We all know life is weird right now. Things are by necessity different, and we’re all doing our best to cope. Some are coping better than others, but that’s another tale for another time. I’m managing to keep it together, at least for now.
I do the grocery shopping for our household, and man, that is a scary proposition these days. I absolutely mask up for the trip, and spend as little time as possible in the store. At the big, warehouse grocery store, I use a self check-out aisle to minimize my contact with other humans. At the co-op, I do my best to maintain social distancing guidelines, and again, spend as little time inside as possible. I wash my hands thoroughly upon returning home, but so far we haven’t taken the extraordinary step of quarantining our groceries when I get home. It’s inconclusive how much this helps reduce the spread, but boy, I sure would be embarrassed if that’s the vector that bring the virus to me or to T. I’ve kept my trips to once every two weeks. I had the good fortune to see what was coming and stock up a bit on canned goods, so we probably could go a bit longer if we needed to. In the two trips I’ve made since quarantine started, the number of people wearing masks has gone up substantially, but is still only around half.
Another adjustment has been medical appointments. I had a follow-up with my PCP (Primary Care Provider – in other words, my regular doctor) and that check-in was done over the phone. As we talked, I realized how much this new development was to protect me as much as him; most doctors seem to be working rotations in hospitals these days, so their clinic hours are even more limited than usual. We talked about that a little, and I was far more worried for him that for me by the time our call was done.
I had to take one of our cats to the vet. She’s been vomiting lately on a daily basis, so we’ve been trying to figure out why. The new procedure is for me to bring her for our appointment, then call them from the parking lot. A masked vet tech comes out to take her inside, and I wait in the car while they do what is needed. This week we were having an X-ray taken to see if she had a blockage or foreign object in her stomach. Since this would take longer than a few minutes for the imaging and analysis, I wandered around the neighborhood looking for Pokemon. It got me some exercise and fresh air, but more importantly, it kept me from worrying about little Mina.
I had been going out Pokemon-hunting late a t night, but I found that was messing with my sleep schedule, keeping me up later and later and causing me to miss more and more of daylight hours. I’ve returned to mostly going out during the day; I encounter very few people on my walks, and avoiding each other is quite easy. It is clear, however, that for some people, social distancing is something other people do. It’s also clear that tempers are beginning to fray for many people; I’ve noticed many more cars on the road lately as people seek release from the loneliness of quarantine.
I had my first appointment with a new therapist scheduled for today. I got calls recently telling me that this would be a phone appointment rather than in person, which was expected. However, when she called, she informed me that this was just to tell me to call the main line and set up another appointment for a month from now, which they hope will be in-person, or at the very least, via Internet videoconference. I’ve been waiting for this appointment for months, and to have it be pulled out from under me so casually kind of makes me angry. I mean, I get that doing psychotherapy over the phone is difficult; times are difficult, and we all need to make adjustments. Even the inadequate method of talking about one’s problems over the phone would have been helpful, but I got nothing instead. I got two calls this week confirming this call; surely one of them could have told me about this change, and suggested rescheduling at that point rather than waste more of my time.
To be honest, I think this pandemic will be worse than common attitudes suggest. With some many US states champing at the bit to re-open and dissolve the quarantine, we’re about to see a huge spike in infections, and all our efforts at containment thus far will be largely for nothing. I hope you all are staying well and healthy, and being careful about face-to-face contact with other people. I am unsure about what the future holds, but I hope we can get through this without losing our lives OR our sanity.