April 1, 2020
In a brief change from my usual Adventures in Farming approach to this column, I, too, will be jumping on the health information bandwagon. Because, really, we haven’t seen enough articles and received enough emails on the subject, have we? First, in these challenging and downright freaky strange times we are in, I absolutely do NOT want to minimize the impact that COVID-19 has had on people’s lives (both from a health and general lifestyle standpoint). On the other hand, inappropriate use of humor has always been my strong suit. So, let’s talk about being sick.
I have been sick since February 19, one day after arriving back from a business trip to Dallas where I had taken 2 crowded airplane flights and spent 5 days in a convention center with 17,000 virus spreading pals. To say I was bound to come down with something would not be unfair (and this was right before the COVID-19 was making a public impact here in the US, so no one was in panic or extreme handwashing mode yet). The very good news is that no, I do not have and (as far as I know) have never had COVID-19. However, I have proven to be a medical miracle regarding the number of run of the mill cold and flu varieties that a single human can catch in a short span of time.
I started off with what I thought was your basic flu. High temp, chills, aches, cough, runny nose, etc. After a week when I still couldn’t shake it, I finally went to the doc who tested me and said, no, I didn’t have the flu. But I had a very fine case of the “Flu Like Crud that is Going Around.” I believe that is now a diagnostic box on the insurance forms. I also did score some wicked good cough medicine to help me sleep, so that was almost worth the swabs shoved up the nose until they hit brain. Almost. (Side note: the tech asked me if I’d ever been tested for the flu before. I replied that I didn’t think so but didn’t know for sure. She said, oh, you’d know. This is gonna hurt. She was correct and I will indeed remember that if ever asked again in the future. I read a comment someone made online saying, “They pushed that swab up there ‘til they hit my thoughts.”
About 3 weeks in, those symptoms finally started to subside, but I may have been a little premature in my celebrating as within another day or two I came down with The Head Cold from Hell. I would seriously like to know if any studies have been done regarding how much snot the human head can hold and produce. It’s like a clown car at the circus, it Never. Freakin. Ends. With sound effects, I became a one-man-band around our house. Imagine, with rhythm: sniff, sniff, cough, sneeze, sniff, cough, cough. Repeat twice and add a rim shot at the end. And, it should be pointed out, all of this was taking place during what I believe will be come to be known as The Great American Paper Products Shortage of 2020. (Which I considered comparing to the Irish Potato Famine of 1845 but even I realize that would cross a serious line.) It did, however, bring home a serious flaw in my heretofore shopping and storage strategy.
I am a very good shopper. Quite gifted, actually. Check my yarn stash or my shoe closet and you’ll be amazed at my purchasing skills. I am also a very good grocery shopper. If by good we mean I practice it every day. Every single day. I literally decide what to have for dinner that night while cruising the aisles of King Soopers in Conifer that day and purchase the necessary meat and produce required about an hour before actually cooking it. You could say this is due to my poor meal planning skills. I’d prefer to say it’s because I enjoy going to the grocery store, running into friends, and always enjoying up to the minute freshness in my meal ingredients. And while I’d prefer to say exactly that, the truth is yes, it is actually due to my poor meal planning skills. Combine that with my tendency to not buy one darn thing at the grocery until we’re actually out of it at home and you’ll see where I’m heading with this.
Kleenex, or facial tissue if you prefer – I usually buy Puffs – is actually the one thing of which I always have an adequate supply. Due to the gift of year-round allergies, I go through a lot of tissues on a regular basis. I don’t stockpile – and will certainly never be accused of being a Prepper by anyone’s definition – but I always seem to have 3 or 4 boxes around the house and a spare 3 boxes in the pantry. I also buy toilet paper by the 12 pack because it’s convenient and the same with paper towel. As there are only two of us in our household, that’s always been plenty. So, you can imagine my growing concern as word of the paper products issue spread at the same time my nasal output was increasing exponentially.
My first thought around the whole toilet paper issue was a) people are getting downright crazypants, and b) I’ve still got 5 rolls of TP, so we’re golden. Then the Kleenex flew off every shelf in a 15 mile radius and I started to get both a twinge of panic and a glimpse of my own possible hoarder mentality. The first time those shelves were empty I was really just looking down that aisle out of curiosity, so merely felt a small prickle of nervousness which quickly passed as I got distracted by, “Oh, look! Chicken!” The next time, which yes, was the very next day, my thoughts were more of “Hmmmmm, maybe they didn’t get a chance to restock last night.” By Day Three I was considering scratchy napkins (the picnic ones, not the fancy soft dinner ones) as a possible alternative and maybe I should buy 5 packs. I didn’t, but I certainly did start to understand that “possibility of lack” response that overtook the whole world. It can be a strong test of character to still come from abundance when you’re down to your last roll of two ply.
I’m happy to report that after a month of swapping colds, flu’s and non-flu’s back and forth in the germfest of our home while taking turns on who gets the bed and who gets the couch, hubby and I are both back to normal good health. Well, those allergies are still around, but I’ve still got 3 boxes of Puffs under lock and key in the pantry.