Oh, well, that’s it, then.
Two years of pandemic, and here I am, out the other side.
Everyone’s dropped their restrictions, so we must have passed the worst. If it were just the government, I would be cynical. It has been clear for at least a year that their one driver is money.
But it’s not just them. The medical profession, too, are going along with it. Surely, for them, people’s wellbeing comes before their profitability?
And that does seem to be the case. While at first, we were all scared, we didn’t know what we were up against, now we all know somebody who’s had it. Auntie Ann even had it, at Christmas. She’s not in the best of health, but she recovered. COVID’s not fatal any more, not here in the West. Doesn’t have to be, anyhow. Sure, there’s lots we don’t know about Long COVID, but people are jumping that first hurdle. People are surviving that first month, that’s the main thing. There might be long-term stuff going on but, hey, we’re an intelligent race. We’ll find ways to cope.
That reminds me. I must contact Frankie. Last time he contacted me was last September, so I should say Hi. At that time, he’d just got out of hospital. Six months in there, having caught COVID. Six months! Fuck me, you never think someone could be in for that long, from what they tell us on TV. He must’ve been bad. They push half-dead people out of the door nowadays, so to keep him for that long… he must’ve been bad.
Frankie is – was – mum’s next-door neighbour. When mum died, he became a friend. Kept an eye on her house, while I was so far away. We even got to go out drinking together, over the year the house took to sell.
He must be about ten years younger than mum, I suppose that puts him in his seventies now. Vulnerable age, I guess. Still, he had it and got through it. I should get in touch, send him a message on Facebook.
Hey Frankie, what the fuck are you up to? Gimme a shout sometime and let me know how you’re doing.
Short and sweet. No point writing an essay. We can cover all that when he gets in touch.
(Two weeks later)
That’s funny, I never got a reply from Frankie yet. Miserable bugger! I should go poke around a bit.
How weird is that? No updates since last year, and Facebook says he hasn’t been active since October…
I badged this a “flash”, but it’s pretty much a true story. We think we emerged unscathed, but…
This is truly my mum’s old neighbour. We were mates ten years ago, when I used to go up there, but these days, it is once or twice a year.
Last time I heard from him was last September. He had indeed just come from a six-month stay in hospital (due to COVID). I askedseveral questions, to which he just replied, “I’ll call you”. His call never came.
Loose friends. We forget them. It wasn’t until a month ago that I thought on, tried to contact him. His phone’s not answering, his profile is gone. Just says “Facebook User”. In Zuckerberg-speak, that means his account got deleted. Why was that? He was always a frequent user. Did he maybe get so unwell that he thought, “I’m never gonna use this again?” There’s always the worst, I suppose, but his death wouldn’t explain his deleted profile. Maybe his family deleted it? Could be, but even my wife doesn’t have access to my data.
Gritting my teeth, I checked death announcements in his local newspaper. Nothing. So, I’m kinda in limbo. On the one hand, I think something bad happened, but on the other, I don’t really want to know.
It’s very similar with my charity clients, with any people we only know remotely. Their common thread is that they are elderly, and they are all vulnerable in one way or another.
I only know they are okay each week because they answer the phone. If they don’t answer, they might have popped out to the shops, or they might be lying dead for the last six days. I just don’t know. That was the most difficult thing to get my head around, when I first started the charity work. That if push comes to shove, there’s simply nothing you can do.
You cross your fingers, hope for the best. Beyond that, there’s nothing.