Isolation Log: Covid Date 10.a.20

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Jude likes to snuggle on the couch.

One of my really good friends of over 20 years passed away from COVID this week. This is the fourth person in 9 weeks that I know who has died of COVID. This pandemic has been very hard for me emotionally, and the fact that I am surrounded by irresponsible and ignorant people is not helping. 

Last weekend I went into my work office and protesters were downtown wanting everything to reopen. I overheard one of the evil neighbor kids asking their parent what coronavirus was, and the parent responded “something people made up so you don’t have to go to school.” 

My local school district has been delivering lawn signs to congratulate graduating seniors. They are doing this in large groups of 15-20 staff where no one wears a mask or bothers to social distance. They were all milling around in the street and hugging. 

I will remember the irresponsibility and blatant disregard for safety displayed by my local school district by voting “no” on the school budget increase this year.

Everytime I see these things, not only does it make me terrified to leave my house, but it just plain makes me cry. I do not understand how people can be so ignorant and think that this is fake, when I have experienced such profound loss and death.

One person commented this week that everyone who is dying is elderly. This is not true. Of the four people I know who have died, they have all been in good health with no pre-existing conditions and under the age of 65. I have another friend whose 6 year old is currently in ICU with the disease.

How many more people have to die before people in my area wake up and take this seriously?

I am heartbroken and terrified.

Protesters complain about their “rights” and say they don’t have to wear a mask.

If you refuse to wear a mask, you should be charged with negligent homicide. 

That’s what it is. It is a very simple concept to understand. It is exactly like drinking and driving. If you are stupid enough to drive when you have been drinking, you can kill someone. If you are stupid enough to leave your house without wearing a mask and staying 6 feet away from people, you can kill someone. They are one and the same. The only difference is that a car accident is a quick death; COVID-19 is a slow, long, painful one. 

My greatest challenges are figuring out how to obtain food and working. As long as I can do those two things, I can manage everything else. The challenge is that I can only control myself. I cannot control people around me. If people around me refuse to wear a mask and social distance, then it is not safe for me to leave my house. That makes it very challenging for me to work.

My region of New York is reopening. Of course, it is too soon and people are acting stupidly. Our COVID rate has tripled since reopening started. But that’s ok. People in my county do not care if people live or die. I never thought I would live in a world where the value of a human life is nothing, but here we are. 

On to the good stuff for this week …

After waiting over 7 weeks on an order I placed back in March, the allergy friendly flour and allergy friendly “milk” I ordered finally arrived! I now have food to be able to eat breakfast again!

Once the flour and milk are gone, that is going to be it for a very long time. The factories that make my allergy friendly specialty items are closed. They estimate that when they do reopen, it will take them at least 2 months to get back to capacity. 

I currently have about 8 cups of allergy friendly flour. However, I am going to set about 2 cups of it aside to save for Christmas. I am anticipating that it will be a long time until I am able to obtain my speciality items again, and if I save 2 cups for Christmas, I can make something yummy to look forward to when we enter the second or even third wave of the pandemic.

I am so happy to be able to have breakfast again!

I have been working on minimizing my bathroom, and will be doing a minimalist bathroom post soon.

My neuro symptoms have been getting worse with the heat and I am relying on my rollator more. Luckily, I do not have to drive to work right now, so I am not a danger to anyone else when my vision goes and I am not balancing well. 

As challenging as the tech issues are, I am very happy to be able to work from home. I enjoy being with my cats. I feel safe here. I am also afraid of what will happen to my house once I do go back to work with all of the children running around unsupervised. It was Memorial Day weekend last year when someone took a baseball bat to the side of my house and traumatized my cats. 

Right now, I am taking one day at a time.

I am working from home with my cats where I am safe and very happy about it. I am so thankful to still have a job.

I would love to be able to go out and do something, but unfortunately, I am unable to do so because other people act stupidly. If everyone would wear a mask and abide by social distancing, I would be able to leave my house safely. I can only dream. 

After knowing so many people who have died recently, I don’t want to be next. I can’t leave orphans.

Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet away. 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 9.a.20

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Jolene is a happy baby.

Bubble space. It’s a pretty simple concept that I would teach to all my pre-school students back when I was teaching. I spent over a decade as head teacher in an inclusive classroom in the public school district.

An inclusive classroom meant that my class size was limited to 14 students, about 25% of them had some sort of disability (usually on the autism spectrum), and I had a dedicated teacher’s aide in the room with me at all times. In addition to the dedicated teacher’s aide, there would be other professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists and social workers who would frequently be in the classroom working with a particular student on a certain skill or with a topic.

My weekly lesson plans included not only the basics such as letter recognition, pre-reading skills, science, colors, numbers, but also social and emotional skills. We would use modelling and positive reinforcement to help teach kids how to be nice to others.

One of the big social emotional skills taught in my classroom was the concept of bubble space. As many of the children in my classroom were on the autism spectrum or had some sort of sensory disability, many of them did not like to be touched. 

I would teach all the students that they live in their own personal bubble. If you take both your arms and hold them out, that is your imaginary bubble space. If you measure fingertip to fingertip like that, it is also supposed to roughly equal your height, but I digress.

Kids were supposed to ask before entering someone else’s bubble space. For example, you should ask someone first if it is okay to hug them. This was also a great exercise in teaching kids the difference between good touch / bad touch for abuse prevention. If someone enters your personal bubble space in a way that is not okay with you, then you need to say something about it. Always tell two adults. This is in case the first adult does not do the right thing (report it), hopefully the second adult will.  

The point is, everyone has a personal bubble space.

Now, I have seen a marked decline in society since I stopped teaching pre-school. I’m not sure what has happened to people from the time they left my classroom at age 5 to adulthood, but it seems like the entire world has forgotten the concept of bubble space.

Do I need to go back to teaching pre-school and invite all of the adults? Get with the program, people! Bubble space!

Bubble space is essentially the same thing as social distancing. For some reason, many people, or, at least, many people in my area, are unable to social distance. Why do you not understand the concept of bubble space? Four year olds get it, but the adults have forgotten.

It’s not hard. Yet people do not seem to be able to do it.

I live in a bubble and I would appreciate it if people would respect my bubble space and not enter my bubble. 

Why is this concept hard?

Bubble space is no longer a part of the manners I teach to pre-school children. Bubble space is now a life and death concept for every human being on the planet.

This is a reminder from one of your educators to please remember what we taught you in pre-school and respect the bubble space. It’s not hard. I can’t get over the fact that 4 year olds get this, but somehow adults don’t. 

Did you get dumber as you got older? Or do you think once you hit the age of 5 this no longer applies?

Maybe someone needs to hire me to teach adults now instead. 

Wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from people.

Isolation Log: Covid Date 8.a.20

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I finally got a nice photo of Simon. He is sitting in the fabric box.

What can I say? We are going to re-open too early. It is glaringly obvious that some people think the economy is more important than human life. So people will die and nobody cares. Wave two will be deadlier than what we have experienced. Or, at least that is what the history of pandemics tells us.

Where I am, the food shortages are getting worse. I am now out of anything to make breakfast. I have used all of my allergy-friendly flour. There is none to be had in the stores. The order I placed online in March has yet to arrive. I do have three boxes of allergy friendly cereal, but no allergy friendly milk. The milk status is the same as the flour status.

I do have rice, beans, chicken, pork chops, potatoes and carrots, so I can make food. I just won’t be having traditional breakfast foods. I can no longer make breads or muffins.

The health department only counts confirmed COVID cases, not presumed positives. This means, you have to be tested. My county just started testing for COVID-19 last week. We have been quarantined for almost 2 months, yet they JUST STARTED offering testing now. Sounds smart, doesn’t it?

They say because we only have 33 positives, we are doing a great job and can re-open. Yet there are 140 presumed positives quarantined because there was no testing in this county prior to 7 days ago and they do not have transportation to get tested. 

No one wears a mask. When I drive the car once a week to keep it going, parking lots at every single business I pass are full. My neighbors are having house parties every week because they are out of work. There are groups of 10-15 people running around between 5 different houses.

Three times I have narrowly avoided neighbor kids getting way too close to me during my daily outside time. They say that coronavirus is a hoax. They taunt me and say they can get as close as they want to me because coronavirus is not real. My doctor told me, coronavirus has a 90% chance of killing me given my medical history. But according to the neighbors, my doctor is lying.

I like to have daily outside time, and it makes it hard to go outside my house when people think none of this is real and try on purpose to infect others. There is no recourse for this behavior. The police have other things to do.

The house next to the one with the evil children in question is COVID positive. That person spent over a week in the hospital with a 105 temperature. Yet, the neighbors still think COVID is not real. We are all just having one awesome vacation.

I know 3 people who have died from COVID and 2 more who currently have it. Yet, according to everyone in my county, none of this is real.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone. 

I haven’t been feeling well in the past week or so. My doctor’s office said since I am in the high risk group, I should go to the hospital. But there is nothing anyone can do. There is no cure. They try to make you comfortable. I do not want to go to a hospital. I will either live or die in my house with my cats. I am comfortable here. I’m not getting close to other people, so I’m not infecting anyone. (To be honest, I do not think I have COVID. I think it is my neuro issues acting up). 

Unlike my neighborhood children, who are actively trying to spread the “fake” disease that they think is so hilarious. It’s the new game they are playing since there is no school and no internet here to do school online. You can only sit a kid down with a worksheet for so long.

On to the positives – 

I am really happy to be home with the cats. I am thankful for this house. I may be a reluctant homeowner, but I can tell you, I am thankful for this house now. This house has survived both World Wars, the Spanish Flu, and the Great Depression. It will survive COVID and the Great Depression part 2.

People are still dropping supplies off to me by using my cooler. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. The fact that food is delivered to my cooler reminds me that there are good people in this world. That’s one of the few things giving me hope right now.

This week, in addition to the 2 bags of groceries in my cooler, was a small bag of 5 cloth face masks. Even if no one else in my area uses face masks, I do. Face masks have been proven to work.

While people have been good about bringing me food, I have been so focused on food (and what I can’t get due to shortages), that I have forgotten about other supplies. My calendar this week reminds me I need to change the furnace filter and it is the last one.

I placed a call to my local, small business hardware store from where I usually get the filters to see if they are open. Not only are they open, but I have an appointment day and time next week I can go there to get the filters. Since I am in the high-risk group, they are going to make it even easier for me. Not only am I going at a special “low traffic” time, but they told me to call from the parking lot to pay by credit card, and they will bring the supplies out and put them in my trunk so I have zero human interaction.

Now, the doctor told me I am not supposed to go to the grocery store or pharmacy because I am in the high risk group, but I think a transaction like the one the hardware store is offering me will be okay. That is essentially how I am getting food anyways – people leave things in my cooler. Except this time, the hardware store will be putting things in the car trunk for me.

God bless the essential workers and everything they are enduring right now to keep us supplied and safe. Not only is this hardware store keeping me safe, but it seems like putting things in my trunk is safer for the employees as well. 

This will get worse before it gets better. We are reopening in a few week and many more people will die. At some point, I have faith that people will get a clue and realize that human life is more valuable than the economy. 

The fact that people are putting food in my cooler for me is what gives me that hope in humanity.

Thanks. 

 

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