2024 Life Logs, Day 56: Covid Day 4

2024 Life Logs, Day 56: Covid Day 4
Date: Saturday, February 25, 2024
Weather: Beautiful Sunny but Cold Day; High Temp 32, Low 28 degrees F
Location: At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

Have I only had Covid for four days? It feels more like four months. I have completely lost track of time. But I am feeling better today. When Heather and gang got home at 10:30 last night, she brought over their humidifier, and it really helped me to get a good night’s sleep. And the highlight of today was another Goldstone delivery. The whole family came over after dinner so I could see them through the frosted storm door. I heard the doorbell ring and expected it to be them as Heather said they were coming over. But no one was at the door. Then Shadow discovered the boys making crazy faces at me through the dining room window. Between back surgery recovery and now Covid, I haven’t seen a lot of them in 2024, but hopefully by next week we can be back to normal.

2024 Life Logs, Day 55:  Covid Day 3

2024 Life Logs, Day 55:  Covid Day 3
Date:  Saturday, February 24, 2024
Weather: Overcast, Rain Overnight; High Temp 47, Low 17 degrees F
Location:  At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

The sky is crystal clear tonight, giving the perfect backdrop for the full moon.  I was just out with Shadow and got to see the full moon in all of its splendor, but I didn’t stay out long.  It is 28 degrees F outside, but Weather Underground says it feels like 18 degrees.  There’s not that much wind, but it is coming from the north, and it really feels chilly out there.

Day 3 of Covid was the worst yet.  I barely slept last night.  Every hour, a cough would wake me up, and then I would spend what seemed like the better part of the next hour trying to get back to sleep.  Then I’d cough again, and the cycle would start all over.  When I got up this morning, I felt really awful.  My temp was 101, so after taking Shadow out for his morning constitutional, I got in the shower in the hopes that would bring my temp down a bit.  It did, but I still felt awful.  I washed my hair, so I laid down on the living room sofa (with Shadow on top of me) to let it dry and didn’t wake up until almost 2 o’clock.  I still felt awful, but I knew I would feel better if I took Shadow out for a walk.  I needed to braid my hair first, and I could barely do that.  It is the first time in my adult life that I have thought about cutting off my hair.  But I was finally able to get it braided, and then went out with Shadow to make our quarter of a mile walk.  When I came in, I ate lunch, and laid back down again.  This time I didn’t wake up until 7 pm.  It’s almost 10 pm now, and I am ready for another long winter’s nap.  I am feeling better than I did this morning, so I’m hoping tomorrow morning will be even better.  This strain of Covid is miserable, but I know it could be worse. At least I can breathe, and I do not have incessant coughing.  So, I’m counting my blessings and hoping today was the worst day and that it will be uphill or at a plateau from here.

2024 Life Logs, Day 54: Covid Day 2

2024 Life Logs, Day 54: Covid Day 2
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024
Weather: Overcast with Rain in PM; High Temp 45, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

Day before yesterday, I was so happy that my recovery from the back surgery was going so well and that soon I could begin an exercise regime. Then yesterday, Covid hit and my body has been sent for a loop. I can only walk to the end of the block and back and that is only two tenths of a mile. My right knee was giving me fits before, but today I could hardly walk on it. I did make it to the end of the block, but it was not easy. Even my back is hurting when I walk, which must be Covid related as it happened yesterday for the first time since the surgery. And I feel just terrible, but thankfully not so bad that I can’t carry on with daily chores. So, I was elated when I got some videos and photos from Heather of their fun the past two days. If I can’t get out there and do fun things, at least I can live vicariously.

Yesterday the Goldstones tried something new. They went into the backcountry of Bolton Valley on splitboards.

They went out and up and then rode back down. I had no idea what a splitboard was, but Heather’s description was that it is literally a snowboard cut in half like skis. Then today they all did downhill skiing at Bolton Valley. Heather explained that they spent a fair bit of time together, but that she would go down the side of the park from time to time to get photos. She got a great photo of Jonah coming over a ski jump.

Then when they got back to their rental and the other boys were in the shower, Ollie was out back cross-county skiing.

They are all exhausted, so no skiing tomorrow. They might go to Montpelier to check out the UVM campus and then head home.

2024 Life Logs, Day 53: Covid Strikes Again

2024 Life Logs, Day 53: Covid Strikes Again
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2024
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High Temp 36, Low 35 degrees F
Location: At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

During the night, I woke up with chills and body aches. This was obviously not the allergy reactions I have been having this week. I guess it is possible that those symptoms were the beginning of Covid, but I don’t think so. When I got up, the first thing I did was do a Covid test. The top line was so light I cold barely see it, but the bottom line was purple. I’ve never seen a purple line before, but I know it is possible. But I did a second test just to make sure. It came out just the same. So far, it is a light case. I feel good enough to walk a quarter of a mile with Shadow, but no further as back pain starts. I have a sniffly nose, a very low grade temperature, aches and pains all over, and chills from time to time. Coughing has not started and I can only hope it stays away. I called my doctor to see if I could get Paxlovid, but they are using a new service called Bright.md SmartExam where you have to go through an online question and answer grilling about your medical history. I spent about 45 minutes answering the long list of questions. I messed up the first time and had to start over. When when I did complete it, I got a message saying the physician who read my exam said there was not enough information and the screen directs you to call your doctor to schedule an appointment. I called and got an answering machine and did not hear back. I will try again in the morning.

I did watch Oppenheimer tonight and I liked it even more the second time. Reading the background of the various cast of characters really helped me have a deeper understanding. And now it is time to take Shadow for his final walk and then go to bed. Hopefully there will be no coughing.

2024 Life Logs, Day 52: Dissecting Oppenheimer

2024 Life Logs, Day 52: Dissecting Oppenheimer
Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High Temp 37, Low 26 degrees F
Location: At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

So, I went to see Oppenheimer last summer and was a bit overwhelmed. I really knew nothing of his story other than the fact that he developed the atomic bomb. I knew that there was something called the Manhattan Project, but I knew none of the names of the scientists in the project or others who contributed. Still, I was in awe of Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Oppenheimer. And when an actor is that spectacular in a role, you know the director gets equal credit. Christopher Nolan gathered an extensive and talented group of actors. In fact, when I looked it up today, there were at least 19 main characters and 16 supporting cast members. No wonder I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. As I left the theater, I promised I would acquaint myself with Oppenheimer and the whole cast of characters and then watch the movie again. I intended to read ‘American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer’, but that didn’t happen. So today I Googled my way through J. Robert Oppenheimer and the characters that Christopher Nolan decided to include in the movie. Why am I doing this now? Because Oppenheimer, the movie, is streaming on Peacock and I want to watch it. Maybe I’ll be ready tomorrow night.

Another project also took a very long time. After two days of preparation, I was finally ready to assemble the 12 main characters and the 8 supporting cast member ingredients to make a Wild Rice and Mushroom casserole. This was a recipe with a long list of ingredients, reminding me of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer long list of characters. To get ready to assemble the ingredients for this recipe, ahead of time, I soaked and cooked the white beans, trimmed and sliced 3 leeks and 2 fennel bulbs, and cooked a pot of wild rice. These ingredients were in the refrigerator waiting to be called on. But that still left a long list of other ingredients that needed to be chopped or diced and then cooked on the stove top before putting them all together in a casserole dish. Often, vegetarian recipes require a huge amount of chopping of fresh veggies and this was certainly one of those. It tastes good, but there are things I would change if I made it again. I am trying hard to eat a plant-based diet, but recipes like this one are enough to steer me in another direction.

2024 Life Logs, Day 51: An Allergy Mystery

2024 Life Logs, Day 51: An Allergy Mystery
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Weather: Sunny; High Temp 33, Low 26 degrees F
Location: At Home on Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth MA

So, I came home from the birthday luncheon yesterday and walked with Shadow. When I came back inside, I found I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. This has been happening to me many afternoons since my back surgery, but I don’t always succumb and lie down and take a nap. But I did yesterday. I was on the living sofa surrounded by my jasmine plant on the windowsill and a vase of roses on the end table. When I woke up, I had a drippy nose and runny eyes. This happened to me last week one day and I was fine the next, so I started looking around to see if there was something I could be allergic to. My new jasmine plant is in the living room, but it has been there for at least three weeks. Heather sent the dozen roses I gave her for Valentine’s Day home with me when they left for Vermont because since the roses arrived at their house, the cats have been eating the leaves causing them to throw up. At least that is the theory for the cat tummy upsets. But I’ve never had an allergic reaction to roses before. I dug deeper and realized I had on the same sweater I had on last week when I had the allergic reaction. I have had that sweater for over 30 years, maybe 40. It is one of my favorite pieces of clothing, but. it is very heavy, and I only wear it when it is really cold. I can remember a number of times in my life when wearing that sweater, I have gotten instant cold symptoms, but nothing like yesterday. I took off the sweater, put it in the panty, and shut the door. And I put the roses in the half bath off the living room and closed the door. Almost immediately I was better. I still had some symptoms this morning, but I am feeling fine now. I always assumed that sweater was cotton and I could never figure out why that would give me an allergic reaction. But I just looked at the label. The sweater was made in China, and it is 55 per cent ramie and 45 per cent cotton. I had to Google ramie. The first thing that came up was the ramie plant that produces a fiber that it is an alternative natural fiber to replace cotton. It comes from the plant Ramie Boehmeria nivea, a flowering plant in the nettle family native to eastern Asia. Could I really be allergic to this? Strange. I am going to take the roses out of the bathroom and if I don’t have a reaction to them by tomorrow, then I am going to get rid of that sweater. As Mark’s mother would say, “Sadness doeth prevail.” But enough, is enough.

My big accomplishment today was finishing my current book, The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. It is an epic tale following the members of a family for over three generations, some 77 years. It incorporates the history of southern India, the geography, the food, the culture, all while telling the story of family members who suffer from an affliction they call “the condition.” Family members with “the condition” have often been known to be eccentric, lose their hearing early I life, and die by drowning, often in shallow puddles. Why? It is a bit of a mystery, is definitely a story of deep and lasting love, and the characters seem so very, very real. It is set in the state of Kerala on the southwestern Malabar coast of India where 44 rivers weave their way from the mountains to the sea. Mark and I spent six weeks anchored off the city of Cochin (the British name), Kochi (the Malayalam name), but often called Ernakulum, so I loved the geography woven into this book. I watched part of an interview of Verghese by Oprah this afternoon. She admitted that it is hard to give a one sentence summary of what this book is about. But I will try. It is about human nature and all of the wonderful, and sometimes terribly tragic things that happen to ordinary people. It is 715 pages in length, so epic in more ways than one. Definitely worth the read.