Up Your Nose – My Covid Journey

Two and a half years ago I wrote a whimsical story about a frantic search for toilet paper. I was living in Asheville, North Carolina in the United States of America at the time. The worldwide Covid -19 plague had just arrived in the USA and there was panic buying of toilet paper, causing a supply shortage.

At the beginning of the plague, we were led to believe that we needed to stock up on food supplies for a few weeks and that we should make it through. It would be over quickly.

Quarantines were ordered. Wearing a mask was required. Schools were closed. “Non-essential” businesses were shuttered. “Social distancing” was started along with testing to see how far up your nose a sample could be taken before the torture caused your eyes to tear up.

We were experiencing something right out of the Middle Ages… not just torture but the start of a worldwide pandemic.

A “few weeks” led to months of quarantine and isolation. People turned to technology. We ordered food over the Internet and delivery was “contactless.” Social contact required learning how to “Zoom.” Kids began taking school classes online. Like it or not, parents often became teachers. Some businesses benefitted from the quarantine like selling exercise equipment while others closed forever. I decided to move to Florida!

Vaccines were developed and received “emergency use authorization.’ That meant that the plague was so bad that it was better to authorize and use the largely untested “vaccines” rather than have people die. The vaccines were initially effective in preventing death or hospitalization but the virus had a trick up its sleeve and mutated.

Now, more than two years later and with over one million deaths in the USA alone, Covid is still with us. The virus that causes Covid has modified into new variants and like influenza will probably be a part of human existence forever.

Numerous questions remain as to the exact means that the virus developed. It is certain that it began in China. We may never know if an experiment went out of control or how exactly the plague began.

Testing for Covid became routine in the USA and much of the world. I have been tested 19 times so far during the past two and one-half years. I have received two injections of the mRNA vaccine and one booster jab. 17 of my test results were negative but test number 18 became problematic when I tested positive. I was a “breakthrough” case of Covid which meant that the virus had broken through my inoculation barrier.

Test #18 was in a hospital emergency room. Two days prior, I had been in the same ER complaining of a bad cough and dizziness. Test #17 was negative for the virus and I was sent home and told to return if I got worse. It got worse. The cough deepened and I had a fever. Because I have heart disease, I was considered to be “high risk” for very serious illness or even death from Covid complications, I was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

My treatment plan centered on receiving a daily intravenous dose of an antiviral drug called Remdesivir. I received three units in total. Many others who had Covid required more units. I was grateful that after my three units I was able to go home for further rest and recuperation and continue to spit up yellow junk. Make no mistake about it, Covid really sucked all the energy out of my body and rest was essential to recovery.

On the final day in the hospital, I began having hiccups every 3-5 seconds. This annoyance continued after I was home. Various home remedies were tried but finally eating Peppermint Patties stopped my hiccups and I was able to sleep better. My friend Janice Johnson recommended peppermint and I keep a supply handy.

In subsequent days Covid’s symptoms disappeared except I had continuing fatigue. Then one night at the end of the fourth week after all this began, I had a fever that I couldn’t bring down. Another trip to the hospital ER was warranted only to find that I had what is called “Rebound” Covid. Covid test #19 came back positive.

With a new positive test result, I was sent home to isolate for 3 to 5 days to rest and recuperate. I temporarily lost my senses of smell and taste. Scheduled appointents were rescheduled. Delivery of my furniture was once again postponed. I felt like what a ghoul must feel like. I walked like I was right out of the horror movie “Night of the Living Dead.”

Many people around the world have been praying for me. I know that my recovery is in God’s hands. Today is day 3 of my isolation. If I don’t have a fever today or for two more days, I can return to normal.

Steamer on the Caloosahatchee

Edison 1Fort Myers, Florida, is a small city in the United States of America. When I was a child, my memory of it was where the Pittsburgh Pirates conducted their professional baseball “Spring Training.” The Pirates have long gone north on the Gulf of Mexico coast to Bradenton, Florida.

However, aside from my childhood musings, Fort Myers is better known as the location of the winter estates for American icons Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. This story is about Edison. Continue reading “Steamer on the Caloosahatchee”

Anchors Aweigh at the Cardboard Boat Regatta

Previously, I have written blog stories about wacky events in Southwest Florida such as the Mermaid Parade and the Turtle Races. But on a wacky scale for local events, the races at the Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta vie for first place.

Continue reading “Anchors Aweigh at the Cardboard Boat Regatta”

Yet Another Critter in My Backyard

Florida has an abundance of curious animals. I have written about underground-living Burrowing Owls and the prehistoric-looking Green Iguanas that have been in my neighborhood in Cape Coral, the Florida city where I live. Along with common rabbits and grey squirrels, a new critter has shown up at my house… a gopher tortoise.

Continue reading “Yet Another Critter in My Backyard”

It is Raining Iguanas – A Sequel

It seems to me that there are several sequels in the world today. Batman, Spiderman, Rocky, and so on have more to offer based on an original production. Last year I wrote a story titled “It is Raining Iguanas in Florida” when it is below 50 degrees F.

In the past, I have produced sequels to my blog stories such as “Discovering Critters in My Backyard” and “Nurturing Giant Pumpkins.”

But after posting this very story on Facebook today, I decided to memorialize it in order to share with my friends around the world who get a glimpse of what I am observing only through my blog that they subscribed to. As the title of this story indicates, this story is more information about pre-historic looking iguanas falling out of trees in Florida.

Iguana (Credit: Pinellas County Economic Development)

This is what I posted on Facebook:

It is cold today here in SW Florida. When the temperature drops below 50°, like today, iguanas fall out of the trees. I read there is a guy on Sanibel Island loading his car with stunned green iguanas that have fallen to the ground. He is probably pretty smart. They can be eaten or turned in for a bounty! I have been told they are good on the bar-b-que.

Iguanas are an invasive species. They are not native to Florida and they are destructive and kill native animals. Did you know that Florida homeowners can legally shoot iguanas on their property without needing a license? The best place to shoot them is between their eyes! I kid you not! That is from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC)!

The FWCC also hires part-time “wranglers” to shoot green iguanas on public lands. Pay is $18 to $22 per hour. The job comes with some benefits (maybe you can take them home to eat them). I wonder if the pay rate is based on accuracy to shoot the iguanas between their eyes? Or shoot them as they run away.

Well, I am sure you are amused! Have a wonderful day.

Ramblings About Autumn in Florida

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Many of my readers are aware that I have permanently relocated to Florida in the USA. People from the northeastern parts of the USA often think of Florida this time of year because of our warm, sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and numerous attractions like Disney World and Kennedy Space Center.

Having lived most of my life “up north,” I have some observations to share about Fall in Florida.

Continue reading “Ramblings About Autumn in Florida”

Ramblings by the Pool

It is a leisurely, warm, sunny day here in Southwest Florida. I am sitting by the pool while savoring a steamy mug of coffee. I recently found a great Hazelnut Cream java which is an excellent morning cure-all elixir. Although it is good, it isn’t quite as superb as the perfected European cappuccinos I have found in my travels.

My house is at the intersection of two canals. Boats go by on their way to the Caloosahatchee River between Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Florida. The river leads to the Gulf of Mexico. Later in the day, I will see the boats and their crew return from today’s water adventures.

The canals attract all sorts of birds and fish often jump in an arch out of the water. Sometimes the canals have wandering manatees or an occasional lost alligator! Iguanas reside in a tropical tree next to my pool. One just jumped out of the tree and landed with a thump on the dock. Often when the iguanas are scared, they take refuge in the canals too.

There is a gentle breeze today coming from the south. The 35′ palm trees that encircle my lot are swaying and the birds are singing. The bird sounds have recently changed as the birds from winter have appeared to leave. As the weather is now clearly getting warmer the bird sounds have also become more tropical sounding.

Bird

It is another beautiful day in paradise.

It is Raining Iguanas in Florida

IMG_3157“The sky is falling,” cried Chicken Little. Well, not quite the sky falling but here in Southwest Florida there is a unique twist when it gets cold.

Iguanas are cold blooded reptiles that have invaded Florida. They are quite at home when it is hot. But when it is cold below 50°F (10°C), they get lethargic and fall out of trees!

This unique situation is even forecast by the National Weather Service in the United States!

This can be as critical as a hail storm (or maybe more so) as some male iguanas are up to 7 feet (213 cm) long and weigh up to 17 pounds  (7.7 kg)!

Continue reading “It is Raining Iguanas in Florida”

Anchors Aweigh – A Christmas Boating Adventure

A surreal night-time image at the Christmas boat parade at Matlacha

Last evening I experienced my first Christmas boat parade. It was off Matlacha Island in the “Sunshine State” of Florida in the USA.

Previously, I have written blog stories about Coconut Pete and the Turtle Races, and the Parade of Mermaids which originate from this speck of land (population 620) just off Florida’s southwest coast.

Not quite in the Gulf of Mexico, this small, one stop light village of Matlacha continues to warm ones heart with innovative slices of local lore, tradition, and Americana. This story is about my experience at Matlacha’s Christmas boat parade.

Continue reading “Anchors Aweigh – A Christmas Boating Adventure”

More Critters in My Florida Backyard

Almost a year ago I wrote a story “Discovering the Critters in My Backyard.” It is about the famous “Burrowing Owl,” the official bird of the city of Cape Coral in Florida, USA. I now live in a new place in Cape Coral which is adjacent to a canal and a new critter has now shown up.

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Green Iguana in my Backyard

There are many canals in this community and in them one can routinely see fish jumping and occasionally a larger creature such as a Manatee! Two days ago I discovered a Green Iguana sunning himself on the seawall in my backyard outside the screened pool area.

This story is about the Iguanas which are now found throughout Southwest Florida.

Continue reading “More Critters in My Florida Backyard”