The Unexpected Present

Cytokine Storm Mold Injury Week 5

sunlight through clouds

As in The Princess Bride, one of Rob Reiner’s brilliant directorial feats, the kidnapper uses the word “Inconceivable” whenever his plans are thwarted. Finally, Inigo remarks, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” The word used, “Unfortunately,” comes across the same way. All it tells me is that no one will help. Worse yet, the bureaucracy makes it impossible to circumvent the roadblocks. It is the most over-used word in the world.

After near-fatal adverse effects from the Pfizer COVID-19 shot in 2021 and Yuri’s major physical setback to recovery because of the agrochemical farming policies on the Eastern Shore in 2023, the end of the year brings us into the full circle of the ups and downs, the ins and outs, time outs and overtime for the Hail Marys that have been thrown and caught in the endzone to win the game. Yes, we’ve been watching football this season. I can identify the teams by their stats and not by their helmet logos, although I question the color choices for team uniforms in their away games—Seahawks in chartreuse was a particular eyesore.

It’s two weeks since Yuri took a fall in rehab, fracturing his pelvic bone. Like rib fractures, it’s extremely painful, and there’s nothing you can do about it but allow it to heal in four to six weeks. He was pretty ticked off at himself because everything was going so well on the recovery route. His physicality returned, neurotransmitters connected much better, and his near-whispering voice was coming back from muscle atrophy. I was searching for a new home that would be safe and accommodating for outpatient services. All came to a screeching halt.

Accidents happen. But when we were scrutinized to make sure our home was safe for Yuri’s return by hospital case management for discharge, they underscored the need for grab bars, proper width in the halls, doorways, walkways, lighting, counting steps to the entrance, and bed grab bar. There was no such oversight at the rehab. Medicare calls these necessities a “convenience.” It happened in the evening. The call button was out of reach. The aide didn’t come in to check on him for over an hour.


So, Sundays have become our day of rest. In past years, it would have been a time for our Christmas card-writing, which I miss this year. Holiday decor is still buried in the storage unit, and I haven’t the time or energy to dig it out. Since our move in late Spring, all the holidays up to Christmas have been inside an ER, hospital ICU, Acute Rehab, and now where we are. This is not normal. And I refuse to consider it a possible hated term, the “New Normal.” There’s nothing normal about this– it’s a blatant coverup for expecting the worst to not get better. Ergo, a foregone conclusion. I won’t have it.


Despite the circumstances that we are overcoming. The future looks bright. I don’t know who will make it to the SuperBowl but that’s for the Crystal Ball to predict. Anything can happen. May the best team win. I love the end-zone choreographed celebrations worthy of Jerome Robbins. The Winter Solstice is coming up next week – the shortest day, the darkest night of the year. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Then the light shines on. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let It Shine.

Let It Shine

music and lyrics by Yuri Turchyn

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