Boy 2021 sure went out with a bang for me.  In August my kids went back to school, and almost immediately were sent home to quarantine due to being in contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19.   They had been sent home in the past previously, but for some reason this time, it just felt different, I guess because they realized that their friend had told them he had a fever, but was still sent to school that day.  So I went out and bought the usual stuff to ride out a sickness… Zicam, Mucinex, Dayquil, and other things… I also grabbed a two pack of Covid tests while I was out.  Since Hurricane Michael, we have all been living together in the same house… My parents, brother, myself, and my two kids…. with ONE bathroom… but that’s another story.  I figured since I was the only one working and would have to know if I had it or not, I was to use one test, and my mom, since she was the most important person in the family, she would get the other one.   So on the 22nd, four days after the kiddos were sent home, we took the tests… and we were both positive for Covid.

Since I know people are probably already asking, I was fully vaccinated with Pfizer, my mom and dad had half of their vaccinations, and my brother and children weren’t vaccinated.  

To be honest I had very few symptoms.  Overall, all I really had was I was really tired, and weak… sort of how you feel when you’re fighting the flu.  My mom was about the same, but she’s stubborn and wouldn’t take the medicines I had bought to make the symptoms more bearable.  I was hunkered down in my bedroom, trying to rest as much as possible, and she would sit outside and get some sun, “getting my vitamin D” she would say.  I would say on the 25 was when the weakness really started hitting me, it went from “Ugh, gotta get up and get my meds” to “Ugh, I don’t want to have to walk across the hall to pee”.  When I would get up, I would be pretty winded for maybe 30 seconds, and then would go back to normal.  As long as I was laying there, and watching YouTube (Shout out to Good Mythical Morning for keeping me entertained), I would forget I was even sick, it was JUST physical activities.  Then on the 26th, I started getting nauseous, nothing terrible, just when I sat up, I’d get a little woozy, and after a while it was enough that when I would get up and do something, I’d carry a trash can with me, JUST IN CASE.   By now my mom was getting pretty weak, she wouldn’t really do anything, and being she has a big ass waterbed, my brother would help her get out of bed in the morning.   But she started having a hard time finishing sentences, and was having a tough time breathing.

On August 27th, I was in my room watching you tube, forgetting I was sick…  when my brother texts me from the other room “Mom’s not making any sense”…. then a few minutes later, there’s a knock on my door, and my brother says “Give me your stool” (I have a stool in my room so I don’t sit on the edge of my bed and permanently dent my mattress with my ass), and my mom was in the hallway gasping, and I got her the stool to sit on, and I said “Mom, if you can’t make it to the bathroom without taking a break, we need to take you to the hospital”.  So I helped her out to my car, and drove her to the ER.  And even as weak and tired as she was, and heading to the Emergency Room, we start driving down the street and she says to me, “Well, at least this will get me out of the house for a bit”.  If there was anything to be said about my mom, she was always looking for the positive in everyone and everything.  I got to the ER, and I’m filling out her paperwork, and the security guard comes over and asks if I have any symptoms of Covid.  I told her that both my mom and I had tested positive five days earlier, and she asked if I was there to be treated, and I told her that I wasn’t, I was dropping my mom off, and I was just helping her with paperwork, and the security lady said “If you’re not being treated, you cannot be on the campus, we will have someone help her with the paperwork”.  I told my mom what she said, and that I had to go home, and just to call me when they let her out and I’ll come get her.

On the way home I stopped to get gas, as my car’s computer system was yelling at me about having less than 10 miles to go on my tank of gas…. I got out of the car, and could pump about 3 gallons of gas, before I was huffing and puffing, and gave up and sat back down in the car.  I still to this day don’t know how I was even able to drive, and transport my mom to and from the car, looking back on it.  I got home, sat on my bed winded, and after catching my breath, laid back down, watched some Good Mythical Morning, and went back to forgetting I was even sick…. it was SO bizarre. 

One of the weirdest effects of Covid that I had, which bothered me more than the ailment aspect, was when I did sleep, I had terrible dreams, usually about being attacked and beaten up, or one of the common things was that I would close my eyes, and I would just see some random man staring at me, nose to nose… not saying anything, just angry, almost like a pre-fight stare down.  It was really strange. 

A few hours after getting home, I get a call from the hospital, and they asked me what the last update I had on my mom was.  I explained the last thing was when I dropped her off, so she said “Oh, so you don’t know about her heart attack?”.  JEEZ… I told her I had not heard about it.  She said “She had a massive Stimi heart attack, that’s why we think she was breathing so hard, not so much from Covid, but heart attacks in women have different signs than in men, any how, they gave her 2 stents, but want her to rest up before they do the other two.  She’s doing really well, she’s doing much better with what we’re putting her through, she’s taking everything like a champ”.  So I said “Well she’s a tough ol’ Jersey broad” and she laughed and said that she had told her she was from Jersey.  Even in the middle of a massive heart attack, she was making friends and keeping them entertained.  But a friend of mine had just had the same kind of heart attack, and I knew that it would change her life, but it was a survivable thing.

The next day I got this, and at first I was impressed that she figured out how to use stickers, then I laughed because I don’t know if she realized the first one was a fart sticker… I think she thought it was just gloomy.

Over the next day or so, the intensity and frequency of these bad dreams were getting much worse, and looking back they might have been hallucinations more than dreams, because sometimes they would start as soon as I closed my eyes, and I would force myself to stay awake so I wouldn’t have to deal with the staredowns or the beatings I was dreaming of.   Then one time I closed my eyes and there was the man staring at me, and I see behind him my mom smiling at me.  So I forced myself to stay asleep so I could see my mom, and I thought “Ahhh, that was her telling me that she’s doing okay”.  Later that day I get a call from the hospital, and they tell me my mom had a downturn, and they had to intubate her, and wanted permission to put her on dialysis, as she wasn’t producing any urine.  I agreed, and they said they would call with further updates.  Not too much longer, they called back to say my mom had coded, and they were able to get her back, but her heart, essentially was dead from the heart attack(s).  She said “her heart is going to stop again, it’s just too damaged, do you want us to keep doing chest compressions, and breaking her ribs, or do you want her to just go peacefully?”   I love my mom, and I couldn’t picture her having to endure all of that for nothing, as they said they couldn’t do anything about her heart.  So I said to let her go peacefully.   I explained to my dad and brother what had happened, and not even a few minutes later, I got the call that she had passed away.  I still remember going out into the living room, and saying “Mom just died”, and my brother’s first response was “That was fast”.  My dad said “I can’t imagine how expensive this is going to be”.   And I thought to myself, had I known dropping the her off at the ER was the last time I was ever going to see her, I would have fought like hell to just sit there with her until she was taken back in… but I figured maybe a day, MAYBE TWO days, I would be there picking her up, and life would go on.  

Now along with the bad dreams, one of the biggest effects of Covid on me was I lost most of my concept of time.  After everything and I was describing everything I went through, it finally dawned on me that any time I went to sleep, even if it was only an hour, I was waking up thinking it was the next day.  It dawned on me because it was seven days from testing positve until my mom had died.  And in my head, when I was describing the time frames of feeling fine, to a little queasy, to nauseous, to needing a bucket, I was making it sound like it was a week and a half, or two week process… but it all played out before my mom went to the hospital, so over five days.  It was really strange.  The other strange thing is that I had lost my sense of smell and taste, everything I ate tasted like nothing at all… so I would take things, and break them into pill sizes and swallow them whole, I knew it was important to keep taking in calories to give my immune system fuel, but man when you have to eat a dish sponge, your body just rejects the idea of chewing and swallowing.  My dear friend Karen offered to drop things off on the porch if I needed anything, I asked her if she could get me an order of Tater Tots, Onion Rings, and a diet cherry limeade slush from Sonic, I would be forever grateful.  I figured tater tots and onion rings would be calorie dense and provide the most bang for the buck… it was odd, the onion rings were like eating a sponge, the tater tots tasted like licking a salt block.  And the slush tasted normal, and delicious!   It was so odd.

Another aspect of this illness was I was losing weight like CRAZY.  From August 22nd, through the 25th (the last day I had enough energy that it was worth the effort of weighing myself, I had lost 22 pounds.  I went from 262 to 240.  I was actually pretty pumped and had said “Wow, I’m below my goal weight” and he said “Man I sure hope the weight we’re losing stays off”.  So in 4 days I had lost 20 pounds, and it was another 6 days before I was hospitalized, and they never weighed me, I would have loved to know how much weight I had lost, because the first time I looked in a mirror after all of this, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.  I really regret not taking any pictures.

On August 31st, my nausea got bad enough that I could no longer drink water, I would just gag and throw it back up.  So I messaged Karen and said “I can’t keep down any water, can you take me somewhere to get IV fluids so I don’t dehydrate”.  I still wasn’t feeling very sick, except for that.  So I wasn’t worried about being sick, I just wanted to stay hydrated.  So she asks me my address.  I told her, I thought it was weird, since she’s been to my house…. then she says “An ambulance is coming for you, get dressed”.  There’s a benefit to knowing nurses, they know you’re sicker than you think you are.  So I got dressed and walked out to the living room and the EMTs were already walking up to the door.  I put on my little waterproof crock like shoes, and my daughter comes up to me, just two days after my mom died, and said to me “Please don’t die, then we really will be orphans”.   I laughed and said “I’m not going to die, they’re going to make me better”.   I guess since I’m typing this four months later, there’s not a sense of suspense if I died or not.  But I walked out to the ambulance, and got in the gurney, and I remember saying to the EMT “Man this thing has great air conditioning!”  I answered all my vital information questions, and off we went to the hospital.  It was strange because someone had asked me if they had the lights and sirens on … and I don’t remember hearing the siren while I was in the ambulance, but after thinking about it, I do remember going through an intersection and the light being red… so I guess they did.

I get to the hospital, and they took me out of the ambulance, and it was hot as fuck out.  I remember saying “Man the outside’s air conditioning stinks”…. then as they wheeled me in, once again complimenting the air conditioning.  As they wheeled me in, the EMT at the front of the gurney waved to the nurses station, so I did the cupped-handed princess wave as they wheeled me pass… I don’t think anyone other than myself was amused.  As I sat in the hallway, oddly enough though just a few minutes ago I was throwing up water, by now I was craving water, and nobody would give me any until they examined me.  Then a lady came up to me and said “Good news, there’s an ICU unit open and ready for you” and I thought (I might have said, I don’t remember a WHOLE lot) “ICU?!  I’m THAT bad off?!?!?!”  And when I ended up getting the ambulance bill, it was billed as “Ambulance service with advanced life support”.  Holy shit, I felt fine, other than being weak, nauseous and tired… it felt way more mild than any flu I had.  So I got put in ICU, and all I really remember was that I thought I was going to die, since my mom had just gone into ICU and never came out, so when I was awake, I would think about everyone I knew, and thought “What was my last interaction, and I going to leave them mad at me, or with good memories”.  Then I thought “I need to update my Facebook so people will know I’m here”.  So I log in and I carefully type out my message. “Karen saved my life.  I’m in septic shock, tired, and I’m pooped in ICU”.  I remember being annoyed at having to keep back spacing to make sure things were spelled right and clear.  I put my phone down and went to sleep.

Eventually when I had the energy to check my Facebook I had a bunch of people replied and reacted to a post I didn’t recognize, i had posted “Karen savedmim y   septti,ic,, tirered, a tnand ind ppoop..pppopeppepped in iicu”   I was looking at it and thinking “I must have rolled over on the phone and in my sleep just posted gibberish, why did everyone reply to this and not my actual post…. then I looked, and THAT WAS my post.  MAN I had no idea I was that out of it.  LUCKILY, Karen was able to decipher my gibberish, and translated for everyone on my wall… I apparently told the hospital she was my emergency contact as well, and said her last name wrong… so when she cleared up the last name she was able to get updates and post them for me.  If there’s something I learned through this, ALWAYS have a good friend that is a nurse, or something medical, because they’ll actually understand what your updates are, and can translate doctorese to you.

So as it turned out, when I was admitted into the hospital, I was in septic shock, and diabetic shock…. I had never known myself to be diabetic, but my insurance company later told me that “it doesn’t mean you were necessarily a bad diabetic, but you were having kidney failure, and that usually ramps up your blood sugar, as well as just having the infection.  My blood sugar at admission was 656!!!  It probably didn’t help that I was drinking a bunch of orange juice, slushes, and ice pops for the days leading up to hospitalization too.  But I know my Endocrinologist and my GP both asked me “You never had any symptoms?  No frequent urination?  No endless thirst, nothing?”  and I never had, ever since I’ve had kids, I had become sort overly concerned about things now that I had kids to live for, and at no point did I think “Maybe I should see if I have diabetes”.  With my dad being diabetic, I kinda knew what to look for.  So it’s really odd to me.  I’m thinking maybe it was brought on by Covid and the Septic shock and the organ failure.  I have always joke about when I was dieting and working out that “it would be my luck that I will start losing weight really good, just to find out it’s from a terminal illness, and not my hard work”.  I almost made that a reality.

The only other thing I really remember about the time I was in ICU was I had a nurse named Molly, that was REALLY good.  I just remember her coming in, and she always explained what she was doing… I remember her giving me a shot and saying “This is an antiviral” and one time “This is a blood thinner, because Covid can cause blood clots”… she just made me feel really comfortable at a time where I thought I was about to die.  I sent her a thank you card, I always wonder if “Nurse Molly in ICU” was a good enough address.

Then the next day, September 1st, two people come into my room and say “You’re going to be moved to a regular room!”  And I remember thinking WOO HOO! I’m going to live!  That was the first time that I didn’t think that this was the end of my life.  I remember them wheeling me through the maze and into an elevator, and the lady pushing the gurney crashed the front corner of the gurney into the guy at the front’s balls in the elevator.  Ahh good times!   They got me into my room, and I remember thinking “Okay, I’m going to put the tv on, and find something funny, after all this, I need a laugh”  And I found out Comedy Central was doing a South Park marathon.  I also found out that nurses have this uncanny ability of walking into my room, just when something incredibly raunchy was happening in South Park, I remember turning the TV off because this really nice nurse came on during South Park’s episode about how Broadway plays are designed to make women give men blowjobs, and they were singing songs about blowjobs.   Yeesh.  Then one time a nurse comes in during the episode where Mrs. Garrison wanted to go back to being Mr. Garrison, so they were growing him a penis on a lab rat, and the rat escaped.  So a police sketch artist takes the description of a mouse with a penis on it, and just as the nurse came in, this was on the TV set… jeeeez

Luckily later I was telling a nurse about this and she said “Don’t worry, the nurses were probably saying something far raunchier than anything on South Park just before they came in your room”

So when I got into the regular room, they brought me some food and I found out my taste came back!  I also found out their chicken is TERRIBLE… but the orange slice, and the iced tea…. they were like nectars of the Gods… and not only had my taste come back, but it came back 150%… for the next few weeks, eating and especially drinking coffee were almost religious experiences!  I was hoping that side effect would stick around… but it finally normalized.  When they released me on September 2nd, I was shocked… I was still really weak, apparently being in septic shock just ravages your entire body.  Karen came to pick me up, and she said “You know, this bathroom has a big shower with a chair in it, you really should take a shower before we go”.  Being that i was nearly 2 weeks without a shower… I’m sure this was her polite way of “You’re not getting in my car, this stink will never come out!”  She got me a walker, and the process of getting into the shower was the most grueling physical activity I ever endured.  I thought it was going to kill me.  But I was able to get showered, and got dressed.  Karen let me stay at her place until I was strong enough to function again.  Once again, saving my life. 

We got to her house, and I had to navigate steps for the first time.  Jesus, now I know how super-marathon runners feel.  I get into bed, and the first time I had to get up to go to the bathroom, I was just in my boxers, and I remember lifting my leg, and I had lost so much weight that my leg lifted up, then eventually my skin caught up to my leg, it was SO weird.  Then as I was walking to the bathroom, I had to hold my boxers up because they weren’t even touching my body, they were like clown pants… when I walked into the bathroom and saw the mirror, i recoiled, I didn’t recognize the reflection at all.

After a few days of barely moving and recovering, we decided to go to my house, and see how my dad, brother and kids were doing.  It was so weird, because just riding in the car was exhausting.  My heart was going crazy because it wasn’t used to pumping blood uphill, my abs and back hurt from having to balance myself again.  It is RIDICULOUS, how fast your body can go from normal to almost completely useless.  When I was being discharged from the hospital, I didn’t have the strength to lift my foot off of the foot rest on the wheelchair to get my shoes on, Karen had to lift my feet while the lady in transport put my shoe on.  I remember saying to the lady, “Can you believe just a week and a half ago, I was jogging 2-3 miles per day and lifting weights 3-5 days a week?”.

When we got to my house, my kids were just fine… one had a cough for a couple of days, the other had a fever for a couple of days, and that was it.  The joys of being 13 year olds.  My dad was okay, he was tired and weak, but even with Covid as a cancer survivor and diabetic, he cut the grass, he said it just took a lot longer than usual.  My brother wasn’t looking so well, he was on the couch (where he had slept the past 3 years he had lived with us), but when I walked in he did a half smile, and a hang loose sign with his hand… I knew he was sick if he didn’t give me the finger (I did, however give him the finger in return).   I  caught them up on all my fun and how I was doing.  We also bought a shower chair for my home and Karen put that together.  Man those things are life savers.  When we went back to Karen’s place, she said when we went back to my house next time, she was going to take her nurse bag and check on my brother, and I told her my middle finger concern.

So the next time we went back he was looking worse, and Karen checked his heart and lungs, and gave him an at home Covid test, which came back negative.  She asked if he was eating and drinking, and he gave her a thumbs up, but she later said that when he took a drink of water, he spilled most of it.  She also asked if his eye hurt, because it was crusted looking, he said it didn’t hurt.  So considering that he tested negative, we sort of figured he was on his way back to health, that he was over the worst, but she still told him he should go to the doctor. 

So the next time was September 5th, we came back and he looked way worse, he was grey, and just acting really weird, he was sort of spaced out, and running his fingers through his lips, almost like someone trying to dig snuff out of their gums… the only time he really said something was when I told him that he had to go to the hospital, because he looked like a low rent Walking Dead character, and he did his half smirk chuckle.  Then at one point he reached over to the coffee table where he had a box of tissues, but grabbed a sheet of notebook paper to blow his nose in.  Then went back to feeling his gums.  Karen told him “You’re not my patient, so I can’t do anything, but if you were, I would send you to the ER immediately”.  The next day my dad texted me a picture of him being put into the ambulance and it said “bye bye Michael”.   Long story short, seven days later, on September 13th, my brother died, he was 50 years old.  The hospital confirmed he had covid, but he had a heart attack while he was in an induced coma.  Karen beat herself up over it saying she should have made him go, I told her that we all did everything we could, it was his choice.  I often wonder if he would have gone earlier if the home test had showed him being positive, instead of that false negative.  Karen also wondered if his weird behavior on the 5th was if his eye was crusty from an infection that got to his brain.  All the weird things we will never know… one of them being where his wallet went… we STILL haven’t found that.

So in just three weeks we went from a pretty normal family, with my teens starting 7th grade, and all the normal excitement of the end of Summer, to 1/3rd of our family being dead, and I was dealing with what I would later find out is Post-Sepsis Syndrome.  Basically when you go septic it’s your body getting so freaked out by an infection it goes into self destruct mode.  40% of those who go into septic shock die.  Out of those who live, 50% of them deal with post-sepsis syndrome.  It is usually dealing with pain (Best I could describe is a full body toothache, you know how when you get a bad toothache you can’t really tell which tooth it is, just that your mouth hurts?  It’s like that, just general miserable pain), nightmares are common (I don’t have nightmares so much, just very strange, but very vivid and realistic ones), hallucinations, being more prone to infection (I have since had Shingles, which on top of the sepsis crap, has left me numb on the left haft half of my upper body, as well as just generally hypersensitive skin.  As I told my friend “by hypersensitive I mean painful, like my clothes are lined with sandpaper… not like how the head of my dick is hypersensitive to pleasure”), as well as other things.  Basically you typically spend the 6-18 months after septic shock experiencing all sorts of misery from out of nowhere.  Luckily, much of my misery has faded, aside from the sensitivity and numbness, I mostly just deal with pain in my feet and legs, I would describe it as how your legs feel when you just spent 14 hours in Disneyworld, and you get back to your resort, and you realize you have to walk a quarter mile to your room to get your refillable cup, and then walk another quarter mile to the dining area to get the drinks… and your legs and feet just really hurt and ache.   That’s what mine feel like all the time now.  And the WEIRDEST thing is sometimes it will feel like my toes are twisted, crossed, and/or mangled.  But when I look at them, and see normal toes, I don’t feel it.  But when I look back away, I can almost feel my toes moving back into that mangled feeling… but they’re not.  Maybe that’s my form of hallucination.

Since all of this, my dad has become fully vaccinated, and I recently got my Pfizer booster.  I’m not really a political person, and while I believe in vaccinations, I also believe in your right to not be forced to take vaccines, especially new and unproven ones, or in the case of anything other than Pfizer at the time of writing this, not approved by the FDA.  My attitude for me getting the booster, is the same reason I play the lottery.  I can’t complain about not hitting the lottery if I don’t play.  I can’t complain about getting Covid if I’m not vaccinated.   I originally got it because they said it would prevent hospitalization and death.  But the doctors did say if I waited another day, I probably would have died fully vaccinated.  And Karen (as well as many of my medical field friends) isn’t vaccinated, and she has had Covid twice, and both of her cases were MUCH less severe than mine.  So who knows what to make of any of that.  And I mean look at my dad, he was basically the poster child of people who die from Covid… 74 years old, life long smoker, cancer survivor, diabetic, and about the furthest thing from physically fit as you can get… and he cut the grass while having Covid.  While my mom and brother who were healthy, both died. 

Another friend of mine, who is a nurse, made an interesting observation that I never really had thought about.  Her being a lifelong professional in healthcare said that she has a hard time believing that this is a natural disease, she pointed out that most viruses are just trying to live their life, and we get sick because our body is like “Wait a second, you don’t belong here” and does what it can to kill and get rid of the virus.   The common cold which is itself a coronavirus, and the flu virus, when you think about it how our body reacts is the same to each of them, just the flu is a little more extreme.  However Covid seems to attack our body’s defense mechanisms, it’s symptoms are more like an unnatural attack on a person.  The sense of smell is a big alarm system for people as well as the sense of taste.  This attacks things that keep us from being able to identify dangers, and things we shouldn’t be injesting.  The lingering side effects are also strange, as they mentioned their friend who is a diabetic, since having Covid, can really only taste/enjoy sweet things.  She said “This sucks, I know the sweets will kill me, but it’s the only thing I can taste and get myself to eat”.   And now they’re looking into Covid attacking the nervous system and could be the reason I wound up getting Shingles.  There’s also studies linking Covid to impotence.  Not only preventing reproduction, but also most of my left side being numb, takes away my alarm system for pain.  It’s just a very strange disease, it effects sleep, and your psychology.  It was absolutely nothing like anything I had ever experienced.  And I would never wish anyone to have to go through it.  Even a lady at the hospital, before I was discharged, I said to her “This is really weird, if I were to create a disease to drive people insane, this would be it” and she said “Just between you and I (and this blog), there’s not a doubt in my mind that this was bioweaponry.  Look at how many people who are saying we’re over populated, and it started in China…. it’s population control, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.”

The politics of this has gotten completely retarded.  It really floored me when people were actively angry at Joe Rogan for not dying.  My theory on every illness is whatever it is that fixes you, if it works, more power to you.  If someone gets Covid, and eats a dog turd, and it cures them… WOO HOO!  Go dog turds for that guy.  The fact that people get upset that people get over an illness because they use methods they don’t agree with is completely evil in my eyes.  And the thing that is extra stupidly retarded, and anyone with a brain sees it… all the people now who are aggressively pro-vaccination are the same people that said they would never trust a Trump vaccine, and all the people who are now saying the vaccine will kill you are the same people who said Trump wouldn’t release an unsafe vaccine.  I mean come on people, try a little harder at not being SO obvious with stuff like that.

So that’s about it.  It’s January 12th, 2022.  I am almost four and a half months out of the hospital, went through my first birthday and Christmas without my mom and brother.  Had my brother’s first post-mortem birthday.  I’m still dealing with lingering effects of everything, and am just a couple days away from my stress test with my cardiologist, maybe in a week or so, I can go back to the gym for the first time in a third of a year.  This also made me redo all of my beneficiaries, updated my life insurance, my retirements, and am getting back to putting more money in my kids bank accounts they don’t know about yet.  My mom was 71, my brother 50.  Neither with any form of life insurance, wills, or anything of that nature.  And I sure don’t want to burden my kids with any of this mess.  It’s never too early to be prepared for this.

In Memory of my mom and my brother


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