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. I am so happy you´re feeling a little bit better now, Inese!! This is a gruesome story you told us and I´m very glad that you´ve overcome this horrible disease and choose to fight! But worse still, you´re not the only one who did/does that in order to keep their working place. I did the opposite – stayed at home, although the probation time wasn´t over – and lost my job. It´s so stupid of our society to demand of us to keep going no matter what. If everybody would stay home and recover, there would be billions of dollars saved ´cause there wouldn´t be so many employees on sick-leave. But that´s not how it works unfortunately.
    Your pictures of Latvia are lovely – makes me want to go there and visit! 🙂 Hope you´ll have a nice time with your family! Lots of love, Sarah xoxo

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sarah! Yes, the employers act very mean not letting the sick employees take their three days off. As you say, it would save millions in the future.
      I will post more photographs from Latvia. I am on holidays next two weeks, and won’t have time to process any new pictures, so I will use all that Latvian stuff 🙂 Have a great weekend! xxxx

      1. I agree, sometimes 3 days is all it needs, but even that seems to be too much 😦
        Great! I´ll be very much looking forward to your next Latvia pictures!! Have a great weekend, too! xoxo 😀

  2. Hope you are feeling stronger soon, and take care of yourself… Have a lovely time with the little ones! xx

  3. You are survivor, thanks for share not just photographies but also your lessons of life, Inese. If body asks for rest we have to rest. 🙂

    1. Francis, it is exactly what I understand now. And also, it is unfair to pass the germs to your coworkers and random innocent people.

  4. OMGoodness Inese… so glad you survived your “invincible” years and are feeling on the mend again now! And what a comfort, knowing your friend was willing to travel so far to be by your side! Hope you enjoy lots of hugs with the kids and have a wonderful family time away! 🙂 ♥ ❤

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, my friend did something extraordinary, and this had helped me return to life. I cannot wait to see my grandchildren, but I am also afraid of flying. Thank you again for your good wishes! Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a few serious encounters with viruses in the past. I’m not very impressed with a nurse who would say anything about the possibility of death within earshot of a patient, even if she was arguing.

    Incidentally, the photographs of Latvia are beautiful. I was excited at the idea of amber lying about too. If I found pieces of amber on a beach, I would definitely start looking at them carefully with a magnifying glass trying to find trapped insects.

    1. Thank you so much, Bun! I really want people to understand that our life is precious but fragile. I know all about paycheck and policies, but we have to find a way to stay home when we are sick.
      Yes, amber is laying around, most of the time. When my daughter’s family and I visited in October 2004, a stormy month, we had found enough amber to fill up a small bowl. One piece was as big as a chestnut. On my stay in 2013 I was not as lucky. In Palanga, Lithuania, they have a fine museum of amber, with a lot of insects and stuff trapped inside. I would love to go again and travel along the coast and to the Curonian Spit, but I don’t see it happen 😦

  6. I am glad to hear you are getting better and out of the bed!!!

    Getting sick of any kind is no fun. I think we are still far away to have general anti-virus medicine. We depend on our immune system and some that we know of just do attack our immune system. That is a difficult one.

    That was a horrible experience with meningitis you had. It was not only physical suffering but also emotional as well!!

    Glad the post ends with a different tone with those lovely pictures. They lift the spirit backup again. Please have a good weekend.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! Yes, I wanted to end the post on a positive note 🙂 I have many pictures taken in Latvia, and will use them while on holidays for my next two blog posts, just to cover all I know about Latvia 🙂 Have a happy weekend!

  7. Wise advice, Inese. It’s hard when other duties call, but you are right, best to stay in bed. You learned the hard way! Glad you’re feeling better. Lovely photos of Latvia. Be well.

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! People are getting absolutely bizarre complications after flu, and it is unpredictable. If we have to share this world with those who outnumber us, we have to be smart 🙂

  8. Yes do look after yourself
    The older we get the harder it is to be proactive
    Enjoy yourself
    Take lots of beautiful photos
    See you soon
    As always Sheldon

  9. ‘Managed to read the entire post. Wow. I can relate perfectly, when I was in 2nd year of university I got meningitis (not viral fortunately). I will never forget the pain. And the months to get back on track. Hope this trip will blow away all the viruses. 🙂 Bon voyage!

    1. Thank you! 🙂 So, you can relate. In my 3rd year in university I got an arachnoiditis, also as a complication after a viral infection. It is an inflammation of brain membrane. So, I got it twice, and still didn’t learn and kept going to work when sick. Only after a viral infection killed my thyroid, I learned the lesson and stay in bed when I am sick since. That’s the story.

        1. May be it is the bright side, but the fact that I had to get very ill three times to learn a lesson doesn’t indicate any ‘brightness’. Pavlov’s dog learned faster than I.

  10. Wow Inese…. What a horror for you. I don’t think I can even imagine being in the hospital so long. I’m sorry you went through such a thing – and the related bad things as well.
    I hope your holiday is relaxing and healing. I know from my own experience (though nothing to compare to yours) that it can take weeks to get your strength back.
    Enjoy your granddaughters and everyone. Hold within your mind an image of perfect health. Sending you love, Light, and hugs. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Teagan! I have a bunch of photographs from Latvia, enough for another two posts. Will use them while on holidays. All my time will belong to my little ones 🙂 Many hugs!!! xxxxxx

  11. Such beautiful pictures. I particularly like the first one. Reminiscent of Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Just colder. Latvia looks nice too. (I need to devote more time to reading your post) ave a lovely trip. Take good care of yourself. Brian

    1. Thank you! I just made my life easier and used the pictures that are already resized. Getting ready for the trip, all worried sick 😦

  12. Wow, I am very glad you are well now. You are right, people don’t think that they will ever get really sick. Your pictures are lovely. I’ve never traveled outside the US, except for Canada, does that count?! I have a goal to travel. I have a list going of places I want to see!

    1. Thank you! It was a sad story, but when you are 22 you can survive a lot. Crazy year – meningitis and an airplane incident in the same year.

  13. So sorry you’ve been so sick, Insese, but happy that you are on the mend. I will take your informative post on viruses to heart. Very good information for all of us to pay attention to. Love the pictures. So beautiful. You are one very talented lady 🙂

    1. Oh hope I won’t, Bob. I am going to see my granddaughters and I don’t want to bring them a virus 😦 It is a long trip, some 2o hours altogether, and it is always a risk, especially now when I am quite weakened with the illness.

  14. I’m glad you’re up and about again.Do me a favour and look after yourself a little better please. Latvia looks beautiful, have a wonderful trip there.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    1. Thank you David! Still weak, but getting there. No, I am not going to Latvia. I was there in 2013, and have plenty of photographs. I am going to see my little sweethearts 🙂
      Many Hugs!!!xxxxxx

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