offset \ˈȯf-ˌset\ noun

a force or influence that makes an opposing force ineffective or less effective

Nope, No Break

Murphy holds true to his word. Just when you think that things can't be worse, they just get worse. I was really convinced that this time the troubles would be over, that finally we were on track to normalcy, but no such luck. Before all, we're fine. Nothing bad happened to us. It's just that the plethora of bad stuff happening to the people around us is making us really unfocused. To be honest, I don't know even where to start, but I'll try.

My family first. In one of the recent posts, I mentioned open heart surgery of one of my family members. It was my Dad. The pandemic happened so it was very difficult to schedule the surgery. Most of the hospitals turned into COVID-19 hospitals and the whole medical system got severely understaffed so things were on hold. Once it was finally scheduled, the actual procedure went well. Dad got a valve replacement and a triple bypass without major issues, but it left a nasty scar.

Some weeks passed and the recovery was steady, but slow. However, this year had more in store for us. The big scar I mentioned - Dad got a MRSA infection. All in all we considered ourselves lucky as it didn't happen immediately after the surgery so there was less chance of complications and he was a bit stronger as well. Targeted antibiotics did their work, but the delivery mechanism was IV, so he had to be in the hospital for a month and receive a drip. Some 200 bottles later, he got home. Blood vessels all messed up, arms swollen, but alive. Everyone was happy and relieved.

Except he seemed to have picked up COVID-19 in the hospital. A few days later, the family members who were involved with caring for my Dad started showing symptoms. Some tested positive, everyone else went into self-isolation. I kept in touch as they all developed fever, general fatigue, lack of breath, loss of senses of smell and taste, but all I could really do was wait. Dad had it the worst. No matter the antipyretic treatment, the high fever was not going down. They kept battling to get it down, but it was not happening and it became clear he would need to go back to the hospital.

Which is when it also became clear that the system was collapsing. His GP said he needed to be hospitalized, but the ambulance wouldn't pick him up as they made an internal arbitrary call that he was "not in a life threatening situation". How they judged that based on a phone call and against a GP's recommendation, will remain a mystery, but they did complain about not having the right protective equipment. At this point, the entire household was in self-isolation so nobody could drive him. The national public health emergency service, who are supposed to have the answers to these questions, said they didn't know what to do, but to try the police. The police very helpfully determined that this wasn't in their jurisdiction, but that leaving the household would be, as it would be considered an offense. It took three days to negotiate my Dad's transport to the hospital.

He got diagnosed with COVID-19 related pneumonia and placed into the ward with fifty patients, one practitioner and two nurses. Then he took a turn for the worse and got hooked up to oxygen and fed a cocktail of other medications to combat the condition. Days passed, we didn't know if he would make it. But he did, he got better and got released, still with pneumonia, but there was a constant influx of new patients in need of beds. He lost around 20 kg, in the first days he could not speak and could barely eat.

In the meantime, on the other end of the country, while nobody was looking, grandma contracted coronavirus, developed an abdominal aneurysm, ended up in a hospital, got transported back to the nursing home because there was nothing to be done and died. The funeral was held with only a few family members attending.

Then there are the earthquakes. Nobody got hurt, but everybody is still shook up and the afterquakes keep a lot of people perpetually anxious. Other family members and friends have also contracted the virus and recovered in the meantime. The country is doing a poor job of controlling the spread, but life waits for no-one and now there are various other complications arising from it.

Sigh. We're still here, some 2000 km away, with our third lockdown in effect. As I write this, my laptop managed to die so I hooked the drive up to a different PC to complete this article. We're healthy, both mentally and physically, we're not leaving the apartment. It is just incredibly difficult to force ourselves to do something constructive. 2020 cannot come to an end soon enough. Looking forward to 2021 and some more happy articles. Stay safe.