Isolation Log: Covid Date 15.a.20

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I am so thankful for strawberries. This was the second time in 4 months I have been able to get fresh fruit due to food shortages.

Day 100 of captivity. The natives are getting restless. I have had enough of being stuck inside my house because other people refuse to wear masks and distance. I have no faith in humanity to do the right thing anymore.

It has now been 100 days since the doctor told me to stop going to the grocery store and pharmacy. It has officially been 111 days since I have actually been to a grocery store myself.

I am so tired of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if I’m tired of it or not, this is the world in which we live. At this point, I’m just waiting to die because people are not wearing masks and distancing.

As frustrated as I am with the situation, I do not feel as though I am missing out on anything. I have altered my behavior to keep myself safe. Due to multiple food allergies that react by touch, I did not go very many places before the pandemic. The changes I have had to make to my routine have not been huge. So what have I changed? Here’s the list:

Groceries: This one has been the most challenging. I am so thankful and so grateful for the small army of people who kept me supplied throughout the worst of the pandemic so far. I have now successfully been able to receive grocery delivery so that I am not putting my friends at risk. I am now grocery shopping once per month. As long as I have food to eat, I do not mind NOT going to the grocery store. I loathe shopping in general. I am not missing out on anything by no longer going to the grocery store. I am fine with contactless grocery delivery once per month.

The Gym: This is the time of year when I am running outside. I typically use the treadmill from October to April. I am not missing the gym right now. That may change come this fall and winter. As long as there is not ice on the ground to cause me to fall, I will run outside. I do not feel like I am missing anything by not being able to go to the gym.

The Library: I do miss the library. However, I am taking this opportunity to reread every single book on my bookshelf to make the decision whether I should keep the novel or get rid of it. So, I am using this time to engage in a minimalist exercise. I miss the people in my book club, but we have been able to keep in touch with phone calls and letters. The library recently reopened for touchless curbside pickup only. I have requested two books and a movie for curbside pickup. I will let you know how that goes when I pick up my items. I am thankful for the touchless pick up option. If we end up officially quarantining again, I am content to read what I have in my house to make my “keep or donate” decisions.

Church: I have found a podcast that I am able to listen to and enjoy to hear Bible messages. Of course, this is in addition to Bible reading. It’s nice to hear someone’s perspective on how the Bible applies to daily life. I am fine with doing church by podcast. I don’t want to physically go to church and then meet Jesus by getting COVID-19.

The salon: We have reviewed this one previously. I am now shaving my head, which means I do not need the salon. I do not feel like I am missing anything here. In fact, I am using the money I am saving by NOT going to the salon to help pay for groceries. My groceries expense has increased about 3x due to the food shortages and price gouging.

The grocery store, the gym, the library, church and the salon are pretty much the extent of my social outings before the pandemic.

A friend recently expressed concern that I am still isolated (this is by recommendation of my doctor, remember). Yet, I am totally fine being isolated. I did not do much before the pandemic. I do not feel like I am missing anything by not being able to go any place. People’s cavalier attitude regarding this virus right now is scary. It is not worth my life to go out someplace when I have no need or desire to go anyplace. I can communicate with people through letter writing, phone calls and text messages. I’m fine.

Another concern raised by a friend is that they want to see me for coffee. If we weren’t having a pandemic, I would be open to that. Every contact you have with someone is an exposure, so seeing anyone in person right now is not safe.

However, we can still have coffee. Make your coffee and then call me on the phone. There. We are having coffee in a safe way. 

Things around me are reopening. People I know are taking HUGE unnecessary risks with their health and safety that I am uncomfortable taking. Unfortunately, if I come into contact with those people (like at work), then they are exposing me to all of their risk taking. I’m still waiting for my execution date.

People and businesses in my area are not doing enough to keep people safe right now. The safety measures are not being enforced in my area. People are being remarkably careless. No errand is worth my life at this point in time. 

We must remain vigilant. The pandemic is not over yet. As frustrated as I am with 100 days of captivity, the alternative is death. I have three little ones to take care of at home. I’ll take captivity. 

Stay safe. Wear a mask.

Isolation Log: Covid Date 13.a.20

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Jolene likes to ride on the rollator when I roll.

Trust no one. I feel like I am channeling Fox Mulder from the X-Files. You just don’t know where people have been. The health experts say that about 40% of COVID cases come from asymptomatic carriers. So you may feel fine, but you can still transmit to someone else.

I have been thinking a lot lately that people wearing a mask is just like wearing a condom for sex. They say when you sleep with someone, you “sleep” with every other person that person has been with. That’s why wearing a condom is important. Unless both parties have been tested, you don’t know if you are a carrier for HIV for some other STD. If someone does not wear a condom to prevent disease transmission, then you refuse to have sex with them.

I wish wearing a mask could be the same.

People should wear masks like they wear condoms to prevent disease transmission. You just don’t know where people have been. When someone is not wearing a mask and gets within 6 feet of you, you are then coming into contact with every other person that person has been in contact with. Same scenario. 

Everyone in my area is going around like nothing is happening. No one is wearing a mask. It’s still not safe for me to go out. If someone refuses to wear a condom, no sex. Since people in my community are refusing to wear masks, I cannot safely leave my house. 

That sucks for me. I should not be a prisoner in my own home because other people refuse to take proper precautions. I still stand by the thought that people who refuse to wear masks should be charged with negligent homicide. What do we need to do to make that a reality?

I won’t live long enough to see a vaccine, a medication, or any type of law that is on par with the risks involved. Someone is going to end up killing me as soon as we have to go back to work in our office. Even if my coworkers wear masks and take appropriate precautions, I don’t know where they’ve been. They may (and most do) take more risks than I do. 

Trust no one. With 40% of COVID cases coming from asymptomatic carriers, you just don’t know who has it.

Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet apart. 

On the plus side, I can say that I am very fortunate in that I am not in need of anything. Sure, there are a few things that would make my life easier. However, I am not experiencing any crisis as long as I stay in my house. 

Your right to “not wear a mask” infringes on my right to “live my life.” But I guess your rights are more important than mine. Just another week in isolation wondering when someone else is going to kill me when I have to go out.

This can’t go on forever. I feel like I’m on death row. I know I’m going to get killed when we go back to work. I’m just waiting for my execution date. 

Until then, I am very happy at home with my cats. Even if the internet sucks and the heat makes my symptoms worse. I would rather struggle to be alive than be murdered by someone’s negligence.

I am very happy to be alive at home for as long as it lasts.

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

 

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

 

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.