Long Covid and post pneumonia update

I was up above 5000 feet last week and did not need oxygen.

This is wonderful! I was on oxygen continuously from March of 2021 for a year and a half. I was really getting better and then had my Covid booster in early October. I crashed again. Do I regret the shot? No, because the crash is because antibodies went back up. Only some of them, though. My muscles and lungs were not working well again, but brain was fine (ok, some people do not like my brain, but they are idiots) and aside from having to avoid gluten, no digestive stuff.

About a month ago I really started feeling my fast twitch muscles work again. It was two years in March since this fourth pneumonia and I’ve had something Long Covid like after each one. Recovery took 2 months in 2003, 2 months in 2012 and 6 months off in 2014 and then an ongoing mild chronic fatigue, so I worked about half of a regular family medicine schedule. I saw 7-10 people per day instead of 16-22. I was also a single parent running a business with two children, so that has a lot of energy draw as well.

On the second morning there, my pulse was 61 and oxygen level 98% on room air. HOORAY! I am back to baseline from 2014. Since it took 2 years to recover, I really do not want to do this again. No more pneumonia. I have had two more rounds of Covid, but apparently the super high antibody level made it really really mild. An immunologist tested the antibodies since I keep getting pneumonia. He said I have the highest Covid antibody level he’s ever seen. Protective was over 50 and mine was 25,000. I seem to be darn good at making antibodies.

Now what? I have felt better for the last month. I still get tired and have about a half day of the energy level from my 20s or 30s, which was high. I am hiking, up to 6 miles in a day twice two weeks ago. Now to start biking and maybe running. I don’t like to run but it’s good training. I want to ski next winter at least one day. Maybe I will swim too. I used to swim a mile twice a week, but it’s been a long time. Also my swim team daughter expressed scorn for my freestyle stroke. Sigh, children are born to humble us, which sucks.

I am still trying to see if I can work with Long Covid patients. I have rather too much experience with something very like it. But I think I would like to enjoy feeling well for a month or two, first!

Hooray! I hope other Long Covid folks are working their way out of the woods too.

Daily Evil: R is for Ridiculous

This is Donkey Oatie and Sancho Panda. Helen Burling Ottaway did a series for a book or a show or something in the early 1990s. I do not know if it was ever published. There is no date on this. This is colored pencil and the drawing is 9 by 12 inches. I think she did larger watercolors as the final project.

Is being ridiculous evil? I read that today is National Humorous Day. We need humor to let go of stress and blow off steam and to go from the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic relaxed one. Humor is a really good way to go. So watch those silly cat videos and laugh. Ok, not when you are at work. But even at work, my office manager and I needed to blow off steam and laugh. One day she was playing whale songs. I heard her say very seriously into the phone, “Oh, those are whale songs. Dr. Ottaway insists on whale songs.” I howled, because she had picked them. For revenge I made whale noises at her between patients all day. Anybody walking into clinic might have thought we were loons. I can do loon songs very well, better than whale songs.

I know a slightly different tune for The Dummy Line, a variation. There seem to be a bunch!


Don’t be flippant with this one.

Taken on Marrowstone Island earlier this week. I was so busy watching this eagle that I tripped over a rock and face planted. If I’d hit a rock I would have lost teeth or knocked myself out. Luckily both I and the camera did fine.

I tend to spot the eagles in the trees by sound. I do watch for them as well. This one called to another, who circled towards the tree. Sound locates them.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: flippant.


Sol Duc’s posture telegraphs her thoughts. “Where have you been? This is past your bedtime/curfew. I don’t like that and I disapprove.”

“But Sol Duc, I was listening to a band, and it’s only 9 pm. My muscles are feeling better! I am not sleeping twelve hours a night.”

Elwha: “Mom, I was asleep. Why are you out? Sleeping twelve hours is nothing! I can sleep for twenty!”

Me: “Ok, ok, I am home. I am going to bed!”

Body language can say so much! For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: muscle.

Memory trip

The Swinging by the Sound dance weekend was a memory trip for me.

I met my future husband dancing, back in 1986. We met contra dancing, but he was already learning Lindy Hop. We took a class together and met people that I am still in touch with. We went to dances at the Spanish Ballroom, in Cabin John, Maryland, with 400+ people. We had an hour of teaching and three hours of dancing, in the old park which did not allow alcohol. The Ballroom was not heated in the winter and would be in the upper 90s in the summer. I remember winter dances with the band needing space heaters. The dancers did not need heat: we were generating it.

I took this photograph at a Swinging by the Sound class. People choose Lead or Follow and the instructors have the Leads rotate every few dances. I am happy seeing so many people learning both, because it makes you a much better dancer.

We loved our bands too, and Daryl Davis and his band played at our wedding.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: trip.

Daily Evil: G is for Grumpy

Gruff, grouchy, grumpy and garden! The watercolor is a small one by Helen Burling Ottaway, my mother. She did not date any of the watercolor sketches in it. I think it is from the 1970s. I very much remember the pot that the tree is in. That is an avocado that she grew from a pit.

Is being grumpy evil? I don’t think so. I don’t think we should inflict our grumpiness on others, but we may have very good reasons to be grumpy. When I was having difficult things at home, I would give a heads up to my nurse that I was grumpy but not at her or the patients. That helped a lot, because I did not have a perfect wall about my emotions. I also hate when people are pretending to be nice when they are angry or hurting or frustrated or grumpy.

Sometimes people say, “I don’t like to be around people who aren’t positive.” Well, now, wait. Do they have to be positive if a family member dies? If they lose their job? If they are very worried about making ends meet when a car has broken down? That would be a fair weather friend, who is only present in the good times, and abandons me when I am stressed. That person is not really a friend at all. The true friends are the ones who notice I am grumpy but stay present anyway. And they ask if it is about them. They do not try to fix it or ignore it: it’s my mood, not theirs. Hooray for real friends who are present through thick and thin!

Holding a sing

My parents did not do karaoke. They held sings.

In college, late 1950s and on, they would have a sing. My father played guitar, they would invite all their friends, and sing folk songs. They used the book in the photograph, Song Fest, edited by Dick and Beth Best. Last published in 1955, I think.

I have no memory of the book itself. However, a friend of my father’s bound his copy in 2003 in leather. When I saw it, I searched on line and bought my own. It has words AND MUSIC and a chord progression. When I opened it, I know a song from about every third or fourth page.

My sister and I memorized the songs. We both had hundreds of songs memorized, many from this book, or from records. We photocopied a Beatles record insert and memorized all the words on a long car trip once.

I don’t know much about the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association, but there are still copies of Song Fest on line. My parents had to edit a number of the songs for two small children, since we were picking them up. They chose silly songs, “Dead Girl Songs” (Banks of the Ohio, Long Black Veil, My Darling Clementine, Cockles and Mussels) and work/protest songs. They rarely sang sentimental songs, except for lullabies. I loved to sing. We used to have reel to reel tape with my little sister singing a fifth off when she was three or four, but it disintegrated.

My father, Malcolm Kenyon Ottaway, was a fabulous musician. He sang in prep school, in college, in choruses on the east coast, in Rainshadow Chorale from 1997 until his death in 2013. He loved Bach and the Band and loved to encourage other people to sing. He was in our Community Chorus for years, to help new singers. People must try out for Rainshadow Chorale, but Community Chorus is for anyone who wants to join and sing. After my father died, men would say, “I would try to stand near your father in Community Chorus, to help learn the part. He was so good.”

Here is one of the lullabies from Song Fest:

At the Sings, my parents would start with a song and then go around the room, asking other people to pick songs. Sometimes people were shy, but my folks were really good at getting people to sing. Sometimes we’d have multiple guitars and other instruments. My sister and I had favorite songs too!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: karaoke.

Spin and twirl

Swinging by the Sound started yesterday afternoon. A dance weekend, with dancers traveling from all over, teachers and students. This is collegiate shag. I am not very familiar with it, I’ve done much more 6 count swing. I wish I were doing the weekend, but my shoulder is not up to it yet. Maybe next year!

The weekend started with Johnathan Doyle and friends playing at Vintage. They were fabulous. And some of the dancers were already there and warming up. I want permission to put some of the dance photographs up, but did not talk to anyone last night!

I love to spin and twirl and so does my daughter. She has been learning collegiate shag in another state.

Here is a shag routine sample. Shag can range from really bouncy to smooth, smooth, smooth. This one is choreographed, not the spontaneous partner dancing happening last night!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: spin.

Threw me out of the band

On Sunday I was in Portland with a friend and went to a memorial at the Laurelthirst. It was for a musician named Turtle. Local musicians showed up like crazy. There were at least six very fine guitar players, three on stage at a time and sometimes more. They switched in and out and switched styles. It was a beautiful tribute.

My two favorites were “They threw me out of the band” and one that bemoaned everyone playing music and drinking and that he had to sing another song about another dead band member. Funny and sad.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: delete.