COVID survivor publishes paperback of everyday humor
Photo by Jared M. Burns Photography
Carol Cross turned an assortment of anecdotes into a small book of joy.
SNOHOMISH — Carol Cross just published one book and finished writing another, which is a noteworthy accomplishment for someone who cannot read.
It’s not that Cross is illiterate. It’s just that letters get scrambled in her head as one of the “long haul” effects from a serious bout with COVID-19, and fatigue sets in after just a few minutes.
E-mails from Seattle Children’s, for example, become emails from Seattle Chicken’s — no matter how hard she tries to read the word.
“I think I want to write because I’m so frustrated about not being able to read properly or easily,” Cross said. “Infuriation makes me determined.”
Other lingering effects from her two-month COVID infection include debilitating muscle aches, anxiety, and a weakened heart.
Her medicine? The “Little Book of Covid Survival through Laughter,” an 85-page paperback self-published in October through Amazon.
“It’s sort of a love note out to the world,” Cross said. “There is joy here. There is fun here. Let me bring some of that to you. I needed to do that for others to kind of help myself.”
The modest volume chronicles short stories and amusing quips centered on her four children: Ander, Emmy, Carol and Jordan. There are separate chapters devoted to each child.
The idea began with texts, emails, and tweets Cross shared with friends and family to boost her spirits while battling COVID.
Soon she had 12,000 words’ worth of stories, and her mother-in-law urged her to compile them in a book.
Which was easier said than done.
“I could write, I just couldn’t read what I’d written,” Cross said. “I’d be in a full sweat after half an hour.”
Her friend Tiffany Burkey helped her proofread, organize and stay on track.
“She just took her time and did it in steps,” Burkey said. “My part in it was coaching her not to overdo it.”
At the same time, Cross was helping her kids develop and write a different book which began as a school project.
It’s a children’s story about a Komodo Dragon intent on learning to fly. They will submit this book to a publisher soon.
“I never intended to be a writer,” said Cross, who has worked in the high tech industry for many years, “and I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom.”
Her life changed in spring 2020 after her youngest son, Ander, developed a burning rash on the back of his hands.
Soon Cross had “a little cough” that quickly erupted into full-fledged COVID-19.
Though she never went to the hospital, she lost feeling in her arms and legs. One night she became paralyzed and could barely breathe.
“I’d get vaccinated weekly if I had to,” Cross writes in
her book, “if it meant never reliving the hell that was Covid-19.”
Watching her friend’s struggles is difficult for Burkey as well.
“With long-haulers, it’s almost like (Covid) decides randomly where to attack next. It’s horrific,” she said.
“I hope for any of these people out there who are really struggling, (the book) brings a little laughter and joy to their day.”
The “Little Book of Covid Survival through Laughter” is available on Amazon for $12. Cross hopes it will be available soon in bookstores.
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