Not just a virus


In this picture, I am looking through the natural ‘window’ from a coastal cave. It was chilly outside, and we quite enjoyed our refuge from the elements.

A couple of days ago I went outside first time after a week in bed. It felt like leaving a cave.

Viruses, the tiny things that are not even technically alive, can cause a lot of trouble. The only criteria for being alive they fit in is that they can evolve over time. It is why we need to get a flu vaccine every year. Basically, a virus is a string of DNA (or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat. It doesn’t respond to any stimuli and doesn’t reproduce. It just is. At this stage it is called a virion. The horror story begins when such virion gets in contact with a cell – human, animal or bacterial. Viruses are parasites, they must have a host. The host cell will produce proteins and do the replication for the virus. Some viruses leave the host cell alive, not using its full capacity. Some viral replications cause all the hosts biochemical processes to stop, and the cell will die after the viral replication is finished.

They say that there is a virus for every organism.

The best we can do after we get struck by a virus, is to drink fluids and stay in bed. And I mean it. Complications of viral infections can cause severe illness and death. As most of you, I didn’t believe that anything bad can happen to me after a simple viral infection, but it did, three times. Only a fool doesn’t learn after getting in trouble three times.

In July 1979 I got a viral infection but didn’t stay at home. I should have known better, because I got a life threatening condition after a flu in 1977, but I just started a new job! I was dragging my body to work a whole week until my growing headache forced me to call an ambulance. Our country hospital was 40km away. By the time the ambulance arrived I was only able to tell my name. I don’t have any memory of my first days in the hospital. I have got a severe viral meningitis.  Unable to stabilize my condition, the doctors decided to transport me to the capital. I heard a nurse arguing and refusing to accompany me. She was motion-sick and she shouted that she didn’t want to be responsible if I die. Off we went. I was all right but we had to stop a few times for the nurse. My stay in the hospital, all the people I met, all the stories I heard, could make a book if I were a writer. If you haven’t read Cancer Ward by Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, give it a try.

I spent three months in the hospital. On some stage, I was immobile and had to learn to walk again. The man I loved abandoned me. A friend came over, just for a couple of hours. She had to change planes three times to get to see me over the weekend. After she left I decided to live.

I was back home in October. After a month, I went to visit my friend, and the 1979 made another attempt to kill me 🙂

There is an anti-viral medicine Rimantadine Hydrochloride, that was patented in 1965 in the USA. At about the same time, a group of scientists from Olainfarm company in Latvia worked with the chemical and came up with a similar drug, but with a slightly different formula, which explains the difference in administration of the drug. This one is fantastic, and the name is Remantadin. Originally it was created to fight tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), but it is great when used in early stages of any viral infection.

And because I mentioned Latvia, there are some photographs for you to look through. Next two blogs are dedicated to Latvia, because I am going on holidays, and I will be busy. I was lucky to spend two months in Latvia in 2013, but some photographs are taken in 2009. If you haven’t been in the Baltic states, I hope these posts will entertain you.

This is Riga, the capital of Latvia, in 2009.




This is real amber. You can pick it up after the stormy weather. Just like that 🙂

Baltic sea

Seagulls, always hungry.

Baltic sea

A stork! My favorite bird.


Beautiful park in fisherman town of Pavilosta.


Two pictures from an evening walk in Grobin town. It is the lake surrounding the ruins of a 13th century castle.



Hope you take my story about viruses seriously. Stay well!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. You’ve certainly had a rough ride with viral infections, Inese! The one you had in 1979 sounds like a living nightmare.I imagine you were just thankful to have pulled through it. I hope you’ve recovered properly from the recent viral attack and aren’t doing too much, too soon – especially if you’re going on holiday soon. Have a wonderful time, anyway!
    Your photos of Latvia are lovely. It isn’t a holiday venue that readily comes to mind, but it looks as though it’s a very beautiful country.

    1. Thank you Millie, it did take me a long time to recover, but at the moment I am well, and enjoy my holidays.
      If you ever consider a holiday in Latvia, go in the beginning of July and stay in the city of Liepaja. The sand beach is exceptional, and you can walk miles along the waterline. The city is very tidy, lots of opportunities for cycling, walking and exploring. Another option is the city of Ventspils, but I think that they have no airport. These two are not exactly tourist destinations, relatively unspoiled and as I said, very clean. I wish I could go and stay there again, but I don’t see it happen in the nearest future.

  2. Beautiful photos. The best remedy to fight a cold and flu is to keep the body with alkaline pH balance. Make sure your water and food is alkaline. There is so much pesticide, GMO and other chemicals stuff that keeps us in a low vibration. Since the second world war someone or people change the way we take care of nature. I’ve been noticing just by eating carrots non-organic my body starting to react to it. Seeing the size of an organic carrot makes me think of what I’ve been eating… Hope this help. Blessings! Diane

    1. Thank you Diane! I agree with you about the organic food. My grandmother was a self-contained farmer, and all our food came from her farm and our own little kitchen garden. I still remember the taste 🙂

  3. Staying in bed is a challenge when we are young. It is like we “resist” being sick. Thinking that by being in bed we are being held captive, against our will.
    Great advice and details for this who may not be aware of the seriousness of the flu or influenza.
    I loved the magical photos, the stork and specifically, the Latvia photographs, Inese. ❤

    1. It is true. For a young person, staying in bed with some minor symptoms sounds ridiculous 🙂
      I love storks! This magnificent bird is very common in Latvia. I haven’t seen so many storks anywhere else. xx

  4. Glad you are on the mend Inese but remember to take it easy until you are fully fit, sounds like you’ve had some very nasty scares with viruses. Wonderful photos, Latvia looks lovely. 🙂

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