TEMPLE, TX — Karen Pelizzari believes she was on her deathbed after experiencing life-threatening COVID symptoms when she decided to visit Dr. Shelley Cole.
“You feel like your lungs are totally full of fluid, there’s no way to get it out,” Pelizzari said. “Then, they cram a tube down your throat and the tube makes you feel like your choking and you need to cough but you can't, so you just feel like you're dying.”
Desperate for help, Dr. Cole prescribed her hydroxychloroquine, a pill that typically treats malaria.
“We always look for what’s needed in the community,” Cole said. “And COVID was everywhere."
Since the pandemic started, over 200 patients have visited Dr. Cole’s practice to seek treatment for their COVID-like symptoms or in effort to prevent the virus.
“The patients that go at the top of the list are those that are symptomatic and are COVID positive,” Cole said. “Then the prevention ones, we still get to them everyday, but you know we got a pile of them and go through it.”
Dr. Cole said the medication works best alongside a few other things, like vitamin C and D. Most importantly though, zinc.
She also offers a dosage of ozone— a shot of gas up your nose that she said kills the virus in your nasal system that allows you to breathe easier.
“She didn’t panic because I had it, or run from me,” Pellizzari said. “She actually treated me human. [She] gave me the medicine… we went, picked it up, [and] within an hour of taking it, I immediately felt better.”
What once seemed impossible back in April is now Karen’s reality. She’s able to breathe again and has her strength back.
“And he’s still every 15 minutes, ‘are you ok? Do you need anything? You need to try to drink,’” she said, describing her husband’s worries. “You can't even drink because you’re gasping continually for the next breath. But it was just part of it. You fight through it and keep going.”
The CDC has issued a caution against the medication’s use in April, and has since recommended not utilizing the drug, stating “no medication could be recommended for COVID-19, pre or post exposure.”