Strange Days

It’s been a rather bizarre month, hasn’t it?

I know that’s a wild understatement, and that there are very many people out there struggling with awful things at this time, so I don’t in any way mean to make light of the situation in which we find ourselves.

I’m an anxious person, and also someone who picks up the emotion of those around me, so I’m finding it difficult to write at the moment. My husband and I are both self-employed, too – while we’re okay for now, it’s on my mind. I have a first draft of one book completed, plus a fully plotted second book, and a third book which is about half-written. They’re all waiting for me, and I can hear them calling, but when I sit down to write claws of uncertainty grab at me, taking my focus so I have to step away again, telling them I’m sorry. I know this will pass, and the words will come again, but for now I’m trying to be kind to myself. I’ve baked bread and caught up on the ironing and tidied out a cupboard that needed to be tidied out, and maybe I’ve watched a bit too much Star Trek, but we all have to find our own way to keep going.

Anyway, enough about that.

While I do write about books and writing-related stuff, this blog has always been about positivity and in finding the silver lining in things, even when things aren’t so great. So I’m working hard to find the positives in this, the things that I’m grateful for.

I know I’m fortunate to have a comfortable home in which to isolate, and the love and support of family. Fortunate that the weather is good and, when I go out to walk the dog, people still exchange greetings (from a distance, of course). Fortunate that we’re all staying well at the moment. Fortunate to have time to address all those little tasks that hang around and never seem to get done – no excuses, now!

It’s the small joys, too. The joy of sitting outside in the sun in the morning, drinking hot tea. Of new frogspawn in the garden pond (nothing grand, just a bucket set into the ground), and the red kites that ride the updrafts, reminder that life goes on. There are bluebells coming through, blue elf-spears poking out of the earth, and the fruit trees are starting to sprout, a promise of blossom and fruit to come.

I know there are many people who are not in comfortable situations, and many other people who are doing wonderful things to help out. This is an event unprecedented on a global scale, and so, in all the fear and worry, I try to find stories about people who are doing good, like the small boy who spent his pocket money on loo roll for his elderly neighbours, or the refugee family who left food on the porch of the self-isolating family who had sponsored them. These are the bright lights against the darkness, and a reminder of who we can be, if we choose to be our best selves. I’m trying to do my bit as well, and know there are many in my local community who are keeping an eye out for others who might need help, and that’s heartening.

To be honest, I wonder whether I’ve had the virus already. As you know, I’ve been ill since the beginning of December, and was finally starting to feel good mid-February. However, at the end of the month I had a sore throat, which developed into a cough (though it seemed a continuation of the one that had plagued me for months), and left me feeling very tired. Then my breath started to go and on March 3 I woke in the night burning up and unable to breathe to the point where I had to wake up my husband. I’ve had very bad pneumonia before, but I’ve never, ever felt like that, where my chest was so full and heavy I couldn’t take a full breath or stop coughing. Eventually I fell asleep, waking drenched in sweat. The fever abated but the breathing difficulties stayed with me for a couple of weeks, only really getting better in the last few days. I also lost my sense of smell and taste – once again that’s only just returning to normal.

I suppose I’ll never know, which is fine. We are still isolating, just like everyone else. But I’m still here. I hope you all are, too.

Stay safe and well, everyone – we’ll get through this together.


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44 thoughts on “Strange Days

  1. Glad you’re finally feeling better. It certainly sounds like you may have had Covid-19, but as you say, most of us will never know. It’s a shame they can’t test more of us – husband and I have on and off temperatures, sore throat, aches for the last few days but once we’re over that it would be nice to know if we had it, if we can move through society knowing we now can’t hurt others, be hurt.
    And it’s good to search for silver linings. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do the same – spend time in the garden, sowing seeds for this year, watching them sprout, pruning, digging over, butterfly and bumble bee watching.
    Like you, though, not a lot of writing has been done. Hard to focus, isn’t it? Do take care, Helen. Be well.

    • Thanks, Lynn, and the same to you! I hope you and your husband are feeling better – sounds as though you might have ‘the virus’ as well. As you say, though, most of us won’t know if we have or not. Apparently they are working on a test for antibodies and we’ll be able to check at some point, so that will be good when it happens. Hope the weather is staying good where you are, and that you’re still enjoying your garden. I’m putting together a book promotion but it’s slow going as I’d rather watch tv! haha. Stay safe and well xx

      • We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, more sun than rain, which has been fabulous for the garden, a joy. As for writing, funding it very hard to concentrate on actual writing, though not feeling well hasn’t helped. Hoping I can get a routine in place, turn away from constant news feeds and actually get some writing done. Hope the book promotion goes well and let me know if I can help. All the best x

  2. That bread looks fabulous! Yes, there is always something to be thankful for, even when the world is falling apart at the seams. There is a good chance you had the virus. I´m glad you are feeling better. I managed to write a chapter of my next book today. It felt good and kept my mind off things.

  3. I had a similar cold early this year, and I’ve been wondering the same thing. Only it happened before the outbreak in China, so I have my doubts. We’re still here and doing well. Sounds like you are, too. Hope you and all your loved ones weather this storm.

    • Well, it does bear wondering about. I do think this thing has been around longer and is wider-spread than we know. That’s the trouble with an invisible enemy, I guess. Apparently the cluster in Italy came from a guy in Germany so, by the time Europe stopped flights from China, the illness was already there. And this has been around in China since November, so you never know. Hope you’re staying well, and that you and yours come through this safely x

  4. Friend, there is no such thing as watching too much Star Trek. I’ve been watching a lot of Next Gen myself. I’m almost through S6, and will be on 7 soon enough. I’m kind of sad to be almost done with it, but I have Deep Space 9 to watch next. I’m glad to hear that you’re being gentle with yourself right now, and glad to hear that you’re well. I hope that you get well soon, and that it’s not the virus. It’s hard not to be paranoid when you’re sick these days.

    • Ha ha thank you my friend! I’m almost done with season one of Next Generation and I look forward to it every evening. So glad I’ve still got six seasons to go – like you, I think I’ll be sad when it’s done. Then I might move on to the Mandalorian. I’m also feeling much better thanks, and still taking things easy. I hope you’re staying well – things sound kind of scary where you are (although I suppose they sound scary here, too) and I’ve been thinking of you. Stay safe, take care of yourself, and enjoy your virtual journey through the Star Trek Universe – it’s nice to see a vision of the future that’s so positive, isn’t it? x

  5. I am sorry about your illness, Helen. My boys and I have all been very ill with similar symptoms and I wondered the same thing. Our doctor said we can’t be tested unless we are admitted into hospital. I understand this is the case in most countries which means the figures we have are nonsense. They only relate to severe cases. Keep well and say safe.

    • Oh no, Robbie! Sounds as though you might have all had it as well – hope you’re starting to feel better. Apparently there will be a test soon for antibodies, so we can find out whether or not we’ve had it. I suppose it’s not as much of a priority at the moment. And I would agree with you about the figures – I think this virus is far more widespread than we know. Be kind to yourselves, get well and stay safe 🙂

  6. Scary times, but so glad you’re feeling better-er. 🙂
    There will be an antibody test which will tell you if you’ve had the disease, which will be a good thing when it comes time to allocate who gets the vaccine first.

    • Thank you 🙂 Agree, these are scary times. Looking forward to the antibody test as I think it’ll show both how actually widespread this horrible virus is, and also how many of us have already had it. The vaccine will be very welcome, too. Hope you and yours are safe and well x

  7. I’m glad that you all are feeling better. No matter what, just keep that spirit of gratitude and the wonder in just the little things! It will take you a long way as you already know, plus it’s infectious as well! Be Safe and God Bless!

  8. There is a growing realisation, vehemently denied by the authorities, that the virus has been around in this country, and others, a lot longer than officialdom alleges. Apart from the potential politics of such a realisation, were it to be true, it would put all the current statistical analysis ‘way off beam’, which is one of the reasons why the cognitive dissonance in regard to this will inevitably persist… stay well Helen… 😉

    • I would agree with this, definitely. The illness I had in December, which knocked me for six, stole my breath and sense of taste and smell, and gave me a violent cough, seems like classic Covid. I’m still recovering, tbh. A neighbour who is a nurse says the same thing – that it’s been here for longer than they’re saying. After all, it was in China in November, and people were still travelling to and from there in January. I suppose we’ll never truly know, though – all we can do is try to get through this time in one piece. Stay safe and well too, Stu, and I’m looking forward to catching up with you and Sue again one day 🙂

  9. Glad to hear you are feeling better now, Helen. It does sound as if you had the darned thing… and it sounds most unpleasant.
    I’m looking forward to the resumption of sanity. I wonder how long they will take getting the antibody tests out? We might not be quite so compliant if we found out how many had already had the thing and recovered though…

    • Yes, an antibody test would be good, though I think the numbers of people who’ve actually had it will be quite scary once they find out! If I did have it, it was really unpleasant. Yet I was lucky, compared to what some people are going through with it. A return to sanity would be nice, but I also think that this is giving us a chance, as a society, to reset how we work and travel and consider what’s important – if some good can come out of all this it would be a silver lining, that’s for sure…

      • If the number of people who have had it was high, at least we would have a fair number likely to carry some immunity…
        I do think we have a real chance here to make some changes. If people can work from home, cutting the commute, it might do a lot of good. It gives us chance to see what really matters to us too.
        But we will definitely need some sort of silver lining if this carries on much longer…

      • Oh, absolutely. Agree on all points. I think we’ll be in this for another month or two at least, though. And perhaps again once winter comes, especially if there’s no vaccine or antibody test

  10. it was a wonderful journey to go through your stuff, well I won’t lie, I am not any author of any book, never had read so much literature either, but I truly love the experiences, I must say this.

  11. I guess communication is the main thing we can do for each other. I have tried to help my neighbors, but all of us are seniors living in a senior mobile home park, and senior mobile home parks have become the new dumping ground for them instead of senior care homes. They come in here and it is very seldom when any senior’s family comes to visit them. They don’t seem to know their rights, and then they are full of pain, whether real or imagined, and there are always the local drug dealers or people in the park who are connected with them so they get the Norco and other meds that they can no longer get from their doctors

    They come to the door crying. “Annie, I had to put my dog down today.” Yes, I understand how sad that is for I have dogs and a cat too, and all of mine are seniors. Or I took Thanksgiving dinner to my next-door neighbor who lived alone since his wife died, and neighbors were too busy to come and help him. He was in his 80’s when he passed away about a month ago.

    I want to help everyone in here who comes to me, but it is overwhelming and I am already a caregiver/advocate for my significant other, and I am helpless to get him the healthcare he needs because the powers that be have told us to stay away from the hospitals unless we have CV-19 symptoms. It has been since last May when he had his last surgery that failed after the first one, and now he has nerve damage as well as being partly paralyzed and having spasms all night long and sometimes in the daytime as well.

    The other day I felt dizzy, but then when I was in the bathroom, I got such a dreadful pain in the right side of my stomach mid-way that I honestly thought I was dying. Richard told me he wanted to take me to the hospital but I told him no, for I was scared they would put me in quarantine just in case. They are not doing any surgeries here unless it is totally extreme, and I am not even sure about that. I am still not well, but I would not let him take me for fear they would quarantine both of us and then where would that leave our senior dogs and cat and the fish? So yes, there is a lot to deal with everywhere, and it IS depressing. The good news, however, is that I kept fighting to try to get a VA loan for us so my Richard could get out of this place (and hopefully me and our dear pets too ASAP). I found one online, and it is within budget, so we just have to wait and see what happens. At least that is positive news, and I feel hopeful that by the time we can get moved, perhaps the lockdown will be over and we can get the help that is needed.

    I wish everyone else good days and hope you all stay well and that this change will perhaps end up being a good thing. Perhaps we won’t take for granted what we have for so long anymore.

    • Oh Anne – you are really going through it, I’m so sorry. Sending good wishes your way that you can move out soon to somewhere happier, and that you feel better. Thank you for sharing your story xx

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