It’s a Journey – Sooner or Later

It’s a Journey – Sooner or Later

Sooner or later you will open the newspaper and find my obituary. I hope it says that I “passed peacefully” on a certain date. My daughter will have written that obituary, eloquently describing all my great qualities, some of which will be a stretch.

My daughter wrote her dad’s obituary so I have seen first hand what a wonderful job she can do.

I do pray that “passed peacefully” is true because the idea of passing in a hospital with a ventilator slammed down my throat is not attractive. I’m sure you know where I am going here.

December 2020

In December of 2020 my post on Covid-19 reminded us how long it took for Covid-19 infection levels, hospitalizations, and deaths to become obvious in Montgomery and Polk Counties in Arkansas. Lots of things are just slower in rural areas. At that point vaccines were just about to be released and I encouraged vaccination and protective measures.

The Delta variant reared it’s ugly head shortly after I wrote that article. It was twice as contagious and deadly for those whose immune systems weren’t up to the challenge.

July 2021

I wrote an update in July of 2021 noting that about 30% of Montgomery County and 25% of Polk county Arkansas residents had been vaccinated. Included in that post was the following truth:

“Let’s just clarify one thing. Nobody dies from the virus any more than they die from diabetes. Everybody dies because their immune system can’t prevent irrecoverable damage to the body. That might be because the immune system is suppressed (disengaged by medication or genetics), goes amok (as in autoimmune disease), or weakened by those famous “comorbidities.”

Omicron

Now the Omicron variant appears. It is extraordinarily contagious. So contagious that if you get in the vicinity of someone(s) with that variant you are very likely to catch it. However, it is less virulent, a measure of the severity of a disease when you get it.

And maybe you think that because it’s less virulent we needn’t worry about it. And I think there is some truth in that – as long as your the immune system isn’t suppressed, gone amok, or weakened by age/ill health. Unfortunately that description applies to a good percentage of the population.

Just like last year it’s going to take a while for Omicron to work its way into Montgomery and Polk counties. How will we know when it arrives? Infections will be coming out of the woodwork although they may not be officially reported. In 2020 many believed if they didn’t test for the infection it could be ignored and would somehow not count.

A Swarm of Wasps

Wrong! A swarm of wasps is a swarm whether anybody reports them or not.

Suppose you are allergic to wasp venom. If you see one wasp there is a good chance you can kill it before it stings you. However, if you disturb a wasp nest a whole bunch of wasps will be out to get you. You are likely to be stung. This is exactly the high level of infection danger the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses for those with messed up immune systems.

Viruses differ a lot. Vaccination for polio is a personal prevention strategy and polio rarely appears anymore (at least in this country) because of vaccinations. Vaccination for Covid-19 is NOT primarily a personal prevention strategy.

Protect Yourself

Rather Covid-19 vaccination reduces the virulence of infection for you, thus minimizing the chance that you might be severely ill.

Masking, social distancing, avoiding indoor crowds, etc continue to be important protective layers added to vaccination. However knowing your personal susceptibility to severe infection is rather urgent. Be all the more vigilent if your immune system isn’t what it should be. You may not be able to depend on others to protect you.

Available now, unlike last year, are antiviral treatments providing recovery assistance in the very earliest stages of infection. That means you can’t just sit around the house (or the office) sick for 5 days before seeking medical assistance, infecting everyone around you just so your infection won’t be counted.

Just remember it’s a two way street. It is just as important to avoid infecting someone else as it is to protect yourself. You personally might be in the 50% of the population needing protection from others.

Sooner or later we are all on the short list. But most of us are not necessarily in a hurry to get there.

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Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Her website is http://www.allaboutthefood.org/ She can be contacted at patsmith2@live.com, 501-605-3902. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.