I am a Covid Survivor

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Covid Survivor: This Photo was taken 5 days before I was diagnosed with Covid. I am in robust health weighing inat 205 pounds and am visitng the Bronze Horse Foundry to inspect a bronze I am having cast.
This photo was taken three days into covid. I spiked a fever on November 24, 2020. I called my physician on November 25,2020 and he sent me for a covid test. I took the covid test the morning of November 25, 2020 and got my diagnosis that I had tested positive for covid on the afternoon of November 25,2020. I am basicly still feeling fine and have no visible symptoms.

by Hugh Pickens, December 27, 2020

I am a covid survivor. I got the Covid six weeks ago and yesterday I was declared virus free. I had what was called a moderate case of Covid. I was never hospitalized. I was never in any real danger of death. But I was in bed for three weeks. It knocked me on my ass.

I have been talking about my covid when I go out and a lot of people are interested in what it really means to have a moderate case of Covid. I don’t claim to speak for every Covid patient. I certainly can’t speak for the ones who went into the hospital and are on ventilators. But I think the majority of people have a moderate case of Covid so I thought I would write this up for people that were interested.

I had what is called a moderate case of covid which according to the CDC is about 20% of covid cases. About 80% of covid cases are classified as "mild" which basically means no symptoms at all or very minor symptoms like you would have with a flu that you have for a few days. 1% of covid cases are "severe" and require hospitalization.

According to the CDC,when COVID-19 symptoms progress from mild to moderate, you’ll know because one or more of the following may occur: Your fever will be above 100.4 F. You’ll develop a more persistent cough. You’ll experience temporary shortness of breath when you exert yourself – going up the stairs for instance. You’ll feel like you need to stay in bed. If this occurs, call your doctor. The virus could be progressing into pneumonia.

I had "You’ll feel like you need to stay in bed". The covid knocked me on my ass. I spent three weeks in bed, didn't eat, and slept 12 to14 hours a day.

Contents

Being Careful

I don’t know how I got the Covid. I actually feel like I’ve been pretty careful since the Covid started. When Oklahoma Governor Stitt came to speak to our local chamber of commerce about six months ago there were about 200 people in the audience and I was sitting on the front row and I had on my mask and Governor Stitt did not have on a mask and he got the Covid about two weeks after that. And most of the 200 people in the audience did not wear masks. So I was pretty careful. I was in the top 1% of people who were social distancing and wearing masks and trying to stay at home when there weren't many people wearing masks and a lot of people weren't taking covid seriously it seemed.

I do not know how I got the Covid. I have been basically quarantining in my house since about March. I would go out shopping once or twice a week or to the post office or to stop in and see my best friend down at his store. But I would always wear a mask when I got out of the car and I would be careful to social distance. So who knows how I got it. Maybe somebody who had Covid sneezed and one minute later I walked through it and that’s where it came from.

Now the interesting thing is I knew I got it almost right away. I monitor my health pretty closely. I have been doing this for several years. I keep a daily chart and I write down my weight, my O2 level, my temperature, and my blood pressure so I notice any changes in any of my vital signs right away.

I Get Covid

On November 24 I felt a little fever so I measured my temperature and it was 101. I kept checking my temperature on an hourly basis and it stayed above 100 for four or five hours. Then it dropped back down to normal and I didn’t really think anything about it.

I called my doctor the next day and told him that I had noticed that temperature rise and he told me to go in and get a covid test and so I did and it came back positive two hours later.

My doctor sent me over to our local hospital and I had some x-rays taken of my chest. They were looking for viral pneumonia. While I was at the hospital I started feeling lightheaded and I started to hear a ringing in my ears. I felt like my blood pressure was falling so I sat down and after they finished my x-ray I asked them to get me a wheelchair and took me out to my car and I was able to drive home safely. It is the first time in my life I have asked for a wheelchair but I just didn't feel right. I don’t know it was if I felt bad because of the Covid or if I was just coming to the realization that I might have Covid.

You can see the photograph of me sitting at the dining room table 3 days after I was diagnosed with covid and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m not really feeling sick. I’m feeling like hey maybe I’m one of those guys who is asymptomatic or hardly has any symptoms at all. I still had my appetite. Food still tasted good. I was up and around and paying bills and doing stuff around the house. But that wasn’t gonna last much longer.

About four days in, I started feeling weak. I didn’t feel like getting up out of bed in the morning.

I lost my appetite. Food really held no allure for me. I just didn’t feel like eating and I didn’t eat. For some reason I was able to eat Jell-O and I guess I ate Jell-O for about two weeks. But covid knocked me on my ass. I was laying in bed all day long. I was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day.

Luckily that’s as bad as it got. I was very fatigued and tired but I did not feel unwell. I was able to keep my food down. My stomach was not really upset. My stool was regular. I was getting up to urinate about 20 times a day. I wasn't drinking that much so I don’t know where that came from. But I spent about three weeks in bed and for two of them I couldn’t of got out of bed it would’ve taken a fire for me to get out of the house.

How I Felt

Covid Surivivor: This Photo was taken three weeks into covid. At this point I had taken to my bed. I am sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day and I am having the terrible nightmares every night.

I was spending each day spitting up phlegm. The mucus in my lungs was attacking the virus like white blood cells defending the body. And they would engulf the virus and I was expelling the mucus and the dead virus.

The mucus was green. The mucus was red. Some days the mucus was blue. I saw yellow mucus. I was getting up and getting in my hot tub to kind of jiggle my body around to break the mucus up so I could spit it out.

The covid was not particularly unpleasant. Even when I was spitting up the phlegm it wasn't particularly disagreeable. But keep in mind that I was in pretty good shape before I got the covid and I had good lung capacity. For the past year I’ve been doing treadmill twice a week and getting myself into the aerobic zone for 40 minutes each session and so I had good endurance and good lung capacity.

If I had not been in that good of shape it would have been a lot more difficult for me to breath. At no point did my oxygen level drop below 90%. That was the danger point. My doctor told me if my oxygen level dropped that low I should go to the emergency room. I wanted to avoid that at all costs. My late wife was a doctor and always told me to stay out of the hospital. That's where people go to die, she would say.

I had significant weight loss. I have weighed about 206 for the past 10 years for a BMI which is at the high end of normal for my 6'4" frame.

I lost my desire to eat with covid. It wasn’t that food nauseated me or made me feel ill. Food just held no attraction for me. I would eat a little Jell-O every day and that was fine but I had no desire to eat anything more substantial.

I dropped 25 pounds. My weight went from 206 to 178. I didn’t have a loss of taste or smell. I could still taste my food. I just had no desire to eat it.

Another symptom that I had was bleeding gums. I went into brush my teeth one day and when I looked in the sink it was filled with blood. I looked at my gums and they were bleeding and they looked like they were receding and I got kind of scared about that. I called my dentist about it and he called me back later and said he done some research and he couldn’t find any connection between Covid and bleeding gums.

He prescribed some special mouthwash for me which I already had and I started using that instead of brushing my teeth and I think that kept my gums from bleeding more.

The other thing I did is start taking megadoses of vitamin C. I was taking 1000 mg three times a day.

I remembered how sailors used to get scurvy because they didn’t get enough vitamin C and they had bleeding gums so I figured what do I have to lose. I don’t know if it was the placebo effect but after about two days of Vitamin C my gums stopped bleeding. I was able to get a soft bristle brush so I could brush my teeth without irritating my gums a lot. When I told my doctor about this he sent me in for some blood test he said it’s possible that I am low on my platelets or that I have some impaired liver function.

Wrestling With the Devil

Now here’s the strangest part of my story. I was in bed sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day for about two weeks. I started having nightmares every night. These are the nightmares where you can't wake up and you’re drowning and you are gasping for your last breath of air. You feel like you are dying and you wake up and your lungs are heaving and you’re bathed in sweat.

I had these nightmares every night like clockwork. They were terrible and I began to dread falling asleep. I know that I was not in my right mind while I had the nightmares. The nightmares were so realistic that they felt like hallucinations.

I began to carry on conversations with my father who has been dead 20 years and with my wife who has been dead for three. That part wasn't scary. I knew it wasn't really happening but I just went with the flow.

Every night I would relive five years of my life. I started out in grade school and remembered the kids that were sitting next to me in first grade and the teachers and the bullies and I would be reliving that and seeing the people that I knew. A lot of them are dead now.

They were confronting me. They were asking me what I was doing with my life. I relived the mistakes I made in my life. It was very intense. I worked through my life five years a night and at the end of 14 days I had reached age 70 and I felt like I had revisited my whole life.

I felt like I was wrestling with the devil. Poeple would come out of the past and accuse me terrible acts. I felt like my life was being judged. Everyone makes some mistakes in their life. I felt like I was on the witness stand answering for my life decisions. I met lots of people who had been in my life 20 or 30 or 40 years ago who were dead now.

I’ve made mistakes in my life and I had to confront my mistakes and atone for them. But feeling like I was going to die put things in a different perspective and let me think about things that have happened to me in my life in a different way. I talked to my father who died 20 years ago and we finally worked everything out and I understood him and he understood me. I talked to my wife who died three years ago and she told me that it wasn’t my fault that she died and that there was nothing I could have done to save her and that she wanted me to go on living and to live my life for both of us. I felt the guilt and the anger about her death melt away.

At the end of my 14 day trial I felt a profound spiritual cleansing. I felt like I had been born again. I felt like I had left the baggage from my 71 years of life behind me and that now I can start to live a new life. From now on I am just do what is important. If there is one good thing that came out of the covid it was this. It gave me a chance to look at my life and re-evaluate it.

Now I'm only going to do the important things and I think that those are the things that I love and the things that bring me and my family and friends joy and pleasure and uplift us. I talked to my son and daughter about what I had gone through and how I had come out on the other side.

Life can still be full of surprises. Who would have thought that getting covid would give me a spiritual purification and the impetus to change my life. I would never have imagined it. But it happened.

Getting Well

Covid Surivivor: This Photo was taken six weeks after I got covid. I am now diagnosed at this point as virus free.I dropped 25 pounds. Iactually feel great. The weight loss is something I needed. I just have to keep it off now.

I am on the mend now. Four days ago I forced myself to get up out of bed and put some clothes on. That was good for me. And then I went out and ran a couple of small errands. And two days ago I drove over to Pawhuska to see the status of a statue that they’re working on for me at the Bronze Horse Foundry. It was a 2 Hour drive over and back and it wore me out and when I got back I went to sleep for three or four hours.

I went in for some blood tests late last week and the doctor says I am virus free. He says that I have covid anti-bodies so I now have immunity. There is some controversy in the medical community about how long immunity lasts but it seems the general consensus is at least 3 to 6 months. The will keep me safe long enough to get the vaccine. And I have been told that the immunity that get from developing your own anti-bodies is better than what you would get from a vaccination but I don't know how true that is.

I shaved my beard off after I got the news. I don't know why exactly but I felt like I wanted to mark the end of my ordeal some way. But I hate shaving so I started growing another full beard right away and it is coming in nicely.

I’m getting stronger every day. I’m feeling better every day. I went out and got some carry out and I’m eating again and I am up to 183 pounds which is probably where I’d like to stay. I feel good. No, I feel great. I don’t miss those 25 pounds. It’s like the baggage that I’ve left behind for my new life. I’ve left behind all the old guilts and ambitions and I’m only going to do what’s important from now on.

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About the Author

Hugh and Dr. S. J. Pickens
Dr. Pickens married Hugh Pickens on December 24, 1984 with whom she recently celebrated 32 years of marriage.
Pickens Museum opens on NOC Tonkawa Campus. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum, and Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College)

Hugh Pickens (Po-Hi '67) is a physicist who has explored for oil in the Amazon jungle, commissioned microwave communications systems across the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia, and built satellite control stations for Goddard Space Flight Center in Australia, Antarctica, Guam, and other locations around the world. Retired in 1999, Pickens and his wife of 33 years moved from Baltimore back to his hometown of Ponca City, Oklahoma in 2005 where he cultivates his square foot garden, mows seven acres of lawn, writes about local history, photographs events at the Poncan Theatre, produces the annual Oklahoma Pride series with his wife at Ponca Playhouse, and recently sponsored the first formal dinner in the Marland Mansion in 75 years. Pickens is presently in the process of planning the construction of an Art Museum in Northern Oklahoma. Pickens can be contacted at hughpickens@gmail.com. Pickens is a covid survivor.

Personal Statement

Most days you will find me sitting in my easy chair with an HP laptop in front of me. I enjoy intellectual pursuits: studying, writing, reading, researching, analyzing, and predicting. During my off time I like riding the backroads of Oklahoma in my hot rod, working out, watching old movies on TCM, playing games like chess or dominoes, participating in community theatre, and, my secret pleasure, reading trashy detective novels by John D. MacDonald. I enjoy theater and concerts and I go to NYC several times a year to see Broadway shows and visit galleries and museums.

Pickens' Publishing

In 1996, Pickens edited and published My Life In Review: Have I Been Lucky of What?, the memoirs of Jack Crandall, professor of history at SUNY Brockport. Since 2001 Pickens has edited and published “Peace Corps Online,” serving over one million monthly pageviews. Pickens' other writing includes contributing over 2,000 stories to “Slashdot: News for Nerds,” and articles for Wikipedia, and “Ponca City, We Love You”. Pickens has written the following articles available on his wiki at Research and Ideas.

History and Biography

I enjoy doing in-depth research on one person and writing a detailed biography of lesser known events or figures. I like to find someone, an artist, a politician, a former Peace Corps Director, or an Oklahoman, that I like and am interested in learning more about them and writing their biography from scratch. I started and filled out dozens of biographies when I wrote for Wikipedia back in the stone age in the early 2000's when they were getting started. But Wikipedia became too bureaucratic and political for me so now I research and write biographies on my own mediawiki platform. (I only make anonymous edits to Wikipedia now usually on the discussion pages.)

Science and Technology

I have a degree in physics from SUNY in 1970 and have worked in science and technology my entire career. I have held such disparate jobs as Geophysical Observer on a geological survey crew in the amazon jungle, running a portable hydrocarbon detection laboratory on an oil rig, systems engineer for the microwave communications system and supervisory control system on the 800-mile long Trans-Andean Pipeline, independent contractor to Collins Radio in 1979 installing, commissioning, and testing microwave repeater stations all over Saudi Arabia, military advisor to the Royal Saudi Navy on naval communications, navigation, and fire control systems (1980 - 84), project engineer, then project manager for Bendix Fields Engineering (later becoming AlliedSignal Technical Services, then Honeywell Technical Services) from 1984 until my retirement in 1999.

Business and Investing

I am a speculator and enjoy designing and executing trading strategies that exploit market inefficiencies through my assessment and evaluation of information asymmetries, market psychology, and human emotion. Over the years I have put together several open-source histories of companies I am interested in including micro-caps that I have invested in.

Ponca City, Oklahoma

I was born and grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, a town of about 25,000 somewhat isolated in North Central Oklahoma (a two hour drive to the nearest metropolitan areas in Tulsa, OKC, and Wichita.). After I left Ponca City to go to college, I worked overseas and on the East Coast for 30 years. But my wife and I came back to Ponca after our retirement in 1999.

Ponca City is an interesting amalgam of historical developments including being being founded and created from scratch during and after the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893, becoming an oil boom town in the 1920's, home of the "Palace on the Prairie" built by oil magnate E.W. Marland, home to Conoco's R&D facility employing hundreds of Phd.'s in the 1950's, 60's and 70's giving Ponca a character of a university town, and finally the continual influence of Native American tribes on our history especially the Ponca tribe and Osage Nation. Some interesting articles I have researched and written about Ponca City include:

Pickens Museum

I plan to build a 15,000 ft2 art museum here in the heartland in the next few years. In the meantime I am exhibiting art in three locations: City Central in Ponca City, at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, and here in a 10,000 ft2 facility at my home.

Art

Peace Corps Writing

I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru from 1970 - 73 working with the Peruvian Ministry of Education teaching high school science teachers how to build lab equipment out of simple, cheap materials. In 2000 I started "Peace Corps Online" to document the work volunteers are doing around the world both during and after the Peace Corps Service. I ran the web site for ten years and posted about 10,000 stories. Even though the site is no longer active, I still get over 50,000 monthly pageviews.

Personal

Phillips 66

Conoco and Phillips 66 announced on November 18, 2001 that their boards of directors had unanimously approved a definitive agreement for a "merger of equals". The merged company, ConocoPhillips, became the third-largest integrated U.S. energy company based on market capitalization and oil and gas reserves and production. On November 11, 2011 ConocoPhillips announced that Phillips 66 would be the name of a new independent oil and gasoline refining and marketing firm, created as ConocoPhillips split into two companies. ConocoPhillips kept the current name of the company and concentrated on oil exploration and production side while Phillips 66 included refining, marketing, midstream, and chemical portions of the company. Photo: Hugh Pickens all rights reserved.

For nearly 100 years oil refining has provided the bedrock of Ponca City's local economy and shaped the character of our community. Today the Ponca City Refinery is the best run and most profitable of Phillips 66's fifteen worldwide refineries. The purpose of this collection of reports is to provide a comprehensive overview of Phillips 66's business that documents and explains the company's business strategy and execution of that strategy.

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