• Nora Koch

“And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?”

A Man for All Seasons - Robert Bolt

When Covid hit, I dutifully sheltered in place, keeping away from everyone and waited for the magic month to pass when Covid would be gotten under control. I was shut out from mass for two months, something Catholics have never been told to do, ever to protect themselves from illness. We were finally free to return to church, albeit in drastically reduced numbers, dutifully spaced from each other. Because I was over 65, I was told to stay away for my safety; told to keep away from the most important thing in my life in order to live. I didn’t stay away and helped disinfect the church after mass. I’m still here – healthy.

The disease was new on the scene, there was no vaccine, and the jury was out about how to fight it. Honest dialogue was no longer tolerated; discussion between honored and respected M.D.s, was censored. Hydroxychloroquine, used successfully in Africa to fight malaria for many years with few side effects, was effective in reducing the symptoms of the disease and could have saved lives early on in the pandemic. The drug cocktail president Trump was given after which he quickly recovered from Covid was never discussed. Why? Because it was President Trump who had gotten it and recovered.

If doctors talked about Hydroxychloroquine, they were threatened with losing their license over misinformation. It was suddenly banned or severely restricted in the U.S. I wondered when did physicians stop having the right and responsibility to determine what was best for their patients? Why was it considered misinformation to suggest that someone who has had Covid, has the antibodies, and has not gotten the vaccine should be considered in the same immunity category as someone who has had the vaccine?

Dr. Scott Jensen won the Doctor of the Year Award for Minnesota before Covid hit. He is a conservative. After having contracted Covid he made statements about Covid that did not go along with the news media and CDC’s narrative, he was threatened with losing his license. Please watch the following: Scott Jensen

I respected the rights and reasoning of those who got the Covid vaccine. However, I must follow my conscience about why I am unwilling to let the government, or coercion force me to do anything to my body. I did not cave into the madness around Covid, but continued to live my life after it hit, and I was healthy. No one I know got Covid due to my decision to live life. I was probably accused of spreading the virus, but having been tested for antibodies after this time, I knew I had not. Reports indicate that vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people spread the virus.

A family member called local people who maintained a normal life during Covid, "Hillbillies.” This included me. To my anguish, he wants nothing to do with me anymore; I am considered selfish and/or stupid. I believe requiring physically healthy people to remain locked up and isolated during Covid when it battered their mental health; sent suicides and drug deaths soaring, against a malady that has a 99.5 survival rate was short sighted and stupid.

I was deeply concerned at eroding freedom in our country, and wonder where the admonition “My body, my choice,” (even though the first use of that statement involved more than one body), had gone in light of the vaccine?

I did not want to cave to pressure of the media, the mob, or the government (Uniquely in the U.S. the government exists for us, not us for the government), concerning public health and my own body.

From Crisis magazine


Then I got Covid

I had no symptoms when I got tested, the next day I received positive test results. My clinic recommended a monoclonal infusion. I was relieved to find that these were available in Baldwin, a nice pastoral drive about 20 miles away, rather than having to haul myself up through traffic to the Twin Cities.

Good friends, knowledgeable, highly intelligent, informed people, some part of the medical community, urged me to jump into action. I contacted the recommended doctor, outside the medical establishment, who prescribed ivermectin. Beginning to not feel well, I drove the 20 miles through the traffic I’d hoped to avoid, to pick it up from the closest pharmacy that would carry it. A young, immune friend picked up high quality vitamins and supplements and gave me detailed instructions on how to use them to fight COVID. Another friend, a fairly renowned nurse (though she would fight that title tooth and nail), relayed advice she had just gleaned from going through the same thing with her husband. She sent me an oximeter in the mail so I could monitor my blood oxygen and heartbeat levels. I took ivermectin and began the supplement regimen.

People prayed for me.

I continued the supplement, ivermectin regimen and drove myself to Baldwin for the monoclonal infusion two days later. In the infusion room, I met a man who had refused the vaccine and had been infected by someone who had gotten it; he had contacted the same Dr. I had for the ivermectin. Our nurses were fantastic. I felt sympathy for them; since we were there for two hours, we talked a lot and shared our different perspectives about approaches to fighting Covid. I was impressed with their kindness and openness to what my infusion partner and I had to say. I learned how difficult the pandemic had been on them. When we finished up, we were cheerfully reminded that ten days after the onset of symptoms and if we had no fever, we were immune, free and clear for three months; we could infect no one.

Upon returning home, my immune system reacted drastically to receiving the infusion: at first I could not get warm, even under 4 quilts, then once I did finally warm up with the help of applied heat packs, my temperature rose to 100.5. It began to go down within an hour. This was the only time during this ordeal that my temperature was above normal. I had Covid symptoms; just for that night – wildly fluctuating temperatures and intense body aches, I believe they were not from Covid, but from my immune system reacting to the infusion. By morning I was heading back to normal, my temps remained normal.

Isolated; a young friend who had had Covid brought Holy Communion every day for five days. People dropped off meals. It was beautiful.

I was fatigued for a few weeks, but I love naps, so this was not a great hardship for me. Aside from an occasional mild cough, loss of taste and smell, and from the reaction to the infusion, I was symptom free.

Because I did all of this, I was considered subversive.

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  • Nora Koch

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Today I heard the whine of incessant chainsaws. “There goes my nap,” I thought. Then I sat in my chair and looked out the window. There was a large white truck parked in front of our neighbor John’s place and emerging from the top of the truck a long arm at the end of which was a bucket. There were two men in it. They were beginning to take down the ill-fated ash tree in the boulevard. It's not the only one that needs to come down.

Instead of despairing over my nap, I decided to watch. It was like watching ballet.

Two young men traded turns at cutting branches from the tree, systematically handing off the chainsaw as one or the other of them got tired. One of them was responsible for deftly moving the arm holding the bucket so that they were in perfect position to cut the next branch and still be in position to fling it onto the growing pile of branches below. As one cut, the other grabbed the section that was to be detached from the tree in a specific way so that it’s weight, once cut, would not cause the chainsaw to backlash. At the same time the branch would be supported so that it could be easily flung onto the tidy heap on the pavement in front of the truck. They kept the pile to a small, efficient footprint. It was obvious that they both had to be physically strong to maintain the cutting, throwing and coordinated changes without a break. They also needed to be aware of traffic and each other to work together flawlessly.

I watched for about a half hour and then decided I could probably at least rest, even though this was going on not far from the bedroom. I settled in, eyes covered with scarf, cat ensconced in the crook of my arm, and soon the whine slowed and then stopped altogether.

Forty-five minutes later I was astonished to find the truck gone and no trace of a branch left in the street.

Next summer, at our request a large damaged Basswood tree on the edge of our yard is slated to come down. I’ve asked that they wait until “our” squirrels are well out of it in the spring. It is going to be a hard loss for them, and us.

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  • Nora Koch

Updated: Jan 7

Change is coming to my old neighborhood. The largest solar power array in Wisconsin will go into the neighborhood where my parents settled for thirty years after we left the dairy farm of my childhood. We lived there while I attended High School. I feel the grief I'd feel if a housing development was planned for the area, or a factory farm. The solar array overwhelms far more of the countryside than those possibilities.

The developers forecast a lifespan of forty years for the array. We are assured that natural plantings will preserve the soil and deter run-off (which they probably will), that grazing may be a possibility (hope so, but doubt it), and that the land can be returned to agriculture after the solar array has fulfilled its purpose, which is to provide low-cost energy (a little bit of investigation will show you that it is not low cost), to Western Wisconsin and contribute to the economic growth of the area. The economic growth goes to the people who rent out their land for this purpose. The panels will stand as tall as full-grown corn. I’m not a fan of cornfields, but the solar panels will not follow the topography of the landscape nearly as organically as the corn now does. The thought of the visual intrusion on the countryside of big square photovoltaics leaves me cold. What affect will they have on wildlife such as amphibians, birds, and anything else? They are ugly; jarring in a bucolic setting. The same can be said for wind turbines. Neither of these forms of energy production are reliable or cost effective. Please watch this: The great Texas freeze

The look of the landscape will be drastically changed for a long time. It will be filled with mechanical panels, impregnated with chemicals, some of them dangerous, such as gallium arsenide (GaAs), not plants. Years ago, as an Art major at UWRF, I was required to take Great Ideas in Science with Virginia Akins*, in addition to regular science requirements, to fulfill a well-rounded liberal arts education. Ironically, although I wouldn’t have elected to take it, it turned out to be one of my favorite classes. I loved Dr. Akins as a teacher; she was funny and intelligent and intense. In her class we covered pollution of various sorts; one variety of which visual pollution, was most compelling to me. This solar array falls in that category.

Dostoyevsky wrote that the world would be saved by beauty. What effect will the sight of the solar array have on the people who live in the neighborhood? I recall the dismay expressed in an interview by a woman who’s neighborhood had become the site of a fracking operation. Her once peaceful area was now the scene of blasting with countless trucks hauling sand going by. No more peace and quiet for her. She breathed the same air, albeit a bit dustier; the water she drank was probably not sullied, but her life was diminished by what was going on around her. The lives of those living in the neighborhood, looking out on a solar array will be diminished aesthetically, probably chemically and dare I say spiritually.

The life span of photovoltaics is 20 years. There are risks that come with it: Will it be maintained? Will it be cleaned up; where will the scrap go? There in the land of the deplorables?

What's wrong with wind and solar?

* I apologize for misspelling Dr. Akins' name, as pointed out in an anonymous snail mail letter I received today telling me I should "learn to spell before you blog."

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