23 March 2020

When Your Health Turns On You: #Hypothyroidism –– 6: Covid-19 Coronavirus

A touch of Kew Gardens courtesy of Hornsea Writers
For the backstory to this series, see the links at the bottom of the post. 

Note: I’m British and live in the UK. We have a National Health Service, free at the point of access, paid for via our taxes. Your mileage may differ, even if you live in the UK.

When I wrote in Post-5 (28 February) that I’d give an update in a “few months”, I never thought I’d be back within four weeks to the backdrop of a whole new sobering world. But this Covid-19 pandemic is now the evolving “norm” and we need to get on with it.

The good news: I was lucky to get my replacement hip operation before non-essential surgery is/was cancelled. I am currently sixteen days the other side and doing fine.

The warning for anyone with a thyroid disorder: I had a bad reaction to post-operative morphine (Oxycontin) = projectile vomiting and the necessity for a catheter. These reactions stopped when I was dropped to 30mg of Codeine, but I still felt foul. Codeine metabolises into morphine in the liver, either well or badly dependent on how well the thyroid delivers a necessary enzyme. Mmm. Bear in mind that I am considered sub-clinical; my level of hypothyroidism is considered too slight for medication (Levothyroxine). I thought this reaction was just me, but a friend ten years my senior and taking Levothyroxine, and having a hip replacement in another hospital, also suffered: finding it hard to breathe. I know which I’d rather have, but we can’t choose. So be warned. If you find yourself needing surgery in the future ensure you emphasise your disorder. There is a rather bald note on the NHS medicines website, including a list of other health issues where taking morphine is not advisable. While in hospital I had expected the U2 nodules on both lobes of my thyroid to swell due to the trauma of the operation and subsequent medication, but thankfully that didn't happen. I'm grateful for small mercies.

Vitamin-D and Covid-19: readers of this series will know that I suspect Vitamin D deficiency to be the smoking gun behind the onset of my Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. It is well known that people with a thyroid disorder need their Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folic and Ferritin levels to be more than halfway along each individual range. My Vitamin D level is nowhere near, but I am working on it.

In the last few days I have been pointed to the YouTube channel of Dr John Campbell, a retired A&E nurse with a phd who taught student nurses in the NHS. He’s a straight-talking no-nonsense individual who is excellent at turning medical jargon into easy to understand layman’s language, complete with diagrams as necessary, and he’s been watching the upsurge of this Coronavirus since January. His video Vitamin D and Immunity is well worth a watch by anyone, as are his Reducing Fever, Good or Bad and Reducing Fever Part 2.

Social-Isolating or Self-Isolating: I am in an at-risk group and there’s no point whining about it: Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder, I have high blood pressure, and my body is busy trying to make up for the inevitable blood loss incurred during my hip replacement. Being thirteen months below the arbitrary 70 years of age at risk group deemed by the UK Government will not help me at all. Therefore we have been self-isolating since I returned from hospital, and this will continue. We are also lucky enough to have Son able to shop for us. Not everyone will be in this position but we are, and we intend to do our utmost not to add to the rising strain on our National Health Service. It’s the least we can do, not just for ourselves but for everyone.

Finally, a smile: the image of the flowers which heads this post. The lilies were delivered to my house as tight buds by Hornsea Writers while I was in hospital. Over the intervening days they have slowly unfurled into these amazing multi-coloured blooms which now grace the dining table where my laptop currently sits. I only wish this were a scratch-n-sniff post as the scents are spectacular. It is like sitting among the exotic flowers of Kew Gardens. Many thanks Hornsea Writers; you are stars!

If you want to look at what Kew has to offer, visit remotely The Gardens.

Stay safe. And keep washing your hands!

When Your Health Turns On You #Hypothyroidism series:

1: Symptoms
2: Vitamins & Minerals
3: Blood Tests
4: Vitamin Co-Factors & the Microbiome
5: Functional Medicine & YouTube