Notes from the Isolation Ward, Day 2

I’m bummed out.

While everyone is concerned about contracting the NOVEL coronavirus, I get the COMMON cold.

Not that I’m complaining. Far from it. It could be worse. I could have COVID-19. I could be in the hospital on a respirator. I could be in the hospital hoping the doctors can find a respirator to put me on.

In the meantime, here I am with my nose practicing madly for the marathon. What’s doubly annoying is that the Olympics have been postponed for up to a year. Scratch that gold medal.

Not that I would, or could, ever run a marathon. I can barely run across the road, which I can’t do now even if I wanted to because I’m in self-isolation. So instead, I am trying to keep up with my nose — run for the tissue, run for the antihistamine, run for the metholated rub . . . well, you get the picture.

I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic; others are already doing that, and far better (or weirder) than I could.

Stay tuned. Stay safe. Stay at home.

(P.S. My grandparents, Abe and Addie Hanna, lived through the 1918 “Spanish” flu epidemic that killed anywhere from 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, and I write about what they might have experienced in “Our Bull’s Loose in Town!”. Starting today, I will serialize that chapter. Addie is the one telling the story.)

The Spanish Influenza

Was the summer of ‘18 when we heard rumours of some great pestilence felling our young men overseas. We didn’t pay it much mind, though; there were more important matters to worry about, like when this horrid war would end. After a while, we heard no more, and it quickly left our minds.

When the war ended, we thought life would go back to normal. Not so for the soldiers who came back crippled and shell-shocked – life would never be the same for them, or their families. Same for the families who had lost loved sons, fathers, husbands, or brothers. We prayed we would never see the likes of that war again.

Sometime in early October, I got a disturbing letter from Mary.

Dearest sister, she wrote, we are being visited with a plague worthy of Pharaoh. Many are being felled by this new disease that they call the Spanish influenza and it is a terrible killer. A person can be well in the morning and dead by evening. Those who are afflicted turn blue and cough blood and die a most dreadful death. Every family in Dundalk has at least one person ill, the hospitals are full, and the doctors and nurses are being run off their feet. So far, we are all well, but only the good Lord knows how long that will last. I fear for you, being in such a lonely country with so few doctors and nurses about.

Abe didn’t seem too concerned. “Ontario’s a long way off, but I’ll talk with Dr. Donnelly about it tomorrow,” he said.

To be continued . . .

#COVID-19 #Coronavirus #CommonCold #Olympics #SelfIsolation #Quarantine #Marathon #Pandemic #MargaretGHanna

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