Recorded 7-6-2020 by Danny Dannels as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the U.S. and the world abroad. This is a single acoustic live take.
Danny and Hillary Dannels celebrate 15 years together.
"May you live in interesting times", an old Chinese saying that seems to fit every facet of our world in mid-2020. We as the human race are now deep into the pandemic, but we as a family are post-COVID-19. Our immunity to the virus was earned with actual blood, sweat, and tears, a dose of luck, and an unmeasurable amount of sheer determination.
I do not know what the future holds. Social and political chaos abound as power struggles generations in the making threaten to bring further division between friends, families, neighbors. Globally, historic powers struggle to fill vacuums they once occupied, as others move to gain new ground. And yet amid the turmoil and seemingly relentless death, the love two people share remains the hope of a species.
Live, laugh, love, and most of all, survive.
Recorded during the Riverside County Riot Lockdown 06/01/2020 Danny Dannels playing tribute to Ledbelly and Nirvana singing to my wife.
Recorded live and raw, recorded in Audacity, on a Blue Yeti Microphone, vintage Esteban guitar with original strings, in the office studio. Image taken on Samsung Active 8 processed in Darktable and Gimp. All rights reserved.
What follows is the manuscript that was submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office for official submission to the U.S. Library of Congress at 7:00 a.m. PST 3/31/2020 from Hemet, California. It part of the story of the American people that is not part of the official numbers. We are adamant that everyone should be able to read it, so we are publishing it here on this site for free, because it is as much a public service announcement as it is a personal and private story. We would rather err on the side of the public good rather than charge for it. The .pdf file link bottom is for the copy that was submitted officially immediately upon completion, but the text is provided here on this page for everyone to read. There are a few word misusages and incomplete sentences, and it reads to me like a raw bleeding edge, I also typed over myself between the 17th to the 20th. There isn't really a way to sort that time out for me anymore because it is a blur, so I haven't. It is what it is.
There are stories about people out there that are not being told. People have survived that are not being counted. They are the people that will now walk fearlessly into the pandemic. We will need them to stand up, be counted, and be the people that will carry us forward through this global nightmare. There is still so much pain left to endure. We have to find the ones that are invincible, fearless, and are on just this side of immortal. Be notorious. Never quit.
That's the actual file download there, not an advertisement. We are not charging for it. If the information was useful, or if you're a media outlet and you want to use our story, send us a donation at https://www.paypal.me/familycraftsandgames because just like everyone else, we could use a little help right now. Be safe. Survive.
Honestly, I was hoping for a zombie apocalypse, and I didn't have much faith in that either. But on March 17th I woke up and coughed up a stream of blood in a coughing fit, and at 9:00 that night I calmly asked all the kiddos for a hug in a failing voice and went and laid down for bed, believing I would not wake up again. It was to my utter amazement that I did, to rush to the aid of our two year old Emily who woke up screaming in the next room and didn't stop until I had her in my arms clutching my neck with both arms. Hillary said I jumped over her in my leap out of bed, due to how our room is laid out with her between me and the hall. Deep in pneumonia, I answered the only request for help that could possibly have brought me back from the recesses of the deep black slumber I had fallen into.
I am one of the survivors. My story is atypical. I am the demographic for dying from coronavirus. I am a 47 year old male diagnosed asthmatic, allergic, and bipolar, that also happens to be an endurance athlete. I and my family don't fit into all of the perfect circles that so many people are pounded into. We were raised as outsiders and our adulthood reflects it. We already worked online. We already homeschooled our children. We ride an ebike for everything. We have been #nogas for five years now, strictly bicycling or speed skating for all our family's needs, and from direct experience I can tell you that folks will look down on you for choosing such a lifestyle. They will think you are poor, or homeless, or a drug addict. No one will ever assume you have multiple 4.0 degrees, own a corporation and your home, or any of the slew of accomplishments that we fought for along the way. Why would anyone choose to live among the poor? Why be frugal? Very few people even stop to consider that we have reduced our carbon footprint, are reusing all of the second hand manufactured goods that flood the marketplace here in our community, and recycle as a matter of rote. We walk the walk about being in balance with the planet in ways that few people consider. We are thus as detached from our U.S. society and culture as we are a functioning part of it, albeit without a gas vehicle to obsess about with its related expenses.
We also do not belong to California Mexican American culture surrounding our home, nor to the retirement community that we are immersed in, and our neighbors make it very clear. Hemet had to open its doors a while back, to growing families, to sustain the geriatric population that it caters to as a retirement haven. Turns out it's really hard to get people to come work in your retirement homes unless they live nearby. Commuting sucks in California, period. So, there's lots of little family clusters dotting the retirement communities full of aging people that are highly susceptible to this virus. However, we very happily exist in our home, raising our family, not mingling, almost cut off from our own society, and we still got sick.
We had two nasty bouts of flu over winter, both strains we believe. The first round one felt like my bones were sick and we complained to each other about having to work sick over the holidays. The second flu felt like someone was stabbing me in the brain for two weeks while rivers of thick green mucous came out of my sinuses. We watched the news as we could and tried to be informed about the growing pandemic while we tended to our home and family. We watched the news while the first arriving sick and quarantined people in Riverside got off their plane, to responders not wearing protective gear. I remember very solemnly telling Hillary that it was because we as a country were already infected, and that all of us were going to get it.
We began shifting our food stores to more long term storage in February, increasing can storage and filling our seasoning stores, in direct response to watching case by case being discovered across the world. We began preparing our house at the beginning of March, for what I thought would eventually be martial law. We began cleaning and organizing inside the house, and preparing the grounds and gardens for spring planting. By the time we went shopping for more perishable foods for our refrigerator on March 10th, like bread, milk, and eggs, we were there to see the beginnings of the food rush. By the time we shifted to our produce shopping, the shelves were empty, except for the produce, only 48 hours later.
Around 2:00 on 3/16 I had a growing concern that we didn't have enough cash on hand. When I arrived for cash around 3:00, the ATM at my hometown bank only gave me cash on my first card that bank's account, and then spit out a weird receipt at me with a bunch of zeros on it when I tried to withdraw on a different account at another bank that for sure had enough money in it. I was able to withdraw cash on that other account after traveling to the ATM at the bank across the street, but my heart was racing, and I began envisioning every possible bad scenario I could, and what I was going to have to do to get through, up to and including my own death, which bothered me less than I think it would the average person. I was almost sold for drugs at 18 months of age. I was electrocuted to death at two and saved by passing cops driving up the street. I rolled out of a turning car at age three. I've had so many close calls with death in accidents, and by my own obsession with self-destruction, that it seems almost passe at some point to dwell on mortality. I have stated for decades now that I intend to return a used worn out husk of a vessel to the earth when I am done here. It is the way I will live my life until I am through here, being relentless, notorious, and never quitting.
What has been of vital importance in my life though, was being emancipated at age 15 from a violently abusive household. I learned to survive by my wits despite concerted efforts to debilitate me, such as without the hardship driver's license that my biological mother took the time to go down to the state and cancel, causing me to be without one until age 18. Or the car I bought that she sold because a 15 year old is not allowed to own property in Texas, or vote, or rent an apartment. I in effect became homeless, bouncing between a semi-stable existence at my grandparents' home where there were few resources, friends, and other more innovative locations that a minor trying to work and go to school finds to keep warm at night. I learned to absorb pain and endure. I learned to overcome absurdity and obscurity. I made shitloads of bad decisions and had questionable friends, but I learned to fall down and not sit there in the dirt. I became self-reliant and would be placed in positions of leadership at jobs along the way because of my resilience and determination. At the time though, it didn't feel remarkable. It felt like constant pain and sadness and heartache. Just like this disease, surviving didn't seem remarkable at the time, because it hurt so badly every moment. And this disease hurt. Every part hurt. I could feel my glands, my joints, muscles, head, insides, just writhing in pain while I calmly whispered in my wife's ear, "I need you to pretend that I'm okay." And she did as she stifled her gasp. She pursed her lips, didn't cry, and cooked dinner for the kiddos while I went back to my gardening.
I would go on to define for myself what a family means to me, having spent the last 15 years in a healthy relationship with a loving and giving partner. My wife, our littles, our family, that has been what my life has become. This home, this family, nothing else matters to me anymore, just them. This defines me now, beyond any accomplishment that came before, this thing where we pass the future to our progeny and show them every day what it means to have a family is what I live for. It is my every single day.
It is also important to note that I am diagnosed bipolar. I use intense physical activity and sunlight to monitor and adjust my moods. It's the side effect of years of abuse as a child and a serious vehicle accident when I was 19 that included open damage to my left temple, the place where recent brain studies I've read provide that are the regions we associate with home and family. Mine was damaged, perhaps for the better. I lost a chunk of memories, with some of my recollections being the stories I've been told since about my childhood by my grandparents. My recovery from that accident and personal growth is a direct result of the coping skills I learned along the way, such as physical exertion to rebuild my body and mind, and the creation of new references for what I wanted family to mean for me.
I was about to be completely locked down in quarantine, and I would come to a point where my body and mind craved what was missing, intense self-inflicted physical abuse to control my emotions. It was in a manic state that I was able to push through the final preparations for lock down, going non-stop, not needing the usual levels of nourishment and rest. All the while, Hillary was trying to bring me center so that I could focus on the task at hand. She is my center, my rock, the only person I've ever met that could tell me, "no". And being manic is the best part of bipolar. I get to be prodigiously creative and productive for great lengths of time. "Flipping down" is different than being depressed though, i.e. manic depressive. I get more frustrated and have a harder time communicating, which makes me moody and combative. Being an athlete solves that part because it allows me to focus on a physical event rather than a thought, and I push through it, thinking about the words that don't come to me without the sun beating on my face and sweat in my brow. Stir-crazy wouldn't begin to describe where I was by the time our quarantine ended.
That is a brief insight into our month's reflections on the pandemic, and the writing and publishing of this manuscript. What follows here is somewhere between a diary of events, from my point of view mostly, with Hillary's vital recollections embedded everywhere. It is a collection of thoughts as we progressed through time, places we were emotionally, and in places just a reflection on our receipts as we went shopping. The writing of this manuscript began on the evening of the 16th once we went into quarantine. We realized we needed to track down where we had been, only to realize that we had been so many places where there had been so many people, that it might be impossible to track down exactly who we might have picked up the virus from. We were in dread that our whole population was going to have this disease and we didn't know what it was going to mean. We know more now, about what this cost us as a family, about how we came together when it was time, and about how our story must be repeating in homes all across the world.
We survived and we're uncounted.
3/1 I worked on videos and editing photographs all day for our YouTube channel, Family Crafts and Games, and website familycraftsandgames.com. Hillary worked on our other online jobs.
3/2 I was up late working on the ebike, making sure it was charged and ready to go for the trip to San Bernardino over the mountains.
3/3 Loma Linda OB/Gyn, McDonald's. We biked 31 miles to Loma Linda on our Radwagon and filmed a chunk of it for YouTube videos. It was just a thing as far as I physically felt. Had some food when we got there and went over to the hospital. I stayed in the square while the bike charged and Hillary was inside Loma Linda and across the street. I kept thinking it was just a "stream of humanity" that was going in and out of the hospital. The people in quarantine already in Riverside County did have me a bit worried, but my concern at that time, sitting in the square, was MERS, SARS, or flu and how bringing that back home would be terrible as admitted people in masks and sometimes with fluids shuffled by to go smoke cigarettes at the end of the square before returning inside for further care. When Hillary came back from her OB/Gyn, we took off and I noticed a brake squeal. After disconnecting the brakes, I realized we had been dragging it the whole time and it cost us battery life. Had some coffee from McDonald's and charged in front of Walmart for a while as we took turns going inside to use the restroom and get a few supplies. We officially ran out of power 15 miles from home. We merrily walked 6-7 of those miles and I biked us the rest. We walked the last mile because I was having functional problems in a couple of my front leg muscles. It seemed on par with many of our adventures. We take off and do things that many people might think are undoable, like a tandem 62 mile biking excursion for a medical appointment. I had already completed the same trip 4 times the previous year for my mother-in-law Laura's stroke hospitalization, so I already knew the route back and forth very well. It was Hillary's first time and we celebrated with the kiddos about having completed another adventure.
3/5 Lowe's for garden supplies.
3/6 Hillary had labs at LabCorp, Stopped at boy's Burger for a combo meal.
3/7 It felt like we were getting ready to lock down, so I wanted some herbs to put up. Weed delivery with cash on hand, Lowe's for gardening supplies.
3/8 Neighbor's wife and mom came down and yelled at me for letting our children run laps around the block. I felt it was inappropriate and instead arguing, decided not to say a single word in defense. Michael had a required state test that he was training to run a mile for and the kiddos were given permission to do laps with him, Elizabeth first, and then littler kiddos each joined him in turn as he ran the next lap. I believe their confrontation was in part due to their dogs barking at the kiddos, which they let their dogs run free in violation of our community rules. Their dogs have attacked me repeatedly as I biked or speed skated for errands over the years and I had complained to community managers about it. It felt like an opportunistic attack to keep us contained in our yard and away from their culture, which often seems like a continuous concerted effort. Other children on that block of homes play basketball, ride bikes, and run up and down the streets back there, where they park all along the red no parking zones and pay off the tow truck drivers $100 a night to not tow their vehicles. Same block has a "taco house" at the end where people come and go all day to buy dollar tacos. One of the bikers that goes by revving his engine under our bedroom window came down to challenge me for not responding to the two women. We squared off on the front porch and I told him that I had spoken to our children and that they would not return to the community. I did not realize it at the time, but it was the last time our kiddos would leave the house.
3/9 - Steve's Burger, ordered some more extracts from the weed delivery because you never know.
3/10 - Flipped to manic stage in my bipolar. It was a lifesaver to have my body move to constant motion and relentless energy as we pushed through the final days of preparation for quarantine. Winco at midnight, Hemet Walmart, San Jacinto Walmart, Winco that night
3/11 - San Jac Walmart, Winco, Weed delivery because you never know, might need a bunch of weed put up since I use it for long term pain management. So many broken bones over time, I can predict rain. And it's going to rain. I can feel the pain in my bones as the pressure changes.
3/12 - San Jacinto Walmart, pulled air conditioners out of the front windows. "You're done with that, I see." - Hillary. I all of a sudden needed the house to be more secure. Went to Lowe's for garden, Winco at night.
3/13 - At home. (3/23) Noticed around this time that I was having trouble seasoning food correctly (salt) for the family and did not realize that it was a possible symptom until 3/23 when cited in the news. Checked the internet for symptoms around this time and concluded that we might have a norovirus that was in Southern California at the time, as we were all intermittently having upset stomachs. Thought it might be neves as well and didn't connect it to coronavirus since it was supposed to be respiratory.
3/14 - At home, Lowe's for garden,
Monday 3/15 - Steve's Burger, buying garden at Lowe's, La Famosa, Bank of Hemet. Last weed delivery because fuck this whole thing, I'm gonna have enough bud to sit out a pandemic.
(3/23) Michael and Elizabeth spent about two hours making dinner and then spilled it and lied about it and tried to pass off dinner incomplete as correct without the vegetables and rice they had been making, which was swept under the stove/thrown away. I explained that they were no longer in charge of food. I talked to Allie and told her that I could not rely on the "bigs" to guard our food and that she had to be in charge of it for me. Told the bigs that they were now going to focus on manual labor. Fortunately, they filled in the places that I was unable as our projects moved outside the next day. That night, I began gardening projects with Allie. I felt tired and worn out. Thought it was the stress and the events of the several days worrying about stocking the house. I also had a high amount of THC in me to reduce the stress levels and keep me calm while I continued to do the work on our house between the rain storms, so I ignored it as pain goes. The THC helped me destress in a way that I felt was necessary for the survival of the family, by keeping me dialed back while I was being forced to stay inside as a bipole. I had lots of small conversations with the kiddos about growing up and what would be required if the pandemic affected our family. I kept telling them how serious it could be and how important it was that they stop making the mistakes of nine and 10 year olds. We had very specifically, had dinner together as a family that night rather than spread through the house or eaten in a stream of persons that is the usual conveyor belt of kiddos eating as I plate our food.
3/16 - Woke up raring to go. It wasn't quite a panic, but there were a small number of things that we still needed for the house. Went to Lowe's for garden, Steve's for a burger after talking to a little old lady on a motor scooter, Home Depot online for solar, notary UPS Store, Stater Bros, Walmart Neighborhood Market, AM/PM store, Danny to Bank of Hemet for cash off both cards but stopped giving cash. Went to Bank of America for the remainder of the withdrawal of cash. Verbally pointed out and thanked both security guards and thanked them for being there.
Notified Obs/Gyn of fever that hit the whole house and then vanished. Instituted 2 week isolation. Don't know when it started, but between 3:00 and 6:00 in the evening everyone flashed hot.
Low grade fevers returned. Danny was dizzy and thought it was inner ear. Grandma felt colder than usual and was given a heating pad to sleep with in addition to her heating blanket. Kids have had low grade fever, but seem fine. Stress levels were higher than usual as can be expected.
(3/23) Pointed out to Hillary that the previous night I was probably dizzy as I had started refining bodily movements to tai chi movements to "flow" from project to project. It is something that I have done countless times in life and it relates to the speed skating and martial arts experience, so I didn't take too much account of it happening. I began heavily medicating on THC to reduce energy expenditures, reduce body pain, and remove stress. I also began taking 4 pills of Krave Trainwreck kratom at a time for body pain, which a usual dose is 2 for when there is rain or I have injured myself. Also, I own a small amount of the cleaning solvent isobutyl nitrate and used it/smelled it in small amounts during this time to reduce blood pressure later on as I had a couple personal battles during high stress periods and it dropped my blood pressure which allowed my voice to return after it faded. I used it daily from this point until about 3/28 to drop what I thought was high blood pressure, in relation to what I was learning on the news. Later I realized that Laura was on blood pressure medication and was receiving the same effects during her bout with the sickness from her meds. FYI, combining the two would probably kill you by low blood pressure, but in an emergency I had some stored away.
(typed 3/24) Logged off Facebook this day. I told Hillary that we needed to stop reading the stories. Went to reading news only in the morning, and then listening to President Trump's briefings.
3/17 - Danny - I started coughing upon waking and had a large amount of sputum that I effectively cleared while standing in a hot shower. I spent about 2 minutes coughing heavily with bright red streaks of blood in the sputum, and about 5 minutes more still coughing but able to move about and get ready to work. Did not tell the children, but we told Grandma. Took some Primatene and felt relatively fine after about an hour. Urine was yellow indicating dehydration. Planted cactus under the front window. Planted agaves in front of the side window. Hollyhocks went back to the bathroom window. Amaryllis that had grown in various parts of the property were planted under the orange tree. Topped peas, beans, anaheim peppers, cherry tomatoes with dirt after spending time in rain and direct sun for germination. Felt a bit dizzy and hot. Worked outside in 57 degree weather without a shirt and sweatpants pulled up to my knees. Lungs a bit sore, but no problems. Went to bed at 9:00 for food coma/dizziness. Woke up feeling better around 10:00 and my chest/lungs were a bit sore but bearable.
Emily pooped on the floor twice, although willing uses her potty otherwise as she goes through final stages of potty training.
General consensus is everyone felt "off" and a bit tired. Everyone has complained about their stomach over the last couple days. I had a "clear out" of my colon about 5:00 and showered after working in the yard all day.
Solar panels arrived. Gate and fence hardware ordered. TP arrived and had a good laugh with both delivery drivers.
(3/23) From this point on, I wore sunglasses outside at all times. I was having a problem with crying unproved from 17th through 22nd, and didn't want the family or anyone else seeing it. I had a role to perform and could not appear weak. I wasn't sad. Most of the time it was in reflection of how we had inadvertently set our family to survive a pandemic in the five years leading up this event. It included everything we went through in our battle with Arminex and trying to clear our name in the cosmetics community. We turned internally to our family. I had multiple long hot showers each day to soften the phlegm in my chest.
3/18 - Hillary was warm off and on overnight and groaned a couple times. The rain moved in, so Woke up feeling better than I did while waiting for the rain. Coughed quite a bit upon waking but less sputum than yesterday with light pink marking in the sputum still, but not red streaks like yesterday. A little short of breath, but might be stress level or might be the hooters from yesterday. All the kiddos slept better last night with less up and down at night. Chest is sore, but I feel more energetic and alert than yesterday. I feel less dizzy/inner ear. It appears that fevers are an intermittent thing that comes and goes. Cough is generally not mucousy, and everyone has had sporadic singular coughs. Rain came in, so I hurt overnight as usual and slept with a heating pad on my neck. Hillary's obliques have been sore for days from the baby growing and shifting about.
(typed 3/23) Worked outside through the entire event. Worked continuously through rain and shine. Was reminded of a passage in a Carlos Castaneda book where Don Juan ordered Carlos to do whatever it was that he did while he was engaged in a life threatening activity with an unknown ending. Whatever it is, do it. If you run, run. If you walk, walk. If you write, write. Do not stop. (paraphrased) Lots of thoughts resolving known/unknown/unknowable.
Conference and conversations with Mom about her family, long term and ongoing family and financial planning, food planning and garden update, plus evaluation of ongoing symptoms. She was also a bit tired but said it was like the allergies and flu we've had just prior to this.
(typed 3/20) Had conversation with Michael pulled aside in the bathroom, "If you're concerned about what is happening, if you are worried about this, I promise you, you are not concerned enough. Your time of being a child is over. I'm sorry. You have to be an adult now. I cannot do this without you." Our kiddos would be instrumental in ensuring we survived as a family.
(typed 3/20) Told Hillary I was pretty sure I had pneumonia. I had pneumonia back when I was 19 or 20 years old, so I remember how it felt. Went to bed around 9:00 with a failing voice. Asked all the kids to, "Give me a hug just in case I don't wake up." It felt serious and somber, and each of the kiddos gave me a big hug. I kept thinking that I wanted the last thing my kiddos to remember was us hugging. I laid down in bed and told Hillary that I was going to need her help to survive the night. My plan was to set the heating pad on high to promote circulation at the back of my lungs. I wanted my heart to beat and my blood to flow. I also needed to shut my body down in a very serious way. I requested ice packs in not much more than a whisper, and a bottle of Gatorade for next to my head so I could reach it. I had Hillary set up the ice packs to cool my lungs from the top, and refrigerate me while I slept. I believe the ice packs made the air and my blood flow denser for better oxygen uptake. It sure made it easier to breathe in addition to sleeping next to the cold air drafting down the window. I just kept thinking that I needed to slow all the way down, that I needed to stretch out time so that I could recover. Hillary told me that Michael was pretty concerned. Her voice was more of a fleeting thought as I had no sympathy for myself, and that even my death would make him stronger. I don't know how to soften any of this for him. It must be terrifying as a little watching the adults worry about life and death. So, I found a safe spot in my mind, closed my eyes, and went to sleep. It's funny how comforting the blackness of silence can be. That is where I went, to the black, without thoughts, without pain, just a retreat from the weariness. And I was gone.
3/19 Emily woke up screaming around 1:30 with a fever. I shot straight up in bed with, "I'll save you, baby", and ran off to find her. I picked her up and she clutched to my neck and she felt cold even to my previously ice-packed skin and I held onto her until we both warmed up, cooing to her as she slowly settled down. I took her back to our bed and we laid back down and I said to Hillary, "Holy shit, I woke up. I wasn't sure that was going to happen. I'm going to beat this" "Damn right you are", she said and then helped me change out ice packs. She helped me drink more Gatorade and I passed out for another 12 hours without moving.
Tired and dizzy all day. Moved slowly. Every effort felt like a slow motion Tai Chi exercise, because those slow defined movements were how I was having to move without falling down. When the UPS guy dropped off my packages I was standing in a yoga tree pose on a rock in the front yard trying to get my shit together. I was positive I had pneumonia, but I was able to cough out the phlegm because of my core strength and experience breathing as an asthmatic and as an endurance athlete pushing through muscle fatigue. Also important are the mental coping skills I picked up as an endurance athlete directly related to continuous unrelenting effort and reducing function and energy expenditure to support the minimally required effort needed to continue. It's like I have always been training to not die.
3/20 Woke up tired and sore. Slept on a heating pad again to promote circulation at the back of my lungs. Slept with ice packs on my shoulders to make the cooling effect less than I had to have it for the first night. The air feels better colder, and I think my blood feels denser for the oxygen uptake. It also made it easier to breathe. Asked Grandma to let her family know that we were sick but that we had everything we needed and could undergo quarantine, and definitely did not need a handout. Class Connect with Allie's teacher. Planting with Allie. Went to work on removing the deck and awning for our vegetable garden. Trying to give direction to Michael elevated heart beat and had to lay down and do heart beat dropping meditation get it back to reasonable. Lost my voice and stopped talking to kiddos. Had everyone go through Hillary to communicate to me to whom I started using ASL to communicate. We have also been teaching the kiddos sign language, and that was vital during the periods when I would lose my voice.
I went back to projects away from everyone and put on my Spotify playlist and tuned out the world again for the second day in a row and was one with the music. It's one of my coping skills to use music to reduce thought and move to continuous effort. Came in, ate some salted potato chips and my body broke into tears. I believe that I was severely dehydrated and forced 64 ounces of Gatorade into my system with more chips for the salt. Ate two hotdogs with pickles and mustard and my body had the same reaction as I had to the potato chips. I think I was out of salt from the mucous and general sickness. Hillary walked on me on her knees while I lay in bed to push the blood out of my limbs while I rehydrated. Felt generally improved and had a hooter, some coffee, and played the guitar for a bit. Then I typed while wearing an ice pack strapped to my chest. Across the street neighbors had been outside in the street talking to each other. They looked legitimately worried. I always wear headphones outside, so I do not know what the conversation was. We are surrounded by the local California Mexican Americans in our community. Anglos are scattered about, but they don't live close to us. I do speak Spanish semi-fluently, but the dialect here is different than the Tejano version I grew up around in West Texas. It's difficult for me to understand.
We have been repeatedly referred to as the "Americanos" and no one talks to us and we don't have visitors. I had even heard the children over the years walking by talking in Spanish that "we don't talk to them" because we are not the same. They tell each other that we are different from them. They still watch us and watch out for us, because it is part of their community style, but we have been separate for five years now. We do not expect anyone to ask for a cup of sugar. However, we are cordial and friendly to our direct neighbors, and especially to staff in our community.
Fevers come and go. Sarah was hot this morning, but it was Jonathan, Allie, and Bella last night that were having problems.
Woke up and had a terrible smelling brownish urine that was so bad that I told Hillary about it when I came back to bed. It wasn't the same color as when I had a heat stroke back in 2010, and there wasn't specific pain, so I was not concerned about my kidneys or liver shutting down.
3/21 Woke up to have an immediate bowel movement that smelled like death. Hillary had the same terrible smell come out of her later that night. Emily had the same movement during the middle of the day and was verbally unhappy about it. Everyone complained about their stomach at some point in the week but I don't remember exactly when. Days are a blur.
3/22 Felt remarkably better but energy levels were not consistent. Today's bowel movement was not quite as bad as the "death shit" from yesterday. Drank more Gatorade willingly and sweated outside for the first time when it was warm. All week when I was hot, I was not sweating. The kiddos worked on the laundry. I started taking down the deck as house reorganization projects continue. Laura had communicated with her family that we were sick and had been in quarantine. Information came back that Grandma Kramer had been unresponsive twice and that Grandpa Kramer was no longer being kept away and that they were being allowed to visit in hospice. We suspect that Grandpa may be sick as well and that they are giving up isolating them for health, or just being cautious, or who knows. It was just weird knowing they couldn't see each other for some reason. Additional family members are being allowed to visit as well. I do not expect that we would even be allowed to travel for a funeral like this.
Over the night, I told Hillary that I was pretty sure that I was regrowing my body and that was where the terrible excrements came from and why I was sleeping 12-15 hours a day coming down off of being sick. Breathing was still labored all day, but I could talk and move about more energetically. Today, I noticed that some of our neighbors were missing and that one of our neighbors was outside, but moving more slowly than usual.
No one talks to each other anymore outside. I kept hearing distant sirens as emergency vehicles performed whatever function they were needed for. I have been mentally tuning out the dire nature of what is happening around me. I live in the middle of a retirement community. Remorse and mourning for community members passing seems like a fleeting thought as I immediately replace them with the next project's needs. It seems cold and indifferent at times, as I stuff down my humanity and compassion during a time of crisis. It's like autopilot. Hillary and I reflected on how I respond in crisis mode, moving to action rather than panicking. Way back when, I would carry a rubber ball in my pocket when we worked together when we met. When we were super busy, I would stop and bounce a rubber ball on the floor to collect my composure and thoughts while everyone else was running at high speed or stopping to complain. Then I would move off in an attack pattern that I had created in my head, never complaining, just reacting and doing and solving problems.
3/23 - Slept on a heating pad on high last night, with ice packs on my back from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. when I moved the smaller ice pack to directly underneath my neck and put the big one back in the refrigerator. Cold blood rushing to the head is a weird, weird thing, but it was the perfect thing at that exact moment. Emily was hot off and on through the night and unhappily drank Gatorade around 2:00 or so. Kids are energetic today and fighting over tablets and resources like normal. Started typing again. Short of breath a bit, but I think it is because I want to move and respond like normal. So many projects to do. The National Guard was deployed today in California. Congress is stalled. I still think we'll be under martial law at some point, or maybe already are. We'll know someday when we look back at all this.
Completed a place for the kiddos to play out back. Deck demolition continues. Garden is growing. Could talk more and move more.
Grandma Kramer died today. We won't be able to go. I feel bad for my mother-in-law. Gave her a hug. She has been dealing with and waiting for this departure for a long time. Don't know if it was the virus or not. If it was the virus, Grandpa Kramer is next. Just seems like a bad way for this to go down. There was supposed to be a funeral where the family got together. I don't see it happening now.
3/24 Tried to find out where to go if needed. Not going to leave the house at all.
Unable to find out if needed to self report. Breathing issues are lessening. Trouble coping at times. I can't communicate correctly and my brain isn't working right. I'm moody because I don't have the patience to talk or wait. It makes me feel bad that I'm responding like this.
Reflecting that I had to go somewhere mentally for a long time in order to deal with the virus' effects. My core is sore like I've been on a very long adventure. I remember feeling similarly from the Trans-USA skate in 2009. I've lost weight. The lower part of my six pack wants to peak out and my abs are showing. I've lost weight.
Closest place is projectbaseline.com and set up at Diamond Valley in Lake Elsinore. It's too far to go on the ebike right now. If I had a panic attack, I'd have to lay down to deal with it and we'd be stuck. I also simply refuse to come out of the house until our quarantine is over.
Cleared remaining deck frame. I am repurposing it into a fence to keep the kiddos on the property. The sun peeked out from the clouds at one point this afternoon. It has been so rainy. I miss the sun. I felt the warmth of the sun on my neck about the same time I realized that it was getting brighter. And like some autonomic response, I instinctively closed my eyes and stood up and turned to the sun and stretched up into a sun salutation yoga pose, inhaling and reaching my outstretched arms out to the sun on the other side of my closed eyelids, feeling my limbs reaching and stretching long. I exhaled as I brought my hands down flat to the floor, surprised by my own limberness in the moment. I inhaled and brought my hands up to prayer pose as I felt the warmth of the sun radiate in my body. And as I stood there, I felt the sun slide coldly behind another cloud, and I turned back to my work, but for a brief moment in the middle of a nightmare I felt immaculate.
Hillary made bacon linguini alfredo with garlic and fresh onion greens from the garden. It was amazing. It's been since we lived in Texas that we had a garden complete enough to cook dinner.
3/25 Deep sweats last night. Still using ice packs to sleep. Had terrible nightmares where Hillary and I were up in the mountains at an upscale home where a guy/girl biker gang was trying to kill us in the house and then as we tried to make it off the mountain and down through a town, like some '70s horror flick. I dreamed this all night long and was exhausted when I finally woke up. I kept waking up tense from the fighting in my mind. I'm sure it was a mental response to the physical state that my body was in. It rained more last night and rain always hurts me. And then trying to recover from being sick feels like a drawn out ordeal. When I finally got up to brush my teeth, I started coughing and my lungs seized on fully emptying and felt like they were glued together. I coughed with empty lungs a few times with stomach and abs going through excessive movement as I worked to get my lungs to reopen before a panic attack set in. "Breathe all the way out", I kept thinking. It's how I've reopened my lungs before when they've collapsed, like from crashing on my bike, or from being hit too hard. I told Hillary way back when we first got together about how to reinflate my lungs CPR-style if I can't get my lungs to work in an asthma attack. She's watched me work through a number of serious asthma attacks. This was the first time in 15 years that I considered finding her to open me back up.
Went and laid back down on the heating pad with a new ice pack on my head to bring down the physical response I was having. Asked Hillary to pound her fist on my back to break up the phlegm. Thick chunks of phlegm more productive than yesterday's immediately came up and I swallowed them down. I could breathe better and I laid there until I could move again.
Time for coffee and news. Spain is asking NATO for help. The U.S. may have reached a deal on a package for citizens. The whole thing seems surreal. Somehow we had the family set up for the apocalypse. All we had to do was be home and survive being sick. I keep thinking there is something on the other side of this. There are opportunities in the unfolding catastrophe. We've been sick now. We'll be clear to go back outside while others come down with what we had. The kiddos are all doing their regularly scheduled school. Our family continued to progress while so many others have hit massive roadblocks with new responsibilities and budget constraints. It is as if they all now have to do what we did before this happened. We turned inward and took care of our family. We stopped living extraneously. We simplified and minimized our impact on the environment. We reduced, reused, and recycled. We traded free items with other families online, like clothes, and toys. And when it came time, we turned off social media and took care of each other. We fixed the things we broke and kept using them.
I stopped taking kratom at this point for the more intense pain. Worked outside with kiddos. Felt almost normal and bouncy. Moved quicker. Worked two hours. Had the kiddos dig up the nails in the yard from the deck deconstruction and from work previous to that. I ran one of the metal detectors while the littles took turns with spoons finding the metal in the dirt. Metal detecting is one of the activities that they love to do. We go to the local parks and pull the metal out of the playgrounds and they get so proud of doing something for the community.
I eventually put my headphones back on, because I kept hearing sirens in the distance. There are so many elderly people here in retirement communities that you have to wonder on a normal day if someone just passed away. About 20 minutes of it was as much as I could bear and I put my Beats Pro headphones back on while I continued to work. Came in, ate a few pieces of cheese and passed out for two hours. Felt like I had whipped myself from just that couple hours of exertion. Lots of facial pain around my left eye. It could be a sinus infection. It is going to rain again. Stood up and began dismantling my office as I searched for the medicine I had put up. Maybe it was the one the doctors are talking about on T.V. Frustrated, kicked a few boxes open and down the hall. Can't find this thing.
Scale arrived. I weighed somewhere between 210-220 pounds prior to getting sick. I weigh 197.4 now. Headaches or head pain is intermittent. I don't think my head is right yet. Thinking has been really hard at times. I feel frustrated, like I shouldn't have to be doing this thing where I focus on survival every moment. I want to be able to laugh again without hurting. Heck, I just want to laugh again. This has been so hard on me. I've been so hard on everyone around me. They have to know how to survive. I have to show the kiddos what it means to never stop, to never quit, to never give in, and to do so while going through this has taken everything I have.
Laid down for bed around 9:30. The shirt I had laid over my eyes to block the sun while I slept those two hours working earlier had a really bad smell to it. I must have sweat out something while I was sleeping. I couldn't sleep, got up, and did laundry and cleaned the house. Hillary woke up around midnight and had some bbq pork with sesame and hot mustard with me. At least I'm hungry now. I didn't eat right for days while I went through this. I just didn't want the food. My body didn't want it.
3/26 At 1:15 in the morning, I found the five doses of azithromycin that I had stored in my office. I immediately popped one in my mouth and audibly cheered in the office at an excited volume. Worked on the office some more. Sat down to write. I keep thinking that we should report to the government that we were sick. People need to know that we are part of the numbers you're not seeing.
I've lost health insurance at least five times now since we moved to California in 2012. I don't even know who my primary care provider is anymore. We tried to look it up today, but couldn't get into the system, which means my number changed again, which means I lost insurance again at some point this year, a sixth time. The whole thing seems stupid to me. Five more days of quarantine. Four more doses of azithromycin as I complete my time in quarantine, not seeing a doctor in a medical system that does not exist to take care of me, which is why we save old meds.
There is a problem in the U.S. with our healthcare system. It doesn't exist to meet the needs of the working class, those on the margin, the people who cannot pay for the upgrade to a first class seat at the front of the plane, i.e. the "everyone else" in California where social disparity is on full display on every street. It's like Looney Tunes here, with people tied to their cars and mortgages and parading their extended credit, instead of focusing on their families and their lives. Maybe this virus is what it takes to make these people change, to take a look at what they have rather than what the next great thing is, like some bird of paradise strutting around a pretty row of shells trying to get a mate. I keep thinking, "You're missing it." I almost died and I kept thinking about how happy I've been for the last 15 years. I nearly succumbed to this virus, but I was already surrounded by the only people I would want to spend my last days with. I kept thinking that if the end came, it was okay, because I had already done something great with my life, in these people, in the personal accomplishments that led to them. And because of that, I could not die without showing them that I would fight all the way to the end. It is what I owe them everyday for being there for me, no matter how bad it hurt.
Noticed in the mirror last night that I have dark bruising around my eyes and down the bridge of my nose. I believe it is from the facial swelling, rubbing of my face, and from the effects of high pressures on the little blood vessels when I'm sneezing or in a coughing fit.
3/26 I went to sleep around 6:00 a.m. and woke back up at 11:00 a.m. I coughed for about 5 minutes straight in the shower and chunks of phlegm came out. No blood though. There was blood in my left sinus when I blew my nose and I immediately felt better from pressure relief. Starting to go stir crazy. I need to get out and ride my bike so I can make my head better. Almost there. The house projects are coming along, and what seemed like chaos everywhere is starting to settle out into completed projects. Talked yesterday about how quiet our community has become. The drummer across the street still practices mid-day. The bikers up the street went missing for about a week, but for the last few days have been coming and going in repeat visits as if bringing supplies, but aren't staying. There are fewer cars, fewer people walking around, fewer homeless people crossing through. Because of our tangential attachment to our community, I'm not even sure who is missing. All the kiddos want to go outside and do projects nowadays.
Hillary said, "And then while all the other children are upset about not getting to go to Disneyland, Michael comes to me in tears because he doesn't get his one-on-one session with his teacher for his advanced work and his state testing is cancelled." He said, "Coronavirus is a jerk." He started his fifth grade year testing at the ninth grade level and was excited to see if he would beat it. He was also excited about the mile run that he was going to do and had been practicing pushups and pullups for his physical fitness test.
And then deep into a full quarantine, the unthinkable happened. Elizabeth, age 9, pushed Sarah age 6, while racing to get a button from a shelf in Grandma's room. I heard the panicked voice of Elizabeth coming down the hall, "I said I'm sorry!" Footsteps pounded down the hall in a rush as I turned around to greet them. Sarah opened her mouth and blood poured out of her mouth and down her shirt. I went into Dad-mode. I had a full on panic attack while very calmly attending to my Sarah and rinsing her mouth out so I could see the damage. I checked her face for damage to bone structures and looked at her pupils while I asked her about her head, all the while realizing that my head was dizzy from the stress, and indeed 10 minutes later found myself still clinging to the freezer door to keep from falling over while exchanging Sarah's ice packs. Meanwhile Hillary and her mom found the two teeth now missing from Sarah's face. Fortunately they were the baby teeth that she was due to lose. I stopped making dinner and made her a bowl of baby sweet peas while we assessed if her jaw was going to swell up. Halfway through the peas she decided that she was going to want a french fry, hamburger, and pickle sandwich, so I finished making dinner. I kept thinking that we were stuck and I had to get this right. Whatever this is that we survived is going to kill someone if we leave before our quarantine is over, even if it was just to leave for emergency attention for Sarah. It feels like being alone, over-extended, but it's what I spent my life training for, surviving today and the next.
And what happens next? We're immune now. We will be free to survive while the rest of the populace properly fears this thing that almost killed me. Will there be some social divide based on who had it and who doesn't? Are we still carriers even after testing negative? The city parks were just closed officially. Where did the homeless go? I have this dreadful image of them being housed together waiting to be infected and dying. Hillary and I did more long term planning today and ordered all the necessary components for a home birth in case once we get to May and the hospitals are still as fucked.
3/27 Hillary says I slept in the exact same position all night and she had to keep checking on me to make sure I wasn't dead. I know I wasn't, because I kept getting up to go pee and was all stumbly, but I did get back into the same position when I returned. I had deep sweats last night and pulled my white overstuffed down blanket from the bed for washing today. My clothes stank. I think I can smell this disease and have fleeting thoughts about identifying it that way, or training dogs to sniff it out like the lady who can smell Parkinson's. Perhaps it is that I can smell the combination of things that the body produces because of the sickness. I had even instructed Michael and Elizabeth to start using our shower and soaps in the back, instead of the kiddos' shower and soap in the front of the house. We have them use the small bathroom so that we can hear them when they go to and from, and hear them when they're in the shower in case they fall. They've all fallen at some point or another. I have very recently been asking them to shower more often, and I had noticed that their hair was stinking, but they basically come up to my nose height when we hug, so that is what I smell.
I'm 195.4 lbs today, from the 199 that I was at last night. I haven't been this thin in 15 years, since I was actively training to speed skate. I still have a ring of fat around my waist, but I visibly lost 10 percent of my body weight over this. I put on 32 inch pants the other day. They're tight and Hillary giggled a bunch, but I can honestly wear 34 inch clothes for the first time in many years, down from my regular 36x32 size and big boy 38x32s that I wear over winter months.
News, coffee, homework instruction, writing, azithromycin, time to work on the house. Elizabeth and Sarah have been using a tablet to record a play they have composed and acting from a story Sarah is reading, with Michael as cameraman. I kept thinking that their production was a combination of all the various things we're teaching them to do, and that made me happy.
Garden, carport, fence, the kiddos helped awhile. Sirens in the distance. 195.6 lbs. Seeing Michael spin in circles makes me dizzy. Head/balance is better. Still short-tempered, edgy. I have a 62 mile ebike ride coming up on Tuesday. I think I will be ready for it. Been working on the house non-stop. Going to have to tune the bike for our trip.
I keep thinking there's a separate group of people now. There are those like me that have had this thing, and somehow didn't die. We're going to be almost fearless after this if it turns out we're actually immune. We're going to be tasked with being on the front end of whatever interface businesses will have. There are also going to be another group of people that haven't had it yet, don't know if they are the ones that die, and will be terrified wondering if we are carriers. They should be. This thing almost killed me. It will continue to kill people. People responsible for maintaining the backbone of the industry and service are going to go missing. People will be required to fill the missing spots. The education system and on-the-job training will have to change from a pursuit of the esoteric, to training replacements.
And then there's a part of me that as I go through healing, is I think legitimately becoming angry. I know the news I read along the way over the winter, but if this thing came from a lab somewhere, that can only lead to more conflict and heartache. I don't feel right celebrating that I lived. I have more of a simmering hostility going on underneath about my family going through this, and that I could have lost one of them instead. And that makes me angry.
3/28 Woke up and shit and showered, which is the new normal to get the smell of this stuff off of me. Coughed and coughed in the shower with mostly clear chunks of phlegm coming out. Had some coffee and realized that my days-long headache has subsided.
Hillary and I had conversations about not going to hospital along the way. Where would I feel most comfortable? Where would I have been calmest, most secure? It was here with my family. We kept reading the news about the shortage of tests and clogged hospitals. I would have had a panic attack and died from being there in the waiting room. I instead stayed completely baked solid on some high grade medical marijuana extracts, which reduced my stress levels and helped me dial down mentally to focus just on existing. Also, the herbs that I did smoke, forced me into productive coughing fits that while I did get all tingly in my fingertips from it, I breathed better afterwards. Also, I was stoned, which was a super nice way to go out if I had to.
I really feel that icing my chest/lungs and shoulders, not over heart, coupled with a day-long effort to reduce my heartbeat and enter a meditative state was key to my survival. My thoughts as I processed the virus' effects were that I needed to slow down, all the way, so that I didn't have the oxygen problems that we had read about. I am already skilled at lowering my heartbeat to handle asthma attacks and panic attacks, I believe a key to my survival. I also spent that day and the next many days in an ongoing meditative state to keep my panic down, because when I became agitated, my heartbeat rose and I could no longer think, speak, or stand. The heating pad in my back underneath my heart was there to promote circulation, also key to keep me from going hypothermic from the ice packs and promote circulation of the cold blood that moved slowly through my lungs, I believe allowing my lungs more time to transfer oxygen to my blood. Hillary had noted at one point that early morning of the 19th that my exhaled breath was cold from icing myself, the effect was so profound.
And then, you also have to have something that you live for. I have this gut feeling that if I hadn't had to get up to save Emily when she was screaming in the early hours of March 19th, that I very easily might have died. Something biologically programmed fired in me and I had to get up to save her. Dad-mode kicked in and I refused to die because I couldn't yet. This is our whole existence. We chose this life over a fast-paced job where we could maximize the earning potentials of our degrees and everything that comes with that. We chose simplicity, family, home. It is where we were when the apocalypse came, and we watched it on YouTube with the rest of the world, completely baffled how this choice we made about simplifying, focusing on family, was some extreme choice that was being forced upon people.
And the world crawled to a stop. Even way over here in our valley, between the sirens, it's quieter. The air is cleaner. Food is growing at our home. Projects continue. We are healing, and we survived the end of the world. Also, I'm high as a moth######er, which is pretty nice.
Had an outstanding pair of tri-tip roasts with vegetables from our garden tonight that Hillary made. She made peach cobbler for breakfast, so it has been an epic day for food around here. Front gate is coming in now that the base is set. All the projects are finding completion. Some of our neighbors are for sure sick. I can hear distant coughing and sneezing. I can hear them talking sometimes. Everyone looks scared though when I see the fewer drivers go past. I don't think I was ever scared to die. I worried about whether or not our kiddos would rise to the new challenge. I worried about Hillary doing errands and having to take care of everyone.
Spent the evening building the fat tires for the ebike. Had some learning curves about how to convert a tube system to a tubeless system with Stan's leak-proof system I ordered online. Ended up taping the wheel with two layers of overlapping strip tape to get an air tight fight, and went ahead and put a tube inside to set the fat tire, and put the sealant inside that tube. The whole thing is gonna be glued solid together when I start getting punctures and I might still be able to put stainless steel stems in later. The new fat tires are huge. And, they don't fit on the bike with the fenders on it. Going to have to tear the bike apart.
3/29 Feels like I'm moving to what I would call a normal manic pattern. I was up until 6:30 in the morning and woke up around 11:00. Didn't take Primatene, so I don't think I need it anymore. Spent the day working on the garden wall and fence mounts, doing projects with the kiddos. Started pulling our ebike apart. Projects all day. Flat passed out at 8:00. It was the first time I've passed out from being physically exhausted, in what seems like a very long time. It's been since we came back from Loma Linda at the beginning of the month. Worried about going there, about passing anything along.
3/30 Finished the rebuild of the ebike. It's running a triple set of batteries clocking in at 64 amp hours of charge on a pair of separate non-additive 48 volt systems, limited because no one needs to bother the police with trifles like going too fast on a bicycle when there's so much other crap going on that they have to worry about, like invisible death. Best part is my fast charger successfully works on the whole battery bank when it's tied together. Grandma has been working on a pair of masks for us that I requested. I think it was the third design change that she started to get agitated a little. I like challenging her, and teasing her a bit here and there. She lost her mom in the middle of all this and didn't get to go to the funeral for closure, and yet somehow she's still here kicking ass, helping us raise the kiddos, with homework, and teaching them piano and singing and sewing, and Rainbow Looms.
I asked Elizabeth to help me make black truffle lemon cream alfredo linguini, and Michael just about fell over himself trying to remind me that they were both banned from making food. I told him that we had made it to the end of quarantine and it was time to relax a little. We were still alive and we could go get some more food tomorrow. It's not that we absolutely need the food. We could go another two weeks easily without leaving. It's that we need milk, and eggs if we can find them. It's been a month or so since we had eggs. Oh, and sweetener for coffee. And I want a Coke, and a bag of chips, stuff we ran out of early in quarantine because we don't usually keep much of it.
Allie really stepped up her responsibility level in the middle of the crisis. She was crucial to helping feed everyone. I leaned on her and she helped me stand up. Also, she's really good at plants, something I've always been keen on.
Michael and Elizabeth were both crucial to working on the house and all the harder projects outside. We built a new space for the little kiddos in the back of the house, where they can run and scream and not bother the neighbors down the block.
The middles and the littles fought constantly over tablets, toys, doing homework, about who was going to deliver dinner to Grandma, and who was going to give me hugs. They're infuriating and I love them.
Hillary's doc emailed, letting us have another week without an OB/Gyn check up for Betty Sue. Six weeks until the due date. Betty is not going to stay in that long, and we don't know if the hospital is still gonna be crazy when she's ready to come out. We ordered and now have an emergency home birth kit, just in case. Makes sense to us in our post-apocalyptic dystopian planning.
Been having a lot of thoughts about the other people just like us. There are uncounted cases of this virus everywhere. We were told to stay home and be strong, that there weren't enough tests for the people who really needed it. Indeed the news was filled with images of high end cars at the new drive-up testing centers in the more well-to-do cities that aren't anywhere close to us. Those people just like the people hoarding toilet paper, flooding the system with purchasing power rather than need, kindled a weird sort of anger in me about the flaws in the system. So, like the other uncounted population, we know we had something that almost killed me, but we haven't had the test yet.
We like so many others have survived, but now we have to come out. We still need food. We still have work to do. You still need us to show up to bring you the things you ordered because you can't go to the store. You need us to go make burgers for you because you can't cook. You need us to build things for you, because so many of you have not learned the basic skills of survival. The rest of us are going to come out of our homes and people are going to get sick. And some of us will not survive.
And yet, we still have to face the world just like everyone else. I don't know if we're still contagious. I hope we're not, for everyone else's sake. Because I don't know if you're strong enough. For a short period of time, I didn't know if I was strong enough. But now I'm immune, and it feels like a super power. Yet, my thoughts are still drawn to those of us who haven't caught it yet. Are they going to be one of the survivors? When will they catch it? Because, we are all going to catch this thing until there is a vaccine.
The really interesting thing is, I'm not scared of it anymore. That is profound to me. And I don't know if scared is the word, because I don't think I was ever worried about me. I was worried for those around me. Would my family survive this thing? I worried about what they would have to do if I didn't make it, and what I would do if any one of them didn't survive. I watched everyone for the whole month, and heard every cough and saw each of them go through a series of phases of the sickness as they had fevers, developed a cough, developed a smell, became tired, and then got better. I watched my wife hold back tears when I started refusing food when I became seriously ill. I watched with relief while she and her mother never progressed beyond being grumpy and coughing. That was still hard to do, to see them suffer even mild symptoms.
So, right now there are so many little families out there, clustered in their homes, sitting through this thing that are going uncounted. I don't know if we ever will be. Maybe the antibody test will make it our way and then we can be counted and know for sure that this thing that almost killed me was the coronavirus.
But I am resolute that other people need to know that there are survivors. So, I'm going to wear a bright orange X on my mask so people will be able to see. It's not that I'm positive anymore, but I've had it. I don't for sure know that I can't give it to you. There's so much different information out there about timelines for contagiousness, that I want to stay back from you, that I want you to stay back from me. So, I will wear it so that you know that I have had this thing, that I am stronger, that I am fearless now, that this thing didn't kill me.
I never thought I would write a story like this, even after I started writing. I'm going to send it off now to the U.S. Copyright office, so it will be officially submitted to the Library of Congress and become part of the official story of the American people. People will need to know what it was like to have lived through something like this, and then still be required to make sure it's not the end of the world, to go out and produce, as we watch our friends, family, and neighbors disappear. It's beyond not fair. It's beyond not right. It's an injustice that has been imposed on people around the world that has deprived untold numbers of their lives and livelihoods. I have growing concern that there will be conflict over this thing that affected us, our people, the world.
11:00 Kiddos are all finally asleep for the night. Last hour of quarantine. Time to celebrate. Hillary pulled out the last piece of peach cobbler and we ate it with some heavy cream, Bonne Maman raspberry preserves, and some powdered sugar on it. That is what our celebration of life tasted like, with a big glass of the last of our 2% milk. This has been a long month. Holy crap it was a long month. One hour left.
3/31/2020, midnight Pacific Standard Time - Welcome to the other side of the apocalypse.