I promised myself I wouldn’t do this: use my blog site as a personal diary.
But current events are just so much crazier than anything I could come up with in my own imagination.
Welcome to 2020, the year the entire world changed.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 had started out rough for me. A close family member had suffered a ruptured appendix, requiring emergency surgery, hospital visits, doctor’s visits, and a loooong recovery period.
But at least that happened early in the year; now, hospitals all over the world are inundated with COVID-19 patients. Sure, they still would do the emergency appendectomy, but visitors are no longer allowed – and what surgical patient wants to be alone in the hospital surrounded by contagious, critical virus sufferers? What family member wants to be forced to sit at home, not knowing how well their loved one is being cared for?
For the first time in my life, I have spent a week among the healthy, but unemployed. Technically, I’m furloughed from my job (no work-at-home options available), but I do qualify for unemployment. While there were numerous complaints that the New York State unemployment site was constantly crashing due to the overwhelming number of new applications, I was fortunate in that I already had a New York State identification number, having opted to renew my driver’s license and car registration online recently. The ID number got me into the state’s computer system fairly seamlessly, and the application was easy – especially since the very first question was whether or not my unemployment had been caused by the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Now, I just wait for the benefits to start. Unlike so many others who are forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck, I am usually able to keep a small amount aside for emergencies such as this, and my monthly bills are current through the month of April. We are well stocked with groceries and essential supplies. My car has a full tank of gas (which I won’t need since I no longer leave the house except for my Remicade infusion every 8 weeks).
The first couple of days, I truly enjoyed just sitting around, knowing there was nowhere I had to be. A week later, I’m still enjoying just sitting around, knowing I have nowhere I need to be. (Betcha thought I’d claim boredom.)
I’ve again taken up baking. No need to worry about someone in the store’s bakery department preparing cupcakes and frosting while in the initial contagious stages of COVID-19 infection.
It may well come to pass that I won’t want to return to work once I am allowed to do so.
My only real complaint is that I can’t go out to do photography. Not that I’m prevented from doing so, and I know many people who still do just that, but I’m one of those who is absolutely terrified of exposure to the virus through random contact with others. I once had bronchitis, and the thought of developing pneumonia necessitating a ventilator is too upsetting to allow me to comfortably leave my home and yard. I’ve heard the local parks are overcrowded because people can’t go anywhere else. It’s hard to social distance in a crowd.
So, I take pictures inside my home or in my own backyard:
At least the last few days have been mild; I was able to go outside without a hat and gloves, making the camera so much easier to handle.
I did leave the house for my Remicade infusion yesterday, and I gotta tell you – it was really weird. Only minimal traffic, a handful of cars in the medical center’s parking lot, one receptionist (who wore a mask and gloves, and whose desk was surrounded by yellow caution tape so as to keep patients back the required distance), only 2 infusion nurses on staff (when usually there are 5 or 6), and those nurses were gloved and masked. The “big room” (with 6 closely spaced recliners) was not being used, and the one or two patients being treated were placed into separate, private cubicles (which was fine with me, ’cause I could watch TV without worrying about bothering another patient).
It used to always be my habit to stop on the way home from my infusion and treat myself to Burger King or takeout. Not anymore. Even though I know every step is being taken to protect both the workers and the customers, and even though I’ve been going to the same pizza/sub shop and the same Burger King location for years, I can’t bring myself to trust food made by someone other than me. So, this week my “infusion treat” turned out to be a sandwich made at home. Best sandwich ever!
Yep, it’s a new norm.
My thoughts and wishes for all of you who are also under lockdown. May lockdown be the worst of our problems.
Stay healthy and safe, everyone.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio