By Margaret V, June/2020
I don’t know about you, but I am getting so tired of this! Tired of the news that scares us daily (even as things sloooooowly start opening up), the cleaning, and being afraid of people! I miss my BFF sister, and extended family, and live music venues, and well, just people-watching. Just passing the time of day with strangers in a store, even.
My hands have been washed raw.
I’m also tired of the mixed messages from our political leaders; I’m tired of trying (and failing) to get Clorox wipes or Purell; and I’m really tired of walking the hallways of my floor just to get exercise (well, when it’s bad weather and when I’m too anxious to deal with unmasked people out there who think this virus is “nothing”). Oh, and those “Cov-Idiots” and “Boomer Removers” — I will need a whole other article to expound about them!
I am an active senior (well, I was) living in a Senior Residence apartment building, in a tiny apartment. My husband and I share this 450-square-foot space, and well, it’s been challenging. I’m not saying “divorce” was on the table, but definitely it’s been an episode of the “Bickerson’s” at times. It’s been four months of “Groundhog Day” (remember that old movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell?). We’ve fallen in a “hibernation” routine that’s so dull and repetitive most days, and other days we grieve, because of the numbing isolation rules that have stolen the sweetness of life.
I am so fed up with the fear and anxiety that hits the moment I open my eyes in the morning. My parents survived WW2, in German-occupied Holland, and I relate somewhat because of the “hiding.” But our foe is invisible, but said to be deadly to people in my age group.
I’m also tired of the mask-shaming, even by other seniors! When trying to limit people in our tiny elevator, my husband and I have been called “idiots,” “evil,” and “paranoid.” Aren’t these other people watching the news? Don’t they understand they are part of the vulnerable sector, prone to complications? Strange.
Oh, and the lack of medical information! Daily we ask ourselves: Do I have Covid-19? Did I have it? Do I have antibodies? How long is immunity? What’re the latest symptoms? (From lack of smell or a rash, to a coma-induced respirator experience!) When is the second wave? Am I asymptomatic? Does everyone have it?
There has been learning though, as my vocabulary has grown. We’ve learned a new language of pandemic words: antibodies, super-spreaders, WHO, asymptomatic, herd immunity, contact tracing, flatten the curve, host cell, and best of all: Incubation. We are the next petri dish for the smart, evasive, invasive virus. We are getting mad. We are going mad!
There have been some creative moments, though. I’ve learned how to make masks without sewing, how to properly clean them, and my hands, and how to order groceries online. I’ve even had to cut my own hair (I’m starting a trend: the “shattered” bob-cut look). I’ve even made my own kind of hand sanitizer.
Basically, I’ve been drifting, though, in the long afternoons. Counting the TP rolls, canned goods, and the dwindling wine rack. Lots of naps and too many snacks and Netflix. Just worrying, and waiting….
But, there have been moments of kindness too….
My husband has stepped up and really talked me “off a cliff” when anxiety threatens to overtake me. He has found some good news talk shows to lift my spirits and remind me that we’re not alone in all this.
Also, my mother died in a LTC home about a month ago (she gave COVID the finger and had a heart attack) and although we were tragically denied a chance to see her in her last moments, we so appreciated the staff at the LTC home that kept in contact with us during mom’s last hours. We were also denied our rituals of a proper funeral (only my sister and niece were able to attend the burial because of COVID rules), but so many people reached out to me via emails and texts and online cards. That was overwhelmingly kind, and so appreciated.
So, I guess it’s a time for newrituals. Today I’ll expand my “bubble” and go to a properly distanced patio restaurant, just opened, in the neighbourhood. Oh, the chance to appreciate once again food that we didn’t have to cook ourselves. Maybe even see people – at a 2 metre length, of course. Hopefully I won’t get approached by someone and just run, screaming, for home again.
Maybe I’ll make some huge cardboard WINGS and that will be my visual clue for others to “stay back”!
But tell me, how are you doing?