While quarantined with his family in early November due to Covid-19 exposure, Holden Cooper, a 6th grader at Libby Elementary School, fielded his emotions about the current pandemic at play through an artistic rendering of what he has
By Stacy Bender
Since Nov. 7, when The Montanian last reported local numbers for the Covid-19 virus, cases and deaths across Lincoln County have continued to climb.
At that time, an average of 10 cases/day was being documented by the Lincoln County Health Department. As of Sunday, November 29, an additional 351 cases and 4 deaths contributed to the Covid-19 virus have been logged, bringing the daily average of cases reported to nearly 17/day.
“It’s like a game of chess,” shared Troy resident, Courtney Leighty in an early November interview. “It mutates! Its symptoms at first seemed simply the onset of severe allergies which my daughters and I have suffered from for years. But this persisted – enflamed ear drums, sinus infections, dry skin, sore ribs.”
For several weeks the Leighty family suspected they may have come into contact with the virus, and yet tested negative on multiple occasions. Only when one daughter became adamite that this was more than their usual seasonal symptoms was a third test taken which returned with a positive result.
“We had put a lot of weight into to the ‘fever factor,’’ said Leighty. “Since none of us had fevers and our previous tests were negative, we just kept thinking it was the worst sinus infection we had gotten to date.”
As time wore on, the family found themselves facing additional symptoms. Digestive distress, intense headaches/migraines, watery eyes, body aches, heart palpitations, ringing ears, sinus complications, productive coughs…
“It’s been such a terrible head game,” said Leighty of the past seven weeks. “I’m better. Then I’m not. There’s no definitive code to go by and it’s a total crap shoot as to who is going to experience what. Luck of the draw with absolutely no rhyme or reason.”
During the last week of October, preceding her daughter’s positive diagnosis and as negative tensions surrounding the virus were building on social media, Leighty launched a facebook page inviting anyone who had already come into contact with the virus and/or anyone interested in conversing with others about Covid-19 and its impact locally. “Recovered from COVID-19″ has since welcomed over 200 people to its conversations.
“While struggling to understand the virus and sort through the ‘negative noise,’” said Leigthy, “I wanted to create a space where people could come together and share what they’ve learned thus far, offer pointers based on their firsthand experience. Being sick or having been sick is nothing to be ashamed of, yet I had friends here in Troy who had been left to feel stigmatized for having contracted the virus.”
“Talking to each other can help take some of the fear, anxiety, and unknown factors that are currently at play in people’s minds and put things in to perspective. It is very lonely when you find yourself quarantined and/or isolated for an extended period of time. It has definitely helped me in my journey.”
Leighty shared that what she has noticed these past few months as cases have continued to climb here in Lincoln County is that there needs to be a middle ground found in conversations. “I have it. It’s not a hoax.”
“Will I be ok in the end? Yes. But I also worry about my future, my elders and those in our communities who may not recover in strong fashion due to pre-existing conditions,” Leighty added. “There are many folks out there, ‘long haulers’ they are called, who will likely not understand the breadth of repercussions associated with contracting Covid-19 for a long time.” According to a news article released by the Wall Street Journal on November 7, 2020, “Many are dealing with symptoms weeks or months after they were expected to recover, often with puzzling new complications that can affect the entire body – severe fatigue, cognitive issues and memory lapses, digestive problems, erratic heart rates, headaches, dizziness, fluctuating blood pressure, even hair loss.”
“What is surprising to doctors is that many such cases involve people whose original cases weren’t the most serious,” the article went on to say, “undermining the assumption that patients with mild Covid-19 recover within two weeks.”
Demonstrating this point clearly on a local level, one recent contributor to the Recovered from COVID-19 Facebook page reported being a previously very active and fit person. In April of 2020 they had become seriously ill and very close to hospitalization. “It’s a painfully slow recovery with relapses and then improvement, and I’m still needing to mostly rest. Breathing, heart, brain, and other issues still remain. Acceptance was the hardest but most helpful thing. Once I adjusted my expectations and learned to rest properly rather than fight it, I began to improve.” In a more light-hearted post, another contributor to the online conversations wrote, “Okay, so I guess there a few perks of being in isolation: 1) You can stay in your warm jammies all day 2) No bra! 3) No makeup 4) Endless supply of kitty loves and 5) cute nickname assigned from the hubby.”
Leighty’s online forum has indeed become a place for people to tell their stories, compare notes, ask questions, share knowledge, vent their frustrations and/or voice their trepidation, and laugh. “We have to seek the best possible sense of normalcy we can,” she stated. “Get up, shower, get dressed, breathe, go for a walk (if at all possible and even if brief in nature), and replace our fear with communication.”
Those wishing to connect with the Recovered from COVID-19 support and information group may do so by logging in at https://www.facebook.com/groups/3237529419684616. Those directly and indirectly affected by Covid-19 and those simply wishing to converse in a safe environment and learn more are welcome.
As Covid continues to
spread here in Lincoln County, The Montanian
would like to again thank those who have come forward to share their stories and experience in an effort to inform and help others to understand the enormously unpredictable impact and outcome this virus may have on our greater community and fellow neighbors.
Stay tuned next week for a special Covid-19 installment as several local Health Care providers and Lincoln County officials share more localized Covid-19 statistics, offer guidelines on how our communities can continually work to prevent more serious impact, and identify preventative actions aimed at ensuring a healthy outcome for anyone who might directly encounter the virus.
Troy Christmas Tree Lighting brings holiday cheer to locals
Members the Troy Cruzers Car Club brought a bit of holiday magic to Main Street during the 2020 Christmas Parade which preceded the Drive-Thru Tree Lighting Festivities this year. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.
Myrtle Anderson and her entourage hover beneath Troy’s towering Christmas Tree. Anderson had been specially chosen by Mayor Dallas Carr to power up the lights, “Myrtle is one heck of a role model for our community and has been bringing her kids and grandkids to this event for as long as I can remember.” Photos by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.
Troy Sophomore donates
harvest on final day of 2020
By Stacy Bender
After spending the bulk of this year’s hunting season on quarantine due to the Covid-19 virus, JayLee Leighty, a sophomore at Troy High School, was thrilled to get out into the woods this past weekend with her step-father, Fred Winebark. The two have been hiking and hunting together every chance they are given for the past four years.
“We had just eaten the best PB&J (peanut butter & jelly sandwich) I’ve ever had in my life when along he came,” Leighty said of the whitetail buck she harvested on the final afternoon of the 2020 rifle season. “I thought he’d run. But he didn’t. So, Thwack! I nailed him and didn’t have to trail him very far.”
“That girl was just bursting with pride,” shared Winebark in a text message sent back from the field. “It was a great thing to see and I’m glad I got to be there.”
Upon returning home and discussing things with her mom and sister, Leighty ultimately decided that while the “venison smokies” they usually have made each year are delicious, she wanted to donate her first and only harvest of this season to a family who could use the meat more than her own.
Troy High School Sophomore, JayLee Leighty, with the whitetail buck she harvested on the final day of the 2020 Rifle Season. After careful consideration, Leighty made the decision to donate her first and only harvest this season to a family who could use the meat more than her own. Courtesy Photo.