Long-Haul Covid: The Bigger PictureApr 04, 2022 06:05PM ● By Bonnie McLean
Most of us are weary of pandemic living. We’ve been masked, tested, quarantined, immunized and boosted; we’ve treated ourselves or been treated by doctors and hospitals. We’re getting used to the possibility that coronavirus is joining the flu, colds and other viruses we’ve learned to live with.
Long-haul covid is something many people are dealing with. The aftereffects may last weeks, months or even years. Persistent fatigue is a common symptom, as is the loss of taste and smell, which tells us that the virus affects the brain. It’s not unusual to hear about effects on the respiratory or digestives tracts, such as an ongoing cough or diarrhea.
Many sufferers complain of brain fog and memory issues. The heart and blood vessels can be affected. There have also been reports of residual kidney damage and effects on reproductive health.
Since my severe bout with covid in July 2020, I’ve been researching the virus and giving myself the good self-care I’ve long been teaching my patients to give themselves.
Now I do some type of exercise daily—yoga, a workout, or a brisk walk outdoors. I’m back to meditating, and I’m sleeping better. I’m also receiving acupuncture treatments, which can improve covid symptoms and boost the immune system.
I used Chinese herbs during my bout with covid—many herbal formulas have antiviral effects and build immunity—and now I use a formula of reishi and astragalus to keep my immune system strong. Moxa is a Chinese herb that is burned on certain acupuncture points to enhance resistance to attacks from viruses and bacteria.
Since I’ve had covid, my eating habits have become stricter, with a focus on natural, non-GMO foods. I’ve let go of my enjoyment of refined sugar and wheat. I’m staying hydrated, drinking more lemon water and green and herb teas.
Vitamin C, vitamin D3 with K2, and zinc, which I took during covid, are still part of my daily preventive routine. I also have a morning protein shake containing a multivitamin and minerals, a probiotic, and other health-maintaining tinctures, herbs and supplements.
With all the challenges that this pandemic introduced, I can see and have experienced many blessings too. I’ve learned not to take many things—including good health and life itself—for granted. I have an even deeper appreciation for my family, friends and community. I’ve learned to appreciate the value of simply having the energy to get out of bed, see the sunshine, take deep breaths, do my daily chores and go to work.
My priorities have changed. Spending time outdoors, playing with my kitties, and enjoying my friends and patients have become more important than achieving anything or paying bills.
In Chinese Medicine we talk about balancing the two energies, yin and yang. Yang is the active, “masculine” energy: light, movement and warmth, making things happen. Yin is the receptive, “feminine” energy: dark, passivity and coolness, allowing things to unfold. Neither is superior to the other. Our individual health and the health of our environment come from the balance of yin and yang.
For many years now, we’ve been living in a culture that worships the yang. Achievement, competition and making money have been our priorities. Because of this pandemic, individuals, communities, workplaces and the world have all changed. Covid forced us all to slow down, to learn more about the yin side of ourselves and life. We now have a chance to be healthy, as individuals and as a culture.
One of my beloved spiritual teachers, Sandra Ingerman (SandraIngerman.com), has an interesting take on the pandemic. She notes that viruses are more intelligent and passionate about life than humans are. Viruses work together. They create mutations that help them survive and grow stronger. They don’t fight about what color they are or if they agree with political policies. They work together and thrive.
Throughout history, we humans have not been at peace with each other, because our egos are into wielding power, not finding mutual peace and harmony. Ingerman believes that covid has arrived as a teacher, offering lessons about unity, oneness and the power of cooperation and mutual support. We have the opportunity to learn how to have more passion for life as a good defense against viruses.
Makes sense to me!
Bonnie McLean is an acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese Medicine at Empathic Practice, located at 2701 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola, FL. For appointments, call 850-607-1411 or 850-777-3334.