I don’t want to milk this endlessly so I’ll start by saying I did get the antiviral in time, no thanks to the central pharmacy, which never called. The morning of Day 4, last Thursday, I woke up with a fever of 100.2, feeling, if not sicker than ever, then certainly no better. I didn’t have the energy to haul myself out of my sweaty bed, so called the doctor’s office from there. I made my case to the woman who answered the phone – I sounded so terrible it wasn’t hard to do – and she put on a triage nurse. But I didn’t need to be told how to take care of my symptoms; I needed the antiviral.

An hour later, the nurse I’d been speaking to over the last couple of days called me. I asked again if it was really true that Dr. V wasn’t allowed to write me a prescription. Yes, she said. Then she suggested I try a different route. “You might be able to get it from a CVS clinic,” she said, and gave me the state website with the link to possible sources of Paxlovid.

An hour after that, I was in the local CVS Minute Clinic being expertly cared for by a Nurse Practitioner, who not only knew what she was doing but also seemed to give a shit about me. She was thorough, she was interested, she was concerned. She listened to my chest (“You do have a wheeze.”), she looked in my ears (“Do they hurt? There’s a fair amount of fluid in there.”), she looked down my throat (“Red.”) and up my nose (I felt bad about that one; yuck). Not only did she give me Paxlovid but she also made me see the wisdom of an albuterol inhaler, something I’ve avoided using in the past. She managed to communicate that I was at risk for serious lung complications. I knew that already, but it’s different when someone actually listens to you through a stethoscope and, without being alarmist, hits you over the head oh so gently to get your attention.

Within the first day of taking Paxlovid, I started getting better. I also doubled my walking, doing 4.7 miles that afternoon and 4.3 the next day. The day after that, I went back to the Minute Clinic. I wanted someone to listen to my lungs. The same nurse was there. “Your lungs are clear,” she said. “You keep up that kind of walking and you won’t need albuterol.”

I can’t tell you how relieved I felt. Also grateful.

Photo by Ruth Neuwald Falcon


  1. Thank you! What an absurd journey to get the medication you should have been given on Tuesday afternoon. Sounds like a new PCP might be in order. And I don’t understand why you weren’t given the CVS referral to begin with. So relieved you’re doing better!! Over 35 years ago I had my first and only case of bronchitis. I didn’t have a doctor, so I chose one on my insurance and she prescribed the wrong med and I almost died. After several days, I literally couldn’t breathe. Wound up going to the ER (on her orders at 6:30 am because she didn’t want to deal with me) where they xrayed my lungs right away, diagnosed the correct bronchitis and gave me the correct antibiotic. Within 24 hours I was 85% better and could breathe normally again. Of course I never went back to this doctor and refused to pay her. She put up a fuss but never really insisted. Our medical system is a mess. I’m sorry you had to go through all that. I wish I had been there to help. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such good news, Ruth! I’m very relieved that you received what was needed. May you feel better and better every day. Sending love your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad to hear you finally got the anti-viral and someone who cared about you as a person not just a bunch of symptoms.
    And that you’re feeling better. It shouldn’t have been that hard

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A big thank you, Ruth. You are an example to follow should I get covid. My natural inclination would be to go to bed and stay there. Not walk 2 miles in my quarters. May you heal rapidly and completely.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so relieved, Ruth. You’ve been on my mind. So glad you finally got the antiviral & are doing so much better. 4.7 & 4.3!!! Yow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Finally, some excellent news about your condition and the positive support you finally were able to obtain, dear Ruth! Your walking those distances after having such breathing problems feels like a miracle to me! Keep up the good health, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you’re on the mend. That sounds miserable. On a different note, I think about you a lot. Mostly I’m jealous because Seattle has continued to go downhill. Best, Andy

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Ruth, for these posts–so characteristically human, as well as demystifying. I am grateful to have your witness to the experience with COVID, as you have been for Chris Cuomo’s.   This round of pandemic seems marked by a widespread weariness of the whole thing, even as there is another upsurge. Among some folks, I hear the sentiment that the best we can do is simply rid ourselves of the unjust tyranny of the mask, do our part in taking our turn to host COVID up close and personally, and then move on. As it happens, in this phase, infection has come closer to me because I am more out and about. So, I have been in the physical presence of people who have tested positive, one a student, another a colleague, and perhaps others.   But I am more intent than ever not to get COVID if I can help it. As an elder who has been watching beloveds die for quite some time now, I am ever more intent to live as long as I am given to do so in the most engaged way possible.   Please know that I take your tending to your healing as a personal gift. It is so good to be in this world with you. Prayers ascending!   Grace, peace, love, Ann

    Liked by 1 person

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