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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

Are you contagious?


We can be as susceptible to a bad attitude as we can be susceptible to a virus. (Mick Haupt/Upsplash)


Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson


Almost three months ago I mowed the pasture for ragweed and foolishly did not wear a mask. Typically not prone to allergies, I didn’t see the need though dust swarmed everywhere.  In short, a serious cough took over, even making it difficult to go out into the public. No amount of nasal spray, saltwater gargling, or allergy medication helped.


Enough disgusting detail, right? The long version without the graphics is I’m finally on antibiotics and each day, there is improvement. I kept telling people that I was not likely contagious, but the look on friends’ faces showed they were not convinced, especially when everyone knew of someone with similar symptoms. Doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center forecast a long winter of the flu, COVID-19, and significant upper respiratory illnesses. With the holiday season over, I don’t have as many reasons to be out and about, but when I am around others, often a mask covers my nose and mouth. 


I don’t believe everything I hear on television, but the commercials for the respiratory syncytial virus or RSV caught my attention. Typically thought of as a disease in infants and very young children, those of us over 60 are now said to be in a high-risk category for suffering from this serious illness. After talking with my doctor, I took the vaccine, cost-free, at a local pharmacy as part of my Medicare coverage.  Don’t take the shot just because of my recommendation, but please discuss this option with your doctor. 


There are other illnesses lurking in our environment and no amount of antibiotics, vaccines, cough medicine or other medications will cure the sickness that is affecting the hearts of many Americans.  It’s also contagious but no mask will keep it from hurting other people. We can label it as being self-centered, greedy, unfeeling, unkind, dominating, argumentative, and telling untruths as just a few symptoms. I have no credentials in diagnosing the problem or core cause other than I’ve been around the block a few times.  It’s not just obvious in our government officials, though it would be easier if it was only in that population; then we could vote them out of office. 


 It’s in every institution including schools, faith-based organizations, commercial enterprises and so much more.  Even doctors may not be able to cure this contagious illness as they can be prone to some of the same unfortunate personality characteristics.  Parents and grandparents have been exposed and share these ill feelings with their children who grow up to be unhappy, selfish, manipulative, and hurtful.  Enough disgusting detail, right? The long version without the graphics is what can we do about these societal ills? 


It will not be cured in this generation or even the next until the cycle is broken.


What if we choose to model for our children and others by:

  1. Showing kindness and love even when it is difficult,

  2. Doing what is right even when it would be easier to do wrong, and

  3. Being honest even if it costs us time, energy, or money? 


I have been exposed, too, displaying disgusting behaviors more than I should. But I’m trying to choose a lifestyle that creates a cleaner heart.  While I still have time, I’ll work on how I want to be remembered and hope my behaviors are contagious in a good way.


Rogene “Jeannie” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. She recently published a book about her experiences entitled Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living. It is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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