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Gratefully Now Cootie-Free!


Cooties. We all used that word in elementary school and it's part of our collective vocabulary, but now we mostly associate it with these silly toys, or with any ailment we want to keep away. (In my elementary school, girls said boys had cooties and vice versa. LOL)


I planned to use this photo for this post, but thought I should investigate first. I'm glad I did. I never knew till now that it was coined in the trenches of World War 1 to specifically refer to lice. It's odd that during this time a toy company created the cootie game, where the players would maneuver a capsuled cootie bug across a battlefield into a cage. The cootie toys that we're all familiar with got started as a wedding shower game, where women would draw bugs on paper?! In 1949, this inspired a Minnesota toy maker to create the first plastic toy version that we're familiar with today, which was labeled as "an exciting educational game for all ages". But the whole things started around the time of the Great War and the Great Influenza Pandemic. I wonder if cooties made the leap to this generalized term during that pandemic? I wonder if kids now refer to Covid as Cooties? My "boys" are now grown men, so I'm out of that loop, but I hear that there is a concerning stigma attached to it, that makes kids reluctant to admit to having symptoms. Ultimately it's all fear based and knowledge is power, of course. When our sons were little, books were a way of eliminating anxiety, that and journaling or drawing.


I never kept a regular lockdown journal because I always choose to remain focused on the positive, but for posterity, I've decided to write down some follow-up reflections about getting the virus. Perhaps it will remove some of the anxiety for others who have not yet had it, or show how far we've come in the past few years and how this dreaded virus is now becoming a more accepted part of daily life, like a flu. That is not to diminish the serious concerns, but rather to chronicle this moment. Mainly, I think it'll be a good historic record for me and my family to reflect on, at some point in the future. Perhaps it will be of interest to others, like you, too? At the start of the pandemic, I bought a banner that said "Together We Will See It Through" and I'm happy to say that was our experience.


The happy news is that my whole family is now completely recovered from the Covid virus. We first had symptoms just after the 4th of July. It was a wave that swept across our household. It started with one son, then went to the other son, then Paul and finally me. Here's something interesting: my at-home test was negative. I learned that the lab test is really the best way to determine whether you truly have contracted the bug, since the at-home tests only pick up the illness when you have a viral load in your body. The PCR can detect minute levels. It's free and available through local pharmacies, many with drive-through service. It no longer requires the deep-in-the nose swabbing that the earlier tests required. It was simple to do, although the directions were a little complicated.


Fortunately, since we were vaxxed and boosted, we only had mild symptoms. The first two days of the illness, we had low grade fevers and body aches, sore throats that felt centered lower in the throat and chest. Essentially it was like a sinus/chest cold. We were ill for about a week and then there was some lingering fatigue and a cough that persisted for a week beyond that, but now we're completely recovered.


Paul and our sons took over-the-counter meds and did fine. However due to my past medical history, my doctor didn't want to take any chances and prescribed some powerful meds for me, so I'm sure that contributed to the speedy recovery. I'm grateful these meds were available to me because as a kid, I used to get bronchitis and the panic of being short of breath was an awful feeling.


Now, this new strains seem to be sweeping across the population. So much so that it seems like most everyone I know has had the virus and many have recently caught this new strain, though there are some who have managed to avoid it. If you're in the latter camp, file this info away: Should you find yourself ill, you may want to ask your doctor if you qualify for Paxlovid. I was astounded at how rapidly it took effect before anything could settle in my chest. It's odd because I personally didn't lose my taste/smell due to the illness, but rather due to the meds. Something called "Paxlovid Mouth" is a common side-effect, which is a bitter quinine-like taste in your mouth caused by the meds. A friend joked that I should add gin to the mix. As tempting as that recommendation was, I opted for chewing cinnamon gum, which I could taste. It's funny how seemingly random it was: I could easily taste sweet things, like fruit, but things like coffee and pickles and spicy food barely registered.


While Paul and our sons did experience "brain fog." I never had that. In fact, I found I was quite alert, thinking of all the tasks I wanted to accomplish during my convalescence. LOL! Instead, it was the fatigue that affected me. So, I would rest and then when I felt up to it, I used short spurts of energy to accomplish some tasks on my "to do" list. Now that I'm recuperated, I'm taking the time to build up my stamina again by going on long walks and by doing some dance aerobics with hand weights.


Going through this makes for deep spiritual thinking. (You can read my earlier blog post for those reflections). Once you get it, you're likely to have great empathy for anyone who's ever had it. Suffice to say, that I'm keenly aware that so many families suffered tremendous losses and trauma in the pre-vaccination period. Some are still suffering. There was so much fear and victim-blaming in those early days. I'm filled with such an overwhelming sense of compassion for those affected and gratitude that science was so quick to respond to the situation and produce these vaccines and boosters in such a timely fashion. Due to the diligence of the medical community, we have been spared the fate that so many others suffered in the early stages of the pandemic. I feel relieved to know that we have gotten through this as a family and that we are getting through it as a society. I trust that we will continue to be protected and find answers through Compassion, Empathy and Science.


In a future post, I'll explore the childhood topic more, as it relates to acceptance.


Sending you and yours love and light and wishes for good health,

Xoj



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