Right now I am pretty much isolating from other humans aside from my family…what a difference two weeks makes! I was on vacation and now we now have this pandemic upon us –Covid-19. So scary.
The last time I wrote I was on vacation. We took the trek down south. My laptop broke somewhere during that trip -so I didn’t continue to write. Then we arrived home and literally the world changed – and writing about my trip seems really trite and un-important now.
When we left for the trip I was leery about the virus. At that moment it was isolated in Washington state and maybe a couple other places where people from the cruise ships were being quarantined. But still I watched the news closely as we went south to Florida and then back up north. I was pretty nervous.
When we got to Orlando – our fifth stop- I was burned out. I planned the trip with too many stops – too many in and out of hotels or AirBNBs – too much lugging of bags and stuff in and out of rooms. SO in Orlando — which is a sea of humans! – all of Florida is a sea of humans- I am sorry it just too many humans in one place for me- the traffic was awful. I am just a country bumpkin from MD. So I am just complaining. You Floridians are just used it. Anyway in Orlando we had a great AirBNB – we chilled – we said no to the parks (virus potential) – we sat at the pool on one warm day (we brought cool weather with us) – and we played some pickleball. Good day. Found a nice dining area with many places to eat. We really took a few days to relax and that was good.
We then travelled north from Orlando with stops in Savannah- nice but I like Charleston better – and then to Virginia Beach-where we saw a very close friend – I am so glad for this visit because it might be a while until I see her again. After Virginia Beach we headed home.
It was within about 48 hours after we got home that things began to get worse with the virus in the US. And that’s when we found out my brother-in-law who was in Spain was ill with the virus. That made things super real. He is recovering and is well cared for in Spain and he and his wife should be home soon-not sure about their ability to get flights home- they are making the best of a very tough situation.
Last weekend- was it last weekend – seems like eons ago now -we were going to head to the beach for the weekend – I woke the day we were to leave and just had a feeling we should stay home. It was just a gut thing so we decided to postpone the trip. Within the next 48 hours businesses in Maryland began to close and people asked to social distance – work from home – schools were cancelled. I think for most people this was quite a shock.
For us staying isolated was not a hard choice- it may be hard on some days but it is necessary. My 78 year old mother lives with us and has health issues. She was in the hospital and then rehab over 6 weeks last fall. When she gets ill she gets ill. We have to keep her safe.
In my home the soap, sanitizer and wipes are used all the time. I have always been a hand washer – because living with farm animals requires getting into muck so you wash a lot. But I have really ramped it up more. Yesterday I had to visit a medical office and when I got home I removed my shoes to be washed – washed my hands -and changed clothing and washed my hands again. Overkill? Maybe- but I would rather be safe – for my mother’s sake.
I read an article in The Atlantic this AM that pointed out that this thing we are all doing individually is also a thing we are all doing collectively. All of us making sacrifices to hopefully save lives. This isn’t an easy thing to stop life as we know it. We Americans are used to our freedoms. We aren’t used to being made to hunker down, to social distance. It has taken some longer than others to get on-board but when you see the increasing numbers of sick and the numbers of deaths each day you realize this is truly for the greater good of our country.
My Nana used to tell me about her brother dying of Pneumonia when he was only about 21 years old. The story was he walked a girl home in the pouring rain in Brooklyn, NY and took sick the next day and never recovered. This was never mentioned to me as the Flu Pandemic of 1918- but later when we talked about Great Uncle Joseph dying my mother said that it was- in fact -during that time. I just remember how my Nana still hung on to that loss deep inside. The brother that never got to be a man.
Recently I read and article about this Flu Pandemic of 1918, that said “By the time it wound down in 1919, 28% of all Americans were infected and 675,000 had died — 10 times as many as World War I.” (see footnote below). This is very sobering.
I never thought in my lifetime I would be dealing with a Pandemic. Never. Ever. Who really ever wants to go there and think of that? But here we are. Its hard for most of us to wrap our minds around it. And harder is keeping up with all the information that comes at us from minute to minute – sometimes second by second. Honestly we are so lucky that we live in this age with info at our fingertips – it is part of what can keep us safe because knowledge is power- quick access to current news was not something they had in 1918. Also the internet and social media keeps us connected to each other – but it also can just be too much. Too overwhelming. When it gets too much I have to get away from it. I can’t watch the stock market tumble daily. I can’t read sad story after sad story. I want to keep up on what is going on but sometimes I have to turn it off. And I do.
What do I do? Post photos of my dogs or other animals to hopefully make others smile for a minute – maybe forget what we are facing for a second. I read. I binge watch shows with Kevin. I exercise. I hike in the fields behind my house. We try to help our neighbors. We shop for each other. We watch out for each other. I sit with myself. I pray.
And aside from this virus life goes on. Another brother in law is having a health scare, his roommate has cancer. My cat has gone missing- yes another one – yet again. We had to order hay for the horses. Buy their feed. My husband continues to work. We have to make meals. Two of my kids remain employed for now- thank goodness. My other son leaves tomorrow to go to basic training for the Navy. A hard thing to see your kid off in normal times but in these times? Well very hard….more on that soon.
Life just goes on. I hear cars whizzing by my house. Yesterday it seemed like everyone was out in our town shopping- as we were. And I was like people go home – and they were likely thinking the same thing! I am sure we were all worrying that things might be shut down tighter here in Maryland as the case have increased quite a bit in a couple days. We all were stocking up on food and supplies – no toilet paper anywhere. We did not hoard. Hoarding = not helpful.
I want to feel normal but yet it doesn’t. Everything has changed. At this point I am taking things one day at a time and I am trying to find smiles in my day and live for the moment. It helps me to cope. We all have to find our things that will help calm our minds.
We are all sacrificing, we are all probably scared, bored, mad…so many things at once.
Let’s just try to be kind, be helpful, be loving — and be safe.
Footnote: Article in The Courier Journal, March 18, 2020