Life in the time of COVID-19, part 1

I read recently that historians are urging people to keep diaries/journals of what life is like right now, and surely future generations will want to read my very important thoughts about life in the time of Coronavirus.

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I have to admit that I was not taking this seriously right away. Anyone else? I think a lot of us were hearing/reading a lot of misinformation about the severity of this at first. It seemed like I could never find accurate, fact-checked information about the virus – and this type of confusion is no doubt why there are STILL people who are being reckless and putting themselves and everyone they come into contact with at risk.

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Even while I had my doubts about how much we really needed to be self-isolating, I’m feeling very fortunate to live in a state where our government is taking this seriously. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is not f*cking around, people. Schools closed last Friday, restaurants a week ago, gyms last Monday, and things like salons, stores and daycares shortly thereafter. Admittedly, gyms closing really stung. Tell me to work from home all the time and stay away from large crowds and I’m more than happy to comply as that’s my normal M.O. But take away my gym? Sigh. I get it though, and to be honest there are a lot of people who needed the government to tell us to stay away from each other in gyms, so as much as I hated hearing that, I was also relieved to not have to make that choice myself day after day.

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I still can’t find any f*cking toilet paper. I’ve gotten several tips over the past week because I’m that person now – everyone I know locally associates me with being out of TP, which I find hilarious and a little sad. My cousin in Detroit saw me complain about it on Instagram and offered to mail me some. As did my mom. And on Monday, the last time I was out “socializing” (read: at the gym) someone actually brought me a 6 pack of TP. These are crazy times we’re living in, folks.

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To be honest (yet again), it wasn’t even until last night that I fully snapped out of denial and acknowledged that yes, this pandemic and the shit effects on the economy could actually impact me (beyond draining my 401(k) which I’m not even looking at right now). I hadn’t really been worried about job security because hello, I’ve already been working from home for years, and I’m in an industry that feels unrelated to current events (retirement). But no job is really safe now and, like any other family probably, Terry and I would indeed be in a tough spot if one of us got laid off. Terry’s company did layoffs in February before this all started, but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t need to do more. My company suspended our raises in an effort to “secure the future of our company,” which is annoying considering other costs they probably could have cut (like our CEO’s $16M salary) but in the grand scheme of things, not all that bad and I hope that doing so means everyone can keep their job.

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Last night while I couldn’t sleep I stumbled on an account from an otherwise healthy 38 year-old woman who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. She wrote in detail about her symptoms as the virus has progressed and Jesus it sounds awful. I was pretty sure that I was “safe” from the virus (again, denial) until I read that. It’s not just people in their 70’s and above that are falling ill. I’m an otherwise healthy 38 year-old woman. That could be me.

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Allergies have been a bitch here in Central Ohio over the last week or so. Waking up every day with a headache, congestion and cough isn’t helping my mental state. But noticing my symptoms go away within an hour of taking an allergy pill is giving me some reassurance.

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Speaking of people in their 70’s, I’m seriously worried about my parents. My dad will be 73 on March 30th and has really poor lung function as a result of severe scoliosis (also worth noting that last year he spent his birthday in the hospital with pneumonia). Despite all of that, he flew out to California to visit my brother right before shit hit the fan. Then HE FLEW HOME this past Thursday. I begged him not to, as did my brother and my mom, and yeah, I’m really freaked out that he picked up the virus AND that he’ll spread it to my mom and I can’t take this line of thought any further right now.

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That just got dark. So I’ll close with a couple of positive points. As much as I normally avoid things like social media, I’m really grateful for the ways that technology is keeping us all connected right now. It turns out I’m not the only one with an unhealthy dependence upon seeing my gym friends every day – everyone at my boot camp is struggling. My accountability group-turned friends group and I have a few video chats going on Marco Polo. It’s been great to keep supporting each other, to be honest about some of our fears with each other, and to help each other laugh and forget the state of the world for a few minutes here and there. I’ve noticed more people are active on Facebook these days too (myself included) so it’s been nice to keep in better touch with people and not feel so alone. I’m sad that it took a pandemic to get a lot of us to do that, but happy that we have these ways to connect.

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The other way technology has kept me sane is giving me the ability to still work out each day. The CEO of Burn Boot Camp (the gym I belong to) has been doing a live bodyweight workout with members every morning at 9am, and they’re intense. And yesterday the trainer at my gym taught a live class for Columbus members via Zoom, which was SO much fun! Following a workout is one thing, but using 2-way video capabilities meant she could see all of us and still push us as if she was right there.

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What is life looking like for you these days? I hope you’re all staying home and staying safe.

9 thoughts on “Life in the time of COVID-19, part 1

  1. I really hope your parents are okay and stay home now!!!

    I was taking it seriously with all the hand washing and distancing, but was not staying at home (I taught and went out to eat once) until our governor told all restaurants to close last week. That was when I was like, okay, only leave for groceries/pharmacy. I was so glad the studio closed then – I had felt bad about teaching the class I did that Saturday.

    I am glad you are able to do the Zoom workouts and keep in touch! I feel so grateful for all this technology right now. I am learning about a lot of new things I didn’t even know were out there! It’s funny though – during the week I made a huge effort each day to reach out to people, but on Saturday/Sunday I wanted my quiet time like I do every other week. Ha!

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    • Haha, I was the same way over the weekend. Yesterday I skipped most of my usual weekly chores and was like “I’m going to call/email everyone!” Then I talked to my mom for like 2 hours on the phone and didn’t want to be social anymore 🙂

      Yeah, I felt equally bad (or guilty? I don’t know) about going to the gym last Monday, right before Ohio shut them down.

      I told my parents I’d help them set up online grocery orders so they can do pick-up or delivery, so hoping they’ll actually take me up on that! How are your parents and your grandmas doing?

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      • Ha, yes, a two hour phone call would do me in too!

        I hope they take you up on delivery. I told Steven to offer that to his dad so he doesn’t keep going to the store a few times a week.

        My parents and grandmas are fine so far! Parents making some questionable decisions, like everyone else’s.

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  2. I feel like I’m doing everything I’m supposed to as well as I possibly can. But single parenting while e-learning and e-teaching is a lot. While it’s unbelievably overwhelming at times, it’s also been a lot of fun. I’ve reminded the children that I’m a force to be reckoned with at both CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders. H has proven he knows a thing or two when it comes to Just Dance, and the girls keep reminding me the value of spotting signs of spring on our daily long walks with Judy – even though these walks are often under duress. It doesn’t help that I can no longer trust that they can go to their father’s on his assigned custody days because he has chosen NOT to take safety precautions (i.e. going to a party with some friends to play cards on Sunday after the governor called for Shelter in Place) because it’s *still very hard for him to think about anyone other than himself. Insert panic attacks and lack of sleep here. So there’s that. My parents are taking this seriously, which helps with my worries, but my brother and his wife had to lay off the employees at their restaurant, so there are a lot of unknowns. I suppose the silver lining is that we’re learning how to slow down a little. When life returns to whatever normal is, we might miss this pace. Like you, I’ve love reconnecting with friends digitally and having the time to write emails and talk on the phone – even though I still choose not to talk on the phone to anyone other than my mom 🙂

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    • That’s a lot to have on your plate, but I’m glad that you and the kids are finding fun in it! I love the idea of looking for signs of spring! I’m managing a new hire on my team who started two weeks ago, and I told her to make sure she accomplishes one good thing every day, no matter how small. I think spotting spring or going for a long walk are both good starts 🙂 And I’m glad to hear Jim & Linda are staying safe too. Pat is too, so there’s that at least.

      Good lord. I’m pissed off for you with the selfish/irresponsible dad situation. You’re making the right call keeping the kids at home with you, but that is seriously shitty. I don’t understand what’s so hard about taking a couple weeks off from socializing to potentially save yourself and people around you, but I’m not an asshole so I guess that’s why I don’t get it.

      I feel like people are embracing a lot of old-fashioned types of fun now – board games, books, puzzles. And I’m more social now than normal because it’s so much easier to “get together” with friends! We need a wine-on-the-kitchen floor night to catch up soon 🙂 (also I’m on the phone half the day for work most days, so same on only talking to my mom).

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  3. I took it seriously earlier than my husband, which irked me because my 2 week incubation period got extended thanks to his still going to work. And as much as I’m getting bored with staying home, I’m more than willing to keep doing it because holy cow, the cases have gone up so much in the last week. It’s getting scarier and scarier. Hope your parents AND you guys stay well.

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    • Ugggggh, I’m sorry Shelley, that must be so frustrating! I think everyone will be home much longer than a couple more weeks anyway, I just hope Jeff didn’t pick anything up while he was still going to work. I know a lot of people who kept going in too. My boss was in the office until the 20th (voluntarily – she 100% could have stayed home), even after there was a confirmed case in our office building. I just don’t get it.

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  4. Lot of good stuff here.

    I, too, wasn’t really convinced early on that it was more dangerous than seasonal flu, and then shit got real, real fast. My sister is a Nurse Practitioner in Akron, and my brother is a nurse in Houston (and was stuck on a cruise when the world began to blow up!), so that adds an additional level of complexity and anxiety. My sister has implored my parents (turning 70 this year, immunocompromised, etc.) to not go out, to let her do their groceries, etc., but my dad didn’t like following directions there for a while. (I had a sincere, heartfelt “this will END you if you eff this up!” chat with him, so he’s compliant now).

    Everything is just so crazy right now, and it’s hard to stay in the right here, right now instead of worrying about what 1, 2, or 5 months will be like. Easier said than done. Alice and I talk about this almost daily.

    Homeschooling is an adventure for sure, but I think reminding ourselves that we’re all doing the best we can is enough. Props to DeWine, too, because he acted more aggressively than Newsom did early on; it’ll be interesting to see how Ohio fares.

    Thinking of you and sending a big virtual hug, fistbumps, whatev 💗

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    • I’m glad your Dad got on board. Can you please call my Dad? He’s getting there, but man has he been stubborn. He just HAD to go to the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon last Sunday, right after our stay-at-home order was announced. He says my mom and I are being paranoid. I guess I’d rather be paranoid and still have two living parents at the end of this. I wish I was there to help keep my parents home, but I do have family in town that’s offered to get things for them and they both stubbornly refuse. It’s definitely frustrating.

      I didn’t vote for DeWine but I’m really proud of how serious he’s taken this, and really admire Dr. Acton too.

      Thinking good thoughts for your sibs in healthcare. My brother is too. Not on the front lines (he’s in trauma) but I’m still worried.

      I bet you’re doing an amazing job with homeschooling! And like you said, everyone is doing their best right now, which your kids will definitely remember as they look back on this.

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