Category Archives: Daily life

Pandemic Diary: 28 March 2021

James got his second Pfizer shot this past week, so in 10 days, we’ll both be fully vaccinated. He’s protected enough with just the first shot (85%) that we’re going down to Brooklyn for Easter. That’s the best resurrection I can imagine right now.

It’s cold and rainy today, after a week of sunny spring weather. New England always teases us with spring before returning to cold, and sometimes even snow. Gives the old curmudgeons that New England seems to breed something to complain about. Even though it happens every year.

We got our refinance money and have been boosting the economy buying home improvement stuff that we couldn’t afford before. We’re still waiting on our stimulus checks.

New rug, old dog

Pandemic Diary: 16 March 2021

I just read a NYTimes article about “disenfranchised grief”—grief that isn’t acknowledged. There is a lot of it that has built up in many of us who haven’t lost anyone close to us, or lost our jobs, or been evicted. Our losses are “smaller”; e.g., losing time with our grandchildren; missing out on big events like weddings, funerals, graduations; canceling travel plans; or just being unable to be with people face-to-face.

All those little losses add up, though, and need to be acknowledged. We have to give ourselves permission to feel it. It’s common to say, “Other people have it a lot worse than me, so I can’t grieve the small things.” I say it all the time—”I’m lucky because I already worked from home so my job wasn’t affected”; “No one close to me has died, so I’m very fortunate”; etc. I feel sad that we can’t be with our kids and grandkids. It was painful to have to have a memorial service for my brother-in-law, who died from lung cancer, over Zoom—it tore me apart to see my niece sobbing and not be able to hold her. I miss wandering around TJMaxx for a couple of hours.

But I haven’t lost a loved one to COVID. We haven’t been evicted or lost our income. We can afford to put food on the table. So my grief isn’t as important as others’. I don’t have a right to grieve.

Not so! There’s no hierarchy of grief. My grief is just as legitimate as anyone else’s and needs to be honored. How to do that is up to me—I need to find ways to grieve openly that work for me. I’m not good at grief in general, so it won’t be easy. Not that grief ever is.

Pandemic Diary: 14 March 2021

I was finally able to get a vaccination, after a couple weeks of searching for an available appointment. We had to drive 2 hours to get it, but that was actually a bonus—a road trip after a year cooped up! It was fun. Mike is the one who finally scored me the appointment, with a Twitter alert. When he heard the ping on his phone, he dropped everything and ran to the computer, according to Jesse. I ended up with 2 appointments that day and hung on to both until I was sure the first one was going to happen. Then I canceled it so someone else could get it.


I’m among the first in the US to get the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. My doc said it’s fine, and it only requires one instead of two, so that’s a big plus. James gets his 2nd one next week, so we’ll be all clear by Easter and can actually travel to Brooklyn to spend it with the Piscitello crew! That’s the best present of all.

Pandemic Diary: 6 Mar 2021

Due to the diligent efforts of my son-in-law, I finally have an appointment for a vaccination! We have to drive 2 hours to Worcester to get it, but I’ll do what I have to. It’ll make a nice roadtrip for James and I.

I just canceled all my Tuesday lessons, as well as Weds morning just in case I feel lousy after the shot. I’m getting the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose, no booster. So as of 2 weeks from Tuesday (time for it to take full effect), I’ll be protected from hospitalization or death.

And since James is getting his booster on 3/24, we might just be able to go to Brooklyn for Easter! All hope is not lost.

Pandemic Diary: 5 Mar 2021

I’ve been writing in a global pandemic journaling project, so I haven’t posted anything here in a couple of weeks. Here are a couple of the other journal entries to keep you updated.

[22 Feb ’21] The system for getting a vaccination makes me intensely angry. It’s completely unjust, and a mess. This is a global pandemic, people! If we don’t get people vaccinated, it’s just going to continue to kill people. More than 500,000 people have been killed by COVID in the US alone. That’s half a million. Over 12.5 times the number of people in Pittsfield. Imagine 12 and a half Pittsfields dead. I can’t imagine it. The numbers are beyond reckoning now. Globally, 2.5 million+ people have died. So many unnecessary.

The US accounts for 20% of all COVID deaths, in the whole world. 20%. Something is horribly wrong here. And I lay that at Trump’s feet. He got the vaccines approved quickly, but he did nothing about getting them distributed. What good are vaccines if people can’t get them?

I’m totally disgusted with this mishandled nightmare.

***********

[1 Mar ’21] Had a really bad fibromyalgia episode Sunday night, out of nowhere. I’d been doing well for a couple of weeks, but we had a windstorm that knocked out our power around midnight, which means my CPAP shut off, which woke me up. So I had to go sleep in the guest room so my snoring wouldn’t wake up James. By then, I was fully awake and noticed some FM pain beginning. In a few minutes, it was a total-body throb, with tingling in my joints. I think it’s the worst pain episode I’ve had yet. Gabapentin didn’t help, so I ended up cancelling my morning classes and taking an Ambien to get to sleep. The whole next day I was trembly and in low-grade pain. I cancelled my evening classes, too.

Today it was hard to get up, and then my back seized up while drying my hair, of all things. I managed to hobble to my study and teach my morning lessons, and after sleeping/resting for a couple of hours, the pain is gone. I’m still exhausted, though! My FM has been consistently worse throughout the pandemic than it was before. Stress triggers flare-ups, so the past year has pretty much been one long flare-up!

Obviously not a great couple of weeks. It’s sunny today, so maybe I’ll bundle up (it’s 22ºF and windy, so the “RealFeel” is 6ºF) and go for a walk. That will help in many many ways.