Tag Archives: coronavirus

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: 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.

Pandemic Diary: 21 Feb 2021

The saga of scheduling a vaccination for James has begun. First the website crashed the day his age group (65+) opened up. Since then, he’s tried several times a day to get through all the prompts to the scheduling option only to find that, although there are lots of openings for the first shot, there aren’t any available for the second one. And they won’t let you schedule the first one without the second. He’s talked in person with our local pharmacist, and over the phone with another human being, but still no go.

There’s no waiting list, so he just has to keep calling over and over, hoping to hit the jackpot. We have no idea why second shots aren’t available yet, and why you can’t schedule the first one without the second. I’m guessing they want to keep people from getting one and thinking they don’t need the next. Without the booster, your immunity is only about 50% rather than 95%. So we won’t get this plague under control unless people get both shots.

But the lack of a waiting list is preposterous. The vaccine roll-out is definitely improving now that Biden’s in charge, but it’s still disorganized and nearly impossible to navigate. At this rate, I won’t get mine until June.

We’ve just begun a conversation with Jesse about a way to spend Easter together. She’s already fully vaccinated, and pray to God James will be by then, so we might be able to find a way to do it safely for Mike and I, because it’s not likely we’ll be vaccinated before April 4. I’d be happy to sit in a chilly park 6 feet away from them to be able to celebrate together. I’ll just bundle up.

Pandemic Diary: 16 Feb 2021

It’s been a while since I felt motivated to write here. Beginning a new year knowing it will be just like last year for several months or all 12, or even worse given the new strains that are appearing. It made me feel totally exhausted emotionally, so I had no energy to engage with it in writing. But it’s time to get back to reflection.

At least we have a mature adult back in the White House. That lifts a huge weight off my feeling life. It was a horrible trip there, but we made it. Now we wait for the next neo-Nazi attack. I’m sure there will be one.

Louie has come up with a game to play during our zoom get-togethers—he calls it “Chaos”. We set up a whiteboard that we can all draw on, then Louie draws a city and has me draw a house. For some reason I haven’t figured out yet, he draws a fried egg in the middle of the city. Then Gwad starts drawing lines and boxes all over the screen, playing the part of chaos, while Louie erases them as fast as he can. He’s been wanting me to be “on his team” lately—I guess maybe being the house and his teammate makes me a safe place amidst the chaos. And he feels totally safe with Gwad, so it’s a way for Louie to deal with the chaos of his world right now in a safe place. We have a great time playing, lots of laughs, destroying the chaos with fun.

His most telling quotes from yesterday’s game:

  • “Chaos levels are high today.”
  • “Fighting chaos has never been easier in my life!”

I’m glad we can make this all a little easier for him. I can’t imagine what his sensitive 7-year-old soul is going to take away from this pandemic time.

An early Chaos adventure.