Saturday, 6 February 2021

Reactions. Covid mysteries. Ethnicity. Streotypes.

 Well, apart from waking up at 1.00am with freezing cold feet, real blocks of ice, so far I don’t seem to be having any adverse reactions to the Covid vaccination. I would have dismissed the cold feet as just “one of those things” but then I got into conversation with a neighbour who said that she had the vaccination on Thursday and spent all yesterday feeling really cold. I often suffer from cold feet and wear socks in bed almost all year round as I cannot sleep if my feet are cold. So I have no real idea what is going on. I simply filled a hot water bottle to warm my feet up, probably a recipe for chilblains!

Weeks and weeks ago, before the cold snap snapped in, Phil started to suffer from swollen, reddened toes, as if he had chilblains but not chilblains. We sent photos to the GP who then arranged a face to face (face to foot?) consultation and eventually diagnosed “Covid toes” and gave him steroid cream to see if that helped. We are still undecided about the efficacy of that treatment! The neighbour I spoke to this morning told me she had also suffered from “Covid toes” but it was back in April or May last year, when the weather was fine and warm and there was no chance of her having chilblains. The doctor she consulted was less helpful and thorough than the one Phil saw. Her doctor simply told her she had “Covid toes” and dismissed it with a “What do you expect me to do about it?” Not very helpful!

And now comes the news that up to 100 children a week are being sent to hospital with the Kawasaki-disease-like ailment that our small grandson had back in March. They are saying it is a very rare illness but if so many small children are catching it, how rare can it really be? 

It seems that there are many things we do nor know about this virus. 

And the Tory “Test and Trace Czar”, Dido Harding has been expressing her surprise at the mutations in the virus. I quote: “None of us were able to predict the virus would mutate.” I bet the scientists were doing so. 

Q. Why do we have to have a new flu vaccination each year? 

A. Because the flu virus mutates.

It’s what viruses do. We couldn’t predict HOW it would mutate but it was always on the cards that it would do so. 

And so the mess continues. But the vaccination programme is rolling out - as they say - if a little chaotically. This morning, however, we had a telephone call reminding us to make an appointment for our first dose. Surely there is a computer programme, a data base of some sort, that should automatically remove our names from the list of people who need reminding as soon as the doctor or nurse who administered the vaccine yesterday entered that detail into the doctors’ practice computer. Yes, it involves masses of people but that’s what computer programmes are supposed to be able to do. 

Of course, there is always the possibility that responsibility for such a programme has been contracted to a person with no experience in that field, a friend of a friend of someone in government! Oops! There goes the cynicism again!

But the rate of infection And inevitably there are people shouting for restrictions to be lifted. All well and good! Except that I look at figures and notice that we are still running on rates as high as those that led to Greater Manchester effectively going into lockdown at the end of July last year! Hmm! 

Hey! Ho!

I am reading Accordion Crimes, by E. Annie Proux. At one point I read about “hyphenism”, the practice of putting a nationality of origin with American: Italian-American, Irish-American, etc. It seems Roosevelt was opposed to it, especially to German-American. “Some Americans need hyphens in their names because only part of them have come over.” That’s what he is alleged to have said. Everyone had to be American. 

But nowadays it’s okay to have African-Americans. According to Wikipedia - “African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term African American generally denotes descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States, while some recent black immigrants or their children may also come to identify as African-American or may identify differently.” 

Apart from medical matters, I can see no reason for Americans being anything other than American, or the British being anything but just plain British. I had to identify as “White British” for my injection yesterday but on the whole I prefer to be British. Well, really I would like to be European but that’s a different matter altogether. 

A friend of mine who is learning Dutch sent me a cartoon of cyclists faced with “hills”. The Dutch cyclists considered a bridge over a canal a “steep hill” while the Swiss cyclists regarded their mountain track as “nice and flat”. It struck a chord. Growing up in largely flat Southport, I was not accustomed to hills. The “hill” where the road went over the railway line on my way to school was enough for me. There was even a sandhill at the start of the sand dunes that my family always referred tomas “the big hill”. Revisited years later, it looked so small. I had grown used to the ups and downs of Leeds and then of Saddleworth. Everything is relative.


Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone. 

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