On the Mend

It’s soup time

Today is Thursday July 14th – Bastille Day. Kia ora!

Last night I slept a bit better than the previous night, but I had a pretty sore throat. I have a cough but I’m not coughing much at this stage. I took another RAT test this morning, and despite feeling a little better than yesterday, the two red lines are very visible on my RAT test recorder.  The most annoying thing is the feeling of nausea. My voice is more gruff – another sure sign of Covid 19.  I feel a range of emotions: frustration at having avoided Covid 19 for so long (2 ½ years), I succumb now; I’m very ashamed, of course; I guess now that JD and I both have it I don’t need to be careful about avoiding anything he may have touched. I think he’s had this far worse than me: he still has a heavy cough, and severe runny nose. Yesterday my son that tested positive last Wednesday took another test, and it was negative, so that’s good. I duly recorded my test result on the required website, but no one has rung me yet from Healthline. The only person who’s rung is my other son who lives locally, who has again offered to shop for us, and is going to make us some soup.

Just before midday I get a do-not-reply text from my doctor, advising me to get in touch if I need anything. She has been notified that I recorded a positive test result for Covid 19. So that’s nice. I will have to defer our booster shots on 23 July.

Having endured another night where there wasn’t much sleeping, I listened to several podcasts: The Rest is Politics, about the leadership contest for the Conservative party in the UK; The Rest is History, the Love Island final; the next episode in the British Scandal podcast about the Hitler diaries; the last episode in the American Scandal series about the WACO standoff – an interview with a reporter.  Then this morning I listened to Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol on The Bulwark Podcast, which was a recap of yesterday’s evidence presented by the January 6 Committee. I found the sound bites at the beginning really scary, there’s so many expressions of violence.  Again, they, like me, are wondering why these folk did not speak out about Trump’s efforts to stay in power until they were compelled to. And apparently the dog has gone back to its vomit: Brad Parscale has gone back to working for Trump.

I listen to a Lawfare podcast, again doing a recap of the January 6 Committee evidence.  To my amazement, Ben Wittes does not rate this hearing highly, and his panel are divided about its effectiveness.  It does seem strange to me that a black man can be imprisoned for years on the basis of very flimsy evidence, and strange plea-deals, but the Department of Justice cannot seem to prosecute Trump for several instances of breaking the law, and encouraging others to do so. The Lawfare podcast deals, somewhat predictably, with the legal ramifications of charging a former president with having committed a crime. May I express my extreme frustration with American forbearance here (as ever). I think they’re looking for a “smoking gun”; I suspect that if Trump confessed under oath to his crimes, lawyers would claim he was an unreliable witness because of being a known liar.

Back to Covid 19. Someone from Healthline rang me, and when she heard I was asthmatic she got a nurse on the line. I was very impressed by how thorough they were, and how kindly they’d dealt with my frustration. They agreed contact tracing wasn’t appropriate in my situation, since when I went shopping last Friday I probably wasn’t infectious. I thought about the two Bluetooth alerts I got, and how frustrated I was by them!

Today there are 11,382 new community cases of the virus (although this figure is probably under-reported), and there have been 23 deaths, one of them being a child under 10. There are 765 cases in hospital, including 11 in Intensive Care.  Dr Ashley Bloomfield warns that case numbers could peak at 20,000 per day, with up to 1,000 people in hospital. The government is to make RAT tests and masks free – up till now, you could only get free RAT tests if you had symptoms of Covid 19 or were a close contact of someone who had it.  The traffic light setting remains at Orange, and I believe the rules for eligibility to the funded drug Paxlovid has been relaxed. Masks and vaccinations remain the best defences. There were 334 new cases reported at the border.

Of the deaths being reported today, four were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Taranaki, one was from Hawke’s Bay, two were from MidCentral, one was from the Wellington region, two were from Nelson / Marlborough, seven were from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury and one was from Southern. It was reported that a child less than 10 years old had died, while five other people who died were in their 70s, nine were in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. Of these people, 11 were women and 12 were men.

We’re not told where the cases are located, or how many and which DHB’s have hospital patients.

Today I had a shower and washed my hair; it was exhausting, as expected, but it felt better to have done so.  Another of my sons dropped off some soup, some biscuits, more coffee beans, and some lovely fruit.  That’s so heartening, I hope I don’t relapse tomorrow. It’s good to feel a bit better.

It’s now Friday July 15th.

Thankfully I slept much better last night, sleeping through until a bit before 6 am. I didn’t cough, or not enough to wake me up, anyway.  It’s cool but not too cold. I was quite comfortable. My head is still clear – a far I haven’t had the brain fog that seems to be a feature of so much Covid 19.

Before having breakfast, I listened to several podcasts. The Rest is History had a really interesting episode about George Orwell.  Then I listened to The Rest is Politics podcast about the leadership race for the Tory Party in the UK; I realised I had listened to it before but no matter; I also listened to the question time episode following.  I find the leadership contest extremely depressing, as does Alistair Campbell; none of the contestants care about the Northern Ireland protocol, poor people, or the climate – or even the Rwanda migrant deportation scheme, to cite my major concerns. So it’s more of the same, with perhaps fewer scandals. The whole situation is very depressing. The UK had austerity, before Brexit and Boris Johnson; things in US politics were pretty depressing before Trump became president. There’s a lot of diversity (which means more non-white faces), but it’s upsetting how conservative these diverse folk, and how they’re prepared to be extremely hard on black refugees. No one votes for the next Prime Minister except members of the Tory party! How democratic is that?   It’s not as though going back to what they were before is any great achievement; not that you can go back. Hopefully there will be less corruption, more serious candidates, and more consideration for poor and struggling people. Sadly, there’s talk of making benefits even harder to get, as if people receiving benefits in some way take away from the millions lavished by wealthy people – often on luxuries many of us would see as not particularly useful.

This morning my daughter rang on a video call to see how her dad is – I had told the SAMS auditors of the house where she lives that her dad had Covid 19. Unfortunately all I could do was cough! Every time I tried to say something, I coughed. She looked quite concerned, and I sent her a message on Storypark to say thanks for her call and that I was feeling better now.  I must ring her again when the cough has gone.

I also listened to a Bulwark podcast about Michael Flynn.  Journalist Bart Gellman posited that Flynn was demented; I suggest that he has some kind of dementia. He speaks badly, without a sense of pausing for applause. It seems he has been totally consumed by conspiracy stories. His brief period as Trump’s National Security Advisor (37days?) was spoken of, but there was no mention of Sally Yates’ warning, that the Russians had “kompromat” on Flynn.  Sally Yates was briefly Acting Attorney General – she lasted 10 days – before being sacked by Trump. Flynn admitted lying to the FBI, but was pardoned by Trump, and is now a darling of right-wing republicans. He was one of the attendees at the deranged meeting on 17 (?) December; there were reports that he had encouraged Trump to call for martial law. There was also no mention on the podcast that Michael Flynn’s brother Steve was at the pentagon on January 6 during the insurrection. Does anybody care? Does treason not matter any more?

There was a story in the Guardian about New Zealand being the 2nd worst place to move to. This upsets me. Certainly there are problems here, but we are fortunate not to be in the US or the UK. This is a much calmer country than many  – would you rather be in Russia, Ukraine, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Yemen, Ethiopia, Venezuela, or almost  any African country? At least there is a social safety net in place here. The health system here is overwhelmed; there is a mental health issue, bullying is rife, and there are terrible stories of abuse inflicted by churches and government agencies. As there are in many places. Bullying is continued, as people continue to criticise Prime Minister Ardern. Dr Ashley Bloomfield spoke recently of his concern for the extreme unpleasantness of anti-female slurs and insults. So yes, but where would you rather be?

Students are struggling to get by. Twas ever thus.

This morning I rang Access to cancel today’s home help session. To my surprise, a real person answered my call straight away.  I had wondered whether to tell them we had Covid 19; in the event, I mentioned it as a reason for cancelling what they like to call my “cares”.  The response, to my amazement, was along the lines of “whatever”.  I wasn’t asked if I’d like to reschedule, if I was coping all right, how sick I was, whether I was on my own, or whether I needed any help with shopping or collecting meds – which I do, as it happens. It’s just as well I’m not dying, then.

It’s after 2 pm now, and today’s Covid 19 report from the Ministry of Health has still not been issued. It comes at 2:22 pm. There are officially 10,470 new community cases today, and there’ve been 16 deaths. There are 773 people in hospital, with 14 of them in Intensive Care. While I am assessing this, someone from Access rings me, to check on my Covid status, what kind of help I usually receive, to see how I’m feeling, and to assure me that I should be all right for T to come next Friday as scheduled, and to ring 111 in need. She also makes sure that I’m living with my husband, and I relate the chain of events (a son testing positive, then my husband testing positive) to establish that I haven’t been in contact with anyone over the past few days. She tells me that based on my symptoms, I should be clear come next Tuesday. So that’s all good. I do have a bit of tightness in my chest today, but nothing too serious. Once again, I’m glad we’ve had vaccinations and our first booster.

It seems that although I nearly died, and my life changed completely when I was ill with an SAH ten years ago, I’m “impaired but not handicapped”, and not immune-compromised. That’s good to know, then.

It’s reported that today’s 16 reported deaths took New Zealand’s death toll to 1776. Of the people whose deaths are reported today, three were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from MidCentral, two were from Whanganui, five were from the Wellington region, one was from South Canterbury, and one was from Southern. One person was in their 60s, one was in their 70s, six were in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. Of these people, four were females and 12 were males.

The 773 people with Covid-19 cases in hospital are in Northland: 22; Waitematā: 141; Counties Manukau: 56; Auckland: 102; Waikato: 63; Bay of Plenty: 38; Lakes: 16; Hawke’s Bay: 24; MidCentral: 31; Whanganui: 18; Taranaki: 15; Tairāwhiti: 4; Wairarapa: 12; Hutt Valley: 29; Capital & Coast: 30; Nelson Marlborough: 13; Canterbury: 102; West Coast: 1; South Canterbury: 14; Southern: 42. We’re still in the grip of Covid 19 here.

I’m having big trouble with the computer today – everything’s extremely slow.

In Ukraine, the war grinds on, with more Ukrainian civilian casualties. The weapons supplied by the US are being used, and are effective, but it’s a long hard slog as nations that were dependent on Russian oil and gas try to figure out how they will keep warm next winter, and we all cope with inflation and rising prices – some of us more affected than others.

That’s it for now. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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