My Run-in With Covid 19

Posted in Musings

My Run-in With Covid 19

I think we’re all of the opinion that our world has changed with Covid 19 in one way or another.  Mine certainly has.  But, not so much my daily life as my outlook on life.  For the first time in almost 65 years, I have had to really take a close look at how I view life.  For a South African that is really remarkable considering how much our country has changed in my lifetime.  But, with previous changes, there was always hope.  Hope that things will normalise.

Covid has changed us.   It has been established without a doubt that European countries and China were caught unawares. The USA was in denial, Australia went into panic mode (prompted by the devastating fires earlier). They didn’t have a clue what was coming and how much of it was coming their way.

There are theories that the virus had its origins from eating the endangered Pangolin in China where it is commonly believed anything and everything can be devoured, relentlessly.  I hope the ban on the consumption of wild animals in China will be lasting.  Laws seldom change people’s behavior or customs. I fear poaching and the illegal importation will just escalate once the panic subsides and we all go back to “normal”. 

Africa has been a source of much illegal animal trade and many of our species are threatened. When the dice falls Africa is always the scumbag. I hope our Rhino horns and Elephant tusks are safe now.

The earth has a remarkable way of recovering as we can see.  Blue skies in Wuhan, dolphins in Venice’s blue, clear waters and canals, etc.  We really are the plague and when we self-isolate the earth heals.  We can subscribe Covid 19 to wealth, greed, overpopulation, our dietary habits, and mechanization, urbanization, cheap labour or globalization.  Think of it and we can only nod in agreement.

We have all been bombarded with information and more disinformation.  Right now I want to scream. I would like to distance myself from anyone giving me any more advice whether it’s from the bottom of their hearts or from being facetious.  The toilet jokes aren’t funny anymore, only boring.  Kindness is the new buzzword, that’s the one thing we must all be.  Respectful, kind, considerate and thoughtful.  All good and well until we have to practice it.

With any great upheaval, death, divorce, change we go through stages. The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with loss.  The list of things lost is longer than my arm.  We have all lost our freedom and our point of view. Many people have lost a fortune, their pensions, incomes and their jobs. Thousands of families have lost loved ones. Everyone will experience the stages of loss differently, for different lengths of time and at different times.  In a home with five people, there will be five different stages happening at once.  It is real and very scary.

If we do not talk and discuss how we are going to manage this state of limbo in a meaningful, mature, respectful way we are not only putting our health at risk we’re also putting our relationships at greater risk.

Just this week it happened in our house where I inadvertently did something which has brought great pain, anger, and hostility down upon us.  Firstly because we’re intrinsically helpful and kind. Secondly, we’d not really discussed the scenarios seriously or thought of reactions to different scenarios playing out. Until they happened and we were at loggerheads.  A stalemate was reached in anger and disappointment.  We underestimate other people’s anxieties until we hear them tossing and turning all night.  Communication is vital in times of great stress and we’re all guilty of bottling up or assuming other people know our fears.  They don’t.

Priorities and principles differ and are quite vacillating depending on who we want to accommodate or impress. It’s at a time like this that we’re confused.  I am an all or nothing person when it comes to personal choices, but I can be flexible too. My memory is also quite short. Call me capricious.  It is interesting to see how this all plays out.

The status quo now is that we’re self-isolating.  This means that Butch will continue going to work, where systems are in place to safeguard their staff and clients.  Not only with hand sanitizers and wipes, but I believe where remote correspondence is encouraged e.g. emailing, telephone calling or WhatsApp,   and where possible staff will work from home offices. Staff are encouraged to self-isolate at work and especially at home.  His colleagues and staff will be encouraged to vaccinate too.  Winter is coming.

At home, we will be socially distancing ourselves. We will not fraternise. The isolation is motivated by the thought that we are all responsible for flattening the Covid19 curve.  Respect for our friends, family, neighbours, colleagues motivate us to stay healthy, build our immunity and not be responsible for them becoming ill or dying.  In the same vein, we consider everyone we encounter a risk to us becoming infected.

Therefore I wear gloves when I go shopping or use an ATM.  Only I will touch my credit card, and where possible I’ll even Snap Scan, I disinfect my hands consistently and I stay at least 2 meters from people. Shopping online is the first choice before making purchases.  I am aware that a cough could compromise someone’s immunity. Spittle travels far and wide, not only onto countertops.

Both our immunities are compromised with various illnesses e.g. high blood pressure, cholesterol, hay fever and all the other niggly bits we suffer at our age. We will vaccinate for the winter flu and take the once-off pneumonia shot Previnar.  I have a thermometer at the ready should our temperatures rise (not for hot under the collar) and the Covid19 Hotline number is on my phone.

We have my bike set up on blocks to exercise in the TV room, rather a squash and dreadfully noisy. I’ve downloaded a spinning App CycleGo and The Sufferfest.  I would like to have some sun on my face which I’ll do while gardening (which is not much).  I do not qualify for the pensioners’ shopping hour at Pick ‘n Pay yet, but, will crawl in when the shops are less busy, early mornings are the preferred time,  except on Wednesdays.

Socially we are not very active until these new measures were put in place now my phone pings and rings non-stop with invitations to have drinks, braais, suppers, and outings.  It breaks my heart to decline but we’re in this together.  Upwards and onwards.  I have been warned, one wrong foot and I’m in solitary isolation for two weeks.  The moment I pressed send on my WhatsApp message to my bridge mates I knew I’d committed to run with this.  

Fortunately, we have a cupboard filled with DVD’s (the left-overs after someone swiped some) shelves filled to the rafters with books, I can crochet, finish that monstrosity I knitted decades ago, write stories, Blog, cook, bake, experiment with food or vegetate with Netflix. What I’m not going to do is spend my days on Social Media getting my knickers in a twist. We will not stockpile anything except wine, beer, Gin or Whiskey.  I must confess with three abodes (Home, sea and Honey Badger) we have (by chance) sufficient double-ply rolls for the foreseeable future. But we’ve discussed the issue and have resolved that at least.

I pray my parents (88) will cope. Fortunately, their needs are few, my Dad is an introvert and they’re still very fit and healthy. He’s quite happy with a book or his Kindle, and my Mom relishes the hour he spends reading to her every afternoon after her nap. They still take their daily constitutional which I believe gives much joy to many locals.   It breaks my heart to know I’ll not see them on Sundays for lunch but, I know it’s for their well-being. My brother, a pharmacist, keeps them in the loop with all medical advancements. Fortunately they trust him and their GP implicitly. 

While I know this too shall pass I worry about my children and Grandchildren, fortunately, they live in a first world country where every available aid is at their disposal and every precaution will be taken, but, the fear is still there, mostly because they’re not under my wings. Thank God I don't have their responsibilties e.g. homeschooling, entertaining those small people in confined spaces and keeping up standards of hygiene when one is in self-isolation must be hell when all you want to do is sleep, binge eat and binge watch TV.  Good luck.

This brings me to my final thought.  We are lucky to have a unified world where we are all of the same mind on Covid19, we have unprecedented facilities to communicate swiftly and easily.  We live in extraordinary times.

1. Should I order a Garter Mask from Didi Couture? They’re beautiful lacy little things (just like a brides garter) and at only R280.00 ($15.80, $22,87CAD, ֩€14, 78 or  £13.64) a bargain all things considered or should I wait until the ZAR strengthens? 

2. What do you think of a magnetised notice for the Honey Badger “The passengers in this vehicle are under quarantine? Do not enter” I think it’s a jolly fine idea.

Stay well.  Be kind and remember there are millions and millions of South Africans, the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society, who need our support and protection.  Winter is coming, we’ve seen nothing yet if we don’t become pro-active.   I shall leave all protesting my situation to the Health Union Nehawu who are up in arms ready to take up mass action on our behalf.

When all this is over my hope is that we treat Mother Earth with respect.  We have been warned. Again.

“Self-Isolate, but, don’t turn your back “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’” Fred Rogers. From Daily Maverick 21/3/2020