Tag Archives: Diary

Ow

Worst fibromyalgia pain I’ve had yet. Feels like I broke a rib and injured my knee. Neither of which has happened.

Two Gabapentin, 2 methocarbamol, 2 acetaminophen, and half a Percoset later—pain still there, but at least now I’m falling asleep.

Pandemic Diary: 20 Sept 2021

I sit at a wobbly picnic table in our friends’ backyard, squirrels chattering at me, huge butternuts falling around me, and kids playing in a backyard somewhere near. My friends and James are having a meeting of the spirituality committee for L’Arche Ottawa, discussing how to move into the future in a way that serves everyone’s spiritual needs best. With a community made up of core members who are differently abled in different ways, and assistants who help them navigate their days together, plus community leaders and volunteers, it’s a challenge to create an inclusive space for spiritual nourishment.

The fact that we’re in Canada is a milestone in the pandemic. Canada opened its borders to the U.S. at the end of August. We had to take COVID tests 72 hours before crossing. We got there 74 hours after our tests, so we had to take another one right there before they’d let us through. It was negative, so they let us through. (The U.S. hasn’t opened its borders to Canadians yet, for some weird who-knows-why reason. They just announced they’ll open it in November.)

We’ve been in Montreal for a week, and here in Ottawa for one overnight. (Although if this meeting goes on much longer, we’ll need to stay another night!) It’s been kind of like rising from the dead being able to walk around and sit in parks with people and go to jazz shows at our favorite club, Diese Onze. It will be very hard to go back to our daily sameness. We always say we’re going to keep walking every day and go to the great places we have in the Berkshires, etc. But when we get home and I go back to my split-shift that turns 5 hours of actual work into a 10-hour day, we quickly lose the vitality to carry it out. And we always say, This time we’ll really do it. Maybe this time we really will.

Pandemic Diary: 20 Aug 2021

And it’s still a pandemic diary. I got so tired of writing about it that I took a couple months off. And just when you think it’s over, it comes back in new clothes. The Delta variant is proving a slippery monster. The CDC is now urging we get a “booster” shot to reduce the chances of another surge. Other experts say we shouldn’t do that because it could create vaccine-resistant variants.

And so many people in the world haven’t even gotten one shot yet, so can we justify giving ourselves a third? I guess if it really will help knock this damn thing out, then if we have the vaccines available here, which we do, we should use them. The U.S. is now donating millions of vaccines to countries in need, so there’s that.

There are still Americans who refuse to be vaccinated, mostly in the hard-right Trumpist areas. Those places are now facing hospitals at capacity and people dying like they did in the early days of the pandemic. It’s impossible for me to look upon the “anti-vaxxers” (and “anti-maskers”, because they’re both) with compassion—I tried to imagine sitting in a circle and praying with them, but I couldn’t even picture doing it. They are sentencing others, if not themselves, to death because they believe wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is somehow an abrogation of their rights. And their personal “freedom” is more important than other people’s lives. I can’t pray for them. God will have to take care of that for me.

Typical street in Le Plateau, our favorite part of Montréal

Canada finally opened their border with the U.S. this month, so we made immediate plans to go to Montreal for the (postponed) jazz festival in September. As of today, we can still go. Hopefully that won’t change in the next 3 weeks.

Pandemic Diary: 13 June 2021

We walked into the grocery store without masks. We went to the library and browsed to our hearts’ content without masks. In Massachusetts, enough people are now vaccinated to allow most of us to be freer now in our movements. Last weekend we even went to a restaurant and sat inside with friends and ate, without masks.

Other parts of the world are still dealing with raging infections and deaths. My mind, soul, and heart don’t know where to stand, where to go, what to feel, living on a teeter-totter. So I enjoy my new freedom, and I weep for those who don’t have it yet.

And I wait to see what comes next.

Today I decided to treat myself like I would tell anyone else to treat themselves. I paid $100 for a set of Photoshop filters. I’ve used the free version for a few years now, but as always happens in the Capitalist world, the company finally killed off the free one and only offers an expensive paid version. Without the filters, I found that I never wanted to spend time on my photography anymore because the artistic rendering was too limited. I feel bad about the money spent, but it’s exciting to work on images again.

Pandemic Diary: 2 June 2021

It’s been awhile since my last post because I just couldn’t write about the pandemic anymore—I was feeling pandemic exhaustion, or “languishing” as it’s being called now. I was definitely languishing. But I decided to write in the Pandemic Journaling Project again today, so I’ll post it here, too.

They give two questions to answer, so this will be a little long.

Question 1: How are you feeling this week?

After almost a year and a half of maintaining at least 6 ft of social distance, I have a very hard time when a stranger stands closer to me than that, even though I’m fully vaccinated. Today I was in line at the grocery store and a man came up and stood right behind me, at most 2 feet away. It made me really uncomfortable and anxious. Plus he wasn’t wearing a mask, which also doesn’t really matter now that I’m vaccinated, but it just made it worse for my anxiety level. The same thing happened a few weeks ago. I get really angry and want to turn around and scream, “6 feet, people! 6 feet!” But I don’t say anything because I hate to make a scene. And honestly, I’m afraid the person might be aggressive. So I just keep trying to inch forward to get away from them. Of course it doesn’t work because they just inch forward, too. I by nature have a large personal space, so social distancing has been quite comfortable for me with strangers (not with family or friends, though—I want to be able to be close to them). But I was okay with a couple of feet between me and other people. I don’t know how long it will take me to be able to stand comfortably any closer than 6 feet now.

Question 2: What was the biggest event of last week?

The biggest event started before last week—the COVID situation in India is horrendous. And Thailand is suffering from the biggest surge since the pandemic began. Africa doesn’t have enough vaccines to give out, Europe is still restricted in many places, and the U.S.–Canada border is still closed. With the rate of vaccinations going up in the U.S., it’s easy to feel like the pandemic is ending. But it definitely isn’t. And only 41% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, so we’re not anywhere near “herd immunity” yet even here.

I read an article yesterday about the conflict for vaccinated people who want to feel relieved and happy and optimistic for the future, but so many people are still suffering and dying that we can’t just celebrate. And Americans are still dying, too, so it’s really hard for people who have just lost someone to the disease to see other people going around without masks on, having parties, etc., when a loved one just died from COVID.

We’re entering a very complicated time in this pandemic where some people are coming out the other side of it while others are still buried in it. And some people are vaccinated while others aren’t. The wealth gap is blazing in our faces, both domestically and globally. Why are so many Americans vaccinated when India and Africa can’t get enough to go around? Why is India running out of oxygen for treatments? Why are people in poorer communities here in the U.S. not getting vaccinated as quickly as middle and upper class (and mostly White) folks? I hope this horrible suffering will be redeemed at least a little bit by people seeing the injustices that have been exposed to the light, and doing something to change them. I wish I could be more optimistic about that actually happening.