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The COVID-19 crapola finally caught up to me

Columnist Loren Else says staying busy while convalescing can be tricky, so I've got a top 10 list of things to do.

Boomer Grandpa — Loren Else column sig
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All summer, I’ve had a date on my calendar. I have been playing late September golf with friends in northern Minnesota for a few years. Fall, friends, golf, food, beer, cribbage: What joy that weekend is.

Today, I was supposed to be sitting in my friend Lee’s home, where I can take a steaming cup of coffee out on his deck on a cool morning and take a gander at Lake Superior.

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Instead, I’m in an exam room with an IV needle sticking in my arm. I’m looking at a parking lot and an Extended Stay – America sign. After two and a half years, the COVID-crapola-19 got me. The virus that has changed the way we exist. I was confident, even smug, that I had forever escaped its clutches.

So, I got marching orders with fact sheets and verbal instructions from the nurses during my IV treatment given to boost my immunity.

My wife, who happens to be a retired nurse, strictly enforced the orders. Several days of isolation and then back to wearing a mask for a while.

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Hiss, boo.

All of us will remember that time in 2020 when everything shut down. What a difficult stretch that was. The virus has caused over one million deaths in the United States and over 13,000 in Minnesota.

So, depending on how you feel, and I felt lousy for a few days, you do what you can during your sequester. My wife has escaped my fate and has kindly cared for me.

Top 10 lists are popular, so here’s mine to keep somewhat productive during my isolation:

10: I called my siblings. I have four and chatted with them all. Only one has contracted COVID-19; the other three have escaped its clenches.

9: Finish a book. I finished “The Last Stand Of The Tin Can Sailors” by James D. Hornfischer. It is the story of the Battle of Samar, the last great naval battle in history, during World War II. My father and father-in-law served in the Pacific at this time.

8: I got a jump on the 2022 tax preparation. Got through some paperwork and started to organize the information I needed.

7: Despite blowing my nose 10 times a minute, I had to get outside and putz around the yard. I commenced on some fall tear down and winter preparation.

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6: I watched the Minnesota Gophers football team, Vikings, and Twins compete, although side effects sometimes can produce clinically inappropriate results for my mood.

5: I called a couple of folks I knew would enjoy an afternoon chat.

4: I looked around and selected a few more things for transport to Goodwill. I have too many golf shirts and books.

3: I exaggerated my symptoms just a bit to my spouse. This resulted in bakery treats and chocolate being purchased and brought home, and some delicious homemade dishes being prepared. Warning: If you do this, proceed with caution.

2: Watch old-school television shows like The Waltons, The Andy Griffith Show, or Leave it to Beaver. Remember, there used to be shows you could comfortably watch with your family.

1: Say thank you to all who cared for you, checked in on you, prayed for you and offered to help you.

I am thankful that my dance with the COVID-19 devil was not that bad. I believe that the vaccines I received had a bearing on my mild symptoms.

After my mom passed away, I found an index card where she had written down all the vaccines I received as a kid. She had listed diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, smallpox and tuberculin tests, most in the 1950s. I received oral polio doses in 1968 and 1969.

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My mom also wrote on the card that I had chicken pox, and three-day measles (German measles) in 1959, scarlet fever and red measles in 1960, and mumps in 1961. I remember her sitting on the edge of my bed, taking my temperature, and making me soup – thanks, Mom.

While sheltered in isolation, my friends golfed in Two Harbors one day and Moose Lake the next – darn that COVID, anyway.

Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at news@postbulletin.com .

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