Rick Steves Tour, but I am scheduled to travel with my son and daughter-in-law, so this impacts several people. I am currently "waiting". Technically, I'll be past the 5 days isolation period prior to my flight and I have no difficulties with masking up. I am waiting to see how the course of this disease goes and if I can convert to negative prior to my flight. I notice there is a huge tug of war in my mind. I am okay to travel according to the doctor unless I become quite ill. Right now it is like a bad sinus infection. However, I want to be respectful to fellow travelers and make sure that I am not passing anything along.

There are pros and cons for each decision. I am not asking for your input on what decision I make. That will be between myself and my doctor I am sharing that testing positive before travel opens up a brand new can of worms and decisions that must be made.

Update: First of all, thank you for all your kind wishes and thoughts. They were so appreciated!
I am doing amazingly well and noticed a truly remarkable change in my condition after starting Paxlovid. (No cost). I have three high risk factors so I have always kept my immunization status current. I went from feeling pretty crummy and going from nap to nap to bed, to feeling significantly better and not needing a nap at all the next day. Headaches, fever, etc have disappeared. I am feeling extremely blessed. I have the okay from my dr to go. Isolation period over, but I will mask in transit or crowded spaces anyway out of respect for others. I am also recognizing that the pace of my participation in this trip will probably change as well. Would I make the same decision if this had been a solo trip? I’m not sure. I did convert to a negative Covid test prior to travel so I view this as a very good sign.

I did spend some time going through all my reservations, travel insurance, and airline policies. I felt that I would have been in pretty good shape financially had I decided to delay or cancel. I did notice that I had not really paid as close attention to the airline’s policies as I probably should have. They had a specific date where their policies surrounding Covid cancellation had changed that I was unaware of.
I did get an “official” PCR test in case I do make any insurance claims.

I did try to imagine what it must be like to be sick/isolated overseas and a very big, big amount of sympathy to anyone who has faced illness while on a trip. I’ll do a trip report in a separate post when I return.

Posted by
189 posts

Carol NR, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this right before, what I’m sure is a much anticipated family trip.
I wish you a speedy recovery.

Posted by
3236 posts

Oh dear.
I hope you feel better very soon, and can still go on your trip if you are up to it.
Fingers crossed.🤞

Posted by
2912 posts

Carol, I’m so sorry. I hope you have a speedy recovery and are able to travel with your son and daughter-in-law. Wishing you well…

Posted by
69 posts

Murphy’s law

I had covid the end of April. Took paxlovid, tested negative 3 times over 6 days. Then tested positive again. Just a word of warning.

Posted by
116 posts

My husband and I were scheduled to spend the month of August in The Netherlands/Belgium/London. He tested positive five days before our departure date. He took Paxlovid and felt better on about day three. We opted to cancel the trip, although technically we could have flown on day six after the positive test (while masking). It was the right decision, as he ended up getting rebound symptoms and it took a good ten days after that for him to feel back to normal and test negative. We were majorly disappointed, of course, but I'm thankful it happened before we left, as it wouldn't have been fun to be stuck in a hotel room once the rebound kicked in, and I'm sure my chances of catching it would have gone way up if we were stuck in a small hotel room together.

Posted by
6788 posts

Ouch. So sorry to hear about your bad luck with this. I have no doubt you have been very careful, especially recently with your trip looming. And yet...sigh.

We leave for Europe in 6 days. I just got my latest COVID booster about 4 hours ago, hoping my immune reaction ramps up quickly. I'll be masking in crowded places en route, too. My spouse (who at first scoffed at me as I stalked updated vaccine appointments) is now searching (I suspect in vain) for an appointment in the next couple days or a place that takes walk-ins. For weeks I've been admonishing us both "Don't get sick! No injuries! No crises!" Need to keep repeating that.

I hope you feel better soon and are able to do all your planned activities or at least as many as possible (or as you feel are appropriate). Take care and be good to yourself - and good luck.

Posted by
175 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience, Carol. I recently had a bout of Covid myself. I wish you a quick and complete recovery!

Posted by
11485 posts

What an annoying problem to,have!

Some friends of ours are in Scotland and tested positive after low-grade symptoms had them worried. Their US based GP said go to the emergency room, which they did at 5 AM. They were laughed at! O2 checked and was satisfactory at 97% so told to rest and recover. chemist refused Paxlovid as it is “only for the very sick.” They were feeling fine by the end of the day.

Almost no one is masking in Switzerland or France.

Posted by
129 posts

Carol - it seems many are recovering quickly from this round of Covid. I so hope that’s the case for you also, so you can proceed with your plans. Best wishes.

David - your spouse may have luck calling around for vaccine availability. I had a CVS appointment which I had made online for last Friday and it turned out they didn’t actually have the vaccine. I called Walgreens and they said they had it and to come on in, walk-ins welcome, despite their website showing no appointments available.

Posted by
111 posts

So sorry to hear this, Carol. Please take care of yourself and I wish you a speedy recovery!

Posted by
7448 posts

Sad to hear that you’re having Covid, Carol! I certainly hope that you recover quickly, plus it will lessen your mental tug-of-war decisions. Be kind to yourself either way it goes.

Posted by
6788 posts

@Lisuza - Thanks. I spent the past two hours using all the tools I know about looking for an appointment for her, then just looking for branches that appeared to have the Pfizer vaccine. Finally found one tomorrow at a Walgreens, about 30 minutes away. Went to book it, and it was gone. Found another appointment a bit further away for Tuesday, and grabbed that one successfully. Ideally I'd rather have had her get one a couple days earlier, but at the time she laughed it off - not anymore, she's now on board. Tuesday will work for her, we still have a few days before boarding the flight (I wouldn't do it within 48 hours just in case of a reaction). So she should be all set now.

FWIW based on all my searching around here, it seems the Moderna vaccine (my brand) is more plentiful locally, and it arrived as early as last Friday. Spouse is on Team Pfizer, which seems more scarce here and may have come a couple days later. I stopped in person at 3 different chain pharmacy branches today, pharmacists at 2 of them (RiteAid and Bartell's) said they had not received any updated vaccines yet, and didn't expect any until October. CVS said they had limited supply (only Moderna, no Pfizer) but they did not accept walk-ins, only scheduled appointments, and none were available within 100 miles this week. Clearly there's a lot of churn, I'm sure things vary wildly in other locations and at other times. Anyway, I'm jabbed, she will be in 36 hours, now we can get back to packing... 🧳🧳.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. @CarolNR, get well soon.

Posted by
6698 posts

@ Laurel- There is a slight understanding of meanings here. Paxlovid is only available in the UK to the most vulnerable groups (who could become worst affected by Covid)- https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paxlovid/about-paxlovid/

There is a huge difference between the two countries in how Covid is treated. But the advice from the US GP was thoughtless in the UK context. At any time the 'emergency room' [Accident and Emergency or A and E in the UK] is and never was for Covid or minor, manageable ailments. The clue to how the emergency room should be used in the UK is in the name. Except in a very few cases Covid is not an emergency and it certainly isn't an accident.

And frankly, why consult a US doctor first?

Also you risk the infection spreading to staff and other patients if you attend hospital.

Either see a pharmacy or ring the non emergency number 101 for advice. If symptoms worsen to the extent that it becomes a clinical emergency then and only then ring 999 for an ambulance. They will assess and admit to hospital only if their clinical assessment renders it necessary. More likely they will dispense medication or advice.

Posted by
118 posts

The use of Paxlovid seems to differ in the US. Although intended for use for people who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death it appears to be prescribed to non high risk groups and even prophylactically in the US. In the U.K. and in many if not all European countries it is only prescribed for high risk groups testing positive for Covid.
I agree that a medic advising to go to A&E (or any other public space) when you are knowingly Covid positive is reckless and frankly disrespectful to the host country.

Posted by
675 posts

Best wishes on a fast recovery. We found the side effects of Paxlovid weren't worth it for our mild cases. We both quit taking it after a few doses each.

Posted by
3997 posts

I've been living in Sweden for almost two months now and it is as if pre covid times, no mask, distancing, interiors crowded. Paxlovid and medications in general (like antibiotics) are very hard to justify in Europe, they only give it if your life is on the line. Here Covid is treated as a cold, not saying that's right or wrong just the reality on the ground.

Posted by
10349 posts

For-profit medicine advertises.
It's the same in France as in Italy, Great Britain, Sweden . The body does the healing and building immunity. Prescriptions are for serious cases. If anything, I'd be wary of a relapse with Paxlovid ruining plans.

Posted by
9865 posts

Oh I am sorry Carol. i hope you have a mild, quick case with nothing that lingers.

Posted by
343 posts

I wonder if that GP was covering his backside by sending them to Emergency Care - more fearful of being sued for negligence if they had a severe case or even died, than thinking about spreading it further at A&E. Also ignorance of how UK medicine works?

Posted by
7012 posts

I wonder if that GP was covering his backside by sending them to Emergency Care - more fearful of being sued for negligence if they had a severe case or even died, than thinking about spreading it further at A&E. Also ignorance of how UK medicine works?

Amanda, probably yes, to ignorance of how the UK works, and a desire to help the patient. But no physician in the US would be worried about a negligence cases under those circumstances. We're litigious, but not THAT litigious! 😊

Posted by
7012 posts

Carol, I'm so sorry that this happened and sympathize with the conflicts going on in your head. I'm sure you will make the right choice for you. I hope everything goes well and that you make your flight.

Posted by
7715 posts

I agree that the viewpoint on Paxlovid is very different between Europe and the US. I can't tell you how many people (including on this forum, I have heard in the US say that they went to their Doctor and demanded Paxlovid, some even admitting that they pushed the Doctor into some unethical waters by having them prescribe "in case" they get covid on a trip.

In Europe, it is used as intended, for severe cases. If you take it for a mild case (as many that have been vaccinated get) it certainly still has some effect, but is then often followed by a rebound case, where you test positive after multiple negative tests, prolonging the illness, doing more harm than good.

Certainly, given existing conditions and complicating factors, Paxlovid has it's place, and perhaps European protocols are too restrictive, but it is not automatic Get Covid>Take Paxlovid

Posted by
7562 posts

Unfortunately, Paxlovid frequently causes rebound positive tests. Example: President Biden's case. Also my personal experience. We don't know if such people are infectious to others. So you are likely going to have to confront the question of whether to board the plane with a positive test that day.

CDC reference:
https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2022/pdf/CDC_HAN_467.pdf

NIH technical paper:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9258292/

CNN story:
https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/16/health/paxlovid-rebound-study/index.html

Posted by
173 posts

CarolNR - I appreciate you taking the time to report/post and I hope you have a speedy recovery with minimal discomfort. My flight to Europe is September 26.
Lisuza and David's posts have provided the spark to report on my experience regarding my attempt to get the latest Covid vaccine that is not a booster. I had an appointment last Friday September 15 at my local CVS in the Chicago suburbs. I have Medicare Advantage. My plan's rep, by phone, assured me that there would be no out-of-pocket cost for me. The CVS pharmacy tech told me that my insurance had not yet updated its system and I would have to pay $199 to CVS then ask my insurance for reimbursement. I walked out without the vax. Back at home, my local PCP's nurse, by phone, told me to try a different pharmacy, and that they were recommending the new Covid vaccine for approved clients (those over 5 or 6 yrs old, depending on Moderna or Pfizer). I found articles online where CVS on the east coast was cancelling appointments for customers due to insurance system glitches.
I have an appointment today at my local Walgreens. I called before making the appointment. The pharmacist told me to bring my insurance and medicare cards for verification and that they can enter a code if the system does not at first indicate acceptance of my insurance plan at zero out-of-pocket. My face mask is ready and my fingers are crossed.

Posted by
273 posts

Carol, thank you for the reminder to all of us! I'm flying out next month, and have already packed my N95 masks for the flights, as well as several test kits. But, your message serves as a reminder to be extra vigilant during the weeks leading up to departure.

During the initial pandemic, it was easy enough to go onto the internet and fins statistics for infection rates in whatever area you wanted to verify. I've found that nearly impossible these days, so, although I keep hearing that Covid is creeping back, it's difficult to see exactly how widespread it may be. That's unfortunate, though I suppose assuming worst case is the best precaution.

I hope that you are quickly recovered and well enough to feel confident in resuming your travel plans! All the best ❤️

Posted by
2237 posts

Carol--I hope you are feeling better.

David--I was scheduled for the vaccine at Safeway tomorrow, but got an email over the weekend saying it was canceled because they did not get it in stock. I started to panic a bit as I have surgery coming up very soon and really do not want it delayed again. When I read your post, it spurred me to look and I just found an appt for this morning at Walgreen in Lake Stevens. They have several more appointments for today, so try that! I am rearranging my schedule for today to make it up there for it.

Posted by
466 posts

Sorry to hear that you're dealing with Covid. I have just recovered from a bout that was virtually identical to my first experience with it this time last year - a bad head cold with one day of low fever and achiness. I had a virtual visit with my PCP, who prescribed paxlovid because I have thyroid disease. I took only two doses; the size of the pill made it difficult to swallow and it upset my stomach. By then I only had some lingering congestion, so it wasn't worth it to me to continue taking. I feel 100% back to normal now.
I am flying a week from Friday and hope that the bit of congestion I still have in my ears will clear up by then. I hope things work out for you, your family, and your travel plans.

Posted by
1874 posts

Carol, my brother-in-law had his second bout of Covid last month. He isolated right away, had Paxlovid the next day and tested negative about day 5 or 6. It was very mild. None of us got it from him. I was there to house sit for them as they were due to leave for a planned vacation. His experience was so brief and so mild they went ahead on their vacation as soon as he tested negative for 2 days. I hope your experience is similar and you are able to enjoy your family trip.

Posted by
8635 posts

In the US, docs make money prescribing Paxlovid, and pharmacies make money selling it, so there's no reason not to prescribe it even if the patient doesn't qualify. As long as insurance is paying for it, that is - we were told it would be $500 for the pack if paying out of pocket.

Three out of four of us came back with COVID from a recent domestic trip. For me, I had two bad days, and then it cleared up quickly. Positive tests for a total of five days. Another in our group eventually got Paxlovid, but her recovery took twice as long as mine. And she couldn't get any doctor or urgent care** facility to help with that over a weekend.

In our area, getting to see or even talk to a doctor is never easy or quick. And they don't want people who've tested positive to come into the office anyway. It's common to send people to the emergency room for anything that might require testing. Therefore, the ERs are crowded with people with routine issues, and it's where the many many people without insurance or a doctor go for all their medical care. Not a good situation.

**Urgent care facilities in the US are stand-alone clinics that provide quick access to medical care (no hospitalization or major diagnostic services). Often staffed by Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants. They've become popular ways to get people to stop crowding hospital emergency rooms with non-emergency things.

Posted by
1 posts

Testing on my Ireland tour was completely voluntary. I didn’t feel well, tested positive and self reported to our tour guide. I was immediately booted from the tour and kicked out of the hotel in the AM. I booked into another hotel and was booted out after one night. My hotel room in Dublin was cancelled by RT so now I’m had nowhere to stay in a foreign country. Luckily it was an English speaking country. I decided to fly home sick, masking the whole way.
Not happy… I was punished by being honest. I could have not self reported and stayed on the tour. I suggested to our tour guide that everyone on our bus should test and he that was not allowed. It’s all self regulated.

Posted by
2592 posts

I also recently got covid after a domestic trip. First time even though I have traveled quite a bit since 2020, although I do still wear a mask on the plane. I was sick for 5 days-but not terribly sick. I worked from home the whole time. I only tested because I had the chills for a few minutes which was inconsistent with the cold I thought I had. The under the weather feeling dissipated after five days but the cough hung on for another two weeks. Mucinex helped me the most. I wasn't sick enough to ever consider Paxlovid.

I would not count on converting to negative in five days. You can test positive for quite awhile.

Posted by
1972 posts

I have just scheduled a flus shot and the latest Covid shot the end of the month at CVS. I already have my two shots and two boosters.

This will happen about a week before my trip .....

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for all your help with planning my trip which is now right around the corner.

Posted by
7012 posts

Testing on my Ireland tour was completely voluntary. I didn’t feel well, tested positive and self reported to our tour guide. I was immediately booted from the tour and kicked out of the hotel in the AM. I booked into another hotel and was booted out after one night. My hotel room in Dublin was cancelled by RT so now I’m had nowhere to stay in a foreign country.

Is that typical tour protocol? If so, wow.

I go back and forth on this, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like the Europeans are approaching this in a more practical fashion. I realize Covid can cause deaths, but so can the flu and RSV. My Covid symptoms were like many - relatively mild cold symptoms and one day of mild fever and achiness. Right now I'm dealing with pleurisy, of all things, and it is just killing me. Terrible pain when breathing (sent me to the OR, but now has gone way down), fevers every day for a week, headache, and absolutely zero energy. I'd rather have Covid any day. 😊

Posted by
11485 posts

the more I feel like the Europeans are approaching this in a more practical fashion

Agreed!

Posted by
9865 posts

The problem with COVID is that you don't have any way of knowing if you will be one of the ones who gets a bad case and feels bad, or, as seems more dangerous now, come down with debilitating Long COVID. I would still rather avoid COVID, in hopes of avoiding Long COVID.

Posted by
145 posts

Carol NR so sorry to hear that you got Covid. I believe like many others that the particular variant that is currently circulating is a more mild virus than in the past. None the less I wish you a speedy recovery. You have been and continue to be a wealth of knowledge for me and I’m sure so many others on this forum. Best of luck. Vitamin C can really boost the immune system. I begin taking it at the slightest sore throat just before bedtime and I usually wake with symptoms gone. Linda

Posted by
256 posts

Carol, the ethical dilemma you are facing is not new, it has just been highlighted by our recent experience with Covid. There is certainly more discussion and sometimes shaming on social media these days. Different people will make different decisions under the same circumstances, not that any choices are necessarily right or wrong. Hope you have a quick recovery and a fun family trip.

Posted by
3260 posts

The problem with COVID is that you don't have any way of knowing if you will be one of the ones who gets a bad case and feels bad, or, as seems more dangerous now, come down with debilitating Long COVID.

Kim, Exactly.

Carol, I am so sorry you have Covid. Let's hope on a speedy and inconsequential recovery. However, you do not know how long it will take for you to get your mojo back. Could you reschedule your flight and meet your family later into the trip? You might end up fatigued for 5 days, 10 days or more. While this apparently feels like a cold or a quick flu to many, it is not.

I brought Covid home from Spain in May. I was in the best shape in decades walking 17 miles a day and easily handing large hill after hill. I had no symptoms until I got home, and had body aches and fever for just three days, some fatigue for 8 more days. I'd had all my shots, wore my mask on flights and such. Lo and behold, surprise, I now have what appears to be recurrent long covid symptoms. I'd hate to be traveling when any of these surface...so I suggest you wait until you feel better to travel. Being sick is bad enough at home, but when traveling it is so much worse. My point is there is no rhyme or reason to this disease so be sure to protect yourself until you know where you might stand.

I apologize for my woe is me. LOL. I'm in the middle of a flare up so whiney.

Posted by
858 posts

Carol NR, I truly hope you recover quickly in order to enjoy your travels. Isn’t it amazing when you mention something like Covid and Paxlovid how the thread takes on a life of its own….far from what I’m sure was intended.

Posted by
6670 posts

Sorry to hear your news, Carol. Good luck with a fast recovery and a salvaged trip if that's possible.

I'm on track to fly to France in three weeks, got a regular booster last week because I didn't think the new vax would be available in time. Getting a flu shot this week. Fingers crossed, like all of us one way or another.

Wray, very sorry to hear you're having more symptoms, and I hope you recover too, as soon as possible.

Posted by
9865 posts

Wray, I am so very sorry you are having to deal with long Covid. That really stinks. I hope you can bounce back in the months to come.

Posted by
302 posts

Carol, adding my wishes for a speedy recovery.
Decision- wise, how do these family members feel about what to do? (Are you having separate rooms and baths, or sharing?) Also, would you have easy access to medical care for this trip, or is it somewhere remote?
The new variant seems everywhere. People talk about masking for planes or "crowds" but ironically I've been thinking about your same situation these past few days. A fellow food pantry volunteer was describing his upcoming (in 3 days) trip to Italy. I (as usual, the only one) in my N95 that I wear 100% of the time, as we were in the very small break room for the pre- shift assignments. 10 minute long meeting.
Will he test positive before his departure, or not until after arrival? Or, maybe he will just be fortunate.
The point is your family could still contract this from some random stranger before departure. Unless all in the travel party agree to a strict quarantine ahead of time.
For some other posters: the sprectre of long COVID means this virus is not anywhere near yet as predictable as say, even a severe flu or pneumonia. So those lucky enough to recover quickly and with no (apparent) lingering health issues need to be very careful not to judge:
I have two colleagues, both were avid runners, who continue to suffer the physical and resulting emotional fallout from long COVID. One literally can't go up a flight of stairs and it's been almost a year. The other has a host of weird and random problems that exacerbate each other, having been in excellent health previously. It's systemic. I don't know if they can travel anymore.
That pleurisy- could even be connected to a rior COVID case. (Hope that improves!)
Healthy wishes to all and now continuing my hunt for the new booster to make it's way west and not 100s of miles from my home

Posted by
172 posts

We have used a Povidine Nasal Spray for many years. Wouldn’t travel without it. The brand I order is Viraldine. You can search online for information and other brands. Nasal sprays will kill the viruses, bacteria, etc before they can replicate. Whenever I feel nasal congestion starting I use it and it takes it away. Use as a precaution before you fly too!

Posted by
486 posts

Carol nr….Sorry to read this and your bad timing now with Covid. I would be very disappointed! And this also hard as I know it involves your family fellow travelers too! Bummer…Tough decision. Only positives in this is it’s before you are traveling. Being sick and diagnosed overseas adds an extra difficult spin! I hope you become well asap and “stay” that way! And can find some peace with your decisions! I’ve said it often…”darn Covid”!

Posted by
14249 posts

@redsusanschnur - Were you asked to leave your replacement hotels because you tested + for Covid or because they were full?

Carol....sending you healing thoughts and hope you will recover quickly and enjoy your vacation!

Posted by
1453 posts

Carol, that is great! So happy you are feeling better and are cleared to travel. Have a wonderful time!!

Posted by
11485 posts

Great news in your update! May your trip be all you hope for!

Posted by
2912 posts

Carol, so happy to hear you tested negative and are able to go on your trip. Take care of yourself. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
280 posts

What a thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing.Glad you are doing well all things considered.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
4472 posts

For those with long Covid, have you been to a doctor/program that specializes in long Covid? In Birmingham there is one at the medical school that has really helped some people with long Covid.

Posted by
486 posts

Good news…glad you are cleared to go! Stressful timing for you but hope for some peace…. smooth sailing and good travels from now on!

Posted by
16094 posts

Cheering for you, Carol!!! Very glad you are feeling much better, and hope you have (or are having, as you may be traveling as I speak) a fabulous trip!

Healing thoughts to Wray, Mardee and anyone else feeling under the weather. No fun, especially long-haul COVID effects. :O(

As a side note, our doctor is recommending not to get the RSV shot at the same time as flu and COVID pokes. It'll be our first round with RSV vaccinations, and I learned the hard way last year that I don't tolerate getting 65+ flu and COVID shots at the same time well at all so will be taking his advice. YMMV?