A Little Bitty Bug Took Me Down

An old song by Burl Ives is streaming through my mind. I love the lyrics because they are melancholy, and with a slight change of lyrics the song fits my current mood. The song is a Little Bitty Tear. . .

It has been eight days since I tested positive for Covid, and this is the first day I feel well enough to write anything. Mostly I feel nothing but exhaustion. Most likely I will tire myself into a nap by the time i finish this short post. Yes, I am double vaccinated but not boosted. Not that the boost would matter any. All I can believe is that life would be much more miserable if I were unvaxxed.

Looking back on the past days I have come to remember that I have had flu that hit me harder than this thing, and recovered. The Asian flu of 1957 in particular, put me down long enough to have to drop a physics class, and to interrupt my pursuit of an engineering degree. That bout cost me a full year extra of college. The biological difference between Asian and Covid is about sixty-five years. I can truly say that I feel the age effect dragging me down a rabbit hole into another universe.

Covid beat me up and stopped all the projects I had in the fire. In fact, today is the first time in a week that my exercise consisted of walking down the stairs to inspect the “house in a house” project to see where I left off. No doubt, I had worn myself down by pushing hard to complete the job, thus opening the door for the virus to take over. If I out live this event I may even finish the house in a house dream.

Meanwhile, looking out my kitchen window at the 2022 Monet’s Vision I see only unwanted natives overtaking the orderliness of a once manicured garden.

It’s time for the nap.

Many are familiar with the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, commonly known as The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore, but Ottawa resident Tom MacDonald has re-penned it for COVID times.

A COVID Christmas by Tom & Ken MacDonal

‘Twas the night before Christmas, but COVID was here, so we all had to stay extra cautious this year.”

MacDonald, a retired diplomat for Global Affairs Canada, said he isn’t really a poet.

“I like poetry and every now and then, I do something. But it’s usually this sort of poetry that’s supposed to be more amusing than deep,” he said.

“I came in the door one day and saw the masks hanging there by the door frame. And I thought of a line and I just decided to do a riff on the old visit from Saint Nick.”

MacDonald said he wrote the poem “just to amuse my family and a few friends.”

The idea to make it musical came from his brother Ken MacDonald.

“I sent the poem to my brothers and sisters,” Tom MacDonald said. “My brother is very musical, a great piano player, sings in choirs, and a clarinet player. He made the video using my poem.”

MacDonald said he hopes his poem can give a few people a “good chuckle” this holiday season.

A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published anonymously in 1823, and attributed to Moore in 1837.

This poem was written and submitted to us well before the Omicron surge hit Ottawa. We are sharing this with you, as a bit of gallows humour – because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

A Covid Christmas Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake

So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take. 

The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

The ones over 5 had just had their first shots, And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap 

Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

As visions of variants danced in our heads. Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

These Covid mutations that go on and onI thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”. 

Then just as I started to drift off and doze A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stairI opened the door, and an old gent stood there. 

His N 95 made him look pretty weird But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

I kept six feet away but blurted out quick” What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?” 

Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?

Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.

And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

As he started to tell me a long tale of woe. 

He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone

All  his white collar elves had been working from home,

And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!

We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus”. Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.

None of them left to pull on his sleigh.  

He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine, Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

 And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected. With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.

Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.

Every border to cross needs a new PCR. 

Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would beIf children could once again sit on his knee.

He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice

But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.

But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.

When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside. 

Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

 Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E. 

“Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye, 

Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky. 

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

“Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night”.

Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

Of a world when we’d finished with Covid 19.

You Have To Die From Something

I found this post in my drafts box from 2019. I decided it was still worth posting if for no other reason than to remind me and others what the early days of COVID-19 were like.

This morning was a feel good time. The Frankfort Lions, both masked, and socially distanced met at a member’s house to pick up food and gifts to distribute to the less fortunate of our community. I confirmed a very important point at the same time. COVID-19 affects hearing. I found myself moving closer to anyone speaking to me so I could hear what they were saying. Nine times out of ten the speaker would automatically lower his/her mask to talk. I appreciated the effort, but feared the outcome. The virus count in our Township is still above three hundred confirmed cases a day. That is a scary number as far as I am concerned, although it is not as scary as the 14,000 plus confirmed cases reported in Los Angeles County. That sounds like a guarantee for transmission among people.

We Can Always Use a Couple More Hands To Help

While standing around waiting for the members to disperse I spoke with a man who had recently had COVID-19. He is sixty-one years old, generally healthy, and very physically fit. His description of his virus encounter was by far scarier than the numbers I cited above. He had invited his family (he has six kids) to his home to meet his newest grandchild. His daughter who had the baby flew in from England to introduce her child to her grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a big joyous family gathering. The daughter and grandchild left to return, taking the grandmother with them. In his wife’s absence my friend came down with the virus. His caring wife was now three thousand miles away. All alone, he had to fend for himself. He described his symptoms as mainly fever, aches and pains and a general lack of energy. “I existed on soup,” he said, ” and lost thirty pounds in two weeks.” My mental acuity was down, and he explained that he now understands why people in nursing homes and the elderly succumb to the symptoms. “They don’t have the energy to fight the damn thing off, and are very tired so they let go.” He explained that there were days when he too was mentally very low and had little resistance to fight.

Yesterday, I met on Zoom with a couple of Lions, a Kiwanis members and members of AMAN (American Muslims Assisting Neighbors). The AMAN group is proposing that the Lions and Kiwanis facilitate a COVID-19 testing day in the Frankfort area. They promote a traveling team of licensed technicians who would come to Frankfort to test as many people as they can during eight hours. The service would be free to the people, (free as in insurance pays if you have insurance, or State assisted if you don’t.)

My first inclination was to frown upon the venture, but after hearing My Lion friend describe his experience with COVID-19 I am inclined to run with the program. The question I still have is what do we accomplish with testing? If you test negative you know that on the day you were tested you were virus free, but the moment after the test you can still contract the virus and succumb. If you test positive, it means you had better run to a health facility and get help. Many people with whom I have spoken have called their doctor after being exposed and were told “if your symptoms get worse go to a clinic.” In my friends case, the only help he could have gotten was from his wife and she was gone. He was too weak to drive by himself, and probably didn’t have the mental sharpness to call 911. A few people I know who have developed symptoms went to a doctor and were given a medication which helped them quickly and effectively.

I guess the one thing you get from testing is knowledge. Knowing you are a carrier means you must self quarantine and distance yourself from others. Knowing you are negative could mean you are very lucky, or you have been doing a good job of staying clear, and that you can still get it.

Every day I become more and more leery of taking chances, the odds of my getting the virus become greater, especially now that our community has an out break. Each time I get into this mindset I remember what my mother once told me, “you have to die from something.” None of us lives forever, (darn it) and again the odds in favor of my leaving Mother Earth are pretty good every day even if there was no COVID.

COVID Puns

The Shot That Set Me Free

A week ago I received an email message stating that my long awaited appointment for getting vaccinated has arrived. I jumped at the opportunity. The last time I had a problem with a virus was in 1957, and there was no opportunity to be vaccinated. The polio virus had already been ravaging the world for some twenty years and it wasn’t ready to stop. All the public announcements advised us to stay away from crowds, (define a crowd) don’t go to the beach, rest, etc. None of the advice seemed worthy of taking. I did stay away from crowds unless one calls my group of buddies (5) a crowd. I never went to the beach it was ten miles away. I thought I rested as does anyone who sleeps at night and I still got the virus. Maybe I it got from going to church, yes that has to be it. The problem with that argument is that my buddies all went to church too. None of my crowd got polio but me.

It was a good five years before Dr. Jonas Salk invented a vaccine that worked. I never did follow the news to follow the progress of how the world became vaccinated, my immune system was fixed for life. Luckily, I survived and did not carry too many debilitating side effects. When the COVID-19 pandemic began I followed Dr. Fauci’s recommendations to a point. The point was that I would not allow myself to get overly excited about catching the thing and that I would let my own common sense rule my activity.

My appointment was set for 10:15 on a Friday at the Joliet West High School which is about thirty miles away. I set my alarm to get up early, showered and prepared a decent KETO breakfast so I wouldn’t pass out from a low blood sugar. What impressed me was the system that Will County had set up at the school. First of all, let me say that this school is a state of the art machine. Except for being thirty miles from Frankfort, I felt like I was inside Lincoln Way East High School two miles from my house. The staff consisted of Joliet Fire Department EMT’s. There was ample parking at door fourteen and upon arriving I checked in at a desk where a man pointed a thermometer at me head and took my temperature. He fired off a bunch of questions about how I felt and then handed me a short questionnaire asking questions like are you allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. To me that is the dumbest question ever. How in the heck am I supposed to know what is in this vaccine? There was one question that I had to answer yes to, I am allergic to penicillin and had an anaphylaxis reaction to it. With that yes, I got to take that piece of paper with me to the vaccination table. There were ten tables lined up with a strapping young man directing people to the next available technician. He directed me to table ten. I walked to the table where another young man was waiting. I handed him my paper, and proceeded to bare my left arm. “Forgive me if I don’t watch this happen.” There is something about seeing a needle pierce my body that makes me squeamish. He followed with “you won’t feel a thing,” and with that he was placing a piece of tape on the injection site. Not only didn’t I feel anything I felt it was a sham and that I didn’t really get vaccinated. Another big guy handed me a card and told me to carry it with me. It was a record of the vaccine. He also told me that he scheduled my second shot to take place four weeks from the day at the same place. “Go to the other side of the field house and sit for fifteen minutes then you can leave.”

I sat for twenty minutes waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. I walked out but ran into another young guy about six foot tall and all muscle who asked me how I felt. “Okay,” I answered.

“Good, you can leave out the door you came in by.”

I felt exhilarated, happy, loose, I wanted to jump up and kick my heels together. I made it through the year without catching the demon COVID.

I was so relaxed that when I got home, I took a nap.

The following two days I kept feeling all kinds of tingles and tickles and asked myself “is that a side effect?” If they were side effects they were acceptable and very mild. I concluded they were not side effects but my mind playing tricks on me.

Last night I attended a meeting of my senior friends. This meeting has been going on for over five years on a weekly basis. We meet, drink wine and shoot the breeze. It is such a good time we won’t give it up, but we have not met since the last spike of COVID hit in October. Everyone of us was happy to see each other again. To date, only three of us have gotten the vaccination, but more will be getting it soon. That is, if our governor would get off his fat ass and push for it to get done. Illinois is number 47 out of the states in progress toward vaccinating it’s population. At least we aren’t in the bottom three.

Happy days are here again.