Today is the fourth day I'll try to do nothing but rest.
It's definitely helping to call it bed rest.
I'm not very good at resting.
Pledging to four days of bed rest, agreeing with Rob that it was necessary and promising to follow through, and having Nina and Rob around to enforce it.
These are the things that help.
Nina made Fire Cider a month ago, in a flurry of inspiration.
She'd never made it before, I'd never even heard of it before.
She read about it in a magazine, maybe in a gourmet food magazine.
Or maybe she read about it on Instagram.
Anyway, she stuffed this huge canning jar that she bought at the hardware store with fresh ginger and garlic and onions and orange rinds and lemons and a lot of spices and apple cider vinegar.
Hot peppers too.
She let it steep all month, with the idea of it being an immune booster once the Virus found it's way to Minnesota.
And, God Forbid, if we all caught the Virus, we'd take this to keep it from getting so bad and to speed up our recovery.
We did catch the dreaded Virus.
And as you know by now, I went to the emergency room of our local hospital a week ago, in the middle of the night, with a fever and shortness of breath.
And as you know by now, they didn't admit me.
They gave me other tests and ruled out other calamities like a pulmonary embolism.
The doctor told me he would only administer a Covid 19 test if I were being admitted.
So I can't prove we all have had it, but we all believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that we now have.
Nina is twenty-nine years old and in excellent health and she had it for about a week.
Looking back, we all can add on a week of suspicious vague symptoms.
So she had it two weeks, but she is 100% pretty much now.
Rob and I are both going to be sixty soon.
Rob had vague symptoms at first, then Rob got pretty sick this past week with a fever and lung pain and a cough.
But yesterday he was definitely much better, on the road to full recovery.
I have asthma and my history of colds and flu going to my lungs set me up for trouble.
Fear of not being able to breathe plays a part for someone like me.
My fever was more alarming, my breathing was affected.
And we all got the feeling that my situation was precarious.
One false move and I could end up in the hospital on oxygen, or worse, intubated.
What I experienced being in the hospital for the few short hours I was there, is that you do not want to go there unless you absolutely have to right now.
The staff is very rightly afraid to be near you if you've come with the Virus symptoms.
The staff of your hospital may or may not be overworked at this point, but either way, to some degree, you will be treated in a way that is possibly not conducive to recovery.
Nina and Rob were my caregivers even in their own illness and were constantly bringing me herbal tea, and shots of the Fire Cider...
The Fire Cider, when completely fermented, falls into the category of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
After the first few "doses" we all started laughing about the old custom of wearing a circle of garlic cloves around your neck.
Was that to ward off werewolves or was that to protect you from contracting The Plague?
The Fire Cider should only be used as a remedy during times of people staying six feet apart, or taken by everyone in a household together.
We think it has a very pronounced smell of garlic that permeates your entire being.
But it did seem to burn out the germs and the Virus itself.
Over this past week the three of us had doses three times a day, a spoonful or a shot glass of the Fire Cider at a time, until we used up the whole bottle.
It's all gone, but thank God we had it when we did.
Today is my fourth day of bed rest and I only agreed to four days.
I agreed to reassess after four full days and nights.
I'm definitely better.
I didn't have any pronounced fever at all in the past 24 hours.
We've already all agreed that I need two more days after today.
I can not get right up and start doing the laundry and the gardening and the singing and the making of live music performances.
I can't even bring my amp up the stairs right now, much less haul all my equipment anywhere like I was doing several times a week.
I have become weak.
But two more days of complete rest will help.
I believe by Tuesday night I'll be pretty well set to recover.
Wednesday I'll do something very small like take an abbreviated walk with Tobi the puppy.
Oh, Tobi is also one of the preparatory miracles that took place.
Thank you to everyone who chipped in that one fateful night when I told a sold out audience, from the stage, that I wanted to buy a puppy the next day and I needed three hundred and fifty dollars.
Tobi is a miracle because he has given this household a reason to be.
We all live for Tobi's happiness.
He's a happy little creature in our midst who deserves to be happy and who gives happiness to all who encounter him.
Happiness is his sole purpose.
He became completely assimilated and well trained within the first few weeks, and thank goodness he sleeps all night without trouble.
So when we were all sick and just drinking tea and eating soup and nobody had any energy, we could let him romp around in Rob's fenced in back yard and he did fine.
Another bizarre miracle is that I played a live show on youtube last Saturday night...the night before I hit the emergency room.
I said that my throat wasn't feeling perfect.
I said that I felt like I maybe wasn't 100%.
We moved the performance from the relative splendor of Rob's beautiful recording studio to my beautiful but informal bedroom.
That night I knew that carrying all my equipment in and out of the car and setting up and sound checking and playing for several hours and then packing up again and returning home and unpacking would be too much.
If I had done the show that way last Saturday night I might be writing to you today, but I might not be writing at all.
That decision to stay home last Saturday night was crucial in my mind.
It was only going to be Rob, our friend Josh the assistant, and me.
But I believe it would have been a terrible error.
On this end of the illness cycle, I'd say that Rob insisting I go from milling about and pushing myself to complete bed rest was the crucial move.
If I hadn't gone to this level of personal lock down, again, I might be in the hospital with a very different prognosis this morning.
The concert last Saturday on line raised almost $900.
I was able to rest these many days knowing that we had enough money to get over the April first billing cycle hump.
Fans and supporters have been generous and kind.
Which leads me to the last miracles of this strange past month of miracles.
I knew that my old debts had become unmanageable with my lost income.
All last month I went to three different branches of my bank and spoke to bankers explaining my situation.
I applied for different types of loan consolidation.
I applied for every grant that came to my attention.
I made phone calls to every type of financial advising service.
I listened to my fans and supporters who weighed in with excellent personal stories and advice and warnings.
I have no steady income right now and I don't qualify for unemployment because I couldn't prove a steady income by the current standards (this may be changing for "gig workers" but hasn't yet).
With no income I couldn't make any deals with anybody to make even reduced payments going forward.
I have no pay stub to show.
One choice suggested by the bankers was to let my accounts all become overdue.
I've never missed at least a minimum monthly payment.
I could let it all become overdue and let the interest payments and fees and fines pile up.
The bank said if I get far enough behind that then I can possibly make a deal with the bank to make smaller manageable payments.
But my debt would increase quite a bit in the meantime and my credit score, which right now still hovers around 700, would go much lower.
I didn't like that idea because I'm a proactive sort of person.
Hoping that the government might absolve me when the whole Virus crisis was over was another long shot.
Hoping the bank would just let me off the hook eventually was only going to ruin my credit rating and leave me in frightening limbo.
I have chosen the only other path I could take.
I have paid in full the legal cost of a bankruptcy.
Because I have virtually nothing in assets and my case is so clear, and I own very little besides my car which is worth $5000 at best, it's an inexpensive case.
A fan and supporter told me she had a dream that she was supposed to give me the cash to make this happen.
We met on the Mississippi River Road the week before I became ill and she slipped an envelope through my car window, opened just a crack.
I completed all the paperwork with the lawyer.
The lawyer is a great guy who came highly recommended.
I knew his office was located somewhere in Minneapolis but it turned out he was only a few blocks from Rob's house.
I gave him the money, we finished the paperwork.
He says it's very clear cut.
It cost $1800 and my fan gave me $1500 and I gave $300.
I am officially filing for bankruptcy on this coming Tuesday.
The three old credit lines from one bank that I've carried and juggled and sweated and prayed over for these five years will be gone.
They are like a wounded appendage that is being severed.
They're like a gangrenous leg that's been dragged along, dead and festering, threatening the health of the entire being.
I'm having an amputation of sorts.
Something that seemed at one time to be crucial to my survival but that became unsustainable.
I am a woman who has many gifts and many talents.
I have love and joy all around me.
I have a million hopes and a million dreams and visions for my long and prosperous future.
I intend to make everyone who knows me feel glad they've been in my acquaintance.
I intend to be a gift to everyone I encounter in every way I can be.
Right now I have seven hundred dollars in cash in a jar by my bed.
This is money from supporters and fans who have shared with me what they have.
Nina has student loans and no income right now.
Rob has no income now and the responsibility of the mortgage on this house that we all love so dearly.
He applied for a refinancing but was denied a week ago.
We had all hoped he could get that but the banks are not being very understanding so far.
Proud hard working Rob has filed for unemployment, telling us as he did so that he has never done that in thirty years of owning his own studio.
Nina applied for unemployment too this past week and hers was accepted so far at least because she had a restaurant job last year.
I think part of the reason the Virus got us is because we have taken some deep blows financially recently and we were all discouraged and frightened.
Right now I have the $700 in cash in the jar to keep us all fed for the foreseeable future.
If we all get the $1200 check that's promised from the federal government, and if we get it before May 1st, we'll be okay for another month.
Nina and I have paid the utilities here as our way of thanking Rob for housing us.
So far, those bills are up to date, or in the case of the heat, I'm on a reduced payment plan until summer rolls around.
My mother gave me $1000 of her own money as a gift to start a brand new bank account at the little community bank by her apartment.
The check was from the Tower, MN bank where she keeps the money she got from selling the cabin.
So I have $1000 of Lake Vermilion money now in a new checking account in my name.
Plus, I received a $500 award from Springboard For The Arts, as part of their artist relief fund.
I deposited that into the new account as well.
That's the value of who I am on the bankruptcy papers.
$1500 in the bank, total.
Massive debt, soon to be extinguished, I pray it goes smoothly.
A bicycle, an old Jeep.
Two guitars, an amp, a handmade pedal board.
A closet one third full because I sold so many things to purge, to prepare, to keep paying the payments on my debts.
I'm down to it.
Lean and mean and getting healthy soon.
I'll be set, through the fire, impermeable like a piece of fired pottery after this.
Strong as a fired clay vessel.
A piece of stoneware, beautiful in a humble hand hewn way.
I'm going to be ready for the next brand new dawning of our society.
I hope to be useful to my fullest extent.
I hope to be able to be very useful.
Keep on using me until you use me up.
Bill Withers, you knew it, you know it.
I want to spread the news
if it feels this good getting used
oh you just keep on using me
until you use me up.
May God bless you and keep you.
May God's face shine upon you.
May God be gracious unto you.
May God lift up his or her countenance upon you and give you Peace.
Have a happy, healthy, grateful, beautiful Sunday morning.
I will too.
All things are mine for I am loved, how can I keep from singing!