Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Saga Continues

I find myself on the verge of tears so often these days. I can't seem to watch the news or read the news without feeling overwhelmed by sadness, disappointment, disgust, or anger.

Another of the heroes of the epidemic has died of COVID19.

I am in complete awe of these brave doctors, nurses, health professionals, healthcare workers, hospital employees, clinicians and first responders and others on the front lines. I am paranoid just going to the grocery store or Costco or the pharmacy.

From Joe.My.God. Blog:

Gay Critical Care Doc Dies Of COVID In His Own ICU

The Huffington Post reports:
The “beloved” chief of critical care at a Baltimore hospital died Saturday of COVID-19 after caring for the facility’s “sickest patients” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the facility. Dr. Joseph Costa, 56 — who a colleague likened to “an older brother that [staff] admired and revered” — was the intensive care unit chief at Mercy Medical Center. The hospital, confirming his death, posted about him on Facebook Sunday.
Costa worked for Mercy for 23 years and became the chief of critical care in 2005. He is survived by his husband, David Hart. The couple had been together for 28 years. “I keep thinking, ‘Now there is one less ICU doctor to care for pandemic patients in Baltimore,’” Hart told The Baltimore Sun. Hart added that Costa’s colleagues held a vigil for him as he lay dying, and that he held his husband in his arms until he passed away early Saturday morning.
Meanwhile a FORMER gay ally MADONNA is spreading misinformation and wild conspiracy theories from the discredited "doctor" Stella Immanuel. Fortunately, Twitter has deleted her linkages as per their COVID19 disinformation policy.

Wasn't Madonna once a fairly intelligent, progressive, thoughtful and reasonable person? When did she turn into a total cov-idiot? I can't help thinking of the series "True Blood" when humans would be  "turn" into vampires. And she is in a position to reach millions with her dangerous ideas.

Time to take the dog for a walk and go tend the garden.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

What to Say to All Those Folks on Huntington Beach (and Elswhere)

In response to the Nay-sayers: (I can find no documentation as to the source or accuracy of the following, but it makes sense to my ears as a former health educator.)

“Chickenpox is a virus. Lots of people have had it, and probably don't think about it much once the initial illness has passed. But it stays in your body and lives there forever, and maybe when you're older, you have debilitatingly painful outbreaks of shingles. You don't just get over this virus in a few weeks, never to have another health effect. We know this because it's been around for years, and has been studied medically for years.

Herpes is also a virus. And once someone has it, it stays in your body and lives there forever, and anytime they get a little run down or stressed-out they're going to have an outbreak. Maybe every time you have a big event coming up (school pictures, job interview, big date) you're going to get a cold sore. For the rest of your life. You don't just get over it in a few weeks. We know this because it's been around for years, and been studied medically for years.

HIV is a virus. It attacks the immune system and makes the carrier far more vulnerable to other illnesses. It has a list of symptoms and negative health impacts that goes on and on. It was decades before viable treatments were developed that allowed people to live with a reasonable quality of life. Once you have it, it lives in your body forever and there is no cure. Over time, that takes a toll on the body, putting people living with HIV at greater risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, bone disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. We know this because it has been around for years, and had been studied medically for years.

Now with COVID-19, we have a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. The full spectrum of symptoms and health effects is only just beginning to be cataloged, much less understood. So far the symptoms may include: Fever Fatigue Coughing Pneumonia Chills/Trembling Acute respiratory distress Lung damage (potentially permanent) Loss of taste (a neurological symptom) Sore throat Headaches Difficulty breathing Mental confusion Diarrhea Nausea or vomiting Loss of appetite Strokes have also been reported in some people who have COVID-19 (even in the relatively young) Swollen eyes Blood clots Seizures Liver damage Kidney damage Rash COVID toes (weird, right?)

People testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented to be sick even after 60 days. Many people are sick for weeks, get better, and then experience a rapid and sudden flare up and get sick all over again. A man in Seattle was hospitalized for 62 days, and while well enough to be released, still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Not to mention a $1.1 million medical bill.

Then there is MIS-C. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. While rare, it has caused deaths.

This disease has not been around for years. It has basically been 6 months. No one knows yet the long-term health effects, or how it may present itself years down the road for people who have been exposed. We literally *do not know* what we do not know.

For those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity: How dare you? How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly. How dare you decide for others that they should welcome exposure as "getting it over with", when literally no one knows who will be the lucky "mild symptoms" case, and who may fall ill and die.

Because while we know that some people are more susceptible to suffering a more serious case, we also know that 20 and 30-year-olds have died, marathon runners and fitness nuts have died, children and infants have died. How dare you behave as though you know more than medical experts, when those same experts acknowledge that there is so much we don't yet know, but with what we DO know, are smart enough to be scared of how easily this is spread, and recommend baseline precautions such as: Frequent hand-washing Physical distancing Reduced social/public contact or interaction Mask wearing Covering your cough or sneeze Avoiding touching your face Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces

The more things we can all do to mitigate our risk of exposure, the better off we all are, in my opinion. Not only does it flatten the curve and allow health care providers to maintain levels of service that aren't immediately and catastrophically overwhelmed; it also reduces unnecessary suffering and deaths, and buys time for the scientific community to study the virus in order to come to a more full understanding of the breadth of its impacts in both the short and long term.

I reject the notion that it's "just a virus" and we'll all get it eventually. What a careless, lazy, heartless stance.”


The Guardian reports: Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom. The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain.

Agence France-Presse reports: The research showed that none of patients diagnosed with neurological problems had COVID-19 in their cerebrospinal fluid, suggesting that the virus did not directly attack their brains. Perhaps crucially, the team found that ADEM diagnoses “not related to the severity of the respiratory COVID-19 disease”. With more than 11 million confirmed infections worldwide, COVID-19 is known to cause a variety of health complications in addition to lung infection. “Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson from UCL’s Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

Friday, July 17, 2020

I Almost Don't Want to Post This, It Is So Disturbing

But do go to the YouTube site and read the comments...some are funny and most are reassuring.

OK, I can kind of give a pass to those being outdoors and at a distance from others, but really...the reactions to two very calm and harmless guys passing out free masks is very disturbing.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

My Three Cents

I wrote an email to CVS back in April because there were customers in the local CVS not wearing masks...and CVS is a HEALTH CARE business.

The reply was to the effect of: our employees cannot be put in the position of enforcing the requirement. So three month later they (and Walmart and Kroger, and Texas and Colorado and others) decide it's a good idea for all customers/citizens to wear masks.

But the precedent of "resistance" has already been established so now people who think it is their "right" not to wear a mask are physically assaulting others who try to enforce the requirement. So sick of this shit.


People need to get over the erroneous notion that science and opinion are or should be put on equal footing.

The difference is that science is always self-correcting and always adding to knowledge; opinion, particularly in the case of COVID19, is not self-correcting, nor does it add to our knowledge.

In fact, some "opinions" are outright dangerous and have brought us to this "worse and worse" scenario and act very much like a virus: infecting the uninformed, the fearful, the suspicious, the ideologues.

The anti-science, conspiracy theory undercurrents that are driving much decision making in this country are not only baffling to me, but a danger to us all.

So many states are now requiring masks and distancing...after the cows have left the barn and things are spiraling out of control.

We are worse off now than we were in March and solving this will require many more months of inconvenience, sickness and death.

If only we had had a universal, country-wide, science-based response and strong leadership at the federal level we might be where most of Europe is right now - slowly, cautiously, safely opening for business. If only we (he) allowed Fauci and other medical experts to make health policy....


Liberty, personal freedom and the constitution will count for little when you (rhetorical) or a loved one is on a respirator.

Liberty, personal freedom and the constitution are ideals that are only meaningful within the context of a society, a community, where individuals take responsibility for insuring the rights of all citizens, sometimes at the expense of one's own convenience or comfort.

We need to take care - of ourselves - and one another.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dr. Fauci Has More Credibility Than Any in the Current Administration

The recent Op-Ed by Navarro in USA Today is not only despicable it is without any basis in fact. The Administration's efforts to discredit Fauci is either a bad strategy that will backfire big time or a major attempt at distraction and gaslighting. The directive to hospitals to report to HHS rather than to CDC is beyond troubling. I only wonder what else is happening behind the curtain.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Is It Time To Get Political Again?

I'm getting really sick of the idiot in the White House. Actually I've been sick since November 8, 2016. So here is a great ad for our times.

 And while I'm at it, here is an email I sent to Dr Anthony Fauci and a cc: to a number of his staff a few days ago, just before the idiot in the White House decided it would be a good idea to discredit the good doctor.

Urging You to Speak more forcefully
To: Cc: hilary.marston@nih.govDr. Fauci,

Having worked as an HIV/AIDS Counselor at the Connecticut State Department of Health Services during the height of the AIDS crisis, and having survived that epidemic, I recall having a great deal of respect for you and your leadership during those times. 

I am now 72 years old and I am very concerned, not only about the possibility of my contracting COVID-19, but also the devastating effect this pandemic is having on the lives and loves of so many others. 

I sense that you have been less than forthcoming lately - as if you’ve been told to tone it down and make things (the facts) seem relatively ambiguous. We have let this get out of control and desperately need your leadership!

So, I urge you:

Please speak more forcefully and definitively about the reasons for the explosion of COVID-19 cases and please be unequivocal in your admonitions to the president, government officials and the citizenry about what each person needs to do get this horrible disease under control. 

I will look forward to your most authoritative message soon.


Frank DeFrancesco

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Just a few items from the garden.
The single corn stalk must have been planted by a bird...I know I didn't plant corn!

The tomatoes seem to be late this summer. Lots of green ones but nothing ripening even though the weather has been HOTTT.

The ground squirrel ate all the beet greens, then the Swiss chard, then the kale and most recently the green bean foliage and the parsley. I’m hoping the beets and Swiss chard and Kale will “recover” by growing some new shoots. I’ve covered what I could with bird netting and that seems to work to discourage the little devil.

The work of hungry ground squirrel
Despite the squirrel, there was a good three pounds of green (and yellow) beans today (I froze half) and some Italian frying peppers.

So it seemed like a good day for what I call my version of Chicken alla Cacciatore or what Leon calls “You ruined perfectly good green beans by putting them in tomato sauce” or Chicken and Peppers and Green Beans in Tomato Sauce.

I would have added mushrooms if I had some.

It’s just after 2pm and I am hungry.

 Let's not forget the flowers.
Sunflower ... I also did not plant sunflowers
Another wild sunflower
More wild flowers
Russian Sage
4 O'clocks
Day Lily

P.S. I am having an awful time with "Blogger" and not sure why. Has been going on for quite some time. Difficult to move photos; long captions will not go to next line when I hit "return"; pasting text activates "Link" puts everything in blue type and centers it. Have to remove formatting and left justify; photos don't all load and return error message...the list goes on. I have tried the "new blogger" and it looks horrible on my "reading list" - but have not tried it for composing posts. Mitchell and others seem to have no problem...every post you guys put up looks great and you seem to do it with such ease.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


In case anyone has noticed, I've not posted much lately. The combination of being a kind of "news junkie" and the COVID19 isolation and the extreme heat of June and July here in New Mexico has left me rather drained.

One of the main reasons we moved here to Cochiti Lake was THE LAKE. Cochiti Lake, like most lakes in New Mexico is a flood control lake...the Rio Grand waters behind an Army Corp of Engineers built dam. Most are not pretty lakes compared to those in green mountain settings as they are bodies of water surrounded by rock and desert terrain. Not many a tree in sight.

But Cochiti Lake is, at least, a lake with a swimming beach and boat ramps. It was adequate for my needs. Unfortunately the lake has been closed, off limits, since March 13 in response to COVID19.

The entire lake as well as our little town, the convenience store, the golf course and Kasha Katuwe/Tent Rocks National Monument are on tribal land. All were closed indefinitely (except, of course the town where we have our homes) per order of the Cochiti tribe. So there's been no access to the lake this long, hot summer.

Lakes are OK, but I have this longing, a need almost, to return to the salt water from whence I apparently emerged some long time ago.

We were "dreaming" about maybe going to the East Coast this September (to visit family and friends and go to Cape Cod/Provincetown) or if not there, back to California to Oceana/Pismo Dunes/Avila Beach.

Because no way are we traveling through Texas, Oklahoma or any other state during the ongoing pandemic. So, with the pandemic, it looks like I will forego salt, sand and sea this time around.

I was getting very depressed and angry and irritable seemingly for no apparent reason. Well, I guess the apparent reason is the result of months of isolation and seeing the summer, maybe the entire year as kind of deletion. Beach, Ocean, Travel: delete. June, delete; July, delete; August, delete; September, delete; October?

So, the next best thing - the next closest lake to us is Abiquiu - less than a two hour drive. So Leon and I and Benni took a ride up there this morning and had what was the most relaxing day I've had in many months. We got there early enough that it wasn't too hot and being by the water was cooler by 5 to 10 degrees than inland.

I have many friends who couldn't care less for a day at the beach or lake. I could never understand their indifference.

Shedding clothing as much as is allowed (swim suits required here but a nudist area is the absolute best) and being out in the sunshine and swimming and sitting with hubby and our dog, Benni, is so freeing.

Somehow I shed obsessions, thoughts, tensions, chores and preoccupations along with the clothing.

We stayed about four and a half hours and left around 2pm, just at the hottest part of the day.

I was completely satisfied, at least for today.
Benni and the Hubby

Relaxing in my Beach Chair

Georgia O'Keefe's favorite mountain


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