Tag Archives: Covid 19

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

This weekend marks Canadian Thanksgiving. There is a lot of overlap between our holiday and the American one. The most important difference is that if we waited until the end of November for our Thanksgiving we would be doing it in winter.

Due to COVID we will be having a very quiet Thanksgiving by ourselves. Our children have made plans elsewhere though we would love to be with them, we are playing it safe as Manitoba spirals into another wave with record levels of infection. Nonetheless, I am making a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings even if it is just for the five of us. Mali and Misty will be happy to join us for turkey.

Klinger will likely not enjoy the turkey but I suspect he’ll enjoy eating turkey liver.

Klinger in a sunny spot luxuriating.

And once the turkey is cooked and we’ve eaten our fill I see leftover and special turkey based meals in our future. It’s a substantial bird. I like to cut the cooked leftover turkey up and make containers of meat appropriate for a variety of future dishes. I pop these into the freezer and when I am ready, I take them out and put them in a dish. I see Turkey Bombay, Turkey Lentil Curry, Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Chili, Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash, and at least three forms of turkey soup including Turkey Tortilla Soup. And of course we will enjoy turkey sandwiches and fried leftover turkey for breakfast. I would prefer to have all my family around me and few to no delicious leftovers but I’ll enjoy the variety of turkey dishes over the next few weeks.

I have much to be thankful this year. We are not having a giant Manitoba Storm like last year’s Thanksgiving. My husband has fully recovered from his stroke in March. The doctors can’t even tell he had one anymore, he’s done so well. One of my sons who is an aide in the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg has been exposed to COVID 19 twice at work and had to go into isolation but he did not get sick. No one else in my family has gotten sick with the virus or had to isolate due to exposure. We have been blessed to not even know anyone who died from it. Little Mali joined our household and has brought us endless joy and diversion and she’s only broken and mauled a few things. I finally got my own greenhouse. My winter preps are done. My freezer and pantry are well stocked just in case we have another lock down. I am ready to snuggle in for our long cold Manitoba winter.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Stay healthy and be blessed in all things.

Mali decided Dick’s mouse was a fine toy. This is the replacement and Dick moving quickly to prevent another incident.
Mali immediately after realizing the new mouse is off limits.

Was It COVID-19?

As you may recall, my husband had a right side lateral pontine stroke, apparently his second one, although we still don’t have the straight scoop on the first one. Two specialists said there as no evidence of the first stroke and it was a transient ischemic episode related to the inner carotid artery dissection. One specialist and one other doctor said the first episode was a very mild stroke and our family doctor said it best when he just shrugged and asked who cares? It really doesn’t matter except possibly for insurance companies. Since the second stroke is absolutely for certain a stroke, it doesn’t make any difference now what we call the first episode.

So background: Hubby dearest was released from hospital the first time on a very complex multi drug regimen that caused him all kinds of side effects which made him miserable and made my life feel really hard some days. We eventually weaned him off all the drugs except the blood thinner clopidogrel bisulfate (generic form of Plavix), daily aspirin and his regular blood pressure med cilazapril, and I got my husband back. A January MRI showed the carotid artery had healed, there was no sign of any stroke or micro strokes and he could stop the blood thinners after a final CT confirmed what the MRI showed. That was scheduled for March 10.

On Feb 28th we noticed his toes had turned red/purple and his baby toes looked nearly black. The bottom of his feet were solid bruises and the tops speckled red. After a quick consult with our family doctor we stopped the blood thinner before the confirming CT assuming it was the blood thinner causing this. After two days the awful black and blue look had resolved and his feet looked normal. He felt fine through it all.

March 3rd I came down with an awful bug. I had only a low grade fever (37.6 at the highest) but for four days it was all I could do to get in and out of bed. The bug included a horrific headache that stabbed all the way down my spine. My sense of smell was gone even though I had no runny noise or any cold symptoms but the glands in my neck were swollen and sore and I was wracked by coughing. I also felt short of breath and my usual asthma bronchodilator did little to nothing to fix that sensation. At one point I also called the health department’s number to see if I should get tested for the coronavirus. At that time you only got tested if you have been to China or had a confirmed close contact with someone who had a positive test after being in China.

I also had a bizarre collection of neurological symptoms included come and go weakness on one side, dizziness, weird twitches and my vision came and went in one eye. I recalled thinking I should probably get up and call an ambulance because maybe this was meningitis or encephalitis but I was too tired so I went back to sleep instead. When I woke up a few hours later I was finally feeling better so I reassured my worried husband all was well. The headache finally eased and on the fifth day, March 7th, I felt well enough to get up and go back to my household chores. For the next two weeks I was dragging myself around feeling absolutely awful but functional. I napped and rested a lot. March 8th Dick was feeling a bit off and he had a low grade fever in the evening and I thought, here we go, he got my bug now, but by morning he was feeling fine.

It was the early morning of March 10th when Dick’s second stroke occurred. I was still recovering from the bug I had. I told the paramedics about my recent flu-like bout and they put a mask on my husband before doing anything. He arrived at the hospital with the mask on. A nurse took his temperature, decided he was normal and the mask was gone. I bring all this up because there are now reports out there about COVID-19 causing COVID toes in mild cases. Also COVID-19 infection is associated with stroke. The doctors have poo-poohed my thought on this because my husband is in his seventies, had a previous query stroke and we had no history of confirmed exposure. Admittedly there was nothing in imaging and no reason for him to have had the second stroke. His carotid artery showed as healed in the CT and MRI he had in the immediate aftermath of the stroke so that was deemed not part of the picture. This second stroke had nothing to do with the carotid artery dissection, but could COVID be causing blue toes and a stroke? No way, the doctors said.

We will not know if we have been exposed to COVID-19 until the antibody test finally comes out. Even if we do test positive, we will not know if that was the cause of the stroke. Such is life’s uncertainty. I prefer to think that it was COVID-19 because one of the doctors told me I needed to think about quality of life not quantity during his hospitalization. This whole second stroke episode indicates my husband has diseased brain arteries that are not showing up as such in the imaging. He will likely have repeat strokes and drop dead one day sooner or later, probably sooner. (Okay the doctor said it using far nicer words than that but that is what he said.) That prognosis is far worse than thinking he got it and is now recovering from a stroke caused by COVID-19 unrelated to the carotid artery dissection. In any case, he’s not dead yet.

Sheltering In Place

We are doing well.  As if often the case with pontine strokes, the kind my husband had this round, function is returning rapidly. His balance is not good enough to walk freely and he still needs the seat in the shower but just about everything else is back to normal. Hubby dearest is working on the books he edits again. He is getting caught up on his email. Life is good.

We are considered high risk for this Wuhan Flu. We are isolating as much as possible and as recommended by our federal and provincial governments. I am still taking the dog for a walk and picking up the mail. There is a big sign on the post office door saying if we have symptoms we can’t come in. The local RM office has made it policy they will only do their job by telephone or by a select few prearranged entries. The local store owner is in masks and gloved. Right now there is no sign of community spread. However, the virus has hit close to home. Our family doctor had to go into isolation. We have an appointment tomorrow and we still don’t know if he will be there.

I have been calling my elderly friends who are at home sheltering in place. We chat on the telephone, exchange stories, updates on our health situations, and tips. One conversation I had was very interesting and uplifting. During the great flood of ’97 and the horror of of the 911 terrorist attack, we old folks were the ones on the front lines. Today we old folks need to step back, stay out of the way, avoid becoming a burden to an already overburdened health system, and leave it to the young people. It’s their turn now. This is their war.

Covid 19 Update

It’s been pretty grim watching the news about this viral outbreak. Places like Iran and Italy have been hit hard. In England they are gearing up for a major outbreak that will strain the health care system. In Washington state USA everyday we hear of another death among the elderly patients of that nursing home. I have heard it said you know when a virus is loose in the system when the most vulnerable start dying off. That seems to be the case on the west coast now.

Wash your hands.

Here in my home things are lovely. The air has a hint of spring to it, though we know March is also the season we get lots of blizzards. The sun is finally around for long enough to actually feel warmth through the windows in the afternoon. My neighbours are rural folks and mostly up on prepping and self reliance anyway. However there is no sign of battening the hatches or going into isolation here yet. Casual discussion around the coffee table at the local grocery is that it will come, we will have to go into isolation soon, but it’s too soon now. Enjoy life while you can.

Wash your hands.

The only cases in Canada at the moment are all cases in Ontario and British Columbia and one case in Montreal which is far away from us.  All recent cases have direct connections to travel from Iran, or Egypt. No one is saying if we are testing others. That worries me a bit because I worry that we won’t start testing others until we have our own version of the Washington State epidemic. We will not know if the virus is running loose in our area until old frail people start dying unless the government changes that policy of only testing those who have a travel history or contact with those with a travel history. I am only worrying a little bit because there is no point worrying over what you have no control over. I have no say in who the government is testing or not testing.

I am washing my hands a lot. Today I added bleach to my cleaning routine for the bathroom sink where I wash my hands.

Signs of panic are happening in those big city places in Canada. Long lines in the grocery stores and empty shelves have become common pictures on social media. About 10% of people seem to have masks on in the pictures of the mobs at the stores. Personally, I can think of no better way to spread this germ than to crowd into stores with hundreds of other people and scramble to get everything you can off empty shelves. And what’s with the toilet paper thing? For some unknown reason people seem to think stocking up on two years worth of toilet paper is a good idea in a pandemic. (?????) Panic is what creates this nonsense. Those of us who stayed calm and added a few extra groceries we will eventually use anyway during each trip ahead of time have an advantage.

So be sure to wash your hands before and after you go shopping.

My advice is do not panic. Get ready, yes, but do not panic and do not buy tons of toilet paper. The experts in Britain are predicting a long slow increase in infections over a three month period, a peak of cases and then a long slow decrease in infections for three months after that. That’s probably a good guess for Canada too. So leave some toilet paper for someone else. It’s going to be a long season.

And don’t forget to wash your hands.

Educate yourself. My favourite source for “How To” information is Dr. John Campbell.

He has this really great video on how to wash your hands. I discovered I was doing it only half right so I think it’s worth a look.

Other good sources are John Hopkins and Coronavirus Update

If you are from outside of Canada and care to share what’s going on where you are, I would love to hear it. Stay healthy.

Don’t forget to wash your hands.