Posted by: patenttranslator | July 9, 2020

I think the virus caught up with me in mid February

I think the virus caught up with me in mid February of this year, devastated me pretty bad and stayed with me for most of the week. I cannot really be sure about it, although I see in my trusty Letts of London diary that shortly after that I cancelled a Japanese lesson that I was supposed to give to two students because I did not want to give it to them in case I really did have something like that. Mid February was kind of early for Covid-19 here in Czech Republic – nobody really worried about the virus here too much then, it was thought that it was still in China and not here, and the government introduced obligatory wearing of face masks in the country only about a month later.   

Maybe it was just some kind of a really nasty flu, or some variety of the damn virus, or something else, I can’t be sure. Later I talked to a number of people who experienced something similar, some in December, some in January or February. I did not cough and did not have any breathing problems either, which are supposed to be some of the main symptoms, but I had plenty of other problems. I probably had a fever, but I could not take my temperature as I had no thermometer (and still don’t have any). Those few days in mid February are now just a foggy memory wrapped up in a strange haze in my mind, not unlike a memory of a severe hangover.

 I remember that I was very weak. On the worst day I took a bath in the morning but I was so weak in the knees that when was I trying to get up from the bath tub, I slipped and fell on my ass so hard that the bone back in there, whatever it’s called, then hurt for several days. I managed to get up on second try. If I die here now, it would take a few days before my body is discovered, I thought. I have been living alone for about the past two years, so my neighbors would probably only find out that something is wrong from the stench.

I remember lying on the sofa where I normally read a book, but reading books was the farthest thing from my mind. What I really wanted was for the unbelievably painful headache that I had for about two days to finally go away. I could not eat anything, was not really hungry and did not have the energy to go to the kitchen to fix up something to eat. I could not sleep for most of the night, except for fitful periods of micro-sleep that did not really appear to qualify as sleeping. I felt the urge to vomit, but when I made it to the kitchen sink, nothing came out, although I tried a number of times to purge my insides of the angry demons inside me.

When I got a little bit better on the second or third day, I had more energy, the migraines were much less severe, and I started curing myself with the same medicine that I’m always using if I have an attack of a bad flu, or whatever the hell it is, which happens about every 10 years or, I think … a few cups of tea with lemon and honey, supplemented with Ibuprofen to help with the headache.  

After a few days, the disease was gone. There were no signs of it, at least not in my apartment, except for the fact that I lost a kilo or two. The Big and Well Meaning Brother ordered us all to wear the menacingly looking masks that turned us all into potential burglars, but they were not available for sale anywhere. Fortunately, one of the ladies that I am still kind of dating brought me three hand-made ones, so I would be able to go out. Only one mask at first, and two more a few weeks later.

Outside, it was all of a sudden a very strange world. A mad world, really, because although everything looked just like before, green grass, green trees, cars on the streets, stores open, senior citizens slowly walking their aging doggies, somehow everybody felt … no, knew! that this was a different world, full of mortal danger.

With the precious face masks I was able to buy groceries by going to the corner store or the local supermarket and take the bus to the bigger shopping mall in downtown across from the train station to get my money from the ATMs there. What I do is I withdraw money from my account to which the caring US government deposits my pension in dollars, after 37 years of working and paying taxes in US. I can withdraw the money in Czech crowns from any bank ATM here (they call them bankomats here) and then make a cash deposit to my Czech account here and use a debit card to pay for most purchases. I just have to remember NOT to accept the Czech bank’s conversion rate and choose a blind rate; otherwise the bank would steal 15% of the money.

At first, very few people dared to take the bus that I am always taking to downtown. It’s bus No. 5, the one that I always take because it runs every 5 or 10 minutes or so on work days and takes me to straight to downtown in 12 minutes. Initially, only about 5 people would dare to take the bus with me instead of the usual about 10 to 30 or so before the virus. People were dutifully camouflaged in face masks; women, especially older ones, often also wearing disposable gloves, while men never seemed to bother, although the Big and Well Meaning Brother kept recommending it (but not ordering, fortunately). For some reason the image of a woman who suddenly produced a big bottle of something and sprayed plenty of disinfectant on her hands and then also on the hands of her two kids stays in my memory.

After 3 months, the order to keep everybody muzzled, just in case, was lifted. Everything now looks pretty much like before, and on Saturdays and/or Sundays I am having my lunch at my favorite restaurant again, admiring the slim figures of the waitresses bringing the beer and food and making sure that I leave them a 25% tip. I pay for the lunch with my card, but the tip I leave in cash, to let them know how much I appreciate their welcome presence in the newly almost normal world.

And they appreciate me more now as well, I think. Before the virus, sometime they would just mumble an almost incomprehensible “thanks” to me after I paid, but now, they all say “WE THANK YOU” to me, enunciating every word very clearly.

It is a new world now.


Responses

  1. You did get it for sure.
    Do not worry about the date, the first cases in Europe appeared in October 2019 at a military athletic competition that took place in Wuhan. All of the French athletes got a mysterious disease and were put into quarantine. They did take some blood samples that were sent to Institut Pasteur. Later on, Pasteur did an analysis of the samples and it was the damned virus.
    I like very much the idea of putting this song Mad World in your article.
    This is not the best version, though, This is a song from the British group Tears for fears, but it was adapted by Garry Jules as a soundtrack of a movie called Donnie Darko.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MyMOi4LEr4

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very interesting. I hadn’t heard that one.

      All I know is that there was some really nasty cold/flu-y bug going around London and other places in the UK last December: just when you thought it had been knocked on the head properly, it would come back and have another go at you – and then another …My output for last Dec was really low – I just couldn’t work with this thing. Unfortunately, back then nobody had heard of Covid-19, and I didn’t bother noting down what symptoms I actually had, just that I felt really lousy, so I have no idea whether or not that’s what it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the comment and for the video.
    So if I got it already, does it mean that I should be immune at least against this variety of the virus?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No unfortunately dear friend. The issue of immunity is still unknown. There have been cases where after a “mild” version of the disease, it was not possible to find antibodies. Even for extreme cases (the ones that went on a respirator), similar situations have been found. Then the other problem is that when you have antibodies, they do not know exactly how long they last.
      So nothing is safe, and I would recommend that you wear a mask.
      The only thing we know so far is that type of virus does not mutate very easily (contrary to influenza). I am sorry to give you such lousy news, but you need to be very careful. In France, it is almost certain that there will be a second wave this fall. Some of the reasons for this, is precisely that antibodies do not seem to be protective for a long time. There are some studies (not very public, in order to avoid a panic) that show that you could catch it several times even in the most severe presentations. This bug is nasty, it will come back and hit again. I think the place where you reside now is much better than the USA.
      Half of family lives in the US, the State of NY was handled properly but I have a cousin who is a cardiologist in Atlanta and she tells me that it is a nightmare.
      She declares kids under 25 dead of this bug! I will not go into the negation of science of the clown in the WH. He does not care! This is inacceptable.
      Be well and wear your mask.
      This is what I do, since my doctor told me: you are in deep trouble if you were to catch it. Basically, I would not survive it.
      I think I am a bit younger than you (60) but have put all my affairs in order and when the time comes, I am ready and not in fear.I have only been a translator for the past 10 years and before I was an engineer, building plants all over the world.
      I moved away from my Catholic education, how can I trust a religion that has killed so many people.
      I tend to be more like his Holiness the Dalai Lama (well, I read his teachings) and believe that with a little luck I will come back as a butterfly.
      Be well.
      Ivan

      Like

    • Yes, don’t assume immunity. Nobody knows yet whether you get immune once you’ve had it, and/or how long it lasts if you do – and probably the scientists will change their minds about it several times in the future as more information becomes available.

      It sounds as though your government was a lot more sensible than mine and got on top of the disease early, whereas mine hummed and harred and only started taking action rather too late. Or am I misreading you? What’s the infection/death rate been like where you are?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, if gets me and gets me for good next time, so be it. I’ve had a pretty good run on this planet so far and maybe it’s time to go somewhere else.

    My two sons live in US too, one in LA and one in Chicago, but contrary to what I see in the news, they say that the epidemic did not change much in their lives so far.

    Except that one of them gets to work more remotely at home now.

    As the saying goes, everything bad is good for something.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alison: I don’t know what the infection rate in CR is, but with the exception of Prague and one area near a coal mine in Northern Moravia, it is very low. As far as I know, nobody died “with the disease” so far where I live in a town of about 100,000, and when they announce new covid-19 cases in the morning on the local radio, it’s usually zero or single digits.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The CR was one of the best country in the word along with Taiwan in their response to the virus. I am also very happy to learn that your sons are OK.
    I am not happy by the 130,000 deaths and counting. This is a shame for the US and the lack of governance in this crisis coming from POTUS. So many of these deaths could have been avoided. Do you realize that we have lost more souls to this bug than from all the wars we did from Korean and afterwards? And we did a few.
    You are wise, but I have a hard time figuring what good could come out of this pandemic.
    I would recommend being humble, we do not know much, and it is probably not over.
    I know that I get almost no work from the agencies (yes, I know, you do not like them), even the ones that were decent. So I may consider going back to engineering. Unfortunately most of the projects that I have seen so far are located in either war zones, authoritarian regimes (I have worked in China once, never again) or that used to be war zones. All of these people need cement plants and this was my hobby. I will take it a day at a time, this may not be the best time for travel and being an expatriate.
    Now as I told you before I am at peace, so I do not scare very easy and may take up one of these jobs. Libya seems interesting!
    Take care, I have always read your blog with pleasure and you got me worried when the pandemic hit.
    Be well and prosper.
    Ivan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Frightening times but we should also remember that the number of actual deaths are not the numbers we hear about every day in the news. We may look back at this in the years to come and wonder why the reaction was as wild as it was. Having said that, good luck to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He’s aliiiiiiive!

    Good news! But you don’t know if you had Covid-19 unless you test for it or lost your sense of smell for a while.You would almost certainly have had a harsh cough.

    Like


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