Positively Coughing

4 year old Ukrainian girl with Down syndrome killed in missile strike

It’s now Saturday July 16th, 2022. Kia ora!

Last night we watched the 2011 film of Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy.  John le Carré had a hand in this. To my way of thinking, you can’t beat the 1979 7 part BBC television series, but they certainly had an all star cast for this, and it’s a great movie, even if it takes some liberties with the book. To my mind it would be very hard to follow the movie if you didn’t know the story.  I can’t quite get used to Gary Coleman as George Smiley – I much prefer Alec Guinness, but the other actors, including Colin Firth as Bill Haydon, were excellent.

Today it’s fine, and I slept quite well, but I don’t feel so good today. My cough is annoying, and although I don’t quite cough up phlegm, my chest feels a bit tender and sensitive, and my taste is off.  I have that annoying post-cold feeling of being able to taste the phlegm; I felt better than I had done, but I’m not over it yet. I still feel ashamed, at having avoided getting Covid 19 for so long, and now having succumbed. JD should be clear on Sunday and me next Thursday (next Tuesday according to Access), but I’m wondering if I’ll feel up to zooming into my church service tomorrow morning. We are lepers, and we aren’t yet fit for human consumption.

Today’s Covid 19 report is out. There are 9,241 community cases, and there have been 29 further deaths.  There are 761 people in hospital with Covid including 15 in intensive care.

Of the people whose deaths are being reported today, three were from Auckland, four from Waikato, two from Bay of Plenty, three from Lakes, two from Hawke’s Bay, two from MidCentral, two from Wellington region, three from Nelson Marlborough, four from Canterbury/West Coast and four from Southern. Two were in their 60s, three in their 70s, 16 in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. Nineteen were women and ten were men.

The 761 people in hospital with Covid are in Northland: 25; Waitematā: 130; Counties Manukau: 54; Auckland: 102; Waikato: 56; Bay of Plenty: 38; Lakes: 17; Hawke’s Bay: 28; MidCentral: 30; Whanganui: 20; Taranaki: 16; Tairawhiti: 4; Wairarapa: 9; Capital & Coast/Hutt: 57; Nelson Marlborough: 8; Canterbury/West Coast: 118; South Canterbury: 11; and Southern: 38.

When we do get over this bug, and feel it’s safe to go out again and participate in the real world, how safe will we be? Will people shun us? Will we want to shun them, given that almost anyone could be the source?  I guess we’ll continue to be really careful (in my case that means limiting my exposure, touching as little as possible, and frequently washing my hands), and hope we don’t get it again – ever. 

JD has just taken another RAT test, and he’s still positive (and still coughing, by the way, with two red lines. Will he test negative tomorrow? The day he’s technically free to be released from hibernation (and performing some maid duties for me?)

I don’t feel well today, but I really need to change my pjs and the towels. I have a shower, and change the towels.

It’s now Sunday July 17th.

It’s not a good day for me. I zoom into my church service, without video, so no-one can see me. I read some more of White Guard, by Michael Bulgakov. I don’t quite have the intellectual stamina at present to really get into it. I watch more of Sherwood on my laptop. There are no more episodes.

Last night we watched the new movie Persuasion on Netflix. As a reviewer said, think cross between Bridgerton and Bridget Jones’ Diary.  Jane Austen would never have written much of the dialogue, and I fear she’d be turning in her grave at this movie. Having said that, it was quite fun to look at, and some of the more outlandish visual aspects reminded me of the recent film of Emma. It was fun to watch, although I really don’t admire the way so much current entertainment is just plain weird.

It’s now Monday July 18th.

Tom Bower’s book Revenge is almost (?) out, and some excerpts have been printed by the Sunday Times. They are conveniently read by one H G Tudor, an establishment voice if ever I heard one. Tom Bower is a British author, and H G Tudor is an expert on narcissism.  Already many commentators are picking over the entrails. It’s not looking great for team Sussex, but I find it quite diverting.

I’ve also been listening to more podcasts about the January 6 Committee hearings – still interesting and absorbing. It seems more are more that someone was coordinating the work of the two militias – the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers – advising them what to do and where to go. There’s a kind of prurient interest in how awful this whole set up was, comprising Trump’s huge efforts to stay in power.

And then there’s Boris Johnson’s (as Britain’s Foreign Secretary) meeting with Alexander Lebedev in Italy at the time of a NATO conference, after the Salisbury poisonings.  It seems that reporting on this has been hushed up. Here’s a link:


Today – I’m still coughing, I still don’t feel like doing anything. I feel kind of protected – no one dares come near me. I’m in my bubble; no medical people have rung or texted me since last Thursday, although I’d like a doctor to listen to my chest. It feels a bit tender and fuzzy. But how does a doctor listen to your chest in a video or phone consultation?  JD is a bit better than me, but won’t take a test. So here we are – doomed – for how much longer? I’m aware we have refunds for flights to Christchurch that expire on 31 August, but I certainly don’t feel up to using them. Will this ever end?

Today’s Covid 19 report is out. There are 7,612 new community cases, and 767 people in hospital, including 20 in Intensive Care. There have been a further 22 deaths. Five of the people whose deaths reported today were aged in their 60s, two were in their 70s, seven were in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. Nine were women and 13 were men. Five were from the Auckland region, two were from Waikato, one was from Bay of Plenty, three were from MidCentral, one was from Whanganui, four were from Wellington region and six were from Canterbury/West Coast.

The patients are being treated in Northland (27), Waitematā (135), Counties Manukau (54), Auckland (91), Waikato (64), Bay of Plenty (43), Lakes (19), Hawke’s Bay (32), MidCentral (31), Whanganui (20), Taranaki (13), Tairāwhiti (six), Wairarapa (seven), Capital & Coast/Hutt (55), Nelson Marlborough (13), Canterbury/West Coast (138), South Canterbury (10) and Southern (39).

That seems to be all we’re told today.  So it’s more of the same; keep on coughing and keeping on, and keep on waiting to rejoin the real world.

I worked so long – and prayed – for none of my immediate family to get Covid 19, and not to get it myself.  I’m thankful that it’s not worse, and that we’ve been vaccinated and boosted (once); but now two of my sons and their families have had it, and JD and I have had – and still have – it.  There’s a warning in today’s newspaper about getting it again, as it may cause organ damage. The criteria for being prescribed Paxlovid have eased, but the medics have reservations about it. So there we are. I’d love to see Benediction – the new movie about Siegfried Sassoon, but the last showing is on Wednesday. Even if I test negative for Covid 19 by then, I don’t want to be coughing throughout it, that’s very anti-social behaviour.

In the UK, the leadership contest grinds on, uninspiringly with a US-style candidate “debate”. In the US, some are still wondering if Trump can be charged, and when he might be. In Ukraine, the war grinds on – with the death of a beautiful little 4 year old girl with Down syndrome.

It’s now Tuesday July 19th.

I’m still coughing. I relent and take some cough mixture, which I’m reluctant to do, seeing I hate to swallow medicine.  Perhaps it helps – it’s hard to tell.  This morning I had a messenger chat with my son in the UK, where they’re experiencing an extraordinary heat wave: temperatures of up to 43 C are expected. I ask him if there is air conditioning at his university, and he says no – it’s part of their sustainability effort not to have it. Normally, you wouldn’t need air conditioning in the UK, but I quip to him that sustainability means sustainability of human life, as well.  You have to feel really sorry for people like Yeoman guards and those who wear bearskins in this weather.

JD has tested negative, so that’s good. Now I can expect so much more of him (ha ha!). Today the outgoing Director-General of Health, Dr Bloomfield (who can’t wait to get away) announces that deaths will be reported differently (again!). Today there are 10,772 new community cases of Covid 19, and 788 people in hospital. There are 21 deaths to report. One out of every 20 people reporting to hospital has Covid 19.

Dr Bloomfield said from public surveillance testing, including wastewater results, it was estimated that half of all positive Covid cases were going unreported.  I find it really annoying that reporting a test result does not give you any opportunity to enter the reason for testing – experiencing symptoms, isolating because you’re a close contact, going to a special event, such as a concert or a funeral, or testing to determine if you’re free of Covid 19, i.e. have recovered; or even if you have Covid 19 for a second time.

Case rates and wastewater rates indicated that cases were increasing across the country. The current surge is thought to be mainly the BA.5 variant. The Ministry of Health will now report Covid deaths as people who died because of the virus or as a contributor, rather than a death having occurred where the dead person is found to have the virus.  There seems to be some confusion in the way these information is reported, and we’re not told where the deaths are, or where the new case numbers are. I guess we’re all sick, isolating, recovering, or at risk of getting sick…It’s said the deaths for New Zealand would have been around 10,000 had not strict lockdown measures been taken.

It’s now Wednesday July 20th.

Today it’s overcast and raining, although not too cold. I have to be thankful, as in the UK and parts of Spain, France and Portugal it is swelteringly hot – up to 43 C recorded in the UK; I don’t think they’ve broken 40 before. Fires have broken out across London and parts of southern England; some planes can’t land; trains can’t run – it’s a case of survival. So at least we’re here, where it isn’t too hot, and there aren’t any alarming fires.

Early this morning I get a text telling me my isolation period is officially over. Tell that to the cough, I think; then when I get up, I take a RAT test and it’s positive – still.  I don’t even bother to record this result. I am still coughing – badly. I would go to my GP at this point, and my now-retired GP would have asked if I’d like a script for Prednisone? Which I would. But I can’t go anywhere at the moment. The thought of calling an ambulance, trying to justify that, waiting for it to come, and then waiting to be seen at the hospital (which is probably at least 30 minutes away) does not appeal.  I decide that if I’m still coughing on Sunday, (that will have been a week on taking my inhaler 2 puffs three times a day, and taking Prospan three times a day, I will ask for a remote consultation on Monday. Then I figure out it’s only Wednesday today, and I ponder whether I should ask for a consultation today. I look up Manage My Health to find which days my current GP works, but they’ve removed the option to make an appointment. So I’ll continue coughing. I find an old inhaler I was prescribed in 2019, and wonder if it’s safe to use this as well as Symbicort. Strangely, I feel awful, but I don’t wish to die – from an overdose, or being unable to breath. I don’t get wheezy in this situation, I just find it really hard to breath.  I am a bit shaky, very unsteady, and I have a sore chest. So be it.

Today’s Covid 19 report comes out. It’s not great: there are 10,320 new community cases and there’ve been 34 deaths; there are 744 people in hospital, including 17 in Intensive Care.

Today’s reported deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,904 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 24. Of the 34 deaths reported today 12 were from Auckland region, two were from Waikato, three were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Tairawhiti, one was from Hawke’s Bay, three were from Taranaki, three were from Whanganui, one was from Wellington region, three were from Nelson Marlborough, one was from Canterbury, three were from Southern. Two were aged in their 50s, two were in their 60s, seven were in their 70s, 13 were in their 80s and ten were aged over 90. Of these people, 17 were women and 17 were men.

It’s reported that the gracious and gentlemanlike Bennie Thompson, chair of the January 6 Committee, has tested positive for Covid 19. Thank goodness he has a good deputy in Liz Cheney. One my not like her conservative policies, but she’s been masterful in any pronouncements she’s made. I hope Bennie Thompson recovers soon.

I have enjoyed watching two movies on Neon that I hadn’t seen (and I hope that Benediction, about Siegfried Sassoon, will come on one of the streaming services soon). Perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word, but they were absorbing. The first was Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, and the second was Supernova, starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. Both feature gay couples, and both were moving and well acted.

The war in Ukraine grinds on. According to the Telegraph’s weekday podcast, the Russians are doing rather well. According to JD, they’re doing quite badly. Whatever is happening, Ukrainian cities continue to be struck by missiles, with  several civilians being killed each day, as well as the casualties in the armed forces.

That’s it for now, she said, ending on a rather gloomy note. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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