LONDON, ONTARIO – Greetings, Hermaneutics readers. As many of you have noticed (“HG, where are you?” “Cat got your tongue?”) it’s been a month since I’ve posted anything new here. While I wasn’t surprised to see my viewership numbers drop from mid-January and into this first week of February, I was gratified that they only dropped by about a fifth and that a lot of the people who came here looking to see if anything was going on, decided to dig into the archives instead and checked out some of the more than two hundred essays I’ve posted here over the last four years. It makes my labours feel a little less ephemeral when a few dozen of my better realized flashes from the past can generate significant traffic during a period of downtime.
Well, what’s been going on? No one is likely to be too surprised to learn that in a season when Omicron – the mildest-yet variant of the Wuhan Batflu – has been raging away with unchecked vigour, little old unvaccinated me finally came down with the Rona. At least I think I did. I haven’t been able to have it medically verified. I and at least two other fully vaccinated people I know caught whatever we had from the same person who was vaccinated (her case was medically confirmed). She doesn’t fancy being publicly identified as a spreader which is fair enough. Taking inspiration from our shameless prime minister, a shocking number of Canadians are prepared to behave appallingly towards people they hold responsible for contributing to the spread of this wildly contagious virus.
I don’t blame my contact for any of this at all and sympathize with her disillusionment that the only ‘safe and effective’ treatment for this virus which our government allows (and enforces and will persecute any segment of the population for refusing) has turned out to be about as effective as their stupid masks and their punitive lockdowns that have made the last two years such a misery for less elite Canadians who are not able to ‘shelter in place’ and still earn a living and take care of their loved ones. (This essay from last March gives my appraisal of how wildly unequal the impact of the lockdowns has been: The Tyranny of Big Tech.)
My bout with what I think was the Batflu only lasted for four days and I must say, I’ve had much worse flus in the past. I didn’t barf once, never developed a sore throat or a cough and – this was my greatest fear – nothing pneumonia-like moved into my lungs. I just endured alternating waves of really aggressive chills and sweats, ached all over, had crappy energy and insufficient concentration to write anything and had a wondrous new capacity to sleep for eighteen hours of the day. What I found most distinctive about whatever I had was that unlike an ordinary flu where you sort of move through the thing in stages, this one had a discouraging capacity to double back and resurge.
But after four thoroughly miserable days, I got a whole lot better for a couple of days and then fell victim – much, much harder – to a mysterious and fast spreading rash that first appeared on my right ankle and made it excruciatingly painful to walk. While I just rode out the Rona without recourse to doctors, I did have a tele-confab with our family doctor about this debilitating rash and he said I should get myself off to the hospital and have it checked out right away. I dawdled on taking that advice for more than twenty-four hours which, in retrospect, was probably a pretty stupid move that may have made this ordeal worse than it might’ve been if I’d had it tended to earlier.
My so-called thinking on this score was two-fold. For two years it’s been drummed into all of our heads that unless you’re dying of the Rona and want to make your misery complete by getting hooked up to a ventilator, stay away from our strained and Batflu-infested hospitals. (In a similar spirit of risk-avoidance, I haven’t taken a bus since October of 2019.) Also holding me back has been a wait and see attitude towards occasional unwellness that has served me quite handily for almost the full Biblical allotment of an average human life . . . which is to say, I don’t actually turn seventy until May.
Until this month my frequent modus operandi when some new ailment flares up – obviously I’m not talking about broken legs here – has been to ignore periodic unwellness for a few days, and see if it doesn’t magically correct itself. This has sometimes meant tolerating pain for a stretch but I’ve always been pretty good at that and accepted it as a fair exchange for being able to avoid the tedium of visiting those dead zones of the human spirit, doctors’ offices or hospitals. With a sigh I begin to suspect that this era of blithe self-regulation in health management may be drawing to its close and that, going forward, I’ll probably have to have things ‘looked into’ as they arise. I know I wasn’t the handsomest or the most athletic thing on two legs but taken all in all, I’ve really enjoyed living in a body which I could usually trust to quietly take care of itself. I’m reconciling myself to the idea that old age marks the end of quite so carefree a regime.
So I woke up from a not very comfortable nap about thirty hours after my un-obeyed medical teleconference to find that my red rash had deepened in an alarming way and now ran from my toes to my knee, my entire leg had swollen in circumference to Kate Smith-type dimensions and it was more painful than ever to walk. It still took some persuasion to convince me to go to the hospital but I relented when my wife agreed to forgo the ambulance option and just drop me off at emergency. I guess it’s pride or vanity. I couldn’t stand the thought of that swirling red light calling all the neighbours to peer out their windows as pathetic old HG got gurneyed into the back of an emergency vehicle.
I was there until almost three a.m. as they examined me and tried to narrow down the possibilities of what was wrong and gave me my first infusion of antibiotics. I was booked back in the next morning to run some definitive tests to determine whether I had Deep Vein Thrombosis or Cellulitis but went back to emergency even earlier than scheduled as a vicious purply yellow blister about the circumference of a coffee cup had suddenly emerged on the inside of my calf overnight and looked like it was ready to blow . . . which it did as I sat in the emergency ward, utterly soaking the leg of my red-checked, flannel clown pants which I’ve been wearing in lieu of proper trousers as they’ll accommodate my gargantuan right leg.
When I asked a nurse at the hospital if she could give me the test to determine whether I’d had the Rona, she demurred, saying, “I’m not sure how we’re supposed to be counting those just now.” Ah, that’s reassuring, scientific rigour-wise. A few days later another doctor I asked for the test (and he had just finished lecturing me with the falsehood that every Covid case currently in London ICUs was an unvaccinated science-denier just like me and I was an idiot to take such risks) vaguely said he wasn’t sure if they had any of the test kits available just now. As one who has suspected willful data-fudging from the very onset of this pandemic, I wasn’t all that surprised by the disinterest of these medical professionals in verifying another case. (This essay from September outlines some of the ways that this whole Batflu infestation has been weaponized as an agent of social manipulation: Lets Stop Playing This Shitty Game).
Okay, enough grisly details; let’s wrap up this galvanizing medical report. It turns out I’ve got Cellulitis. After the first of two weeks of daily antibiotic infusions and redressing of my wound, the pain began to incrementally alleviate and that has continued. Thankfully, pain is a tricky thing to remember. I may have endured sharper blasts of it in my day, but I know I’ve never had to live with it at such a high pitch for day after day after day. Only in the last few days have I been able to sit at my desk for any length of time or enjoy largely unbroken sleeps. While there were some days when my misery was undistractable, eventually I was able to undertake a lot of reading with my leg propped up on cushions, knocking back a book every couple of days. With greater admiration than ever before, I've been thinking about Flannery O'Connor this month. Her commitment and focus and cheerfulness while enduring physical miseries far more relentless than mine have been a shaming inspiration to me. (Here’s an essay from April of 2020 discussing the heroic literary regimen she maintained while suffering from lupus for most of her career: Flannery O'Connor: A Very Rare Bird).
I’ve been taking my antibiotics orally this week and the wound redressing now takes place every other day. There’s no question that things are finally on the mend, though they say it could be another month until all is restored. If I can squeeze that leg into something other than clown pants, I’m hoping to get back to church this week and I positively yearn for clear sidewalks so that I can start getting the pooch out again for our daily walks. And what with the Trucker Convoys in Ottawa these past couple weeks, showing a lot of Canadians and even a few politicians how to locate their spines and employ them to take back freedoms and rights that have been yanked away from us all over these past couple of years, it begins to look like the coming spring might really be something to celebrate.
8/2/2022 05:03:47 pm
So very sorry to hear of your recent travails. A few weeks ago I had a similar flu-like experience for four or five days and was truly saddened to have my doctor confirm it was not the Bat variety. I had hoped otherwise because, having survived, I would then have had antibody protection the like of which even the thrice-jabbed can only dream, Ah, the fickle finger of infection. I continue to wait my turn for Omicron to drift by my house like the Angel of Death in The Ten Commandments. Best wishes for your full and timely recovery from the -itis, and the return of your gams to full dancing status.
8/2/2022 07:14:14 pm
That confirms it! My conviction that one could endure a season in hell as long as equipped with a book. Every airplane journey I have ever undertaken has been accompanied by a book, or two,,, big fat ones, in purse or hand luggage just in case trapped in a horrible airport. With a book, you can endure any misery. I’m glad to hear you are on the mend, and that you have experienced a lesson in getting to a doctor in time! That infection could have had ugly consequences. Glad to see you are up and writing again.
8/2/2022 08:08:27 pm
Yes, I was wondering if you were sick or got hit by a bus ...
9/2/2022 04:41:11 am
Good for you, Herman...both for surviving the latest variant of the variant, which will soon to be replaced by the subvariant of the last variant...all of which are based on their unvarying BS...and calling it like it is once again.
9/2/2022 11:21:08 am
While I can't possibly agree with your statements about Covid (what kind of bleeding heart liberal would I be if I did?) and I think the truckers are a bunch of ass hats, I can confirm that if you had called an ambulance, I would have done more than gawk. I would have run outside in my slippers and inserted myself like a proper Rachel Lynde. As you age, I look forward to your impending ill health creating lots of opportunities for me to be nosy.
10/2/2022 07:46:01 am
Hello again Herman. Glad you've survived all your travails and adversities and are still true to form. Did you at least thank those figure fudging shysters they call Doctors for the free care and hospitality they gave you, or were you your usual curmudgeonly self. Glad to have you back mate. As a fine local historian I'm sure you won't object to this offering. I live at present at Grottammare in the Province of Ascoli Piceno. A very small town within the San Benedetto to Cupra coastal conurbation comprising together about 70,000 souls. Our two most illustrious celebrities were Felice Peretti Di Montalto born here 1521 died in Rome as Pope Sixtus V 1590 and Queen Kristina of Sweden 1626-1689. Became queen at 6 years old on the death of her father Gustav II Adolf but abdicated in 1654 when she converted to Catholicism. While a site of a Piceno Necropolis around the 5th. Century BC its modern history began in 1210 when a small abbey on the site was given to the D'Este family. The Catholic Church has been a meticulous chronicler since it's founding, in every town or village the Pieve (parish church) has records of births and death since it's founding. Here in some of the mountain villages dating back to the 8th,century. Few names remain since then. but many from as early as the 14th.Century do.
12/2/2022 07:42:26 pm
Herman, I learned this week (from your website) that you, too, have been suffering certain medical effects of age. It is a nuisance, and except that I would not challenge the order of the universe -- at least, not too confidently -- let me say that this sucks. I do wish I could see you, & maybe bring some irregular medication, but I don't have a truck or even a tractor at the moment. (Damn!) Things are looking up, however, except for our fate. I am pleased to think you will soon be joining the counter-revolution, against that Duplicitous Ken Doll (as an astute American observer called him), & he needs more of what we have begun to favour him with. I thank God & the knowing angels for assigning you Kirtley! At least you have a reason to live to a more seriously old age, & deal with the lot of reading ahead. (My love & merry greetings to her, also.)
14/2/2022 12:59:01 pm
Get well soon my friend. A publicly funded healthcare system ain't such a bad thing after all it seems.
18/2/2022 12:21:15 pm
Get well soon Herman! Our family get-together at Christmas didn´t result in any Covid + results, but just about everyone present at our place got the "Winter Puking Flu" (roughly translated from Swedish). Pretty easy to take - one day of puking, dizzines (in my case) and a bit of "the Gary Glitters" (Cockney English - the shitters rhyming with the Glitters and will invariably finally be known as "The Garys"). Today's English lesson. Anyhow - sickness totally gone in 3 days. Myself and the wife´s family, all unvaccinated, my own blood-relations vaccinated. The truckers protest has been heartening, the "Right Dishonourable Prime Sinister´s" reaction scares the Gary Glitters out of me. If he gets away with it in Canada, a dangerous precedent may be followed in many countries. At my old age I´d like to just enjoy a tranquil retirement, but worry for my kids and grandkids' futures in a world where the rights and democracies we have enjoyed, look to be disappearing.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :