COVID Afterlife

One of my students spent last weekend in the hospital with an arthritic crisis, arm and jaw blocked into place and extreme pain, and apparently this was due to his COVID illness back in November. I don’t know anything about the mechanisms of how this works, just how his father reported what the doctor said. I just had to deal with informing the student’s other teachers that he was having problems and might not be able to hold a pen all day long in class when he finally returns. I don’t have any information to know if this is treatable, or how long term his condition is.

Out of all the odd reactions you could have with that news, I was really angry. He’s only friggin’ seventeen. It seems like the only criteria of COVID 19 is the number of deaths, like if you’re not dead, everything is okay. I’d like to think that just not being dead is a pretty low bar. I personally aim a bit higher.

I wonder about how this illness might make us all, all over the planet, weaker and sicklier, and how long that might last. The Spanish flu was apparently absorbed into the seasonal flu and became less deadly. We really only have that as a model. That’s kind of been the assumption up until now, that long term, while it might be just as prevalent, it will become less deadly. It’s not in the virus’s “interests” to kill too many hosts. If it had a brain, it wants to survive and infect as many people as possible. (People always smirked at me when I said that Ebola wasn’t a very “efficient” illness. It’s’ efficient about killing people, but from the virus’s point of view, it kills people too quickly for them to pass it on. AIDS is “efficient”; you can be infecting people for a long time before you even know you’re sick yourself. It needs fluid exchange, though, which makes it “easier” to control.)

I said I wasn’t going to write here unless I had something positive to say. It’s harder and harder to find things to be happy about, but I’m going to try!

So here’s one silly thing that I did that makes me happy. I bought electric candles. It’s like a having night light. They’re rechargeable and work on a timer. I don’t often do retail therapy. (I mean, what I was calling my “new” jacket I realized I’d bought in 2008.)

Part of my family is from Scandinavia, and there they often put lights in the windows. They are pretty to see in cabins dispersed throughout the woods, and if you were lost, candles in the windows would let you know there was someone home who could help. There is a tradition of helping lost people in the woods up north, which makes sense in a place where the houses might very away from each other, and the nights are long.

So I’m putting a light in my window now before I sleep. It’s just a night light, but it makes me happy. They make me feel like I could be someone there to help lost travelers in the woods.

Foro, my guiding light

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