My Quarantine Life: Week 84

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You should be willing to die for your country. You deserve to die. People like you don’t deserve to live.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it? I live in America, and not only are these comments completely acceptable to say to people like me right now, they are celebrated and encouraged. 

I am not in the military. I am not willing to die for my country. I have spent the past 84 weeks trying to survive a global pandemic because I don’t want to die at all. I have 3 cats that depend on me.

To be honest, with what people have been saying to me the past two months, I am depressed. I have to stay alive for my cats and I am absolutely terrified of what would happen to them if something happens to me. However, with the mean things people are saying, I feel like the entire country wants people like me to die. It’s not just a feeling – it’s being said. It’s all over social media and it’s all over the news that the unvaccinated deserve to die.

My Quarantine Life: week 84 – I am still in isolation. When I say isolation, I mean isolation. I am still not allowed to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. I am not supposed to be indoors with other humans unless for healthcare or emergency house maintenance. All our vet appointments are curbside. Groceries are curbside or delivery. The grocery workers put food in my trunk while I sit in the car double masked. I am supposed to be double masked every single time I leave my house. The pharmacy fills all my meds through the drive-thru. I see a person through the window and the medication comes through a chute. Even though the pharmacy person is behind glass, I am double masked there too.

I work from home. I am 100% a remote worker. I very specifically looked for and applied for remote jobs only when Iost my job last spring. I know I am in doctor mandated quarantine. I know what the risks are if I go someplace against medical advice. No job is worth risking your life.

I am medically unable to be vaccinated. People say to me that this is wrong. “Follow the science, but the doctors are wrong.” Ok, so I’m supposed to follow the science. Yet when multiple doctors say your medical conditions make you ineligible to be vaccinated, I’m not supposed to believe them? I’m supposed to be vaccinated against medical advice? How is that “following the science?” Follow the science unless doctors say you cannot be vaccinated in violation of a federal mandate. In that case, the doctors are lying. Follow the science but don’t listen to the doctors – all in the same breath. It sounds very political to me. 

Our local hospital statistics this month show that of the 77 people who died of COVID this month, 75 of them were “fully vaccinated.” Two people were unvaccinated. The federal government says that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and we need to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. We are supposed to follow the science. Does this mean my local hospital is lying? Is my local hospital spreading fake news? Are we not supposed to believe the statistics they are publishing? Follow the science, but don’t believe the doctors. Got it. Makes sense. 

So I am lumped in with the unvaccinated, or the great unwashed in this country. We are hated, despised, demonized. It doesn’t matter why you aren’t vaccinated. A medical exemption is no excuse. You should be willing to die for your country (again, someone has actually said this to me).

Ever have an allergic reaction to a vaccine? I have. I have had allergic reactions to two different vaccines. You think you just use an epi-pen and it’s no big deal, right? 

Have you ever been on a ventilator? My allergic reactions have been so severe, I spent 5 months in ICU on a ventilator the last time I reacted to a vaccine. Unless you personally have been on a ventilator, in your life, you have no right to say that an allergic reaction to a vaccine is no big deal.

That’s just my reaction to one shot. It takes two (or more) shots to be considered full vaccinated against COVID. So that means if I can survive being on a ventilator without dying, I would have to get a second shot, which would probably be the one to kill me since allergic reactions get progressively worse the more of them you have.

Yet, I should just “buck up” and get in line for my vaccine? I called for a vaccine appointment. I was turned away because there are no ventilators available right now. All the ventilators are in use by COVID patients.

People have told me that having an allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine is better than getting COVID. Ok, so I have an allergic reaction. At best, I spend several months on a ventilator. At worst, I die. So, you’re telling me, that’s better than COVID? Our ICU is overfull with COVID patients on ventilators to the point we are transferring people to a neghboring state. 

Again, if you are a person who has ever been on a ventilator in your life, please feel free to chime in here and explain to me how having an allergic reaction and being on a ventilator is better than having COVID and being on a ventilator.

Again, only people who have ever been on a ventilator can chime in here. I’ll wait. 

I am in medical isolation. I am not indoors with other humans. I have no opportunities to catch or spread COVID. Can someone please explain to me how, as an unvaccinated person, I am a threat to vaccinated people? I only come into contact with other people outdoors and double masked. 

Again, I’ll wait. Explain to me how me as an unvaccinated person is a threat to a vaccinated person?

At my last doctor appointment, they re-iterated the fact that I need to continue my isolation. The doctor told me that vaccination status doesn’t matter because fully vaccinated people can still catch the virus. Fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus. Is the doctor lying? Follow the science, but don’t believe the doctors, right?

In fact, the doctor told me that fully vaccinated people are actually more dangerous to me right now that the unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated people are going around to places like the pandemic does not exist and they are not wearing masks. Unvaccinated “vulnerable” people like me are still in isolation and are double masked when we do have to interact.

The President says we have to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. This is the exact opposite of what my doctor says. So I’m not supposed to belive the doctor? People say “well, you need a new doctor.” So I need a new doctor because you do not like what the doctor is saying? Follow the science, but don’t believe the doctors.

This pandemic is getting way too political for me.

Again, all I am trying to do is outlive my cats. I am still in isolation. The only time I have indoor interactions are for medical and I am double masked. In fact, the only times this entire pandemic I have had any COVID exposures came from medical appointments.

Both times I have been exposed to COVID were because a fully vaccinated medical professional tested positive for COVID. 

The definition of vaccine is something that prevents you from getting a disease and prevents you from spreading a disease. Have we changed the definition of vaccine these past few months? Can someone please show me the updated definition for vaccine from a reputable dictionary source?

Anyways, I have been nothing but attacked, ridiculed and threatened over the past two months due to my medically unable to be vaccinated status. I’m depressed. I’m also afraid to die. I don’t want to be on a ventilator due to a vaccine reaction.

The reason why it has gotten so bad is because Biden has decided to wage war on the unvaccinated. It doesn’t matter why you are unvaccinated. It just matters that you aren’t. In fact, unvaccinated Americans are about to be fired. Companies can be fined $14,000 per unvaccinated employee. We are all about to be unemployed. So if you don’t volunteer to die for your country, we will just starve you to death instead because you won’t be able to work. 

I never thought I would see discrimination like this in America over something like health status. I’m sure if we took out the word “unvaccinated” and replaced it with “race, sex, gender” or something else, there would be an uproar. Instead, people are saying that people like me who are medically unable to be vaccinated deserve to die. 

I’m not sure how we got here, but this is why I have been quiet the past two months. I feel like everyone around me wants me to die (because they are saying it). Not only are they saying it, but this hate speech is coming from our President who is encouraging discrimination and hate against the unvaccinated, no matter the reason. 

Ever think I would get vaccinated if I didn’t have the risk of an allergic reaction? I am NOT willing to risk my life for my country.

I’m sure this post will probably get me reported or banned or something, since anyone unvaccinated is immediately silenced. I am not saying people should not get vaccinated. By all means, please DO get vaccinated if you are able. 

However, there are people in this country who are medically unable to be vaccinated and we are being persecuted. I’m sorry, but all this hate is really hard on me. I just don’t see how I’m a threat or what I did to deserve this. I don’t want to die, even though millions of other Americans are saying I deserve to die. I’m sorry, but I am just struggling right now with the prospect of losing my job and with all the people who think we deserve to die. I’m not sure how we went from “protect the vulnerable” to “you deserve to die” so quickly.

My Quarantine Life: Week 64

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It has now been over a year that I have been in isolation. Since losing my job in April, I have switched my grocery orders from delivery to curbside pickup to save money on delivery tip fees. I drive to the grocery store, park in a special parking space, and someone brings my groceries out and puts them in the trunk of my car all contact free.

As long as delivery and/or pickup options are available, I do not see myself ever going into a grocery store again. I am okay with that. With my disability, it has actually been a huge positive for me to use these services. I no longer have to worry about falling in the store (it’s happened before). I also do not have grocery store trips zapping all of my limited energy. I can use my energy for other things like work, the cats, and running.

I am scheduled for an in-person doctor appointment in July, as they have to do bloodwork. It will be my first in-person doctor appointment in a year. They have done all of my other doctor appointments this past year virtually. 

My life has changed dramatically as the result of the pandemic. The changes are all permanent. You can draw a line in the sand of the timeline of my life: before the pandemic and now. I do not foresee anything ever going back to how it was before.

I am extremely grateful that I was able to obtain the professional set of clippers last year. (If you remember there was a huge shortage of hair clippers early in the pandemic.) I have now been cutting my own hair for well over a year. I am not sure that I will ever feel comfortable or safe going back to a salon. There is no point, really. I am saving myself at least $50, if not more, by cutting it myself. 

Sure, it might be nice to have someone else cut it once or twice a year as a treat. It is challenging to cut the back of my head and neck. However, I am perfectly fine and self-sufficient taking care of my own hair now. I am keeping the buzz cut. It has helped me tremendously with my heat-induced MS symptoms. There are many other positives to this cut as well, which I have blogged about before.

Due to pandemic shortages, I have stopped using almost all disposable paper products and have changed everything over to cloth. Of course, that means my washing machine needs to be a workhorse. But I am also saving money by not needing disposable products. I am using cloth cleaning rags, cloth feminine hygiene pads, and cloth baby wipes for pee to cut down on toilet paper use (hard to get and expensive).

My dryer recently died. I am now going without a dryer as it is not a necessity and I do not have the money to replace it being unemployed. I am hanging clothes to dry indoors. We are not allowed to hang clothes outside to dry here. While lack of a dryer makes my life more challenging, it will hopefully also decrease my electric bill since it is no longer running and being used. In fact, I completely unplugged it.

I am okay wearing a mask 100% every single place I go. 

Yesterday, I had to have two workers in the basement to replace my hot water heater. They were surprised I was wearing a mask. One worker was fully vaccinated and the other worker stated he had COVID previously. I wore my mask and kept my distance out of their way. All of the doors and windows were open to allow ventilation. The work took just over two hours. 

I feel better wearing a mask. This pandemic is not over yet. It is reckless and premature to stop wearing a mask now. 

I am okay with not going anywhere. First, I didn’t go out much before the pandemic due to my multiple food allergies. It seems like I was always coming into contact with something and getting the skin allergic reaction. The only places I really went pre-pandemic were the coffee shop, the library, and the gym.

There is no point in going to the coffee shop when I can make coffee at home cheaper. Most of my friends have died in the pandemic, so there is no one to meet anyway.

As far as the library, I can use curbside pickup if I really need something. I have actually been listening to podcasts and audiobooks more instead.

There is no need for a treadmill at the gym. I run outside. When the weather does not cooperate to run outside, I either run in circles on my front porch or do my yoga DVD. I can get by without the gym. 

Other than that, there is no place I need to go.

I have a yard and a firepit. I can put my tent in my yard and roast marshmallows if I want.

I saw a neighbor outside last week who asked me if I get lonely? The answer is yes, I get lonely. However, most of my friends have died of COVID, so what am I going to do? I don’t really have anyone left to visit or socialize with. My socialization is now online. Online is the only way I have to meet new people. I have met some pretty amazing people online these past six months.

I am remote working as long as I can. The only place I really need to go is work. The two part-time jobs I found since I lost my full-time job in April are both remote jobs. I do not start working until later this month. However, I highly value the opportunity to work remotely, so you can be sure that I will work hard at both jobs. I want to retain the privilege to work from home as long as I possibly can.

The pandemic is not over. No one should be risking their life for their job. It’s not worth it. I’m even willing to take less pay to be able to work from home. My life is worth more than any job.

Yes, I am lonely still being in quarantine. However, I am so very happy. I get to be with the cats. I am alive and healthy.

When I get lonely and crave human connection, I can find it online. It’s a new world.

15 months into the pandemic and nothing has changed for me. I have still not been indoors with other humans except for when I have had to have service people in my house. My only goal is to survive the pandemic and be able to take care of the cats. 

I’m still here. I’m alive and well.

My Best Life Now

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There is a country song that talks about living like you are dying. Often, I think that only people with terminal illnesses fully appreciate this song. We do not tend to think about death in everyday life. We are too busy living to think about death.

This past year, I have not been able to avoid death. It has been front and center in my face for the past 15 months. I have lost so many people to COVID. If bad luck comes in 3’s, I have reached it. COVID deaths, job loss, and identity theft. The pandemic has been life changing.

A few months ago, I started a photo project to curate my photos into a collection of the greatest hits of my life. I now have one photo album of 200 photos of my happiest memories. Curating the collection was an amazing experience. I made the book in case I end up in a nursing home or for when I die, I can lay there and look at my happiest moments.

While that may sound sad, in reality, it is making me very happy. I am enjoying the book now. It beings me such joy to remember and relive happy times in my life. My photo album reminds me to be grateful of all the wonderful things that have happened to me in life. Even though this past year has been downright horrid, I have had a lot of positives in my life up until this point.

Looking back on my greatest hits photo collection, I also realize that I have a lot to look forward to. There have been a lot of huge changes in my life as the result of the pandemic. You don’t grow and change without a little pain.

As difficult as things may be right now, with no job and no unemployment due to identity theft, I realize that I am actually living my best life right now.

I am secure in who I am as a person. I have goals in life. My goals are simple – to keep my family together and to keep us all safe. When I do die, what I will remember and think about is my family. It won’t matter what jobs I had or what I did for a living.

Work is what you do to pay the bills so that you can live your best life.

My best life is being home with the cats and running. In order to meet both those goals, I have to keep us all housed and together. I have to keep us all COVID-free in a reckless world that mistakenly thinks the pandemic is over. (Far from it – in fact, this is the most dangerous phase of the pandemic yet.)

My future goals are to continue to work remote permanently. I want to be home with my cats so we are together and safe. As long as I am doing respectable work that pays the bills, it doesn’t really matter what I do. All that matters is that we are together.

I recently found two part-time jobs that both allow me to work remotely. I have started one job, and I love it! I have returned to teaching, which is truly my passion. The other part-time job is a remote office position that does not start until late June. I am confident that I can make it work, as it is a prestigious and professional company. They value my skills and my life by allowing me to work from home. In return, I will work very hard for them. I value the privilege that remote work bring in allowing me to realize my goals and dreams.

Losing my job was the biggest threat to my life, family, health and safety I have ever faced. However, it has resulted in great opportunity. I now have the opportunity to live my best life. 

Being able to keep the cats together and outlive them is my only goal. It’s pretty easy to be happy in life when you are happy about what you have and don’t want much. I just want to keep the cats and I together and take care of them.

I am doing my best to pick up the pieces of the worst situation and move on. 

No matter what the future may bring, I can confidently say that I am reaching for my dreams and achieving them. I am truly living my best life now.

Dare To Dream

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Last fall, as COVID number spiraled out of control, I realized that the pandemic is here to stay. Schools have been open for in-person instruction here since September 2020 with no mask requirements. The COVID positivity rate in my area right now is 19% and no one cares.

I do not have a death wish. I care.

Despite all the people claiming the pandemic is “over” as the death rate continues to climb, we are actually in this for the long haul. 

I started to evaluate my life with the pandemic in mind. This is no temporary thing. Masks, social distancing, and death will be with us for quite awhile. It is getting even worse now as everyone throws caution to the wind with the vaccines.

Given the deadly normal, I decided that working from home needs to stay. 

I am able to safely obtain groceries either by delivery or contact-free pickup. The only other reasons I have to put myself at risk of death are for medical purposes and for work. 

No job is worth your life. <tweet that>

There is this absolutely disgusting and cruel LIE going around that people do not want to work because they are making more money on unemployment. That is untrue. Many people are unemployed and not receiving any income because they cannot get through to unemployment to file a claim. 

The real reason – in fact, the ONLY reason – why employers cannot find people to work is because no job is worth your life. My life is worth more than $15, thank you very much. 

Unfortunately, in America, the economy is worth more than human life. The USA has to be first in everything, so they are doing the best they can to reach a million COVID deaths by opening everything up and telling people to stop wearing a mask.

I digress. However, this is the reality in which we live.

Last fall I decided I wanted to find a part-time work from home sidegig for extra income. Prices on everything have increased substantially, yet my income did not. Hey, I just paid $35 for a quart of milk a few weeks ago. That’s a huge increase from $4 for a quart of milk.

So, last fall I began investigating the possibility of making remote work permanent. 

It was a lengthy process of trial and error, learning new technologies and trying to trouble shoot. I figured if I could just find a part-time remote job it would give me extra income. The plan was to ask my full-time employer at the time to make remote work a permanent option. I knew this request would be a long shot. Indeed, I lost that job in April 2021.

With life in a global pandemic that is not getting any better, my dream has been to make remote work permanent. This way the cats and I can be safe. I have to figure out how to live another 15-20 years to be able to take care of them.

Losing my job in April 2021 was the worst thing to ever happen to me. It was my only source of income. It was a direct threat to my very life. If I am forced to go back to an in-person workplace, I will not survive the pandemic. Losing my job threatened my ability to keep the cats and I together and to take care of them. It was a greater threat to my family than when I needed to exit my apartment a few years ago.

Making my dream of permanent remote work a reality now became a need and not a want. It is the only way for me to save my life so I do not die. This is not an exaggeration.

This past month I have been unemployed, I have no income. I have not been able to get through to unemployment to file an initial claim. At this point in time, NYS has no clue I am unemployed. Their website crashes. Their phone system says high call volume and hangs up.

Finding a new job and finding one quickly needs to be done so that the cats and I do not end up separated and homeless. Yet I cannot just do any job. If I don’t want to die, I need to be able to work remotely.

My initial dream last fall was to be able to make remote work permanent so that I could focus on being home with the cats, running, and (someday maybe) travel. Travel will have to wait at least a decade for the pandemic to end.

With remote work, I will be able to be more in control of my life and human interactions. I do not, after all, have a death wish.

In between the over 100 phone calls a day I make to unemployment these past few weeks, I have been job searching for remote work.

Another goal I have is to go back to working 2-3 jobs instead of just one. 

I know, I know. In my bio for this blog, Rewind Live Slow, I state that I stopped working multiple jobs to try to slow down my life. 

The reality is that you should not put all your eggs in one basket. Only working one job and then losing that job means I now have no income. This is the worst situation ever. To prevent this situation from happening in the future, I need to be sure I have multiple income streams. So I need to either work one “main” full-time job and find something part-time to supplement or work multiple part-time jobs. 

I’ve done it before. I spent 20 years working multiple part-time jobs while putting myself through school. 

There is a difference this time.

Those 20 years I spent working multiple jobs putting myself through school, I was working 60-80 hours a week to make ends meet. This was before I started on my minimalist journey. This is when I was going 110% all the time.

This time, I am not going to work 60-80 hours a week. I can’t do it anymore physically. Not to mention, I want time to be with my cats. Life is short and precious. I want time to be with the ones I love.

So my goal is to work multiple jobs, but not to work more than 50 hours a week to make ends meet. By having multiple income streams, I will hopefully not ever be in this situation ever again of not having any income at all. I am making sacrifices in my life to reduce my expenses so that I can get by on less income.

I am proud to announce that it appears I have realized my dream.

I was recently offered and accepted two different part-time jobs that are both remote. With the two jobs together, I should be working about 35-40 hours per week. The income should hopefully be just enough to make ends meet (barely).

I’m realizing my dream.

One part-time job starts now, and the other starts next month. The jobs only pay once a month, so I won’t see any real income until July. That means I am going three months – April, May, June – with no income. It’s hard and it hurts. It would help if I could get unemployment, but they are too busy to answer their phone. I will not give up trying to contact unemployment. When I am finally able to file a claim, they owe me for these three months I am unemployed. 

The good news is that I have a month to get used to the one part-time job before I have to start the other one. The part-time job I am starting right now is only 3-5 hours per week so far, but at least it is something.

My new dream that I am daring to dream is to take control of my life, my interactions and my schedule by working remotely 100% of the time.

I am making that dream a reality.

Dare to dream. I am so blessed. As long as I can keep this house to keep the cats and I together, everything is fine. All I need to do is outlive the cats so I can give them the best life possible. If I can do that, then I will have lived a good life. 

That’s what rewind live slow is all about.