I woke up yesterday coughing. That sent me down a rabbit hole for a while. Do I have the virus? Is this the beginning of symptoms? What if I gave it to my husband (who is a healthcare provider)? Nevermind that it isn’t uncommon for me to wake up coughing. I have a pretty relentless case of acid reflux which I take medication for, but it still breaks through. It also isn’t uncommon for me to have post-nasal drip which can lead to coughing fits, especially at night. But, I cast aside the reasonable explanations and went straight to doomsday scenarios. I indulged in that for about ten minutes, scaring the shit out of myself. Anybody else do that?
I took several deep breaths and turned my thoughts to concrete things.
Get out of bed, brush your teeth, get dressed, make the bed…..I could revisit whether the cough was anything in an hour.
I decided I would minimize my intake of social media for the day – at least news consumption. I would reach out to my family. I would read my book. Maybe watch a movie. The sun was shining though it was quite chilly. Getting out for exercise was a good option, too. There were chores to do around the house. I’ve been washing towels and such more frequently. I actually had a number of options to distract myself.
Lo and behold, I didn’t continue coughing. I did not have fever. It was just another day.
After getting off to a rocky start, the day proceeded as planned. I listened to some music as I walked a loop around the SUNY-Albany campus. I greeted others who were walking, biking and jogging. I was pleased to note that they were social-distancing appropriately (unlike a few days ago when I did the same walk). It stresses me out when people aren’t doing that – I know some folks are partners or parents with kids and I try to give the benefit of the doubt. But some folks are just not getting with the program. Yesterday they were. That made me feel better.
This is my life in the age of coronavirus. Worrying about a stray cough and whether people are keeping far enough apart!
I am trying to find the balance between getting enough information to be responsible, but not too much so I feel overwhelmed. Some days I don’t get it right. Yesterday I think I did.
I am trying to be productive, but finding it difficult to focus. There is so much I could be doing – in terms of writing, or organizing my house. We’ve lived in the same house for more than 25 years, so there is more than enough stuff to sort and throw out. Photographs to catalogue. There are real opportunities here, but somehow I am not doing it…not yet anyway. I hold out hope that I will.
I have been reaching out to family and friends so that I continue to feel connected – and maybe helping them to feel connected, too. I’m glad my mom is tech-savvy enough to FaceTime. We had a nice little visit the other day, a nice change from the usual phone call. The best is when my phone rings and I see an incoming FaceTime call from one of my kids – guaranteed to make me smile. Gary and I have looked pretty silly trying to get a laugh from our granddaughter – making noises and faces, and dancing around with plastic animals. It is well worth it when she smiles and giggles. It isn’t as wonderful as being in the room, but it’s pretty damn good.
It is a challenging and strange time. I am putting one foot in front of the other and reminding myself to savor the sun on my face, a good cup of coffee, a laugh with a friend, our granddaughter’s smile. All of that is still available and I am grateful.
5 thoughts on “Life in the Age of Coronavirus”
I read this morning that loss of sense of smell can be an early sign of COVID-19 so I think you’ve had it for years. More seriously I have also had those moments-when my usual winter congestion causes some throat pain for example.
Life in our office is now tense, full of fear and uncertainty given all the things we should have and do not. We don’t have masks. We can’t test patients for the virus. The population is almost entirely untested so everyone who comes in theoretically has it.
We’re worried and they’re worried. Lots of patients are canceling appointments. We spend more time on the phone with worried patients/patients asking for letters telling their employers they can’t come in to work. Who deserves that letter/who doesn’t? What if they’re at risk but their job is important? Many of them couldn’t care less about their work getting done. Can I blame them?
How much worse will this get? It already sounds so bad downstate. For now, thankfully we are well and, like you, I grasp for those little pieces of normality: going into the yard, walking on a sunny day, getting on a treadmill, taking care of my patients.
Thank you for the timely blog post.
The stress and anxiety has to be exponentially worse for you. I admire your fortitude and resolve. You are a comfort to me and to many. We will get through this together. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I only hope appropriate supplies will become available! But, don’t get me started on that….makes me crazy. Stay healthy, my love!
You captured so well what all of us are probably feeling ( I know I am). THANK YOU for putting it into words. Thank Gary for being on the front lines. I can only imagine how stressful that is. Hugs to your whole family!!
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What does one do when one does not work during these troubling and stressful times?
1. Read a book – but after a while it makes me sleepy.
2. Watch TV – Only watch the news from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
3. Get outside – Not today since it is pouring rain + today’s news brought closure to the outdoor tennis, pickle ball courts – Can I still ride my bike?
4. Drink wine – I’ve been telling people that I need to drink down my supply – this is a great time to do that.
These are strange days to be sure. Our Governor, Charlie Baker, instituted a shelter in place order today. Unlike many, my work has not been shut down. I continue to see a client every weekday. Although I take universal precautions to protect her, as well as myself, I am also cognizant of what I may bring home, although my client has limited outside contact with anyone in the last two weeks, except her son.
It has also been a strangely exhilarating time, as we connect in a more personal way with family and friends. I have tackled some long delayed projects. Ira can fortunately continue to work from home. Zach will complete his semester online.
I agree wholeheartedly with your decision to limit the information constantly streaming on TV and on social media. It mostly only succeeds in ramping up the anxiety. My balm is listening to Norah Jones, Enya and Josh Groban on repeat in the car. And Hamilton!
We will get through this stronger than before.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.