Making it Through COVID19? To Mask or Not to Mask

As our priest at the Church said at the beginning of this whole COVID19 pandemic, “this is the start of COVIDic times.” He was not wrong. This pandemic has changed lives and taken more. The entire “to mask or not to mask” debate continues to rage on while making it through COVID19 in one piece becomes more difficult. The arrival of the new vaccine may help, but, it will be too late for some.

Many may feel that they are immune to the virus. Having gone from the start of the whole thing till November. It certainly seemed that becoming infected was a long shot. However, waking up on the third day of a four day shift on 2 November. This turned out to not be the case.

A body that felt like a Raggedy Ann doll that had been beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and a temperature. This was not the start to a good day. After having a tasteless breakfast, the temperature was checked again.

It had gone up.

Work verified that a test would need to be done and the long trek to the “office” was undertaken. After being tested for Flu (It was also the start of the influenza season.) and the new virus,  only the COVID19 came back positive. Being sent home and placed on quarantine for 10 days seemed, at the time, a short annoying diversion while this stuff worked its way through the system.

This was not a 10 day stint, however, and the symptoms were bad. Crushed glass in every single joint, muscles that felt smashed and bruised. A temperature that never really eased off. Sleeping 12 to 14 hours every single day until the ever increasing cough made that impossible.

So it was off to the VA ER (Veterans’s Administration Emergency Room) after a phone consultation. They were friendly, helpful and patient. They also shoved that stick up an already irritated nostril and held it there for 10 seconds.

Fists clenching and unclenching to keep from punching the young lady administering the thing, it was excruciating. Feeling like blood was going to come down in freshets out of an outraged nose, it took far too long to get a reading. The result?

Positive.

(As was each subsequent reading taken at the VA ER.)

This was the first of three visits to the ER, all after phone consults. The diagnosis was an outset of Sars pneumonia that would need to be watched. Cough syrup and antibiotics were issued amid a discharge with the staff explaining that this would need to be watched.

It was watched carefully and it did not clear up as hoped. So back to the ER the next Friday. More drugs were given out and another release was signed. Then Thanksgiving and no real response from a phone check until the week after. Once again it was back up to the ER, this time for edema that was so severe shoes could not be worn.

All through the quarantine, getting up out of bed proved to be a battle in and of itself. Walking was a precarious challenge and legs, ankles and feet did not want to cooperate. Feeling and looking like a drunken soul attempting to come home from the pub, it took ages to stagger the short distance to the kitchen and get a small bite to eat. It was then back to bed filled with exhaustion and a brain that refused to do anything other than the bare minimum.

A total lack of energy combined with that cough along with a case of the “trots” that made trips to the toilet as frequent as 10 to 12 times a day, made for a miserable time. Each and every time a trip was made outside the quarantine area, a 10 X 12 bedroom, a mask was worn. Thus far, the only other occupant in the house has not been infected. So it seems that these annoying mask things do work. (For clarification, the bathroom and the kitchen were no further than 10/15 feet from the quarantine room.)

Since being diagnosed on the second day of November 2020, a total of one and a half months has passed. Three trips were taken to the Veteran’s Hospital Emergency Room and only on 11 December did the symptoms begin to ease up. The, seemingly, eternal weakness started to abate just a few days before that.

Before the 11th the total lack of energy and concentration meant that an extremely short person of advanced age and suffering from severe arthritis could have run circles around this COVID19 sufferer.

Easily.

Without breaking a sweat.

The lack of brain cognizance, in itself, would have been alarming, if it had registered. It did not. Driving to the ER put not only the mentally impaired driver at risk but everyone else sharing the road. Thankfully, no one died and the last trip did not feel like driving through a thick metaphorical fog.

Thanking God for keeping this from being a more serious affair, i.e; hospitalization, intubation and/or death, is done daily. There are, however, long term “issues” for those who took longer than the 10 to 21 day quarantine while waiting for the virus to “run its course.”

Media is reporting that patients who have suffered from the virus for a longer time period could have problems. Heart, lung, kidney issues, along with a few others, will, reportedly, erupt long after the virus is gone.  In other words, this virus is a gift that keeps on giving.

Treatment of the virus throughout this entire ordeal was practically non-existent. No COVID19 drugs were given out. A lady friend did supply some capsules similar to the drugs given to the POTUS. Handfuls of vitamins and supplements were taken daily as well and still are.

The hospital did prescribe steroids, along with antibiotics, for the pneumonia. Nothing was given for the virus itself. Granted, this is the VA and they do have a very stringent process for what can and cannot be given to this country’s veterans. So it is not too surprising that while the medical jury was weighing up the benefits of these new experimental drugs, the VA did not hand out any of these “cures.”

As hospitals continue to fill with new cases; body bags, along with food freezers for storage of same, are being ordered to cope with the massive influx of deaths. This information alone has the effect of making it through COVID19 to be a bit of an accomplishment. The ongoing argument of mask wearing may be slowing down. Although there are a few folks who feel that their freedom has been infringed and continue to ignore the new laws.

Not to mention the members of a nation filled with conspiracy theorists who believe firmly that the virus has been blown out of all proportion. There are those who, with teeth clenched and jaw muscles bulging, claim that this is a media influenced hoax. It has all been aimed to help the government take away our freedom.

Time will tell whether this is true or not. However, as one who got the virus and suffered through isolation along with all the lovely symptoms, it certainly seems, and feels, real enough.

Whether anyone in your circle has COVID19 or not, take a moment to thank a first responder and any member of the healthcare community. These overworked and beleaguered heroes have been working this issue since the start of the year. May God Bless them.

 

Between: War (recap and review)

Jennette McCurdy in Between as Wiley
Last week’s episode, End of the Rope raised the stakes and really put things on the boil for the characters of Between and this week in War, they continue to show just how bad things can get in the beleaguered community of young survivors.

Adam’s father wakes him up in the prison to take him to safety. Pat is eaten up with guilt over killing Amanda and Chuck arms his lads with the intent of arresting the Creekers for his sister’s death. Gord tells Hannah she should have let him know she was married and the Mennonite girl returns to her community. Wiley wants to talk to Chuck and Pat’s sister tells her it is a very bad idea.

Chuck and his police force head to the Creeker residence and the family is not there. They find the car, that Pat struck Amanda with. Frances talks Gord into taking the milk into town for Melissa and the kids she looks after.

Adam’s father tries to take him to the tunnel that he used to get into Pretty Lake. The boy learns that not only is there no cure but that his dad worked on the virus. His father tells Adam that he is not immune and that there is no protection against it. Samantha tells Chuck that she knows the Creekers were responsible for Amanda’s death and tells the boy that Pat is there having confessed.

Adam and his continue to talk. Soldiers arrive and Adam’s dad says that they are early and that the military will kill the kids to prevent the spread of the virus. The soldiers, he says, do not know that their masks will not protect them and they believe they are inoculating the children to save them, not kill them. He coughs up blood and dies. Afterward, Adam stands by a door and looks ready to leave Pretty Lake.

Ronnie, Wiley and baby Jason, along with Tracey show up to save Pat. As things spiral out of control, Chuck takes aim at the elder Creeker to shoot him, Wiley jumps in the way demanding that she be killed for Amanda’s death as well. Gord and Melissa show up and big sister forces Wiley to tell Chuck who Jason’s father is and it is revealed that Chuck’s dad is the father. Jason is his brother.

The soldiers rush to “round up a 1,000 kids” and give them the injections. The group at the church; Chuck and the rest, begin to break up when Adam arrives. He tells them that the soldiers outside are there to kill them all. Chuck argues that it cannot be true and Adam points out the lack of communication with the outside world, no television, land-lines or cell phone signals. He also reminds them of the plane being shot down. The government, Adam says, are cleaning up their mess.

After striking Adam, the soldiers are overpowered and Wiley says that if Adam is wrong, “We’re all screwed.” All the kids are being taken to the prison of their shots and Wiley learns that Adam came back to save the kids. Gord and Adam dress up in the soldiers uniforms to escort the group to the prison and stop the soldiers from injecting the kids and wait for them to die. Mark says he can help them get to the control room at the prison as he was an inmate.

While Gord and his group head for the prison, Melissa and Wiley clear the air about the baby and their relationship. Two more soldiers appear and take them to the prison. The plan seems to be working as Gord and the guys follow Mark to the control room. Meanwhile the soldiers are injecting the smaller children.

As Wiley and Melissa are being transported, the soldier driving begins to choke and he dies. The van crashes. The guys are caught out by two other soldiers and the group split up after overpowering the duo. Adam makes it to the control room and as he begins to lock the prison down, his father turns up, not dead after all.

When questioned about it, Adam’s father explains that they are the only two who are immune to the virus as he used his own DNA to make the stuff. It was never meant to be used but Art Carey “went rogue” and infected the town of Pretty Lake. Adam has to shoot his father to save the remaining kids.

The rest of the show is a race between soldiers dying and kids being murdered and a huge dose of irony.

By the end of Between the price of survival has been dear. Two main characters die and there are a couple of heart-stopping moments when it looks like Frances will be killed as well. Rather interestingly, the whole idea behind the virus is population control, similar to the back story behind another Canadian series, The Lottery.

Adam learns that not only can father’s lie, but that governments do as well. Dad may have come back to get the boy, but at the price of killing the rest of the kids in Pretty Lake and the government knows this is happening. The cell phones come back on so the prime minister can tell the kids about the injections. Like the short lived Canadian series The Lottery, the underlying message of Between is that government’s lie and that we are all expendable for the greater good.

The episode War continues to show just how bad things can get in the contaminated area. This Netflix series has turned the corner from a slow uninteresting start to a show that should not be missed. Jennette McCurdy has grown into her character, Jesse Carere has made Adam believable and the rest of the cast are rocking their roles out of the park. Between should be re-named Unmissable.

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Episode two of Scorpion did not have as spectacular a problem to solve as in the pilot, there were no jet passenger planes falling out of the sky killing hundreds this week. In A Single Point of Failure death was still an issue but in numbers much smaller, just as the potential victims themselves were small. The first on the list of the dying was the governor’s daughter whose health was failing at a rapid rate with doctor’s giving the girl less than 24 hours to live.

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Episode two of Scorpion did not have as spectacular a problem to solve as in the pilot, there were no jet passenger planes falling out of the sky killing hundreds this week. In A Single Point of Failure death was still an issue but in numbers much smaller, just as the potential victims themselves were small. The first on the list of the dying was the governor’s daughter whose health was failing at a rapid rate with doctor’s giving the girl less than 24 hours to live.

Retreat (2011): Apocalypse on a Scottish Island

First-time director Carl Tibbetts (who co-wrote the screenplay with fellow first-timer Janice Hallett) has delivered a brilliantly claustrophobic apocalyptic film with Retreat. With a cosy cast of three, Jamie Bell, Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy,  Retreat is an atmospheric, tense, scary film that is so full of suspense that you feel the urge to watch it with your teeth clenched.

Rather surprisingly Retreat only got a three star rating on Netflix and IMDb only gave the film a 5.7 out of 10. All three actors turn in a more than adequate performance and Jamie Bell should have been nominated for a best acting award. The more things I see Bell in the more I can appreciate that when it comes to acting, he is a master craftsman who needs to be in more films.

The film starts with Martin and Kate Kennedy (Murphy and Newton) riding out to a remote Scottish island on a boat piloted by Doug (Jimmy Yuill). Doug is taking the young couple to a cottage that he has let out to them on the island. Martin and Kate appear strained and unhappy on the boat ride out and we learn that things aren’t too good between them. They are returning to the quaintly named Fairweather Cottage because they had been there years before during a happier time in their life.

Doug drops the couple off on the island and reminds them that he is on the other end of the CB radio if they need anything. The island is remote and they are the only inhabitants. While they settle into the cottage, Kate starts writing about her troubled marriage and that she and Martin are reeling from her recent miscarriage. The generator dies and Doug has to come out to fix it. The day after he fixes it, the generator breaks again and while Martin is trying to restart it, the generator blows up injuring Martin. Kate radios Doug who says that it will be tomorrow before he can come out.

The next day comes and goes without Doug arriving to fix the generator and they can’t raise him on the radio. Kate looks out an upstairs window and sees a man stumble and fall on the path leading to the cottage. She and Martin go out and bring the unconscious man into the cottage. He is bleeding from a head wound and Kate discovers that their mysterious guest is armed.

While the man is passed out on the couch, Martin takes his gun and hides it in a drawer in the dining room dresser. The man, who is dressed in Army fatigues, wakes up and the three introduce each other. The man’s name is Jack (Bell) and he asks if they are on the island alone and if they have contact with the mainland. Martin explains that they are the only people on the island and that the CB radio is their only means of communication.

Jack then tells them that he is a soldier and that the world is suffering from a major ‘pandemic’ caused by a virus from South America called Argromoto Flu, codenamed R1N16. It is an airborne virus that is highly contagious and deadly. If you contact it, you will start coughing blood, pass the virus on to someone else and then you will die horribly. He tells them that the Army is telling people to barricade themselves indoors until they can come up with a cure.

Jamie Bell as Jack is sinister, aggressive, controlling and scary. Kate doesn’t believe Jack’s story and neither do we. Martin tries to play along until they can find out the truth.

I have heard this film called” Dead Calm on land” and I’ve heard it described as “28 Days Later meets Straw Dogs.” Both comparisons are spot on. This is a thriller of highest calibre and it keeps you constantly on edge and trying to guess which way the film is going. The plot twists are many and you will not guess the ending until it smacks you in the face.

This was Carl Tibbetts first time at bat and he knocked the film firmly and squarely out of the park for a solid home run.  This little film completely sells its plot, characters and mood. It is an unbelievably intense thriller. If I had to give this British cinema offering a score, I’d give it a eleven out of ten and say that this needs be on that list of films to see before you die just for Jamie Bell’s performance alone.  The film is that good and Bell’s performance is that great.