A MARCH 2020 COVID 19 JOURNAL

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal

March 12, Thursday. The thought of Covid 19 virus spreading throughout the United States has made me edgy. My concern is JK and I are in a vulnerable population: age seventy and older.

Since we both had flu shots and felt good, I was surprised when I came down with a “cold” at the end of February. My throat was sore and my nose ran. Mostly, I stayed in bed. I thought my immune system was strong. Being ill humbled me. I have been careful to use hand-sanitizer at church and after shopping! I sighed.

I was still coughing and blowing my nose seven days after my cold began when JK came down with symptoms. Unlike me, he was VERY ILL! On his second sick day, he coughed so hard he barely caught his breath. When he tried to eat, he choked. Though he hates hospitals, I feared I would have to drive him to the ER. (Very slowly he got better.)

After I was ill, I went “out” only to the grocery. Each time I shopped, I bought extra oatmeal, a few canned beans and even hash. I want to have food in case I can’t grocery shop.

On each trip, I wore a blue medical mask. (I had a box of masks from years ago. I used them when I walked outdoors during pollen season.) Now I wore it because I still coughed and I did not want to infect anyone.

After watching the spread of COVID 19 on the nightly news, I became even more concerned about our health. First, we were both still blowing our noses and coughing from the cold. (I had to buy two new boxes of Kleenex!) Our immune systems were definitely “down.”

While I was younger than JK by fourteen years, I was still “at risk” from that cold and an eye infection that was also taking a long time to clear up. I might survive the virus, but JK would die if he got sick! What can I do? The question bounced off the walls of my brain. What can I do? What can I do?

I came to a decision. I will avoid social contact. I will go out only for essentials: grocery, library, doctor and CVS visits. I will not attend study group, Twelve Step meetings or church.

How will that work? I don’t know. Following are bits of my journals from the following weeks in March.

Due to the pollen season, I also wear my mask when I walk outside.

March 13, Friday. Grocery day. I put on my blue maskand carried my list to the car. I’ll go early before stores get busy.I bought a few items at Dollar Tree – mainly a third box of Kleenex! I drove a block and stopped to fill my gas tank at the do-it-yourself Gate station. Feels like getting ready for a hurricane!

Tank full, and mask on, I rolled on to the ALDI grocery store. Still masked, I went in. The only masked shopper, I bought the usual groceries, adding only two cans of pork and beans JK had requested.

After loading my reusable bags in the car, I squirted sanitizer on my hands and the steering wheel. After unloading, at home I stayed there.

March 14, Saturday. I got a library notice about a book held for me. Carrying other books, an audio recording and DVDs to return, I put on my blue mask and went in. While there, I learned the library would close that day and not open again in March. The check-out gal suggested I get a few extra books. I had to be quick. I grabbed two more books and videos.

The Gainesville Sun reported all schools would close for the remainder of the month. In town, The University of Florida was moving all classes online as of March 16. Students on spring break were asked to stay home. I wanted to stay home today, but had several items to take to church. What shall I do? I decided to put on my mask, carry the items over before the five o’clock service when the church was open, and return home.

The empty sanctuary and a few people sitting quietly an hour before mass called to me of holiness. Leaving the quiet sanctuary without praying with them, I felt a mixture of sadness and guilt.

March 15, Sunday. I watched the online Goshen, Indiana College Mennonite Church service. A comfort. Good to see friends.

JK and I are both still coughing. My infected eye is not healed – now seeing a specialist.

  March 17, Tuesday. The Powers That Be have caught up with my thinking! Churches and many stores are also closed People

are to stay home! (Still, I went to see the eye specialist yesterday.) Today I went nowhere. Feels right.

March 19, Thursday. Shall I go to the grocery tomorrow? I have gone every Friday and worn a mask. I felt safe. Why I feel different this week? I feel less secure. So many people are paying no attention to social distancing. Neither of my boys (or my cousins in Indiana and California) are doing anything in terms of isolating. I see clips of teens dancing on our Florida beaches. I suppose young people don’t feel they are at risk.

I am also sure they don’t care much about older folk. They probably see no value in us – except perhaps money we gift them or they will someday inherit. (Sad thoughts, these.)

March 23, Monday. “Essential trips!” First, I went for allergy shots. Outside the door, stood a small table with a large bottle of hand sanitizer and a note, “Please use this before you enter.” Second, Hubby and I made a trip to the bank for business. We had an appointment. The agent unlocked the lobby and let us in. All “regular customers were being routed through the drive-through. (I wore my mask. JK did not.)

After that, I ran across the parking lot to a grocery that had ice cream on sale. (JK loves ice cream.) I was still wearing a mask and checked out with a credit card machine. No personal encounters.

I still had to go to CVS to get an RX, but we drove home so the ice cream did not melt. (I returned to the drugstore later.)

March 24, Tuesday. I went to go the dermatologist for my annual skin evaluation. Staff hustled me in and out. I did not wait with or near anyone. (Had no problem skin areas!)

These “essential trips” make me feel more “normal.” However, we are not quite the same since we are not going to the gym! (Just too many people there.)

March 26, Thursday. It’s the first day I’ve been home all day – as my old friend Helen used to say: “My car didn’t move today.” Speaking of cars, when I was out earlier this week, I was surprised at how many people and cars were still on the roads!

Nothing is on the agenda now until next Tuesday. That day I have a telephone Wellness Check with my internist.

I had to reschedule my teeth cleaning to the end of May. Was told no appointments in April was a state requirement. (At last Florida is again doing something right!)

The repainted milk cans.

I am repainting old milk cans I had scraped and hand-sanded. Last coat of paint today! I have yet to begin another project: my Finding the Blackbird stand-up poster. Large green letters I ordered aren’t due until Mar. 30th.

March 27, Friday. JK and I are glued to the European, local, World and PBS nightly news. Most reports are on the virus and its progression. Looks like I won’t travel North until the outbreak is passed. But when will that be? Thinking July, now. Maybe even August!

March 28, Saturday. The public library system is extending their closure to April 12. Part of me says, HOORAY! They are taking this situation seriously. Another part of me says, DARN. I have books and videos waiting for me!

March 30, Monday. The milk cans are done!

I notice my “world” is closing down. My input is from TV and newspapers. I miss talking to others.

March 31, Tuesday. I sent several of my blue masks to older lady friends and two to my Michigan son, David. For him, I included hand sanitizer. Precious stuff.

God has a plan! I am trying to wait patiently. It’s an effort.

Frances Fritzie

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