Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fried Pickles and Covid


So there we were, cooking up a storm of wonderful food as per usual, and then Madeleina got hit with the Covid and couldn't taste. Then Adrian, her pal who lives with her got it. Then I got it. So nobody wants to cook, nobody wants to eat and those are not good conditions for me to push myself to stand in a kitchen for an hour cutting and cooking things. Plus the idea made me ill.
So the last week or so included burgers from two joints -- one good, one absolutely wretched -- fried chicken, unbearably bad; couple of sandwiches that were out of this world good, and they would have been better if anyone could have tasted them. I forget what all we bought, but it was a reminder of why I do not eat fast food often. Just not food stuff!!!!
Now at one or two of those places I ordered fried pickles. We don't have them in NYC that I know of, so when I see them on a menu i always order them. To my perpetual disappointment.
BUTTTTTT....Madeleina and Adrian discovered that there is a fairly new place called the Pickle Emporium in Fort Worth that is home to Best Maid Pickles. They are as good as barrel dills on the old Lower East Side. Shameless promotion and I get nothing in return. But they are just fantastic, from the gherkins to the full sours, though my favorites are the kosher dill spears.
So Madeleina and Adrian decided to visit the small flagship and pick up a gallon of pickle brine. I told them to pick up some whole dills--we got the 80 ounce jar.
When they were leaving I told them to stop by Carshons -- another shameless plug simply because they are that good -- a kosher deli in South Fort Worth. It might be the oldest and only kosher deli in the city. I think it has been around since 1928, almost a full century. They have moved a couple of times and their current quarters would not impress anyone: no flair, not enough people running the dining room, etc. BUTTTT -- and that is the second time I'm using that in a piece, a first! -- their basic goods are just outstanding. Their corned beef, the pastrami, the lox, the oversized hot dogs, the fried bologna for goodness sake! are all first-rate items.
So I had Madeleina and Adrian pick up a pound of untrimmed pastrami, sliced wafer thin; a pint of coleslaw, half-a-loaf each of egg bread and rye, and 1/2 pound of Swiss. Madeleina tagged on two matzo ball soups for good measure. And normally I would have picked up a couple of their pickles, which are divine. But guess what? One of the things they don't make on site are pickles. Those come from Best Maid Pickles, and in this case i already had more than half-a-gallon from the horses' mouth so I didn't need any more.
Now all three of us were raring to make our own damned fried pickles. I don't think I ever made them and damn, it was about time. Madeleina and Adrian agreed. So we sliced up two full dills into half-inch rounds and tamped them dry with paper towels. I had the kids put 1/2 cup of organic flour into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oregano, one tablespoon of cajun spices, one tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, and sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mixed that up with half-a-beer and a couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce and fried those pickle slices up in one inch of good hot vegetable oil.
While they fried I had the kids make me a hot mayo: 2 large soup spoons of mayo, two shots of ketchup (Hellmann's and Heinz if you're counting), then three good shots of Cholula hot sauce, achiote, sea salt and cracked black pepper...(you guys could probably sing along with the end of every darned recipe of mine because you know it's gonna end with "sea salt and black pepper".)
I'm gonna tell you that you have not had gd fried pickles till you tried those. In all the time here in Texas I have never been thrilled with fried pickles until last night in my own humble kitchen. Now it could have been the little bit of marijuana; it could have been that the covid did not let me taste how horrible they were; it even could have been that I look for any little light I can find in this dark world these days.... but dang, we're making more tonight to make sure it wasn't a fluke.
You're all going to go out to find fried pickles tonight, right? Cool.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Third Follow Up, Fourth in this series on Frog Sweat, the Matses Frog Medicine

 Okay, so more questions on FB; one I felt I needed to answer asked if I knew, or if anyone knew, of when the indigenous began utilizing sapo/kambo, the powerful medicine from the P. bicolor tree frog. Here was my answer: 

    No, and with no written language and no stone on which to paint things, it is unlikely that we will ever know. Hopefully, someone will find an artifact like they have with marijuana and ayahuasca and San Pedro that will give us a better idea. But heck, wherever the frog has been it has probably been used for medicine or treated like a poisonous snake. 
        All it takes, and took, is a person with tiny cuts in their hands -- like everyone in the jungle -- to grab the frog without knowing about it. They would probably be knocked down and terrified the first time until all of the positives, the strength, stamina etc, showed themselves. After that they would know what to expect to some extent. They would then either introduce it to their village as a medicine, or they would kill it like they do poisonous snakes: on sight. So if the P. bicolor has been on a particular river for three hundred years, and if folks live or hunt on that river, well, the frog has probably been in service for just about that long, give or take the week it took for someone to pick it up to toss into a soup pot.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Follow up to Follow up

Okay, I am sorry and will try to curtail this nonsense, but in the thread on FB on which i wrote the second previous blog piece -- which I followed up with the immediately previous blog piece -- one of the readers asked two questions that I needed to answer.

The first involved Vittorio Erspamer, the great pharmacologist who did the initial scientific investigations into the sapo/kambo frog, the Phyllomedusa bicolor.  The reader said he thought I brought the first samples of the medicine out from the jungle but he discovered that Erspamer had written a paper about the P bicolor in 1979 (actually a few) and wondered how he managed to get his samples and why was my part significant if people were already working with the frog. This is the answer:

Erspamer worked with the phyllomedusas and the phyllobates (the poison arrow dart frogs) for quite some time prior to me getting him the info. He got his animals in general frog collections rather than from an indigenous group. But while he imagined that many of the peptides would be bio-active , without a concrete history of human use he could not experiment on humans to test his theories. That's where I accidently and fruitfully came in to the picture.

The Persons second question asked how I could be the first to bring the frog out of the jungle since a missionary, Testavin (spelling???) had written something about it, including claiming to have used it once back in 1927. This was my clarifying response:

Yes, Tastevin discussed it a little, but I don't believe his notes were unearthed until at least 8-10 years after I published about it. Does not mean he was not earlier, but 1) no one knew it; 2) he had no photos, no identification, no samples. Somehow that counts and again, is where I come into the picture. But look, I never thought I was the first, never occurred to me until herpetologists and botanists told me.  Yes, I am proud of it and all of my work related to this frog and the medicine it produces, but I recognize it as a lucky accident that fell into a damned good reporter's hands--and I saw the importance and ran with it.

Follow up to previous post about sapo

On the thread on FB on which I wrote the previous blog entry, someone posted a picture of a bufo toad, a cane toad, with a story about how their population is threatened in California, and then she wrote the words: "Until there are none left," or something like that. I kind of felt obligated to respond because she didn't even have the right animal, and if some novice winds up mistaking the two because he/she read about it on facebook who knows how frightening the effect on the human body might be.

   So here is how I responded:

Yes, people need to be mindful. But please note two things: the sapo/kambo frog is not in any way related biologically to the cane toad you have pictured here. That said, while the toad is threatened in California it is an invasive pest in Australia and more than a dozen other countries, where its growing population is a threat to delicate eco systems. Another species of cane toad, the Bufo Amazonis thrives in western Amazonia. 

As for the sapo/kambo frog, P bicolor, since it does not produce medicine in captivity and many of its habitats are a couple of days' trip from Iquitos — plus the fact that it mostly hangs around in tall thin trees 15-30 feet hight at water's edge mean that most, not all by any means, but most of the medicine produced will have to be collected by either reberiƱos or indigenous who can climb those skinny trees without dying!!! So yes, be concerned about them but I don't know that they are anywhere near trouble and hope they never get there.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Something about the indigenous Matses and Frog Sweat medicine


I was asked to join a thread on sapo/kambo, the frog medicine from South America that is being utilized by a lot of practitioners in the US, Europe and elsewhere today. As I was the first to bring it out to the Western world, and as the indigenous group who shared it with me, the Matses, are the first indigenous group known to utilize it -- there were stories but nothing concrete prior to the Matses -- I was asked to weigh in on whether collecting the frog and tying it up like a green trampoline to collect it's "sudor" or sweat, a protective device, was wretched or not. Of course it is. But it beats the alternative. Somehow that morphed into a small diatribe on a few different aspects of this indigenous group, from my experience and from what early missionaries recorded about them. Here it is:
I want to clarify a couple of things. During all my time with the Matses (Mayoruna, Matis, Matsis), which has been at least a couple of weeks a year -- and early on a couple of months -- for 36 of the past 37 years (not this year because I was too ill to travel) I have never known them to know about or utilize ayahuasca. They have no story of how they came to use the frog. These are not a people of mythology. They also do not dance, make music, can't weave, until very recently did not bother with agriculture of any kind, and did not know how to make canoes — first known Matses canoe, Alberto, 1994. Up till then large villages stole and blinded a good mestizo canoe maker and he, with the help of the Matses, made what few canoes they had. Or else they stole canoes, fairly typical for an indigenous group known for outlandish savagery in stealing women after killing their families, etc.
Historically they have no known spiritual beliefs (Handbook of South American Peoples; Vol 8 I think, The Forest People; compiler of info I forget this second), though I challenge the anthropologists on two points on that claim. First, they believe the spirits of their dead go into the physical bodies of jungle deer, which keeps them from hunting deer.
Second, when they have an abortion, miscarriage, or a baby dies, they make an oblong clay pot in which the fetus or body is put that is kept over a low fire -- always tended -- for three days, after which the mother and father consume the ashes so that the spirit can return. I call both of those spiritual practices.
All of this goes to this point: People on this thread are discussing whether tying up the frog for a few minutes to extract its "sudor" or sweat is cruel or not. Of course it is. But the alternative is being tossed into a pot of boiling water and eaten. Not sure the frogs actually do the math on that equation but I will bet that if they could or would they would opt for being inconvenienced for 10 minutes every month or two rather than dying in a pot. Just my two cents and while I got more I've probably put most of you to sleep already. Forgive me for rattling on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Damned Covid in Our House and Won't Leave


Darn!!!!! My daughter Madeleina, who has had her vaccinations, decided to take a covid test because she has been very stuffed up and can't taste much food for the last several days. Well, she just came into my office, crying. Results came back positive and she is terrified that she will give it to me, and that it will kill me. I spent a while reassuring her that I know no one who is more careful than her with shots, distancing, wearing mask, washing with antibacterial. She has squeeze bottles of it in all three cars, on the front porch, in the kitchen and the bathroom. I told her shit happens and that she's been feeling this way for five days so she has been, or is in the middle of the muddle and will get better from here. Thank goodness she got the vacs so it's not any worse.
Of course I need to get tested again tomorrow, and I want her to get tested again in case it was a false positive, and then Adrian who lives with her here has to get tested, and her sister Sierra with whom she spent several hours two days ago will need to get tested, as will her sister Alexa and their mom, my ex-wife Chepa, and the surgery center will probably put off my back work tomorrow, so it is definitely a pain. But it ain't her fault. Shit's just everywhere here in freaking Texas. Darn it!!!

Amazon Dolphin Love


Dolphin Love in Northwestern Amazonia
There are dozens of myths in the Amazon basin that have helped maintain an otherwise very fragile social fabric. Tunchis — ghosts — in the woods keep most people out of the woods at night when the predators feed. Chuluchaqui, a sort of Pan character, can confuse you to the point where it might take days or weeks to return to your home from a walk to your fields — chacras. But mythical Chuluchaqui is vitally important because of the habit riberiƱos have of leaving their families to visit friends for days or weeks at a time when they get the urge. They might or might not bother to tell anyone. Abandoning your family is not good but when they get the urge it is irresistible and they have to go sometimes. Having a convenient Chuluchaqui to blame smooths everything over.
Dolphins are also vital to the social fabric: The pink dolphins are sirens: They call out to the men and the men cannot resist their charm. The men dive into the lakes and make wild love with them.
The blue dolphins can transform themselves in the evening to irresistibly handsome young men. When they call to the women coming from the chacras or neighboring villages, there is no way to turn away: You must make love, and it is a ferocious, wild, wonderful making love.
The stories may or may not be true, but they are very important in Amazonia, where making love with people outside of your husband or wife is a pretty regular part of living. A woman coming home at dawn with her neck covered in hickeys is completely forgivable if she was seduced by a dolphin, whereas if the wife had simply screwed the neighbor it might lead to a machete or shotgun anger-killing. Similarly, a man coming home drunk with hickeys is forgiven if the cause of the problem was a pink dolphin, rather than the neighbor woman.
The myths of Amazonia are wonderful survival tools.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

What a freaking day. What a day. If I knew how I would turn that into an f'n song: What a day, what a day, you and me into the sunrays....WAITTTTTT!!!! That's Dr. John's song except he wrote What a night, What a night, you and me under the moonlight....If I don't do it somebody else willllllll!!!!
OKAY, so I should not steal my heroes' songs!!!! Somebody take a note and remind me. Damn, I'm sinking supinely into the muck...
But HOLD ON, I'm Coming.l......Wait, I'm doing it again!!! Sorry Sam and Dave!!!! All I know for certain is I got Sunshine on A Cloudy Day.....NO NO NO!!!!! I'm freaking infected!!!!!!
Okay, just playing with your heart. But now dont go playing with my heart..,
Damn, someone sink me in the Los Angeles tar fields before I continue!!!!!
The thing is that I'm always bragging about my cooking. And when I was a cook and then a chef in NYC I really was very good. I was steady but also innovative. I learned where I could -- Portugal, France, Belgium, NYC-- and absorbed like a sponge. But every now and then I completely blow something out of the water. And I did that the other night with falafel: chick peas, spices, fresh goods. How did I do that? I used canned garbanzo beans. I was so embarrassed that I wrote about it here on FB. I blew the sauce too. Tahini with lemon. How do you ruin that? I don't know but I did.
So last night I had my son-in-law Adrian put a pound of garbanzos into water and into the ice box and today I worked.
Everyone will tell you it takes 10 minutes. I took an hour just cutting and trimming fresh dill, curley parsley and cilantro. Then I had to chop onions and chic peas and garlic and mix that with coriander (from Peru), cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika.
chopping without a food processor can be a bitch but I was determined and did it, then put it in the fridge.
Next was the awful tahini sauce I made the other night. I did a makeover. Not mascara or a new front porch, but added coriander, dill, salt, garlic, olive oil, red pepper and a bit of good yogurt until it was a sauce that could make your mother fly.
Then I fried a few balls of falafel. I did not have enough oil to fry Nicki Manaj's cousin's friend' swollen balls but I had enough for my needs.
This sh.t came out fantastic. I'm glad I got back up on that freaking horse with no name. Because I have been to the desert with..... OKAY, I QUIT!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The stuff that happens when you blink....a good recipe


So I made a very nice chicken cacciatore two days ago. Recipes will say it takes 20 minutes to put together. Mine took 2 hours plus two hours cooking. Day before that I made a curried shrimp and smoked duck breast meal. Yesterday simple hot ham and cheese and tomato sandwiches. On sesame Italian bread. With homemade coleslaw (don't forget the sugar, white vinegar, celery seeds and Coleman's mustard powder!!!!!).
Tonight I didn't feel like cooking -- I had rainbow trout and some other things but they weren't singing to me. So I decided on a big omelet with 8 oversized organic duck eggs from our coop.
Simple, right? Yeah, except that to stuff it I needed to saute garlic and minced onion, diced tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil washed and chopped and then the best virginia ham we know of. When I make the omelet for three I will need to chop the two cheeses, then make a sauce of the fresh mushrooms I just washed and sliced thinly, marsala wine and a touch of heavy cream.
To go with that I will need smashed potatoes, so I baked 4 medium sized red potatoes and cooked six pieces of bacon. I'll render the bacon fat, put the cooked potatoes into the pan with it, then smash them semi-flat, season them, cook them on the stove top, turn them when they are fragrant, and then do it again.
So like I didn't want to cook and wound up with 10 steps and 15 freaking ingredients. Should have cooked. Would have been less work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Rebels Without a Cause

There are a million things to rebel against. Unfairness, wickedness, selfishness, thievery, the Vietnam war, invasion of Iraq, big brother and homeland security, the lousy way our country treats Mexicans and Central Americans, the CIA and their coups around the world done in the interest of a few billionaires making more money. I could go on for a lifetime and never name all of the things worth shaking your fist at or defying the law on, from smoking dope to the government giving you a social security card, a permanent number that might as well be tattooed on your forehead.
But I am at a loss with people fighting the covid vaccine. When you were a kid you either had the vaccines or did not go to school. When you drive you carry a license or go to jail. When you get on an international airplane or bus you either have a passport or you ain't crossing the border. Once you get to the other side of the border you either have your visa with you at all times or risk going to jail--depending on what country you are visiting. if you work as a nurse you either have an available license or go to jail. So what the freak is everybody so worked up about with the damned c-v shot? Y'all just got a hard on for being stupid or what? Cause you are. You are stupid to reject it. And selfish. And you might just murder someone if you pass it on to them. But yeah, take a stand. Too bad you don't realize you are standing in quicksand, jerks.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Some Things I've Been Thinking About


Here are a few things I have been thinking about today.
I loved driving a taxi in New York. It allowed me to be part of the armpit culture there. I learned where dog and cock fights happened when dog and cock owners got into the cab and told me where to go. I learned about where the real gambling was going on when people I'd pick up at the airport asked me to take them to a game. Initially I had no idea. But I made a point of finding out where the games were and what the stakes were and what the code words were and when clients asked me for a game I asked them "what stakes" and their answer led me to take them exactly where they wanted, got me a fee and got the doorman a fee to allow them into the games.
I learned where the whorehouses were and used a few when i was scotched on cocaine and booze; I learned where the best gay places were for the fellas who got into my cab with chaps and no underwear. I learned where Catholic masses were held at midnight and where free meals and clothing were had for the poor and forlorn. I knew the after hours clubs the pre-hour clubs, the police and hospital workers bars were that were allowed to operated 24/7 because the unions protected the workers who had odd shifts. I got to work as an undercover for the cops a couple of times that were frightening; I got to work with the mob which was just as frightening.
Most of that was born in taxi driving. Some in New York kitchens that I ran.
There is so much, the colors were unimaginably fascinating. For a kid in New York it was wonderful. Stopping at a topless joint to have a beer at the M and M club on Little West 12th street and having the mob throw me though the front window because I disrespected their favorite transvestite. Having a stand at the Feast of San Gennaro, the biggest Mafia party in New York.
I loved having five of my plays produced off-off Broadway and writing stories and falling in love and smoking dope and selling dope.
This is a ridiculously self-indulgent. I probably should have been feeding people who did not have enough to eat, or making rain for those who did not have potable water.
So why do I bother you with this? To say that I am still alive despite this pandemic, despite being ill, and that I want you all to know that. I am not quitting yet. That is selfish, and you can hate me for it. But it's the only solid ground I have left to stand on before I sink supinely into the muck of this world. So hate me or forgive me or use me to keep yourselves from falling into the terrible sinkhole we face. I wish you all strength, strength, strength. Revel in who you have been and what you have done. Do not forget that in these hazy times, okay? Even if it isn't perfect, it is still a past to grab on to to keep from sinking.

Completely selfish post again

A good friend gave me a story idea for the Fort Worth Weekly, for whom I wrote for 18 years. Was let go when the pandemic hit and the paper was downsized. This is what I wrote to him to explain my circumstances:

Do not have an outlet for journalism and an too old to send queries about. I have a million ideas but I cannot work for the money offered, and the Fort Worth Weekly let me go more than a year ago. So I've just been in and out of hospital, had several small surgeries and a couple of huge issues where I was in ICU for several days at a time. I am nearly finished a musical -- my first theatrical piece in 52 years  -- which I hope will provide for my kids when I'm gone, have a new small book of stories coming out before October, a cookbook nearly done and a 40 day boat trip in the Amazon scheduled for Jan/Feb. Boat deposit paid. Have $15 grand for it, need $30 grand more, so it is not a guaranteed thing.

    So I am staying busy with good work. Just wish this freaking sickness in me and in society and in our cumulative souls would evaporate overnight.
    To use Tom Waits: Working hard, hardly working, if you know what I mean...

Thursday, September 09, 2021

A note on getting normal after sapo/kambo

This is a quickie and relates to the frog medicine known as sapo or kambo. It is a medicine, the secretions of the phylomedusa bicolor tree frog, that the animal uses as a protective agent when attacked by birds or tree snakes.
Okay, you can look it up a little if you need to; what I wanted to note today was this: The sapo/kambo is absorbed into the subcutaneous layers of skin that have been burned with a jungle vine. The physical effects, which come on quickly, include heated forehead and face, racing heart, a rapid drop in blood pressure (from the vasodilation caused by one or more of the bioactive peptides in the substance. Stomach will clench, you might defecate or vomit, some people sweat a lot. It is a rigorous, or terrifying experience for a lot of people. Fortunately, the most acute effects of the medicine pass in 15-18 minutes (as a rule, though there are exceptions). By the time it's passing you feel like you've been driven over by a Mac truck. With good reason: the medicine flushing throughout your body is like a Ms. Pacman, gobbling up impurities, collected but hidden poisons (from anything from car exhaust to red dye #43) and sending them for elimination. Some of these poisons have been comfortably hiding for years inside you. But to release them they have to be put on track for expulsion, mostly through the kidneys, and in the time they are collected until the time they are eliminated they are poisoning you. Yeah, it is freaking intense. Why do it? Among the easiest things to explain is that it is a wonderful vasodialator. It opens up your arteries and that releases some of the plaque you have spent years amassing. Which will have permanent benefits of allowing more blood to flow through your system bringing more oxygen to your organs for an improvement in health.
Oh, my, I did not mean to go on like this. I actually just wanted to say that a lot of people suffer from headaches and so forth for hours or days after sapo/kambo use (same medicine; one name is Peruvian, one Brazilian). They do not have to suffer. The elimination of toxins, via peeing, pooping, sweating, throws your electrolytes and natural sugars off. So have someone with you who will make you a large glass of water with lots of fresh lime and good sea salt in it for quick electrolyte balance, and then, a few minutes later have a fat slice or two of fresh papaya to settle your natural sugars. Mango or pear will do in a pinch, but papaya is king of the walk. Here in the USA it is available everywhere, though you might have to go to a really good store, or order it by mail to have it on hand. I recommend that it just become part of your sapo/kambo planning.
As a cautionary note, DO NOT use sapo/kambo when pregnant as it is an abortive that will provoke the most painful, long lasting miscarriage imaginable. There are other conditions to not use the medicine as well. Look them up. They are fairly easy to find.
Sorry to go on for two months but I am very tired of hearing people say they are still physically ill hours and days after using this marvelous medicine -- which should always be used with someone who has a good deal of experience as this is a freaking monster medicine that you should not play with ever -- when lime and sea salt water, coupled with a couple of slices of papaya would do the trick.


Monday, September 06, 2021

What I Am Thinking Today


So what's the deal? It's all freaking dreadful and people are suffering and dying all over the world as a direct result of other people's selfishness. We send food -- or someone sends food -- where it is sorely needed and some goddamned asshole has his army or gang steal it to sell it elsewhere while their own people die. How is this possible?
People with power redirect rivers to make sure their cities and crops are well-watered, leaving those who were cut off from the water to dry up and blow away.
Some people make a fortune off of your -- our -- illnesses, charging what they want for medicines that are needed, rather than just take a few pennies on the dollar. They would be rich in any case, they just would not be motherfukkas.
And on and on until my fingers are sore from typing out the million types of injustices in this world, none of which I understand. In my world, if you have it share it. If you can afford to give it, give it. Make the world a more beautiful place, not an uglier place. And god knows I am a long way from perfect. But you have to have something to strive for, a target to aim for. And I think decency is a large enough target that I wish the whole world would aim for that, for starters.

Update on the Gorman clan

 Dear All: Update. I think Italo is on his sixth day in the hospital. No ventilator but no talking on the phone as he has no air. He is a bit of his wise-guy self today, threatening to kill me if I don't cut down on smokes, so I think he's at least a little on the mend. As for my smokes, I've been doing one an hour, more or less, for two weeks. That sounds like a lot. But for a guy who could easily go through 20 packs a week to a guy who is currently, and without much effort, down to 8 packs a week, well that is a difference. I have to cut down and get strong because i intend to be on my own boat in the Amazon for 40 days or so in January. Already put the deposit on the rental of the 84-foot riverboat. Small for the Amazon, but she'll do. I hope Italo can take six weeks off and join me. Marco and Madeleina too. It's gonna be one hell of an adventure once we are all well again.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Covid in the Family


My oldest is down with covid. When he first got sick and took the test, he didn't feel well. That has changed: despite having a good supply of oxygen he had to go to the emergency room twice and then yesterday an ambulance brought him a third time. The hospital found him a bed. Here in Texas these days that means you are pretty damned ill, because there are only beds for really ill people. The rest have already been taken by other covid patients.
What do you say? I can't visit him and he has a tough time talking on the phone because of shortness of breath. This is an athlete we are talking about, a 35-year-old still playing a lot of soccer at a very competitive level. This is a kid who removed an old water heater and installed a new one for me just as his illness was coming on. This is a guy who is father to my grandkids. So far only one of those grandkids is covid positive, but it looks -- fingers crossed -- like her symptoms are mild: A spiked temperature and a few others for a day or so, and nothing since then. She is only eleven, too young for the vaccination.
My son, on the other hand was plenty old enough to get vaccinated but chose not to. He would never give me his reasons, and I suspect he really had none, other than being a 35-year-old athlete who thought he was bulletproof.
When you are a parent, you never stop being concerned about your kids. Once they are on their own, of course, the concern is from a distance. You can no longer bribe them into eating spinach if they really hate it. My three kids are all grown up and as willful as I was and am; heck, they're almost as willful as their mother and grandmother, and that is willful writ with all caps.
I'm pissed off that he didn't get his shots. Yes, we might all grow purple heads out of our shoulders as a side effect in a few years, but so what? Still, it was his choice and it is what it is. But I'm scared, worried, concerned. I am the one who gets exotic diseases and winds up in the ICU, not my kids.
Hundreds of thousands of people are going through this right now, worrying about their kids, their parents, cousins, friends laying in hospitals all across the country. I hope they all get better soon.
And I hope my kid does too and that my granddaughter shows no more symptoms. I love you guys. Get better soon.