This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Surviving Valley Fever, Phoenix, Arizona


If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, you've survived Valley Fever. I'm not exactly sure what it is, I just know that you breathe it in from the desert dust. For most people, it's hardly noticeable. It can be like a cold. Or you can die from it.

I contracted Valley Fever right after I moved to Phoenix, when I was 19. For me, it was bad enough to give me pneumonia and put me in the hospital. I was in the County Hospital, the one at 24th Street and Roosevelt. Yes, it's connected to what was originally called the Insane Asylum. No, I wasn't insane, I was just indigent (you know, poor). So that's where I went.

This must have been the very first time that I considered the possibility that I might die. And it just seemed to be so wrong. There I was, in Phoenix, where everything was beautiful, and life was filled with such possibilities. I remember asking the nurse if people died from this, and she just said, in a very matter-of-fact way, "yes". And it just seemed so sad that she would have to see people like me die, so I didn't.


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