The Plague Comes to Sunflower Farm

“I don’t get sick.”

Ever know one of those people who says this?

Or “I don’t watch TV.”

What? I love TV! I watch as much as I can!

I was one of those ‘I never get sick’ people, but I hope I didn’t brag about it. I felt incredibly blessed to be able to avoid a lot of stuff. I think it helps that I still have my tonsils. So many of my peers got them surgically removed as children, Michelle included. Quite often, I would just suffer through just a sore throat, while Michelle got the full blown cold.

But once our kids were grown, and out of the house, we both managed to avoid getting colds and flus. We’ve led a pretty isolated life here in the bush. And when you aren’t and about with other people, well, it’s just easier to avoid a lot of bugs.

Then we had a marvelous, amazing, joyful reason to leave our little piece of paradise enter our lives. If our grandson doesn’t get up to see us we drive to see him, minimum once a week. And you know, when your 18-month-old grandson who spends time at daycare wants to come and hug you and have you pick him up, you just do it. I’m finding it physically impossible to NOT kiss those cheeks, regardless of how snotty that nose is.

Welcome to Germ Land. Let’s just see how good your immune system is ‘Campa’. (Michelle came up with that … a combination of Cam and Grampa!)

Turns out my immune system is not so good.

We both got a cold before Christmas but by the time the “kids” arrived we were feeling better and had a great time with them. Perhaps it hadn’t actually gone away, but we were just too determined to let it spoil the fun.

So after the kids cleared out a couple of days later the cold came back to Michelle with a vengeance. I was starting to think I had licked it in Round One before the holidays, but no such luck. It came back again for me a couple of days after it hit Michelle.

Michelle actually went to see her doctor, which she is loath to do, and the doctor suggested that she had a touch of bronchitis. I think that’s a code word for a wicked evil bug that you just need to shut up and get over because they don’t have a clue to beat a cold bug.

Today is January 19th and we’re both better but still have the occasional cough.

While I was sick I would have a good day and think, well that’s it, I’ve gotta get some fresh air. One night we had a blizzard so while I was feeling fine I snow blowed the driveway and pathways, I did firewood and I shoveled snow away from the greenhouses that are bending in because of the volume of the darn stuff this year. Later that night I lay on the couch shaking with my legs aching, coughing like I had TB, hot one minute, freezing cold 10 minutes later. What the hell was this thing? It wouldn’t leave me alone.

Ever look at a smart phone and marvel that it has way more processing capability than the computers that put a person on the moon? Ever wonder in amazement at what humans are capable of, then realize that these microscopic little viruses are way smarter than us? They can mutate and pass along information to circumvent a body’s immune system, just marvelous, marvelous stuff. And you know, they are going to be “the last man standing.” When we’re gone they’re just going to step back and be giving germo-high-fives all around. I wonder what they’ll do then, when they don’t have humans to torment? And will they really be that happy about wiping us out?

In my book “The Sensible Prepper” (available here) I suggest that people should watch the movie “Contagion”. Not necessarily from the pandemic perspective but from the what happens when lots of people get sick, or jurisdictions starting closing borders to slow down the spread, and economic activity grinds to a halt and how quickly store shelves go bare. After this cold bug I don’t think I can ever watch that movie again.

This bug has reminded me how much physical effort our low-carbon life really takes. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but with this bug wheeling a load of firewood into the house using the hand cart feels like climbing to Camp 2 on Mt. Everest. And that 25 kg (55 lb) bag of chicken feed that needs to be dragged in from the barn, well, it may as well be a small car because it feels just as heavy and I will be just as winded when I’m done. Then I’ll sit and pant and breath like Darth Vader and cough like I’ve got whooping cough, because it sure feels like whooping cough. My stomach and chest muscles will ache from coughing. I’m not sleeping very well, and I’m not that hungry. At what point in our evolution did some trait to take away your hunger, just when you should be eating to stay strong to take on the infection, become dominant. Evolution sucks!

I’m feeling much better. And each day that I am healthy and invigorated I will be grateful for good health. It’s easy to forget to be grateful if you’re just healthy all the time.

Soon I’ll head down to the city to see my grandson. And he will have picked up some new horrible thing my underdeveloped immune system has never seen before, and he will come tearing down the hall squealing with delight, and he’ll make sure to pass along some of that new thing. And for the joy that boy has brought into my life, it is absolutely worth it.

Sorry if I’m droning on about my grandchild, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the contract when you become a grandparent that you have to do this. I’ll try and contain myself in the future.

 

 

10 Responses to “The Plague Comes to Sunflower Farm”

  • After reading this post, I’m getting ready to hold my breath for a week while my two grandchildren (2 & 4 yrs) and my daughter come for a visit. :\ Hehehe

  • That is a great question Carol! I have passed it on to Cam and he is thinking of replying in a future post!

  • Thanks Catherine! Your comment made both of us LOL this morning! No sign of your lungs up here. Hope they’ve found their way home by now!

  • Catherine:

    Well Cam and Michelle, you are not alone in the ailment area. Here, in Milwaukee, WI there are many who are down with bronchitis, pneumonia and nasty sinus infections (not that there’s a “nice” since infection). I visited with a dear friend who has grandkids. I had misgivings about going to their home at the holidays because there is always at least 2 sick kids and of course, I come down with their malady. This year was no different when a family walked in with the kids, saying, “ohhh, she’s been down with something for a couple days now….” Of course, I got it, still have it, and if you see my lungs hanging around up there, would you please send them home??

  • Peggy:

    Sorry to disappoint you, BUT Having your tonsils does not keep colds and flu away. I had my tonsils removed as a child but I very seldom get a cold. I have not had the flu for 20 years. No colds for the past three years!

  • carol kiley:

    I am curious Cam, did this bout of sickness make you doubt your ability to continue to homestead as you age? I am curious because we are spending the winter in a household with a toddler & a 4 year old. We love them to bits but have never been so sick, one bug after another. It has made us feel a bit vulnerable and question our long term plans.

  • Blanche Hauch:

    OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT!!! It is a virus killer. I couldn’t get to town when I ran out of it and got sick for hte first time in 20 years. Try it.

  • Jeff Marchand:

    Toddlers are little walking talking bio-hazards but we love them all the same. Totally worth a few days of feeling lowsy.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • Hi Carol! Thanks for this. Yes, we always have echinacea in the house and take it at the first sign of a cold. I’ve tried Vitamin C as well. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t but it’s always worth trying! ~Michelle~

  • have you tried golden seal and echinacea??? i usually do not do the combo, but once in awhile need to….i usually do the golden seal as soon as i think something is trying to get me….lol…

    http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/echinacea-and-goldenseal-the-dynamic-duo/

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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