Don’t throw me under the bus

Davis, California – February 2022


As working people, the ‘system’ promised us, if we worked hard and saved our pennies for retirement, didn’t spend it all, that we would enjoy some years of healthy living, ease, family, and freedom.

Now they want to renege.

The rest of the world wants to go back to ‘normal,’ ignore any public health measures that might prevent passing on a deadly virus which keeps mutating into something even more dire (so far), has killed oh, around a million Americans directly, and, if I’m reading the statistics right, another million or so in ‘excess deaths’ – deaths which wouldn’t have happened if normal ailments had been treated in hospitals in a timely manner.

Well, those hospitals were full of covid patients – still are.

And after every new peak, ‘they’ are quick to assume it’s the last of its kind (remember after Delta, and before Omicron cases started climbing stratospherically?), and give up restrictions before people get tired of them.

The view from the vulnerable block is pure astonishment

In the US and in much of Europe they are already preparing to ‘live with the virus’ – everyone will eventually get it, THE OLD, SICK, VULNERABLE, IMMUNOCOMPROMISED, FRAGILE WILL DIE, and the world will go back to being a lovely place for idiots to party and catch covid at a concert, restaurant, or bar.

And take it home to Grandma.

Who needs Grandma anyway?

People who might have lived for years, decades

Because what they had, while not fun, is manageable: diabetes, heart disease, obesity…

Or potentially curable: some forms of cancer, getting a replacement kidney or a part of someone’s liver or a heart transplant…

are incredibly susceptible to getting covid.

They don’t just fade away: death from covid is painful, exhausting, humiliating – and with little support from family and friends – lonely.

And people dying of covid in a hospital cause other people not to be able to lifesaving surgery or care – and die, too.

Let us get rid of one of these right up front:

Obesity. It’s an ugly word. It’s a word of our time. Before, the chubby of us had reserves for surviving – and potentially fighting off – some diseases, and lasted longer.

Be that as it may.

It is not something that someone can change quickly. Or at all.

Doctor-supervised diets have a 2% success rate after two years.

And it is a cop-out. Just because a doctor doesn’t like it, and blames everything on it, and says, “If you just lost weight and exercised, you wouldn’t be sick,” doesn’t make it so.

And back to the important qualification for being useless: there isn’t a person on this Earth who can lower their weight consistently and safely QUICKLY.

Another is exercise

For post-viral illnesses such as long-covid, ME/CFS, and possibly any others such as chronic Lyme disease, exercise is CONTRAINDICATED. Read that carefully. It means: “Doesn’t help and DOES harm.”

The exercise-and-it’s-all-in-your-head brigade have been thoroughly debunked, their statistics shown to be bad science, and guidelines are changing everywhere. Not fast enough – and with rearguard actions by the biopsychosocial cabal trying to claim their methods actually work (they don’t want to lose all that lovely research money, ‘treatment’ money, and prestige; and in some cases knighthoods or damehoods (sic?)).

New people with our diseases are needy and desperate. They will grasp at anything that offers hope, and they are not good at separating the quacks from the legitimate scientists. They are given something and told it works, and they try over and over, blaming themselves when non-proven methods actually DON’T work.

Worse than that: they make themselves sicker. For every post-exertional crash, the baseline lowers on what a person can safely do. Enough of those, with the very best intentions, and people end up bed-ridden or worse.

Exercise is dangerous for people recovering from these viruses. DANGEROUS.

Compassion fatigue

I always thought, when I was younger, that I would be able to work my way out of anything by just putting the effort in.

As an old person, I would keep walking, keep doing yoga, have the time for more exercise.

And that people who ‘let themselves go’ had brought it all on themselves. Well, some of them have. But I’ve been trying for over three decades and guess what? NOPE. You can’t work yourself out of CFS.

You DO stop going to doctors because they don’t like illnesses without a cookbook approach. They don’t like mysterious illnesses that somehow have normal bloodwork – for the tests the insurance companies will allow.

They don’t like taking into account one of my widely-shared symptoms: intolerance of medicines. We are the people who get all the side-effects of almost everything that works for ‘normal’ people. I actually went through four of the five classes of blood-pressure medications after getting stents (and both Plavix and Effient – which made me deadly ill). My last cardiologist in New Jersey said the fifth kind of BP drugs would most likely make me quite sick, so we skipped them.

The protection of the booster shots for the immunocompromised

should be extended to the elderly if it is warranted.

I’m in the vulnerable category – I got my fourth shot, considered the second booster shot, four days ago. My arm still hurts and a day after the shot during which I felt as if I had the flu was followed by two days of not getting much done because of being a bit woozy and brain-fogged, and I don’t care at all.

In a week and a half or so, I will have whatever immunity my body can build up from the shots, and I was the one who nagged my doctor’s office as soon as the CDC said people like me should have another booster.

We are back, cautiously, to congregant dining – but the husband and I are taking it very slow because I don’t want to get covid at all (I already have the equivalent of long covid; online friends who have had covid on top of ME/CFS are struggling). Everyone here wears masks, distances socially, and avoids as many group activities as possible – except for today, when we celebrated the lives of those fellow residents who left us this past year with a short ceremony and two songs – sung through my KN95 mask.

We are all wondering what will follow Omicron and its B version.

It will take a long time before people like me will feel safe – and seeing mask and other requirements vanishing left and right, when the scientists tell us it is NOT over, doesn’t help.

PLEASE continue to be careful and smart even when the official rules relax.

The life you save may be someone you love.


I’m hoping my brain will be usable for writing fiction tomorrow.

Please pop over to and follow if you are a fan of mainstream fiction of the ‘big book variety.’ There is a short story prequel there and a sample. PLUS the first scene of NETHERWORLD, and reports of how close it is to being published.

This post was composed while not completely with it – may be a bit ranty.


23 thoughts on “Don’t throw me under the bus

  1. Lee McAulay

    This post is excellent, Alicia – it deserves wider distribution!
    Four months on, and yet another Omicron variant is raging over the UK. I’m bored with this now. Still masking, still shielding, still aghast at our public health response. Spouse has MS so we rely on my health and energy for our current (self-limited) quality of life; strange how keeping away from illness has become so contentious recently.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      The last great test was probably WWII – our generation didn’t exist then. I’m sorry about your spouse’s extra vulnerability – I feel like a sitting duck.

      I can understand being tired of the precautions – I’M tired, and I need them. And I also need the working people of the world to do their jobs so we can all eat – and have medicines, and clothing, and of course all the things we and the billionaires can’t live without.

      All the social contracts have been upended and tested; many have been found wanting. Humanity will survive, but I’d like to – under other conditions I would have been unhappy, but alive.


  2. naleta

    My husband and I had Covid last November. For us, it seemed like just a bad cold. We never would have known it was Covid, if it hadn’t started to settle in my ear (like some colds had in the past, and caused ear infections). Since I didn’t want another ear infection, I called my doctor’s office. I didn’t have a fever, and my O2 levels were fine, but the other symptoms of Covid were there, so they said I needed to have a negative Covid test in order to be seen at the office. I drove over to the local Urgent Care to get a quick test and it came back positive. The doctor at the Urgent Care clinic did give me a prescription for an antibiotic to keep my ear pain from becoming an infection, and by the time our quarantine was over, I was back to normal.

    Unfortunately, my husband developed atrial flutter. His heart rate was running about 150 bpm. Then one time when we checked, it was 38 bpm. I called the doctor’s office and they said take him to the ER NOW.

    He ended up spending the night in the ER, as back in December, there were no beds available. The monitor kept sounding an alarm because his heart wasn’t beating normally and that really bothered him because it sounded just like the tones they used in the Navy for General Quarters. He could not rest with that sound, because it was trained into him to dash to his duty station when it was going off. I did learn how to silence the alarm, but since his heart did not go back to normal, even on the medication that they had going into his IV, the alarm kept starting up again every 15 minutes or so. We stayed there overnight. The cardiologist scheduled a Cardio-version a few weeks later, which he described as “re-booting his heart”. Fortunately, his heart started beating normally after that, but he has been extra tired, needing to take 2 and 3 naps every day. He doesn’t want to hear that that could be ‘long Covid’, and keeps blaming the new heart medication that he is on.

    Then I ended up having emergency hernia surgery Saturday March 26th, and am now off work for 6 weeks while I heal. Also, my aortic stenosis (which was diagnosed last summer, well before we had Covid) has progressed to the point that they are planning to do a valve replacement on me. I go in for the Trans Esophageal Ecocardiogram (TEE) and a heart catheterization on Tuesday April 19th. After they have a clearer idea of the condition of my heart, we will schedule the valve replacement surgery, so I have a feeling I won’t be back to work for most of the summer, once again. I’m just glad that, in our area, the level of serious Covid cases has dropped enough that regular hospital beds are available again.

    I hope that you and your husband keep well.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Oh my goodness – I am so sorry about everything you’re gone through.

      Adding to that stress – such as not finding a bed, and being stuck in ER – doesn’t help. Long covid is what I’ve been warning people about when they’re lax about vaccines and boosters, and would wish it on anyone – nor would I wish to catch covid and make myself worse.

      I hope your husband doesn’t have it – but if he does, he needs to rest, not to try to work through anything. The people I know who have recovered were aggressive about rest. If he does have long covid, fighting the concept will not help. They will come up with something, soon, but maybe he needs the antivirals – please check with all your doctors about what can be done now.

      I’m glad they had a procedure for his heart – there are a lot of good things available in some areas. My husband had a quadruple bypass at 50, 24 years ago – so my kids have had a father. He takes all his meds religiously – I don’t tolerate anything.

      I will be praying your procedures go through without excessive worrying about covid in the hospitals, or covid patients filling the beds – our medical personnel need rest and to catch a breather.

      I keep nagging my medical practice, but they don’t have any doctors for long covid OR what I have.

      Please let me know how you both are doing.


  3. Jeanne

    I went to an annual conference that hasn’t been held for the last two years. Everyone wore masks in the airports and on the planes, and everyone at the conference wore them inside the hotel (other hotel guests, not so much). It seems like I might be okay, but with the extra weight I put on during the last two years on top of what was already too much, I have to ask myself whether I’m dying to do something before I decide to do it.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      We’re all trying to cope – and the co-morbidities don’t help, but we acknowledge them and do the best we can.

      The ‘healthy’ people who can’t wait to get rid of masks and restrictions will get covid at the rate it happens, and a significant number of them will end up with long-covid, and feel very put-upon, when it was a risk they took voluntarily (and quite stupidly, as someone sick for 32 years with something similar will tell you).

      We went to Colorado – no one wore masks last October.

      The true scope of long-covid will not be known for a while – many people never recovering and now needing benefits. It’s going to be horrible until/unless research finds the definitive answer.

      I’m bracing for the new omicron variant to hit the US – the UK is already dealing with it.

      What saddens me is that people who don’t need to die, will, and people who should have been okay, will not.

      I am a scientist. I follow and use the science. The most I can do now is not get myself more problems. And pray.

      You’re doing the best that you can. Just hang in there a little longer (I hope). Yo-yo dieting is worse than being heavy they tell us, for the heart. Me, too, by the way.


  4. Widdershins

    Mask mandates were lifted completely here in BC last week. We haven’t been out in the world since then so I have no idea what things are like, but mandate or no mandate we’re both still going to wear masks for as long as we damn-well please.


  5. acflory

    Way to go, Alicia! It’s been exactly one week since I received my 3rd shot/first booster. Our cheapskate government has yet to decide whether the most vulnerable will be entitled to a second booster.
    My faith in homo sapiens is at an all time low.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. acflory

        The Federal government has control of vaccines and their rollout. They’ve made a dog’s dinner of the process since the beginning and now they’re penny pinching. As vaccines are free, we can’t even elect to buy our own. The poor GPs are just the delivery service.


      1. acflory

        All of the politicians have been incredibly quiet about long covid. It’s as if they think that by not acknowledging it, they’ll stop it from happening. All I can say is…”Hah!”


  6. Lloyd Lofthouse

    I’m with you on this. Because of people that want to pretend COVID is over and they can go back to “normal,” I’ve decided to continue isolating even more than I did before.

    And, have you read about the latest, most recent COVID mutation known as Stealth Omicron? I first read about it last Monday and learned its already reached New York from Europe and is spreading from there.

    “‘Stealth’ Omicron Could Be Nasty — But Will Anyone Listen?” Well, I’m listening! More porch deliveries for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’ve been keeping track of the omicron variant – and the fact that the cases and other indicators are NOT going up precipitously as with the original omicron. People are not thinking. They react. Reacting means the blip on the graphs is already well started – and the virus spread – before the useful kinds of restrictions are put in place.

      Meanwhile, people get sick, develop long covid, and die, who didn’t need to. As usual.

      Watch the Washington Post graphs – they’re free to access. We’re being slow and cautious – more than most people, even at this retirement community. Problem is, it only takes one good exposure to catch this variant, and I don’t think I’ll survive even one mild bout of covid.

      And of course China is dealing ideologically with a VIRUS. Because of FACE. And they didn’t vaccinate the old people in Hong Kong – why? Now they have death rates and hospital occupancy rates they don’t like to admit, and people don’t even get to have funerals.

      Take care.


    2. acflory

      I’ve been following the science on Covid from the beginning and the latest variant is the Omicron BA.2. They’re not giving it its own letter of the Greek alphabet yet, but there is some very preliminary research [on lab animals, not humans] that suggests BA.2 is both more infectious and more virulent. How much of that data will legitimately transfer to humans is anyone’s guess, but like you, I’m continuing to self-isolate.
      We have a ‘direct to boot’ option here where you order online, and the nice people from the supermarket pack your groceries into your boot without you having to leave the car. Once I get home, I wash everything that can be washed [outside] and store everything else for 3 days until it ‘decontaminates’. Probably overkill but the Offspring and I are both immunocompromised [for different reasons] so better safe than sorry.


      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

        Overkill with previous variants (they now say); this one – I think it might spread by surfaces like the flu – but I’d check that (brain fog on my part – forget where I think I saw that).

        It’s not over until it’s over. I saw somewhere that cases in Britain were up 48% over last week?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. acflory

          They finally admitted with Omicron that the virus was airborne, but I haven’t heard anything about it /not/ being infectious from surfaces so I’m continuing to act as if it is.

          Definitely not over. I think the fact that Omicron was seen to be less virulent than Delta made all the politicians believe it was less virulent generally. But mildER does not mean mild.

          Plus they’d pinned all their hopes on vaccines. The fact that AstraZeneca and Pfizer do very little against the Omicron side of the Covid family has also been quietly ignored. The boosters do seem to have some kind of cumulative protective effect. Not against transmission but against serious disease.

          Honestly? I think it all just got too hard. Now the polies have accepted that there will be deaths, and so long as most of those deaths are of the least useful members of society, they can live with the numbers. It sickens me and adds to my sense that Western civilization is decaying at an accelerated rate. 😦

          I have huge respect for China’s continued zero Covid policy. Even if BA.1 or BA.2 aren’t kept at absolute zero, they will be kept at a minimum, and that means less death. It can be done but it requires a level of social responsibility we seem to have lost in the West. In its place we have a me-me-me culture that really doesn’t care.


        2. acflory

          I don’t think any government has clean hands when it comes to the aged. In the UK, deaths in aged care facilities weren’t even counted as Covid deaths at the beginning of the pandemic. Australia’s own Federal govt [which has responsibility for private aged care] did bugger all to protect people in aged care facilities. And while they made a lot of noise about getting the elderly and their carers vaccinated /first/, the reality was very different. Ditto the disabled and /their/ carers, or Indigenous communities. In fact, the vaccine rollout was pathetic for pretty much all of us.
          The real proof of China’s policy working – so far at least – is the deaths per million figure. US Covid deaths/million = 2,972. China Covid deaths/million = 3. I know China has 1.something billion in population as compared to the US 360 odd million, but the total number of deaths in China is also miniscule compared to the US.
          To be honest, I don’t care what principles a country says it holds dear. All I care about is how well they do at stopping deaths, and at the moment, China and most of South East Asia are so far ahead of Western countries it’s not funny. 😦


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          A good basis for comparison – even if the misery caused (and possibly unreported deaths due to quarantines and lack of hospitals) is huge; I don’t trust a single statistic coming out of China (nor Russia) if it is in their perceived best interest not to tell the truth. Ditto Vietnam, Myanmar, even India: they have not tested nor reported truthfully from Day 1. How bad it is? Mexico has had 3x more deaths, AT LEAST, than official claims (until they stopped allowing reporters to see the data).

          At least in the US it is often due to personal stupidity!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. acflory

          I’m taking all statistics with a whopping big grain of salt but even in China it would be hard to hide death on the scale of the US and the UK, not to mention my birth country of Hungary. -grinds teeth-


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