September 27, 2023

COVID 2023

By Curt Swarm

I thought it was allergies, after all, it’s late summer and I’d been planting grass seed in a bare spot our landscaper left us, and had been tilling up the dry soil. My left eye kept watering so badly I could hardly see. The next morning my sinuses were burning, so I decided to scrap my usual aerobic exercise. Why push it?

But I could mow. Once again my left eye was tearing so badly I had to keep it closed while mowing, which was tricky on a zero-turn mower. But I got’r done, by golly. I’m a guy who finds a way. The grass clippings were really bothering me, I thought, as I was coughing my head off.

That night, I had body aches so bad I could hardly sleep. What’s going on? Maybe I had one of those summer colds that can be a nightmare in hot weather.

The next morning, I couldn’t stop sneezing. Ginnie said, “Maybe you’d better stay inside today, huh?”

Just then, I got a call that the folks in Danville were unloading a German rail car at the Holocaust Museum. If I wanted to get pictures, I’d better hurry. Ginnie said, “You can’t go as sick as you are.”

I said, “The worst thing I can do is lay around and feel sorry for myself. Let’s go.”

We went, and I got some great pictures. I was introduced to people and was shaking hands all around.

That night, I could hardly breathe. I took a decongestant. I noticed an email from a church friend I’d just been in a meeting with earlier in the week. The person had tested positive for COVID, with symptoms exactly like mine. Uh, oh.

The next morning I had Ginnie get the COVID test out, and I stuck the swab up my nose. The test pegged positive almost instantly. Cripes! Then it was calling all those people I’d shaken hands with the day before. More people at church were turning up positive also, including the pastor.

I thought we’d pretty much gotten through the COVID pandemic, but I guess not. Shows-to-go-you, evil never goes away entirely. It just hides, and then sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it.

If there’s a silver lining to this, I used the isolation time to get things done. I replaced the batteries in all four of our smoke detectors. On the Empty Nest Farm there is plenty to do outdoors in the wide open spaces: pick tomatoes, mow, water the garden.

I’ve been working on a nomination for a doctor friend of ours for Physician of the Year in the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP). It’s a lengthy process and time-consuming. What better time to work on it.

Double doses of DayQuill® dulled my COVID symptoms considerably.

Then Ginnie and I binge-watched “Quarterback,” an 8-episode Netflix documentary, produced in part by Peyton Manning, about QBs Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota. Outstanding! (Although the cussing hurt my virgin ears.)

For church service on Sunday (very skimpy with no pastor), Ginnie and I attended online—she on her smartphone, me on mine, because she wouldn’t get near me. The two phones were out of sync, which drove Ginnie nuts, causing her to escape to the bedroom. Every time I got near her she held out the cross sign with her two index fingers. So far she has remained immune to the virus this second time around. Amazing. She never gets what I have.

I viewed the pictures I took of the German rail car being unloaded at Danville. In my state of mind, the rail car being lifted by a crane reminded me of a casket. However, I’m not dead yet, and sure I’ll live to write another day.

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