Isolation Log: Covid Date 4.b.20

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Jude playing in a box

Well I got friends

In isolation

Where quarantine

Jump starts

Their memories

 

Haven’t heard from

Them in ages

Now they’re texting me

With “hi”s and updates

 

Just checking

To see whose

Alive and kicking

 

Oh, I’ve got friends

In isolation

 

Yeah, yeah, the song “Friends in Low Places” was going through my mind yesterday.

In the past week, I have had six people reach out to me from whom I have not heard in years. Some of these people have been incommunicato for so long that they did not even know I bought a house 20 months ago. 

I am very happy to hear from them and that I have had the same cell number for about 20 years so people can reach me. It’s nice to know that in the heart of this pandemic, people are thinking of me. They must be too busy in everyday life to reach out, but now that everything is on PAUSE, we have nothing but time. 

The most positive thing for me with this crisis is that I get to be home with my cats. The second most positive thing for me with this crisis is the amount of people who are reaching out to me. I am hearing from people who I thought had dropped off the planet.

I regularly write people. Some of them I have sent a text message and received no response. I try not to be annoying. So I am pleasantly surprised to be hearing from people now. Most of these people are from out of state and are not local, so I blame the whole “out of sight, out of mind” concept.

It’s nice to know that coronavirus is bringing people together. 

 

 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 4.a.20

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Medal # 18 from the Shamrock Run.

My spring race was canceled in the middle of all this mess. My entire 2020 race season has been canceled. With my spring race gone, I ended up doing it virtually.

I was about a minute slow for a 5K, but I did get it done and received medal # 18 for my efforts. This medal is anti-climatic. It lacked the excitement of being awarded right after the race. I typically wear the medal for a week after the race for everyone to see. This medal came in the mail after I posted my results from the Garmin for the 5K.

My cats have seen the medal, so everyone has seen it. They are not impressed.

I am pretty much sticking to 3 miles a few times per week while we are being isolated. Every day I am on the road and able to run is a good day.

I am very happy to be home and am doing well in isolation. In fact, this experience has me seriously re-thinking my routines in everyday life. I am enjoying not having to go out a whole lot. I am pretty sure that when this is all over, I am going to continue many of the things I am doing now and limit my social interactions with other people. 

My greatest challenge is when I do have to go out. After the discussion the primary doctor had with me a few weeks ago about not going to the grocery or pharmacy, I am terrified to go any place where there are other people. 

Jolene had an appointment this past Saturday to have her mouth looked at again from her January dental surgery. She has healed from the surgery. The challenge is that when the shelter did the surgery in January, they did not do the best job. There are roots and bone left in her mouth that should not be there and have caused infection.

Jolene had an antibiotic shot on Saturday to help and will be going in for another dental surgery tomorrow to correct the surgery from January. This one I will have to pay for. Hopefully when it is done tomorrow, her mouth will be fine from here on out. We have been with this vet office for about 15 years now and they are excellent. 

The staff at the vet clinic was great. Only one pet owner is allowed inside the clinic at a time. We all wore masks. They came out and took her in her carrier for her appointment. I spoke with the technicians and the vet on the phone. They had Jolene in there for the exam and I stayed in the car. Then they brought her back out to me. I did not even go outside. My only “interaction” with a human was transferring her carrier. 

Tomorrow Jolene will be at the vet office for the day for her dental surgery. I drop her off in the morning and pick her up in the late afternoon. I just hope that everything goes well so that her mouth is no longer in pain for her. She is the sweetest cat. Everyone loved her Saturday. They said she was so playful for her appointment. Honestly, this dental surgery is the last thing I need right now with everything else going on, but I have to keep her safe. She needs to have her mouth fixed.

The biggest take-away I am getting from isolation right now is a change in routine. I do have a daily routine. How is my routine going to change when we are no longer isolated? Will I go back to the way things were? I doubt it. What aspects of my isolation routine will I keep? I am thinking a lot of them. Time will tell.

The best news is that isolation is great for my food allergies. All of my allergy spots from skin reactions I have from coming into contact with allergens in the environment, like almond oil, are healing. If all of these allergy spots heal, it will be the first time in almost a decade that I am not having an active allergic reaction. Nut oils are the bane of my existence.  

People have said they are worried about me right now and I do not understand why. I am fine in my house with my cats. This is where I want to be. My greatest challenge right now is when I have to leave the house to do something like taking the cat to the vet. That is a necessity and I have to do it. If my cats need medical care, I have to take them.

The county in which I live does not have the ability to test people for the coronavirus. Therefore, our numbers are really low. The numbers are deceiving. In order to get tested, people have to go to one of two neighboring counties, which is about an hour drive away. Transportation is non-existent in my rural county. There are many people here who have coronavirus and it is not reflected in the numbers because there is no testing in my county.

Only those who are very fortunate and have access to a vehicle and the ability to drive an hour away can be tested. People in this area have a false sense of security when the reported numbers are so low.

This is one of the challenges of living in a rural area that lacks transportation. I just hope they will figure this out and test in our county before they lift the stay at home ban. Otherwise, we are going to have a very large outbreak here. However, I do not think that people in my area are taking this virus seriously.

This is going to get worse before it gets better. We have not yet seen the worst of it.

Stay strong out there. #NYTough

 

Respect Our Coolers

If you see a cooler outside of someone’s house or on the side of the road, please do not steal it.

Those coolers are supply drop off points to help people through this crisis.

Schools are delivering meals to homes and putting food in the coolers for children. For adults under Matilda’s Law, local heroes are checking on us to see what we need and delivering supplies.

It is really hard to ask for help. I am very fortunate in that I have many local heroes who are checking on me. 

I do not want to ask anyone to go to the store for me because I do not want to put that person at risk. However, if a person is already going to a store for themselves, then I will ask for them to add my list of items to their own.

Today I put my cooler out for supply drop off for the very first time. I am scared for the people who are helping me. They are putting themselves out there to keep me safe.

There have been a few reports in my county of some coolers being stolen. I am going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the person who “stole” the cooler thought it was on the side of the road as an item free to take. Maybe that wayward soul was mistaken regarding the cooler’s purpose.

I am telling everyone right now that those coolers are there to help children and vulnerable adults. Please do not steal our coolers. If you need help, ask for help. Someone will help you. Do not steal a cooler that is providing help to someone else who is in need. 

If you see a cooler “on the side of the road” or in front of a house, it is not there as a free item. It is there as a supply drop off for that house.

Respect our coolers.

#NYTough

Isolation Log: Covid Date 3.a.20

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Simon sitting on the rollator to bird watch when the rollator is not in use.

It has now been 10 days since I have had human contact. Now I know what my cats must feel like when I go on my 3-day marathon or camping trips. At least when I am gone, they have each other. I am thankful to be home with them. I am able to go out into the world (generally – pre Covid), but for my cats, the house is the only world they have. Now it is mine.

Good news, is that since I am surrounded by three adorable felines, I can say with confidence that there is intelligent life here. 

A good friend dropped off feminine hygiene supplies to my door the other day. They were much needed. Even though I ordered supplies online, delivery times are slow. That is even if items are in stock. Many items I am looking for are out of stock online. I have enough supplies and do not need help for now – but I will. Some items say that they are only available for purchase in stores. The problem is, my primary doctor told me I should not go to the grocery store or pharmacy because those are high-risk areas for me.

I have been getting creative with food. I now know four different ways to cook carrots. No, I am not hoarding carrots. They were on sale 2 / $3 the last time I was able to go to a grocery store, so I ended up with four pounds of them in the house. Today I will be making allergy-friendly carrot raisin muffins that will be my breakfast for the next few days. 

I am re-learning the difference between wants and needs. I have enough supplies. I have food. I have things I need. I want zucchini. Do I need zucchini? No, I can live without it. I am thankful for what I have. There are a few things that when this is all over will certainly be a real treat to have again. I did need those feminine hygiene products though, so I am grateful someone dropped them off for me. That was a need. 

I took the car out for a drive this weekend. I know from when I was in the hospital a few years ago, that the car needs to be driven once a week to keep it going. It was so weird to just drive for no purpose. I have not done that in a long time. I really need to get the snow tires off the car. We are supposed to get more snow this week, so I guess it’s fine for now. Nothing I can do about it anyways.

Sunday I had a great 3-mile run in between raindrops. We had a violent thunderstorm last night and almost lost power. In the past week, we have gone from snowstorm to thunderstorm back to snow. It’s central New York. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change.  

For minimalism, I worked upstairs this weekend. I have a few boxes of things ready to be donated or leave the house in some way when this is all over. They are in an empty room upstairs. I was able to create an empty room and an empty closet this weekend. I’m one person. I only need to use one closet. I was finally able to achieve this. 

I have been using my rollator (4-wheeled walker you can sit on) more. This is definitely not the time to be falling down and hurting myself. Yes, I am still running, but I am having more bad moments than good moments. I have only taken my rollator out in public with me once, but it is going to have to happen more often.

People think it’s weird seeing a marathon runner with a rollator. One day I will be running, then the next day I will be rolling. That’s just it, though. 

On good days, I run. On bad days, I roll.

The next time I have a bad day, I am going to take my rollator with me for my daily outside time. I went out the other day without it. I was having a bad day. It was not good. I avoided a fall, but did not get very far before I had to come back. 

To be honest, I’m worried about being judged for using it. The very reason is that one day I may be running and the next day I may be rolling. I know how people think about things like that. 

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that I no longer control my own body. Any day I am on the road, it’s a good day.

On good days, I run. On bad days, I roll. Every day with my cats is a little piece of heaven.

Stay strong out there. #NYTough

Isolation Log: Covid Date 2.b.20

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A photo I took on a walk during my Daily Outside Time this week.

People still drive me nuts. Just now they do it by phone, email, or from 6 feet away. Some things never change. 

The children are not in school, and apparently they do not have enough to do. They are still free range, free roaming, unsupervised, and going in large groups of 10-15 kids. The next coronavirus hot spot in New York is probably happening in my little Village of 800 people and I am right in the middle of it.

I am working from home, and yesterday I had to get up from my workstation 4 times to yell at kids to get out of the fire pit in my backyard. There were no adults in sight supervising these children ranging in age from 3 to teenager (most of them were in the 3-6 age range). They are running around, playing, touching things. I am in the vulnerable group and my neighbors on the one side are in their 70s. We do not want to die because people are not supervising their children.

The schools need to send more packets home with the kids and the kids need to sit down and do them. What, online learning? Not if you do not have internet. Even with my work dot, internet here is very spotty. I am blogging and doing emails by typing into word, then using copy and paste. That way posts are a quick hit for when there is enough internet to work.

The hardest part of this entire crisis is that there is no escape. There is no respite. I am harassed by unruly neighbors in my own house. Then, when I try to go outside – everyone is outside! Hey, I was playing outside for decades before this coronavirus thing started. Now everyone is copying my idea. 

People on the internet are mean. I discovered this when someone was abusive to me on my work email this week. It is even more traumatizing to experience this abuse while sitting in your own home. I am having a very hard time dealing with it. It just served to reinforce why I absolutely refuse to be on Facebook or any other social media.

On to the good stuff …

For the first time in my life, I can say that I am proud to be a New Yorker. 

For years I had regret over moving to New York from Massachusetts. Even though I was in NYC on 9/11, I never bought into that whole patriotism, NY pride thing that came afterwards. I just wanted to get away from debris falling down all around me and being covered in dust.

Then, when the Boston Marathon was bombed 4.15.13, that one hit me harder than 9/11. I was not in Boston on 4/15 (but I was supposed to be), yet 4/15 hit me harder than 9/11 (and I was there). I’m a marathon runner, and Boston has my heart. I will always be #BostonStrong.

Listening to Governor Cuomo these past few weeks for his daily briefings and how he is handling the coronavirus has me impressed. He is the most competent leader in such a challenging time that I have ever seen. I listen to the Governor when he gives us facts, then I like how he gives us his opinion and clearly delineates between the two. 

This week, the Governor talked about what it is like to be a New Yorker and New York Tough #NYTough. I have not had something resonate with me like this since David Ortiz got on the mike at Fenway and talking about “our f’ing city.” Boston will always have my heart, unfortunately, I am physically stuck in NY. 

With Governor Cuomo’s excellent leadership through this coronavirus, I can now say that I am not only #BostonStrong, I am also #NYTough. I have to survive this for my cats. I am their forever home. We all have to stay together. That is the greatest accomplishment of my life.

I am enjoying my daily outside time and listening to music on my CD player. I have plenty of books and DVDs from the library to amuse me. 

This is still going to be worse before it gets better. #NYTough

 

The Fourth R

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The last of the grapes I ate the other day. I am pretty sure those are the last grapes I am going to have for a very long time due to scarcity and price gouging.

We all know the three R’s. We grew up with reading, writing and arithmetic. Today, the three R’s are typically reduce, reuse, recycle. To the three modern R’s, there is a fourth R in our COVID-19 world, ration.

At first blush, there does not seem to be much difference between reduce and ration. They both indicate a decrease of some kind. However, when I sat down and thought about it, I realized that the difference between the two concepts is macro and micro.

When I think of reduce, I think of concepts like minimalism. Minimalism typically involves reducing the total number of items in your home. It also involved purchasing less things. Not only are you bringing less items into your home, but you are paring down items that are in your home so that overall, you have less. This is on the macro scale.

When I think of ration, I think on the micro scale. We take the items that we have and use less of them. We are not reducing – getting rid of the item – because it is an essential item. However, we are using less of that essential item so that it lasts longer.

The reason why I am focusing on rationing during this period of time is that I am trying to reduce my expenses. Mass layoffs are real now, people.

If we can make what we have last longer, then that is less money we have to spend in replenishing essential items. We are also leaving essential items on the shelf for someone else to have in this time of scarcity.

It is not just about toilet paper anymore. People are hoarding all types of things. If you run out of an item, you may not be able to get another one, either in-store or online.

Items that I have had difficulty obtaining include: feminine hygiene products (this is a REAL problem, people – bigger than toilet paper), fresh foods, pet products, and canned goods.

I did not realize how wasteful I am as a person until I started thinking of this idea of rationing. I am trying to reduce my water, gas, and electric bills. I am trying to reduce how often I use things inside my house to delay when I need to purchase more.

Some ways I am trying to be more mindful:

  • I am now actually paying attention to how much laundry soap I am using. Those little lines inside the cap mean something. Laundry soap is one of the “specialty items” I have to get due to my multiple food allergies. Most commercial laundry soap contains almond oil, which means my clothes could send me into anaphylactic shock if I did not have “special” laundry soap. I am trying to be conservative with how much of my “specialty” laundry soap I am using since it is now almost impossible to obtain.
  • To that end, I am trying to wear clothing items more than once before washing. I am also getting more uses out of items such as towels before washing them.
  • Toilet paper. Yes, I am now counting sheets of toilet paper used. Look, toilet paper scarcity was a real problem in my childhood. This situation is not helping.
  • I am using my crock pot more. This week, I have used it every other day. I am literally using all of the fresh food in my house. I am not throwing anything away. If something looks like it is starting to go bad before I can “use” it, I am throwing it in the crock pot with anything I can to make a soup, stew, whatever just so I do not “lose” that item.
  • I made chicken breast with vegetables in my crock pot. It was the best piece of chicken I have ever had in my entire life. I will not bake or grill chicken again. Any time I have chicken in the future, I am going to cook it in the crock pot. Crock pot chicken is amazing.
  • My dish soap is also a “specialty” item due to multiple food allergies. I am very conscious of how much dish soap I am putting in the sink to wash dishes now.
  • I am unplugging everything when I am not actively using it. This includes the microwave and coffee pot. If they are unplugged, they are not drawing power.
  • Since I got my pixie haircut a year or so ago, I use less soap and shampoo. Again, all my soap and shampoo are specialty allergy-friendly items that come from one company in California. I am serious that if this goes on much longer and I cannot get a haircut, I may shave my head.
  • Kitty litter and trash bags. I use trash bags to line my cat pans for easier clean up. I am trying to reduce both the amount of kitty litter I use and the trash bags I am using for liners by scooping their cat pans more often. My trash hauler requires us to use 13-gallon clear trash bags, and those are difficult to obtain right now, both in-person and online. 

Anyone have any other suggestions for rationing or ways to reduce expenses when stuck at home?

Stay safe and well. 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 2.a.20

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Jolene playing in the empty laundry basket

Welcome to Upstate New York where we have coronavirus in a snowstorm!

That’s right, folks. We are under a winter weather advisory for 6 inches of snow with sleet and freezing rain. I bet all the kids were hoping for a snow day … oh, that’s right, they already get to stay home. Except they still have to go to school – online! 

Muahahaha.

I have been working from home today. I work in my kitchen, where I have the best lighting and electrical outlets. I also have the best windows to sit here and watch the snow while the cats like to bird watch. The snow is coming down fast. 

Today it was announced that New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. New York State has 20x more cases than any other state in the country.

New York is Ground Zero. Again. That’s ok, we are used to being Ground Zero. Our Governor is doing a stellar job right now. 

In positive news …

I am feeling okay. I have decided that it is in the best interest of my mental health to stop listening to the radio. My sources of news are primarily radio and newspaper. For now, I am reading my newspaper and watching the Governor’s daily briefing. Watching the Governor makes me feel better in this scary time. I like that he gives daily updates. He makes me feel safe. No matter your politics, you have to agree that our Governor has really stepped up to the plate in dealing with this crisis.

I am using my CD player more since I am no longer listening to the radio. I cannot stand for the house to be silent. I have to have music. I am having a great time revisiting some CDs that I have not had the chance to listen to in awhile. Music makes me happy.

The cats are completely oblivious to what is going on. I’m sure they think I am just on a 3-day weekend or Christmas break or something. I am so thankful for every single day I get to be home with them. I’m glad they are oblivious. It’s my job as mom to take care of them. I don’t want them to know what is going on or how bad it is. 

I had a great 3 mile run outdoors yesterday. I am holding steady at 3 miles. I am pretty sure that my entire 2020 running season is going to be forfeited to the coronavirus. Right now it’s all about survival. I need those 3 miles to keep my sanity.

I am hoping that it will warm up and rain or something in the next few days here so that I can continue running outside. I went to the mailbox today, and not only was there quite a few inches of snow, but it is very slippery. I can’t run in this. 

If worst come to worst, I may start running laps around the first floor of my home with my Garmin. Any guesses on how many laps will make a mile? I’m guessing 1,378 laps. I’ll let you know if I get desperate and do that. 

I do have a daily schedule so that I still have a routine. I have a designated time each day for outside time. Sunshine is good for the soul.

This weekend, I may be working on some of my minimalist home projects. I am still trying to empty a room upstairs. While I am not physically able to remove items from my home right now, I can at least box items that are ready to leave when I can get rid of them.

In my Bible, I am currently reading the book of Psalms and the book of Revelation. They make me feel better.

Last fall, my book club read a novel called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. One of the characters talked about how they had to burn books for warmth during WWII. She said that she left her Bible for last, and that when she did have to burn the Bible for warmth, the two books that she decided to burn were Job and Revelation.

I do not think that we are going to be that desperate where we have to burn books for warmth. We may have to use them for toilet paper … come on people, SHARE! 

I doubt we will have to use books for toilet paper, but if it does get to that point and my Bible is the “last book standing,” I can tell you right now, that I will not be using the book of Revelation. I will be using the book of Numbers. I still don’t get that one.

Be warm, safe and well. 

 

Five Dollar Challenge

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Simon enjoys cuddle time during covid isolation

The world is hurting right now. Maybe COVID-19 has not hit your area yet and you are going about your daily life still. I was too, up until the past week or so. I live in Upstate New York, and we are under a stay-at-home order. While staying at home is a relief, I will admit that I am also completely terrified. I am scared not only for me, my family, and my friends, but also for the world. Life will never be the same again after this.

Someone on the radio recently said that the coronavirus is this generation’s 9/11. Let me tell you right now, I was in New York City on September 11, 2001. I was 22 years old. This is nothing like 911. This is worse.

In the middle of the pain, we are seeing acts of kindness. They are small, but they serve to instill hope in the world that humans may be an okay link on the food chain after all. 

In NYS, there is mass unemployment that has now surpassed recession levels and is escalating at a level we have not seen since the Great Depression. It sure looks like history repeats itself every 100 years, doesn’t it?

I am extremely fortunate that I still have a job. I am still getting paid. It is extremely tenuous how long that will last. I work at a very small, local non-profit that employs about 10 staff. I am scared of losing my job and not being able to pay the bills. I completely understand why people were jumping off of buildings in 1929. I am very fortunate in that I have three furballs depending on me to keep me grounded and sane.

In this very scary time, we don’t have a dime to give. I get it. I really do.

But I am still going to issue the Five Dollar Challenge.

As I said, I work at a tiny non-profit that has about 10 staff. If every person in America right now were to donate $5 to a local non-profit, it may mean the difference between that agency being able to give their employees just one more paycheck. 

No one has money right now. I get it. But $5 is not much. Hey, we are under a stay-at-home order. It’s not like you can go to a coffee shop right now. Take that $5 you would have spent on a latte and donate it to a local non-profit in your area.

Local money stays local. Help your neighbors. You do not even have to leave your home. 

Even with all businesses in NYS mandated closed, many are working remotely. So if you don’t know how to give, call one of your local non-profits and ask if they have a way to donate online or if you can mail a check.

Don’t forget your local animal shelters. Animal shelters are still open and caring for homeless pets right now. In fact, if you are under a stay-at-home order, this is the perfect time to adopt and get a new family member acclimated to your home. Call the shelter ahead to ask how they are handling adoptions during this trying time. 

As much as we are all buying toilet paper and cleaning supplies right now, remember that shelters need those items every single day. If you are ordering supplies online, try to place an order for the shelter too. 

I get how hard it is to donate right now. But we all have $5. We are only going to get through this by working together. Given that I am one of a few very privileged people to still be employed right now, I am going to give $5 to a local non-profit every single time I am able to get paid. I am going to take the dime I do have and make it scream.

I will totally admit that I did give $5 today, but I did not give to a local agency. I donated $5 to my favorite radio show. They are worth way more than $5. I would give $5,000 if I could. I wanted to show them that I appreciate them still being on the air and providing me with a distraction from the stress of the news. But from here on out, I will give my $5 to a local non-profit agency within 10 miles of my home only.

We are all stuck at home and ordering things online. Amazon is very popular. Well, have you ever heard of Amazon Smile? Amazon Smile is a completely different web site from the regular Amazon. You have to type in Amazon Smile. You can use your Amazon account to choose a non-profit. Every time you buy something from Amazon, they donate a portion of your purchase to your chosen non-profit. 

Local non-profits are on Amazon Smile. In fact, I just switched my Amazon Smile account for the donation money to go to my employer. I’m happy they are still paying me. Non-profits need our help now more than ever. 

If you are stuck at home and looking for something to do or a way to help, google non-profits in your town. Keeping your $5 donation local helps to be sure that someone can get one more paycheck to provide for their family. 

I can promise that when we all come through the other side of this that your local non-profits will pay you back. We provide valuable services to the community. Some agencies may even decide to have a community party when we do not have to isolate or social distance anymore.

$5 may not seem like a lot, but to someone else it can mean the world. If you are still getting a paycheck right now, consider joining the $5 Challenge. 

Keep it local. The only way we are going to get through this is together. 

Will you join me in donating $5 to a local non-profit in your own community? 

Consider Amazon Smile. You are ordering online anyway, so why not have a portion of your purchase go to an agency in your community? Only certified 501C3 non-profits make the list for Amazon Smile, so your money is going to good.

Five dollars, friends. Let’s do this! 

 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 1.b.20

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Jolene watching an old football game with me that was playing on Pluto TV.

New York State is under a stay-at-home order. As someone in the “vulnerable” population, I currently fall under Matilda’s Law.

There is a lot of sadness in the world right now. Kenny Rogers died. He was an icon of my youth. At this difficult time, I am grasping at things from my childhood in an effort to remember simpler times. So while Kenny Rogers’ death may not be a huge deal under normal circumstances, it is magnified by everything else going on too.

I announced to my coworkers earlier this week:

“The world is officially ending. Tom Brady has left the Patriots.” I don’t usually address politics or other confrontational topics on this blog, but I am a huge Patriots fan, and this bit of news this week has completely blown my mind. 

I have been in a state of shock all week. 

Listening to the radio this week: “Now it’s time for sports … wait, everything is canceled.”

When I turned 41 a few weeks ago, I was kind of excited. I like to see what sports figures wear the number that goes with my age. 41 is worn by the Red Sox’ Chris Sale. Chris is having Tommy John surgery this year, which takes him out for the season. With Covid, there may not be a baseball season, so this is the perfect time for him to have surgery. It’s ok. 

On a positive note, there have been some things to stand up and cheer about.

This morning, I was able to listen to my favorite radio program, Only A Game. Sports may be canceled, but my favorite sports program still has a lot to teach me. Only A Game makes life feel normal because I can still go about my typical Saturday routine.

I do not have cable, so I cannot imagine what is going on at ESPN right now, since they are 24/7sports. My favorite program, Only A Game, has still delivered. They have not let me down. Thanks so much to everyone running that show for giving me a beautiful gift right now in keeping the program “normal.”

With the NHL season canceled, if you were to add up all of the points in the League right now, the Boston Bruins would win the Stanley Cup. They are my favorite team and won the Cup for me in 2011 as my graduation present when I finally finished my bachelors degree after 15 years of struggle. 

As a teaser, Only A Game is going to talk about how the 1918 Spanish Flu effected hockey in next week’s episode. At least I know if we awarded the Cup now, it would go to the Bruins.

Another highlight of my week was the live concert Dropkick Murphys gave to the world. I saw DKM in concert when they first came out in the 1990s. I never dreamed to be able to see them in Boston on St. Patty’s Day due to how fast their concerts sell out. This year, due to covid, they livestreamed the concert to the world, and it was beautiful. Of all the horrible things this health crisis is doing, that concert was a rose in a barren landscape.

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago released a video this week of penguins free roaming the aquarium due to lack of visitors. There are many museums, aquariums and other places offering virtual tours right now. 

I do not want to spend all of my time online. I do not like being online in general. It’s nice to know that it is there in case I need it.

I have heard a lot from my online MS support group this week. We are all in the vulnerable group, so we are trying to keep each other’s spirits up. 

This weekend I plan to pretend everything is normal and try to decompress from what is actually happening. I tend to stay at home on weekends anyway, unless I am outside for a run, so that part is status quo. Sometimes we need to unplug from all the horrible things going on around us.

In NY, we are all staying home, and so far, I am okay. 

How are you doing? 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 1.a.20

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Jude watching James Bond with me during covid isolation

A car alarm pierces the silence of the night. Everyone has been off the streets and in their house for hours. In fact, many vehicles have been parked all day. When I look out the window to see why the car alarm has been going off for 12 minutes, I see two kids next to the vehicle in question. They are head-banging and jumping up and down. 

They have been out of school for less than a week and this is how they decide to have fun. I have already gone to bed for the night. I have to work in the morning. This was an unpleasant way to be woken from sleep.

It has been a very long year this week.

All of my health providers called to cancel my appointments this week. I cannot see the neurologist, the physical therapist, or my masseuse. Even my hair salon is closed. My back-up plan for when my hair drives me wild is to shave my head. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ll keep you updated on whether that ends up happening or not.

The only physician who not only wanted to see me this week but actually insisted on seeing me was the primary doctor. I could not figure out why. No one else wants to see me, claiming I am “high risk.” I do not understand why.

When I did go to see the primary doctor, she sat me down for almost an hour to talk to me and now I understand why no one else wants to see me and I am so “high risk.”

Apparently, the MS is in my spine. Your spinal cord controls breathing. I am high risk for any illness. Even a cold will make me more sick than the average person. Covid would be lethal for me. I was told to stop going to the grocery store and the pharmacy – those are high risk areas for me. The doctor helped me to come up with a plan that will hopefully keep me stocked with food and medication to be completely isolated during this time.

I am encouraged to be outside in fresh air as much as possible. I need to keep running so that I can keep moving, especially since I no longer have access to either physical therapy or massage to help me.

I go to work and I come home. That is it.

The libraries are all closed. This past Tuesday we had our last book club. I checked out 14 items from the library (books and DVDs) that I am allowed to keep until May 1 while the libraries are closed. I came home with an entire reusable bag of library items – my version of “tp hoarding.”

Of all the stupid things, I cried Tuesday night after the library closed for an indefinite period of time. The library is my lifeline. I always have something checked out of the library. I constantly inter-library loan. I know the librarians at 6 area libraries all by name and they know me. Libraries were a safe place for me during the times in my life when I was homeless. They are a safe place to take a nap. 

Yes, I have enough books and DVDs in my house to keep me occupied. It’s just the idea that the libraries are closed. It breaks my heart. I guess this is an example of a first-world problem.

I am very grateful that people have been calling and checking on me to be sure I am okay. I am okay for now. But there will come a time in the next few weeks when I will need to have help. It is very hard for me to ask for help. 

I tend to be isolated to a degree in life to begin with due to my severe food allergies. The interactions I enjoyed by going to the gym, the library, and the coffee shop are now gone. 

Back and forth from work to home and nothing else. 

I will keep you updated as the isolation continues. Of course, I had to choose a Star Trek reference for my posts. This is covid date 1.a.20, meaning week 1, day a of this week (first blog post of the week) and year 2020. 

This will get worse before it gets better. But we are all in this together. Be safe and healthy.