Note: All photos by Kate Poss, except for the one taken by Rob Harris.
Greetings from Morning Glory Lane. I’m in the second week of post-Covid symptoms–I have brain fog, lung and sinus congestion, loss of hearing, scent and taste. I now have compassion for what it feels like to have hearing loss–to hear words through what sounds like layers of wool in my ears.
Meanwhile, we’ve had a cold spell with temperatures as low as 12° since Jan. 11, along with a bit of snow, graupel and ice.
We’ve been keeping the neighborhood’s winged nation energized on these extraordinarily cold days with our backyard feeder loaded with suet cake and wild bird seed. When putting another log on the wood burning stove during the past two days, I looked out our basement windows into our backyard. House Finch with bright red chest and head feathers, Fox Sparrow, Varied Thrush–regal in its orange feathered chest with black highlights, Stellar Jay, Starling, Dark-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee and Red Breasted Nuthatch gather on the ground, on the feeder, and in our apple tree. Watching them, I thought, ‘Here are all these different kinds of birds together, united in their need to stay warm and eat.’
Meanwhile, before the post-Covid fog arrived to slow me down, we had friends Rob and Leslie over for dinner Jan. 5. We ate a hearty soup–The New Vegetarian Epicure’s Anna Thomas’s recipe for yam, pear and butternut squash soup blended together in–my departure from the recipe–chicken broth; Jessie Inchauspe’s Glucose Goddess’s refreshing recipe with romaine and kale with a yogurt/dill/grapefruit dressing; and GF fennel/onion biscuits from Aryan Goyoaga’s Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood.
Leslie complimented the simple dinner that wove us together around the table enjoying one another’s company with Namaste GF brownies and vanilla ice cream. A comforting evening, and Bill and I felt welcomed home by this couple after three months on the road.
Sunday our friend Andrea, a neighbor who moved to Seattle to avoid commuting from Whidbey, stopped by for lunch. She brought delicious bakery goods from the Wildflour Gluten Free Baking Co. & Flying Apron Bakery in West Seattle. Cinnamon rolls with delicious icing–one of Bill’s bakery mistresses–and chocolate chip cookies.
By Monday Jan. 8, with the Covid fog beginning to swirl in my brain, Bill and I attended an interesting talk by John Lovie, speaking about the future of Whidbey Island’s quantity and quality of water. Our commissioner Melanie Bacon asked John to speak at the event, after previous inquiries about whether the island’s local water supply could accommodate a population increase of 15,000. Ms. Bacon hosts weekly constituent meetings, “Teas with Melanie,” Mondays at 3 PM at Freeland’s WiFire Cafe. I was assigned to write the story for the Whidbey News Times. However, my muzzy hearing made much of the commentary sound like mumbling. I took notes the best I could from the meeting, hoping to fill in what I’d missed–with what made conversational sense when I wrote the story later on.
Over the next few days I spent hours in virtual chats with various Kaiser nurse practitioners and physicians, and one Zoom visit with a Kaiser doctor. I had hoped Kaiser’s professionals could tell me why I was continuing to experience the foggy conditions and what might be done to lessen them. I was told what I was experiencing was a common symptom following contracting Covid. I’ve had three Covid vaccinations so far.
During the Zoom meeting, I asked the white-haired plaid-shirted doctor if he had a remedy for treating brain fog, he laughed, and said to wait it out. I rarely let others know when I’m irritated, and I was irritated then. It seemed he thought I was being funny, when I was wanting advice. I told the doctor I was having trouble writing a story for our local newspaper and was struggling with finding the focus of putting words together. He asked the name of the paper–that gave him points for being more than a voice reciting facts without a remedy. He added that there’s an ‘epidemic’ of folks contracting Covid nowadays and to wait it out. Frustrated, I Googled ‘treating brain fog’ and found Harvard’s What is COVID-19 brain fog and how can you clear it?
The Harvard writer advised sufferers to eat a Mediterranean diet, exercise, drink liquids, avoid alcohol, and practice exercising the brain. So, I wrestled with my brain fog, and spent hours writing the story, struggling to string words together that made sense, when it felt and looked as though they didn’t. I asked Bill to take a look at the story, and John Lovie to comment on it before I sent it in. When I finally submitted it to editor Jessie Stensland–whose writing I greatly admire–she wrote, “Looks great. You should get Covid brain more often.”
So, on Jan. 14, I am grateful for our home on Morning Glory Lane, the comfort of Bill, and our cat Ollie, our wood stove, and the healing power of stories I write and read. I’m on the third book of the Silo series by Hugh Howey, a dystopian tale of the future, beginning in 2045 and continuing forward for 300 years, that is eerily prescient, given the rising tension in the Middle East. I’ve read two of the books in the past two weeks. Hugh Howey’s heroes are people who question the status quo. One hero is a mechanically-talented woman. Glad my brain fog lets me read this engrossing set of stories, able to concentrate while reading, unlike the struggle I’m experiencing when writing.
Here is the view of last night’s sunset on the Cascade Mountains. Grateful they reveal themselves now and then in our usual overcast Pacific Northwest winter weather.