Cooking / Gardening / Insights

I have COVID: 12 essential things I added to my self-care kit (Alaska gardening #1315)

It began as a tingling, prickly feeling in my fingers and toes as if they were going to sleep.

“Wow, this is weird,” I thought.

And then my toes started tingling, too.

Early the next morning, I started sneezing. Not often, but since I don’t suffer from allergies, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Was there something in the air?”

There was.

At eight o’clock I made an appointment to get tested.

Thirty minutes later I went online to the “MyHealth” portal.

PCC COVID-19 Result: Positive.

Dear readers, I must have started this week’s column a dozen times. Part of me wanted to ignore last week’s test results and simply jump in and tell you all about golden-sweet tomatoes, “red butt” bumblebees, giant zucchini, towering gladiolas…

But no.

I have COVID so I think it’s important right now that I share how I’ve been taking care of myself this past week. Because, as my osteopath says, “It’s not just a matter of if, but a matter of when.”

Before I go any further though, I want to make two things clear:

  1. I’m not a healthcare professional.
  2. I have been vaccinated.

As soon as I learned I’d tested positive for COVID-19, many things kicked into gear. First, I alerted our soon-to-arrive bed and breakfast guests, followed by AirB&B and VRBO so that guests were assured a refund. Then I canceled my in-town appointments and prepared to isolate…

Cathy, a Public Health nurse in Seldovia, Alaska, called that afternoon to check in.

Apparently, I was now, officially, part of a special “club.”

She gave me the lowdown on what to expect, what symptoms to watch out for, and details of my 10-day isolation period.

“Do you have support,” she asked, “For food, medications, or other things you might need?”

“Are you kidding!” I said, almost with alarm. “Kodiak is an awesome community!”

Later that day, I received a rather official email from the State of Alaska. Here’s how it started:

Dear Marion,

This letter serves as an official notification of the requirement to isolate yourself from work and other activities for a minimum of 10 days, as you have tested positive for COVID-19 infection. To protect the community’s health and to ensure your health and safety, you will need to isolate yourself at home for at least 10 days from your positive test date, or onset of symptoms.

At times like these, it’s easy to think, “Why me?”

But I strongly believe…

Whatever happens in our lives, good or bad, is what we’ve attracted to ourselves.  

In other words, I am the sum total of everything I’ve said, thought, and done leading up to this very moment.

What’s more, it’s not so important what happens to us, so much as how we react to it because — and this is a BIG because —

Whatever occurs in our lives represents the next step in our spiritual unfoldment.

I launched into action…

I notified all close contacts and, not knowing how, over the next 10 days, I was going to feel (brain fog, headaches, who knew?) I took care of as many deadlines and loose ends and took stock of the kitchen and medicine kit.

I called my friend Diana, in Santa Rosa, California, who specializes in acupressure. (Okay, so she mostly works on horses). She coached me on how to activate (if that’s the right word) three acupressure points:

  1. Large Intestine 4
  2. Large Intestine 11
  3. Conception Vessel 17

And then, I continued adding essentials to my kit…

I have COVID!
Here are the 12 essential things in my immune-boosting kit:
  1. Drink a glass of water with 4 drops of “Rescue Remedy” daily
  2. Conduct Diana’s acupressure points
  3. Rest, rest, rest
  4. Be outside in the sun (when possible)
  5. Take herbs and vitamins B, C, D
  6. Pray, meditate, be still, be grateful
  7. Stay connected (virtually) to friends and family
  8. Avoid meat, dairy products, and alcohol; reduce sugar and salt
  9. Monitor pulse oximeter readings, symptoms, and temperature
  10. Add Amla (Indian gooseberry) and Matcha powder to smoothies
  11. Stay hydrated!
  12. Center my diet around legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

Speaking of vegetables (this is, after all, a gardening column), I was grateful for an abundant supply of fresh veggies coming from our garden: Kale, cress, chard, lettuce, zucchini, one cucumber (not a good year for cukes), beans, parsley, and fresh garlic. (Yes, fresh, raw garlic is better for you).

Sniff, sniff…

As I write this, my headaches and sniffles are gone, but so is my sense of taste. Two days after being tested, I sat down to a breakfast of whole-grain pancakes and fresh salmonberries. Halfway through my second pancake, I realized they… had… no… flavor.

Uh, oh. That’s tough to swallow (no pun intended) for someone who loves to cook.

This morning, a friend of mine, who’s aware of my olfactory issues, sent me a text, “Can you smell your garden yet?”

“No!” I shot back, “and I just made a berry cobbler and soup. But I had to follow recipes!”

Confucius say, “Making soup when you have no sense of taste is like vacuuming in the dark.”  

Meanwhile, I can hardly wait to wander out into the garden and be able to smell a rose, an Iceland poppy… even dirt.

Thank you for being here!

Peas on earth,

[Hi, Marion here. This article was originally published in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, the hometown newspaper for Kodiak, Alaska. Go here to access the archive page for the list of my past columns, written each week since 1986].

PS What if you could help your garden survive a drought? Or make weeds easier to pull? After 35 years of gardening, I have learned one important thing: Compost is the answer to all your problems. Want to know how to make compost in just 6 weeks? Begin by taking this composting assessment. And hey, you might enjoy my Joy of Composting Facebook page. If you’d like to drop me a note, here’s my email address: marion (at)


  • Brien Golding
    November 27, 2021 at 10:05 PM

    A very interesting article Marion, I am just an old fellow who loves gardening and have been interested in your post. all the way down here in New Zealand.

  • Nora Hillyer
    August 24, 2021 at 9:05 AM

    Please continue to take the best of care for yourself.
    And remember that you have several fans out here in cyberland, so please keep in touch with us.


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