THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT (August 1, 2022)
Wally died last week. I mean, not EVERY Wally died, but The Beaver’s older brother Wally died. Tony Dow, actor and director, who played Wally on “Leave It To Beaver” passed away (in real life). He was 77. That makes me feel old. Wally and I practically grew up together; I watched a lot of “Leave It To Beaver” shows in my TV-saturated youth. I also watched just about every other (sometimes dumb) sitcom that was on television at the time. The 60’s and 70’s had some winners. Shows were generally more wholesome back then. When I was very young, our family had a Scottish, live-in housekeeper who resided on the third floor of our house in Buffalo. Whenever she was baby-sitting me, the two of us would camp out on the double beds in her room and watch "Gomer Pyle", or "Petticoat Junction", or "My Mother The Car", or whatever other sitcom tripe she chose to watch at the time, while she chain-smoked Pall Mall non-filter cigarettes. She would half laugh, half cough at those programs, and in the smoke-filled attic of my home for 50 years, I bonded with that crusty old Scot. She was the grandmother I never knew. The past is a churning dust storm, barely visible in the rearview mirror. Now Wally’s dead; who’s next, Flipper?
Where did the summer go? It’s August already, and I felt like July was just getting started. Because I reveal just about everything that happens to me on social media, you might have read that I came down with COVID-19 last week. I suspected I would, after transporting Shauna Leigh's Mom "ET" from Toronto up to our house. After a negative rapid test last Tuesday, I tested positive the very next day. As of today, I still have a bad cough, fatigue, sinusitis, and my personal reaction to the virus was far worse than ET’s. I had a fever of 101°F / 38.3°C for 3 days and chest congestion, and felt like a non-stop snot machine. I basically slept, read, drank gallons of water, and took extra vitamins C and D3, plus zinc for 3 days straight. I’m still pretty exhausted. I was quite surprised to discover how many of our family members and friends have had COVID-19, and even more surprised by how varied their reactions were. Shauna’s 97.5 year-old mom ET had a fever for a short time, and a cough for several days, but by the time she was up north with us, she was over the worst of the symptoms. As of this writing, she is still testing positive and therefore still contagious. One local elder couple with whom I spoke had a horrible time and came very close to calling an ambulance. I’m an active, healthy 66 year-old man who doesn’t smoke or drink and exercises regularly, and I was down for the count for 3 days. What is clear to me is that this virus is not only very contagious but extremely unpredictable. My advice is, don’t let your guard down; respiratory illnesses are not to be taken lightly. Vaccinated or not, some will experience mild flu-like symptoms, and some will have much worse reactions. I am wearing a mask and a face shield, am practicing vigilant hand hygiene, and am trying to stay a safe distance from Shauna. I’m hoping that my efforts protect her, but who knows? Last night, her test was negative; we’ll test her again in a few days or sooner, if she presents with symptoms.
Thanks to Sean Cotton who did a grocery run for us last week, our next door neighbours Rick and Nancy for their help, and to our neighbours down the road, Wendy and Richard who, the other night, delivered a “Christmas In July” turkey dinner for 3 with all the trimmings to our door, as well as a box of rapid tests the next day, and to Bill for another special delivery; your kindnesses are over the top, dear friends. I’m not very good at accepting help, but I’m learning quickly. I hope we can repay all the kind gestures we have received in the recent past. For all of you out there who think COVID-19 is a joke, let me point out that I have not been as sick in 30ish years as I have been over the past 6 days. You may be fine, but keep in mind that the person you pass it on to may not be so lucky. To all my Canadian friends and readers, I hope you all had a healthy and enjoyable long weekend. Hopefully, next week, I can report that I am back in the saddle again.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED