Struck by Covid-19: What you can do to help yourself

IIn my earlier article The Long March Against Covid-19I wrote that my initial reaction towards Covid-19 was “don’t bother about it – don’t get involve”. What woke me up to this issue was when a friend from Indonesia wrote to say that he was down with Covid-19 in spite of being vaccinated. I was really sad to hear the news and prayed that God takes care of him. With God’s blessing he came out of the hospital alive but was extremely tired (due to Long Covid symptoms). Then, I got another message from my cousin brother in Kelantan. He survived Covid-19 but ended up with “kidney failure” and wanted me to prescribe him herbs.

Then I received an email from an Indonesian patient who wrote:

  • Selamat malam dok, saya terpapar Covid-19. Sekarang saya mau obat dokter, karena batuk. Apakah ada obat buat saya. (Evening doc, I was exposed to Covid-19. Now I need herbs for my cough. Do you have any herbs for me).

I replied to this patient three times but did not get any reply. What happen?

Then there was this message from a friend.

  • Today my brother’s son (let’s call him Jimmy – not real name) is to be cremated in the crematorium without a single loved one present. He died of Covid after 3 weeks of home quarantine for stage 2 infection.
  • Since he was considered young (late 30s), there’s no bed for him in the hospital. The hospital was choked full.
  • Jimmy tried the private hospital and was told that he had to pay RM50k up front which he didn’t have.
  • The illness seemed to be quite deceiving. Jimmy’s 18-year-old son was also tested positive but recovered. The father, however, only showed severe breathing problem 3 days ago.
  • By the time the ambulance came Jimmy was already gone, leaving a wife and 3 children behind.
  • The worrying part is Jimmy’s 15 year-old-plus daughter who is also tested positive and was not be able to get a bed in the hospital.

    This message made me real sad and sick. I knew Jimmy since he was a baby. His parents are our friends for years.

Then, I received more emails from my Indonesian friend.

Thu, Jul 15: The last two weeks, some of my friends at church and also my aunties got infected. They were not treated by hospital since the hospital were full. Two days ago I got information that most of them are in recovering process, but my auntie passed away. At about the same time my colleague at office was also infected by Covid, I have not got any information about her yet.

Then on 21 July, I received yet another email saying that another aunty had Covid-19. Let us call her Mary (not her real name). This is Mary’s story in more detail.

  Email (date)    What happened
  Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 2:08 PM      These last two days, I was busy helping my other auntie (Mary) who was also infected by corona virus and could not be admitted to hospital since all hospital beds were fully occupied. Her oxygen saturation level dropped to 85 and she needed oxygen. We tried to buy oxygen tank from many pharmacies here but all were sold out. So we had to borrow it from those who had it.    I borrowed the oxygen tank (capacity 1 cubic meter) from GKKB Church.   Did she use the oxygen all the time? No, the oxygen only lasted for 3-4 hours. After that we could not get anymore refill. All oxygen refill were out of stock.   After using the oxygen – did her oxygen level improve? Yes, improved. Her oxygen saturation increased to normal range around 95-96.  
  Reply from Chris  For your auntie  — you can ask her to try the first formula, Ko-Gen. This formula is meant for people like her. Of course you need oxygen to help her but while going around  hunting for oxygen, take the herbs at the same time. Within 2 days we will know the result.  
  Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 2:25 PM    Okay Dr Chris,  I’m gonna ask her daughter first, since she is quite old and her daughter even finds it difficult to ask her to take doctor’s medication. Hope she is willing to take the herbal concoction.  
  Wed, Jul 21 at 6:08    My auntie wants to try the herbs. I’m going to buy it this afternoon.   
    Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 8:13 PM      Thank you Dr. Chris for the formula. I’ve just bought 2 pack of herb for my auntie and thank God I finally found a Chinese medicine store that can give complete herbs (from the first formula). It cost me exactly the same as the second formula, Rp110.000.  
  Thu, Jul 22 at 1:20      My aunty is around 70 years old. Yes, she is a bit stubborn. Need extra effort to persuade her to take the medication. I’ll check on her this afternoon. Hopefully she is able to take the herbal concoction.   
  Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 12:02 PM    Thank God, yesterday my auntie could drink the herbal  concoction. So today she is going to drink the second packet. And I’ve already bought a third packet for her. Hopefully she can recover soon.    She was already on oxygen before taking the herbs. How was her condition? Her condition was not stable, feeling tired and sometimes had difficulty breathing.    
  Sat, Jul 24, 2021 at 12:36 PM    Just chatted with her daughter. Today, my aunty’s condition is improving.   You mean after taking the herbal tea for only one time, she improved?   After taking the herbs using your formula for 2 days (today is the third day), her daughter told me that: She is not feeling too tired anymore.Her oxygen saturation was stable – around 96-97 (normal). One more thing, when she feels tired, she is not gasping for air anymore. Before that she had difficulty breathing when she was tired. Also today her appetite is starting to come back.Overall her condition is better.    When she was only on oxygen and not on the herbs — did her condition improve? No improvement.   After taking the herbs for 2 times her daughter could see that her condition had improved? Yes.  
    Sat, Jul 24, 2021 at 6:41 PM    I’ve just called my auntie’s daughter, informing her that I’m about to buy the forth packet of herbs. But she told me that my aunty doesn’t want to drink it anymore, because she got bloated stomach.   Was she staying with her daughter? Yes, all the time. When she did not want to take the herbs, her daughter just agreed? Yes. Her daughter did not try to persuade her mother to continue taking the herbs? I’ve already asked her to persuade her, telling her that this is not a choice. But she failed to persuade her mother. You mean her daughter has NO influence over her mother at all? I can say YES. Did the daughter ever believe in herbs? Yes.  
    Mon  July 26    Just for you information, my aunty was admitted to the hospital yesterday after the doctor who came to her house suggested that she be admitted. Her oxygen saturation level dropped to around 85. After 12 hours in the hospital, she passed away.   It’s hard to believe that she was gone so fast. I am still wondering – is it the covid that killed her or other factors. She was not in an emergency condition before being admitted.   If only she continued taking the herbs, I believed she didn’t have to be admitted to the hospital and died there.    Before this — when she took herbs her oxygen was 96-97? Yes. After she stopped taking the herbs, her oxygen went down to 85? Yes. Was she still on oxygen when it dropped to 85? We had no more oxygen to give her. When the oxygen saturation level dropped to 85 – why did her daughter not ask her to take the herbs again? When it dropped to 85, the daughter called the doctor to come to the house, and the doctor asked her to go to the hospital ASAP.   How old is her daughter? 30. Are there any other members of the family with her? No, only two of them. It appears to me that there is only one daughter who is helping – what about other family members. No other family members who stay with her. Only my aunty and her daughter. My uncle already passed away some 20 years ago.   As I know, only I and my sister (as her family members but not living together) are the ones helping my aunty to get vitamins, herbs, oxygen, food, etc. There is still one uncle but he can’t help much since he himself got covid.  
   Note: Mary is the second member in the family who died because of Covid-19. She was 70 years old and she died two days ago.   Did she get the covid from your other aunty who died earlier? No, they lived in different places. This other aunty died of covid on 11 July 2021. She was 91 years old.     You wrote that there is another uncle who also had covid. You mean this is another relative of yours? Does he want any help? Does he ask for help? No Dr. Chris. This uncle is different. He doesn’t communicate with us (I and my sister) since 1987 when I was 13. Long story. Everything changed when we became orphans.  FYI, my dad passed away when I was 4 and my mom died when I was 13.          

Indeed this is a sad story. What does this story teach us?  There are some lessons!

Lesson 1. Your life is your responsibility. This is my mantra since we started CA Care 25 plus years ago. You can do something to help yourself if you really want to live. Take the case of Jimmy – a 30 plus years old. He only had Category 2 disease and was told to go home because there was no more bed in the hospital. When his disease became serious, it was too late. He died.

Jimmy was home quarantined for 3 weeks. What did he do during this time? It would be too painful for me or also for his parents if I were to ask for more detail. So let us leave it at that. But you need to know that it seems to be the nature of covid that the end comes suddenly and unexpectedly, and within days you die even though before that you seem to appear okay.

Seventy-year-old Mary was also told to go home because she there were no more bed for her in the hospital. Her disease appeared to be more serious. Her nephew did something – went around hunting for oxygen. The oxygen therapy helped her for a while but when there was no more oxygen her condition deteriorated. I suggested that she tried herbs. This is based on what people in China did after being diagnosed with covid. I know that taking herbs is not going to kill anybody. It is better than doing nothing. When I got the feedback that Mary was a fussy lady, I knew our effort in trying to help her will fail. This was a 70-year-old lady (for your information, I am already 77 years old!) and if she was not prepared to “fight” to live, no one else can help her.

Lesson 2. Ignorance kills. Knowledge can heal you! When I learned that patients were told to go home because there were no more bed in the  hospital, that really blew my head off! What are these people supposed to do when they are at home? Is there any protocol or guidebook to tell them what to do at home? Honestly, if I was in that situation, I did not have the slightest clue of what to do either until I sat in front of my computer. It took me a few days to learn how to survive under such condition. Thanks to the internet and the various organisation in the US and UK who put up numerous articles on this subject. In another article I have made a summary of what I have learned. Hope this will help you.

Mary was lucky in that her nephew at least knew what to do. He went around hunting for oxygen. Oxygen is required to help with the breathing problem. Then the nephew used the oximeter to monitor Mary’s oxygen saturation level. He wrote, We usually check our oxygen saturation on daily basis during this pandemic. Covid patients need to check it more often, at least 3 times a day. In Indonesia, many people buy the oximeter at pharmacy or online shop. Since some covid patients died of happy hypoxia (oxygen suffocation), so when we get covid, we are asked to check our saturation using this tool.

The US – CDC –  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, issued the following guideline The Basics of Oxygen Monitoring and Oxygen Therapy during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • People with COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms – from no symptoms to mild symptoms to severe illness.
  • Many people with COVID-19 have low oxygen levels. This is a life-threatening condition.
  • Not everyone with a low oxygen level will have difficulty breathing.
  • So you must regularly monitor the oxygen levels of COVID-19 patients.
  • An oxygen saturation of 95 to 100 percent is normal for healthy children and adults.

Oxygen Therapy.

  • Start oxygen therapy on any COVID-19 patient with an oxygen saturation below 90 percent.
  • The goal of the therapy is to achieve an oxygen saturation of 90 percent. You can discontinue the oxygen therapy when the patient’s saturation remains above 90% after the oxygen is turned off.
  • For patients with physical warning signs, the goal of the therapy is to achieve an oxygen saturation of 95 percent. If a patient’s oxygen levels do not improve with oxygen therapy, they will need more intensive treatment.
  • Oxygen therapy is safe for newborns, children, and adults – including pregnant women.

Oximeter.

  • Monitor the patient’s oxygen levels with the pulse oximeter. Pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation, or percentage of oxygen in the patient’s blood.
  • Place the oximeter on their finger, toe, or earlobe.
  • It’s a painless test and takes less than two minutes.

Mary’s nephew wrote: In Indonesia, many people buy the oximeter at pharmacy or online shop. I also bought it. The cost is around RM15 only. See the photograph below.

Warning signs of a low oxygen level.

  • Trouble breathing,
  • Confusion,
  • Difficulty waking up, and
  • Bluish lips or face.
  • Chest pain that doesn’t go away (in adults).
  • Flare their nostrils, grunt while breathing, or be unable to drink or eat (for children). 

So, to all patients, know that knowledge is important. In the case of covid, it is unfortunate that you don’t have much time. You may just die within days or weeks. So if you need to learn, please learn fast. Unfortunately, many old people are more prone to covid – and such old people cannot learn things easily. At 70, I did not expect Mary to want to learn anything new to heal herself.

Lesson 3. Herbs can help you. If you get covid, please go and see the doctor and ask for help. This is the right thing to do. But if you are told to go home and isolate yourself – then the nightmare begins. You need to do something to help yourself. If you don’t know what else to do to help yourself,  I would suggest that you take some herbs. The Chinese in Wuhan benefited from TCM herbs. Why can’t we also benefit from TCM? Of course, I am biased because I am a herbalist and that is all I know. If you know of any other better way to help yourself, by all means try rather than do nothing and wait for self-recovery or die.

In the news portal you can read about our medical drugs that can help you. I would not comment on these because I don’t know anything about them.

In the case of Mary, she agreed to take the herbs for three days. She got better. Her oxygen saturation level returned to normal. She did not gasp for air anymore when breathing. Her appetite improved. I don’t wish to be bias but ask this question – is this not an improvement? Are you going to say that herbs is not scientifically proven? It is up to you to believe what you want to believe.

Mary stopped taking the herbs, her oxygen level dropped to danger level. She was admitted to the hospital and died 12 hours later. You can make your own conclusion if what was done was a smart move or not!

Lesson 4. We can only help those who want to be helped. After reading the dire state of affairs in our neighbouring countries, one tends to come up with a “romantic” idea that what if I were to make available all those herbs and give them all for free, maybe I would be able to help some to survive. Earn good merit, right? Mary’s case showed me that you cannot help all people – you can only help those who only want to be helped. If the patients do not fully trust you or don’t want to get well or want to get well on his/her terms, it would be a futile effort.

Read more here:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201124/A-review-of-Traditional-Chinese-herbal-medicine-in-management-of-COVID-19.aspx

  • Reflections on treatment of COVID-19 with traditional Chinese medicine

https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-020-00375-1

  • Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine on COVID-19: Two Case Reports

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acu.2020.1432

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine Used With or Without Conventional Western Therapy for COVID-19: An Evidence Review of Clinical Studies

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.583450/full

  • Free Chinese herbs for discharged Covid-19 patients

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/12/06/free-chinese-herbs-for-discharged-covid-19-patients

  • COVID-19 Deaths Plummet With Chinese Herbal Medicine

https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/2062-covid-19-deaths-plummet-with-chinese-herbal-medicine

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine as a complementary therapy in combat with COVID-19—A review of evidence-based research and clinical practice

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jan.14673