The moment our DHS opened his mouth and said to the Channel Five hosts that he had seen the cat scan of his lungs after he was checked out for the new coronavirus, I said to myself, it is good that the serious dude who reported to the nation daily on our few victories and many defeats in the battle against Covid-19 is strong, because it is for sure that for those of us with a runaway imagination, it is way better not to look.
I got the sense from Dr. Manzanero that he expects that some scar tissue on his lungs might be permanent, that his recovery will not be complete. This Covid-19 is some bad disease, and many who recover from it have a long haul ahead of them to get back to full health. He has the prayers of the entire nation that he makes it all the way back.
Turning to the matter of imagination, you’ve got to watch that kind of energy. A lot of us dodge the doctors because we don’t have the cash (really, what’s the point of finding out if you can’t afford the cure?), and enough of us dodge because it is best not to know, because if we do we dwell and dwell on it, the conscious mind, with its obsessing, blocks the subconscious mind from going to work on the problem.
You know there is that other level, which is a whole other story. Naa, a regular fellow like me can’t diagnose that. We’d have to ask someone of the caliber of Dr. Claudia to say sin duda if someone has the hypochondriac-itis, the end disease of the extreme imagination. Oh no, it’s not a malady that’s exclusively the domain of rich old ladies! This mind thing, it’s not trivial business. Not all of us can remain calm when we have health issues, and a running imagination regarding our health exacerbates problems, doesn’t cure them.
Ah, I see where the medical experts have been looking at antidepressants, mind drugs, in the treatment of Covid-19. Joe Carlson, in a story published in November in the Star Tribune in Minnesota, said that “early-stage research published in a major journal this month found the antidepressant fluvoxamine may prevent patients with COVID-19 from needing hospital care.” Carlson said that a report in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) showed that in a study that involved 152 people “no one who took the drug for two weeks soon after being diagnosed with COVID developed serious breathing problems, vs. 8% on a placebo who had shortness of breath and low oxygen levels.”
Carlson’s story, for any of you who’d like to read it, is titled, “This antidepressant may keep COVID-19 patients out of hospital”, and it contains details of how the drug works to prevent damage of the lungs of persons infected by Covid-19. At the time of the report, no hospital in Minnesota that was contacted by Carlson said they were giving the antidepressant to their patients.
I’ve read the independent research on Ivermectin and the malaria drug, and from my layman’s view this fluvoxamine is more promising. Oh, the story on antidepressant drugs is that they take a while, several weeks, before they start helping the mind, so they shouldn’t calm us if we are anxious about being infected with the virus. But they could be doing something special in the lungs to stop that Covid.
Celebrated Belizean surgeon, Dr. Lisa Johnson, who was a guest on the Krem Sunday Review show a few weeks back, used that platform to get the message to Belizeans that we must make every effort to avoid catching Covid-19, because there could be serious long-term effects, and a lot is yet to be learned about the disease.
Megan Henry, of the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio, USA, reported that doctors are “worried about athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 having heart issues”, that ESPN had reported that myocarditis had been “seen in at least five Big Ten Conference athletes”, and that a study done in July “showed that of 100 adult patients in Germany who had recovered from COVID-19, 60 had ongoing myocardial inflammation.”
Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart that can occur after a person has had a viral infection, is believed to be the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes, and some doctors are recommending a 3-to 6-month layoff for athletes who show any signs of heart inflammation after contracting Covid-19. There is nothing good in this disease, and we all need to get the sense that we must do our best to avoid it.
One measure of a compassionate society
Old age is a time when people can’t do many of the things they used to do, and so they have to depend on others to help them with their needs. Older persons in Belize get very little help from the government, so their quality of life depends on the savings they accrued over their lifetimes, or the appreciation of their children and grandchildren.
The worst failure of the pig leaders in the George Orwell book, Animal Farm, is how they treated the horse, Boxer, when he was no longer able to pull his weight in the fields. The backbone of their revolution, their great victory, was Boxer, the laborer, and it was Boxer who carried the great part of the load so that the economy of the farm didn’t collapse, but when he grew old and feeble the callous master pigs sold him to the butcher, to be turned into food for dogs and cats, and glue.
That Animal Farm book was aimed at discrediting the communist system, and it greatly achieved that, but its discussion here is not economic. No matter the economic system, be it a capitalist, communist, or mixed economy, no matter the political system, be it a parliamentary democracy, monarchy, or republic, human beings will grow old, and that is the time when we find out what people’s hearts are made of, that’s when we know a people to their core.
Just thirty, forty years ago, the traditional home consisted of children, parents, and grandparents. That was a time when women were mostly housewives, which is much less the case now. Of recent, since women have become such a big part of the away-from-home work force, and the combined salaries in households have made families wealthier, a space has opened for persons to take care of elders in their homes.
The National Council on Ageing (NCA) said that in 2016 there were close to 20,000 older persons in Belize, and there were three main residential facilities and two private residential institutions. The NCA said the majority of older persons were living in communities, 34% of them were living in poverty, and 61% of older persons do not have a pension.
My observation is that the poverty among older persons is spread across the nation, and those without pensions are mostly in the rural areas, but the cost of living is much lower in rural areas, and healthy food is more available and cheaper, making the standard of living for the rural elder a bit higher than that of his or her urban colleagues.
For the most part Belizean families do their best for their old people, and those who have the wherewithal only send them to the homes or give them over to the care of capable others when they can’t find the time to attend to all of their needs, or don’t have the capacity.
The pandemic has made it harder for most of us, and our decreased wealth means that our older persons have to get by on less, not to mention the less love they are getting from their loved ones because of fear of infecting them with the virus.