I’m known among my friends as one of the Covid-cautious ones. I wear at least a KN-95 whenever I’m out in the world, which usually consists of various shopping or medical expeditions. But last Saturday, a new friend (yes, I am starting to make friends here) wanted to take me to her favorite Middle Eastern restaurant/grocery, and then to see some galleries. The restaurant was huge and relatively empty when we got there. By the time we had our food, however, it was filling up, including with a table of at least two dozen unmasked men in close proximity to where we were seated. Pretty much everyone else there was unmasked as well, including us when we were eating, but there was something about that scraping chairs table of testosterone that made me particularly uncomfortable. There was hardly anyone at the galleries and by then we had our masks back on anyway.

I started to feel feverish late on Monday. It only got as high as 99 and I decided to leave the government Covid test in the closet until morning. I didn’t want to know at night. Tuesday morning, the fever had gone up to 101.2 and the test came out of the closet. I was at my doctor’s office by 1:30. It took awhile for the check-in line to move and I kept thinking, “You really don’t want me standing here in your lobby for so long.” I also knew that there was nothing I could do other than wait.

The assistant who went through the usual litany of medications and vitals (though, interestingly enough, she neglected to get my oxygen level) wore a modified hazmat outfit: blue plastic smock and gloves, N-95 mask with a shield over that. She left. I waited. My phone rang. It was my doctor’s office calling. “It’s Doctor V,” came her voice. “Uh,” I said, “I’m in the exam room.” “Yes,” she said, “I know. I just want to minimize the time we need to be in the same room so I thought we’d talk first this way.” Made sense but also made me feel guilty about any time her hazmatted self was in there with me.

With my positive home test and a whole laundry list of symptoms – fever, chills, body ache, skin hurting, nose running, headache – she didn’t bother to test me. “No need to put you through sticking something up your nose again.” I had been told when I made the appointment that I’d need to be tested there but whatever. What was important was that she agreed with me that I needed an antiviral as soon as possible.

I’ve learned a lot about the antivirals since Tuesday, but even then I knew that there was a five-day window from onset of symptoms within which you need to start taking Paxlovid, with its 85% reduction in hospitalizations. I waited for her to ask which which pharmacy I wanted the Rx sent to.

“I can’t give you a prescription,” she said. “It has to go to our central pharmacy. Because it’s in short supply, someone from there will call to triage you and, if they decide you can have it, they will discuss where you can get it.” This didn’t make a tremendous amount of sense to me, including the part about deciding my eligibility, as from everything I knew being over 70 alone qualified me, not to mention my history of pneumonia. “So you can’t just write a prescription?” I asked again. “There’s no other way for me to get it?” She shook her head. “Someone will call you,” she replied.

The last time I did a multi-part blog I was crossing half the country to get to my new city. It’s not the same kind of narrative, but it is a saga of a different sort and I will share it with you over the next couple of days. Now it’s time to put myself to bed.

Photo by Ruth Neuwald Falcon


  1. I’m SO sorry you’re going through this!!! Sending healing thoughts for a speedy process! And love, of course! Marya

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear. What a bad story so far into the over 2 year Covid experiences in this country I sure hope you can get that prescription and heal quickly. It should have been handled much more simply than this!!

    I’ll check on you soon. Love. Viv.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the scariest cliff hanger that I’ve ever read. I’m sorry that you got it, and I hope there’s a remotely happy ending to your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth, sending you lots of love and healing energy. ❤️ I’ll wait as patiently as I can for your next entry. It’s crazy that we have treatment in the form of a pill that’s almost impossible to get.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Ruth, I know you have been super careful and then to have this happen…it is concerning. I am surprised the physician didn’t do a test and then wouldn’t give you a prescription? You should definitely fire her as your doctor.
    I really don’t like the way you were treated. You deserve better medical care.

    I, too, have been super cautious. I haven’t eaten inside restaurants and avoided large groups of people until NOW!!! I decided to. take a chance and drive with my brother and his wife to Nebraska to celebrate with family when my great niece graduates from medical school this week. I knew I would have to eat in a restaurant at some point but NOT EVERY DAY!!! Oy. What was I thinking??? Will I survive this?

    Ruth, you are strong and you will get well again with or without the meds, which I hope you get soon. Keep us posted. You are in my prayers.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my dear friend, this is not the greatest news, but I surely appreciate your sharing all these details with us. I shall look for your next installment when it is available, and I do hope you are not in too much discomfort today or in the days to follow!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds gruesome! So sorry that you are ill. Did your new friend get sick as well? Hope you can get the treatment very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish you a fast recovery. Our family had it over Christmas. Me. very little symptom, Rachel a few days in bed, Jim 14 days in the hospital. He is doing fine now, albeit it took him three months to recover. Take care of yourself and get well quickly,.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve spoken with you and knew some of this, though when I read it in black-and-white, I still can’t make sense of the ridiculous medical system that would not allow a doctor to prescribe the medication. My goodness what is this country coming to? I’m glad you’re feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Ruth,

    So sorry to hear this news. I am hoping you get the antiviral asap. Thanks for letting us know and keeping us in the loop.

    Heartfelt best wishes for an easy trip through this landscape, JoAnn

    Liked by 1 person

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