Monday, March 23, 2020

I Am the Face of Potential Coronavirus – And It Does Not Feel Good

I am Peter Gorman. I have been writing for the Fort Worth Weekly since 2004, not long after I moved from New York to Texas for family reasons. I am 69-years-old. I’ve just gotten out of Huguley Hospital after a 13-day stay. It was my sixth time in the hospital in four years, all of the stays due to issues that cropped up from my second job, which is as a guide and medicinal plant collector in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Those recent stays include time for dealing with a flesh eating virus that took three hospital stays, an exploded intestine that took three operations, and just last month, sepsis when my kidneys failed, my bladder collapsed, my legs reinfected, my heart went into severe arrythmia, and a host of less life-threatening problems.
   It is just the way things are for me and I have not changed over the last 35 years and probably won’t. I love the Amazon jungle, even though it will finally get me. I live with that.
   What I did not expect to live with was coronavirus. I am the perfect age, and currently dealing with several severe conditions, that make me the perfect candidate for this virus. Should I get it, I don’t know if I will survive. It would be awful to die of COVID after I’ve survived the jungle, but the reality is there to deal with daily. On the other hand, I can only run so much.
   I clean my hands. I wash canned and packaged goods before I use them. I go to the store with a friend daily but stay in the car and listen to music while he or my daughter fill my shopping list for dinner. And I make spectacular dinners daily – the only job I’m permitted to do. Well, that and cleaning the kitchen.
   But my friend Devon and my daughter Madeleina are still in touch with people in the supermarket. Madeleina’s friends Adrian, a fast-food delivery guy, and Patrick, who works at Target, still come over. My friend Matthew H, with whom I am writing a musical, is in touch with people but over at the house several times a week. We wash, we clean, but we’re not perfect. My younger son Marco comes over to hug me and eat dinner a couple of times a week. And then I have doctor’s appointments two or three times a week, and a home-nurse and physical therapist here several times a week.
   You get the picture, right? I try, but life goes on, even if mostly in quarantine. You avoid what you can, but you don’t roll up and sit in a fetal position. At least I don’t.
   What I miss most are the other members of my family. My ex-wife, generally over for coffee most mornings, is afraid to come and expose me to infection. Her two new daughters have not been here since I’ve been out of the hospital. My oldest son, Italo, and his wife Sarah, along with my two grandkids, Taylor Rain and Teigan Grey, have not been here either since I left the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I am used to seeing them a lot and miss them enormously. Sarah called and asked for a couple of dozen eggs from our coop –- Including half-a-dozen fresh organic duck eggs – and I have to leave them on the front porch for her to pick them up tonight.
    I am not looking for sympathy here. Things are what they are. A lot of people are in much rougher spots than I am. Meals on Wheels was killed a couple of years ago. ow How will those folks get good food now, and how will they stave off the virus without it? Where will people living on the street eat if they can’t dumpster dive because the restaurants are closed and the dumpsters are empty? What will people like me, of the right age and sick, do for food if they have not friends to buy it for them. Will they risk it and shop for themselves?
   This is a huge issue, everyone. I hope you all make it through.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Back From the Jungle, Sick Again

WELL, it's been more than a month since I am home from Peru, where Devon and I treated two fantastic groups to deep jungle work in the Amazon, both in getting acquainted with the dangers of that place and the fantastic medicines it offers as well. Both gropups melded wonderfully. Everything was perfect. EXCEPT>>>>> that I stopped being able to walk or stand on my own, which as not just strange but terrifying.
Things got bad enough that Devon insisted I come home several days early from the trip--days that I was sup[posed to be using to find a boat for my next big expedition--and I was in bad enough shape that I let him lead the way.
If he was not traveling with me I do not believe they would have let me on the plane. I did not realize how ill I was.
I got home on a Friday afternoon and was in the hospital on Saturday morning, one step above regular hospital and one step below ICU. Turns out my kidneys had failed, mu bladder had collapsed, I was holding several gallons of water in my legs and torso and bladder that couldnot pass becuse my prostte had sudenly enlarged horribly. I had a majpor bleeding ulcer and needed four pints of blood, and then there was the infection in my legs.
Oy vey, this was not great. 14 days in the hospital and they set me free with a catheter tied to my privates and my leg to allow me to drain my urine. 10 medicines that have me terrified to use sapo right now because I don't know what the interactions will be. I am still laughing as best as I can. I'm cooking up a storm. I'm getting better. I do not like having to put a 12 inch catheter into my private parts every five hours--that is a serious invasion and it hurts, as well.
Oh, and I got fired from y job at thenewspper--Im too sick these days--and some land I OWN IN Peru was invaded by dozens of people who started butting my pristine forest to build houses.
All in all a tough month. I wonder why I keep getting tested. WHAT'S THE POINT? SEEMS Ive been tested for years now. Do I ever get a freaking diplomaq? I don't think so.
And I know that millions of people every day have it way worse than me. I wish I could alleviate their pain and eliminate their suffering. I would do anything if I could do that. Unfortunately, I'm just this guy in this pretty broken body with no superpowers to heal people.
For all of you, I hope you are strong and share your strength. Hug someone you love and make sure they know you love them.