I have been reporting on the coronavirus in New York since January 18.
By February 21-25, when the CCP government was fighting the wet disease hard in China, coronavirus had already been spread to the world. South Korea’s cases soured and Italy imposed a lockdown. The US government formed a Special Task Force to deal with the coronavirus spread.
On March 1, Donald Trump was quick to shut off all flights from China. Unfortunately, he did not do the same for flights from Iran, Italy, and other European countries at the same time. The virus soon spread to many parts of New York.
I had a shared office at 26 Broadway right in the heart of Manhattan. In two months and a half, I have lived in Jersey City, Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Flushing.
Although I have paid rent until the end of April, I retreated from my Manhattan office on the 10th of March and stayed in an Airbnb suite in Brooklyn; later I moved to a safer place in Flushing for 21 days.
In addition to my daily reporting, I have been paying attention to TCM drugs in dealing with the disease and doing some research about it.
I know that coronavirus is a wet disease and the solution is hot medicine.
Dr.Ye Tianshi, a famous medical scientist in the Qing Dynasty, talked about the similar pandemic in his Discussion of Warm Diseases and the ways to deal with it.
According to Dr. Ye, this kind of pneumonia relates closely to water rather than fire. That’s why it is called a wet disease. It has a longer incubation period but only incurs a lower fever.
When the warm disease comes, it attacks from under and will soon reach the lungs. Then it turns around to attack the heart. If we can have the patient stop the virus to go upwards to attack the lungs and dissolve the wet substances with hot ingredients, then it won’t be able to do harm to the heart. And this is the key to fight the disease.
Back to my own story.
I had booked my return flight on April 5 with American Airlines. A week before departure, I checked with AA to confirm that there was a minor change to the departure time but the flights were not canceled.
At 12:00 am on April 5, I checked out my room and started to leave Flushing for JFK Airport. It was very difficult to find a taxi or Uber, so I took the subway with a transit back in Manhattan.
When I arrived at Times Square Subway Station, it was about 1:15 pm. I wanted to go to the toilet and thus I left the train at the station. Upstairs, I tried to go to the public toilet but it was closed. I tried the lift, wanting to go to the third floor for the toilet, but the lift was closed too. I immediately felt that I was very stupid not to think of this ahead of time.
I looked around the subway places, it was like hell. The plight brought to this brightly illuminated hub of New York by the CCP virus was so real and alive.
I went back to the train and continued my journey to the airport, without going to the toilet. When I sat and looked around, I found in and outside the train mainly tramps and beggars. I gave out my last one-dollar note to a beggar. Although mask on most of the time, I had a sense then I might be infected in and around there.
Because I had to wait for a longer time than usual for the train to move forward, it was almost 3:00pm when I arrived at the departure terminal of JFK International Airport.
The terminals were all empty and the whole area looked like a deserted place.
After I checked in from the machine and sat in the waiting room, I had the idea that I should have two boarding cards instead of one. When the machine asked me my destinations, both Dallas and Sydney showed up and I chose yes. But only one ticket was printed out. I checked with the counter staff and was told I should be given another boarding card on arrival at Dallas. I was much at ease and sat back watching TV.
The flight departed on time at 6:00pm. The Boeing 787 with over 300 seats looked just empty with only 5 passengers and about 8 attendants.
It was 9:07pm local time when I arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. I wasted no time to contact the AA customer service and was told to go to Gate D14 for Australia flights. According to schedule, my flight from Dallas to Sydney should be 10:15 pm.
When I went to D14, I saw nobody waiting and there was no sign of anyone working around. Airport shops were closed, and people, though in a small number, were leaving.
I asked the airport staff around me and was told all international flights were canceled. I went back to the AA counter and two ladies were still on duty. They checked my flight details and confirming that my flight with AA-Qantas link was canceled and there was no possibility of any further flights tomorrow or the following days. They said to me, “International flights are all shut off!”
It was about 10:30 pm and I felt a bit tired. I had no way to go and planned to stay at the airport for the night. I thanked the ladies who were feeling sorry for me, adding “Don’t worry about me! Everyone knows it is an accident. I shall just stay at Gate D 14 for the night”. AA was very kind to offer me a night at Embassy Suites by Hilton together with a taxi voucher. I was lucky to have a place for rest for the night.
After I checked in the hotel, I did not immediately go to bed. It was midnight but Australia time it was Monday morning. I checked the Australia government website and contacted the related department. Although I waited a long time for the hotline, I was able to talk to an official and discussed my situation. She was not able to help or offer any workable suggestions.
Lying in bed, I thought of my way out: in case I was stuck in Dallas, what shall I do? At this time of national lockdown, there is no way I can find a place to live or work for a long period of time. I have only about 3,000 dollars in my bank account and two thousand more to be used in credit. That won’t last long. Even if the hotel gave me another night, I shall not be able to afford to stay in any hotel here in Dallas.
I made up my mind: I would go back to the airport tomorrow and stay there for as long as the international shut-down ends, that I can fly back to Australia with the same flight ticket. With the money left for food, I can just survive at the airport for some time. “Then starting from tomorrow, I will start to work again and continue to write news articles about the pandemic at the airport!” With these thoughts, I went into a deep sleep.
The next morning, when I woke up, I changed my mind.
After breakfast (so kind that breakfast was included in the room voucher), I waited until 9:00am and called the Australian Consulate-General in Los Angeles. The office was closed. Again I called the Coronavirus Support Hotline, and a gentleman answered the phone. I asked if there were any flights back to Australia. He told me to check Qantas website but always an error message came out. He told me to check Google and look for any possible commercial flights. I did that and I was lucky again: 5:45pm the same day from Dallas to Sydney with United Airlines, stops over at Denver and San Francisco! I immediately booked the flight.
At 12:00am I checked out of the hotel and took the hotel shuttle bus back to the airport. The driver was kind and talkative. He said it had been five to six days that the sky of Dallas looked misty and that was rare. There were already over 3,000 confirmed cases in the city and everywhere looked quiet and empty. We exchanged information on the pandemic and I told about the crimes of the Chinese Communists bringing about the disasters all over the world. He wished me well and safe with my flight home.
I waited five hours at Dallas airport which was mostly empty with those similar restrictions.
For the first two hours, I was the only passenger sitting at the departure Gate. I retreated to some corner floor and meditated for half an hour or so.
After two hours, three more people joined the waiting.
Suddenly, I felt I needed to go to the toilet. It was diarrhea, in a small amount. I thought I just went to the toilet in the morning. This is something different, exceptional.
After the toilet, I felt weak and sat back on the chair. When I felt my legs, I felt the muscle there in pain, which was abnormal.
I looked for something to eat. There was one and only grocery store open. I bought two chocolate bars and a water.
Two hours before departure, a total of six passengers were waiting. I stood up and had a walk-around, with my mask on.
As I walked along, I felt some sore throat and some drought in my throat, later a pressing chest and a bit of short of breath, no coughs. I drank some orange. The symptoms soon subdued.
Suddenly I felt numbness in my tongue and my mouth. I was kind of shocked and my heart beat faster. I felt something was coming: I must be infected with coronavirus!
I bought another orange juice and two more chocolate bars because there would be no meals served during the flight.
For the last hour waiting at the departure gate, I was a bit nervous. I thought of giving up the flight and reported to the airport authorities right away that “I am infected, please give me a test.”At the same time, I kept a distance from anyone and always had my mask on.
I thought if I was admitted to hospital in the US, time would go very long and things would be more unexpected. But back to Sydney, I still had at least 30 hours to go and anything would happen during these long flights.
I finally decided to go on with the flights and proceed to the next journey. And I prayed in mind to Amitabah Buddda to give me the courage and strength!
I arrived in Sydney the following day. Like all passengers, I was requested to go into hotel quarantine for 14 days.
When I checked in the hotel in Sydney CBD, I felt symptoms of COVID-19 and thus I started to try to treat myself with herbal medicine, with the help of my family members who made the preparation and delivery under my instruction.
For the coronavirus pneumonia, my understanding is that it is a winter plague and wet plague rather than a fire plague. I remember these words of Dr. Ye Tianshi of the Qing Dynasty, “When the virus comes, it first attacks the lungs, and then reversely the pericardium.” He said as long as we can prevent the wet virus to attack the lungs, and the evil is detoxified and eliminated, early cure is possible.
I did not have a fever. I did not have a dry cough or a heavy head. But my tongue is basically white with greasy coating. I had loose and smelly stools, and I felt some fatigue and chest tightness.
I was not taking risks. I prescribed the following:
桂枝10g 人参10g 白术10g 藿香10g 厚朴10g 升麻10g 滑石10g 杏仁10g 蔻仁10g 薏仁10g 佩兰10g 茯苓10g 法半夏10g 陈皮10g 板蓝根15g 重楼10g 生姜6g 生黄芪30g 草菓6g 生甘草10g
I felt better after taking the medicine for two days, but the symptoms were still there. The third day, I suddenly felt something striking my heart from under and I felt much uneasy.
I prescribed a second formula:
人参15g 桂枝10g 炙麻黄10g 杏仁10g 紫苏10g 瓜蒌15g 法半夏10g 茯苓10g 陈皮10g 人参10g 葶苈子10g 竹沥20ml 生甘草10g
And a third formula:
西洋参10克(单煎，分两次兑服) 麦冬10克 杏仁10克 紫苏10克 桔梗10克 茯苓10克 法半夏10克 陈皮10克 射干10克 生姜6克 浙贝母10克 生甘草10克 生黄芪30克
I took these medicines inter-chaneably every day according to daily changes of conditions.
After ten days, my tongue color turned red and my stools returned to normal. I still felt some chest tightness but it was also getting more to normal.
Two days before I checked out of the hotel, I had a test and the result showed negative of COVID-19. I did not have coronavirus.
But I think the precautions I have taken have helped prevent me from getting the disease.