Life on a Hill: Day Ten

Reader Warning: This contains information about the world crisis
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I am writing to you from my second-story bedroom from our house that is set on the highest peak in our neighborhood community in Washington, U.S.A. I can see through my french doors, across the street, to an empty school yard and green field. Typically, at this time of day, I hear the echos of recess, the whirlwind sound of hundreds of school age children laughing and hollering. Today I hear my dog tapping along the balcony to her food bowl, the birds chirping near the bird feeder, and my neighbor’s newborn baby’s cry.*
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I will be housebound for at least 12 weeks. These are very sad and scary times for many.
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In an email yesterday a distant family member shared:
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“You cannot buy groceries around here. By the time you get to the shelves, they are empty – bread, milk, eggs, canned goods, beans, pasta. They are difficult to find. Oh yes, and of course, toilet paper. Raley’s and Safeway have early hours for seniors only to shop, and Raley’s is putting essential bags together for seniors. A $20 bag contains basic goods and for $35 they add some fresh meat and salad items. The basic bag does include some fresh fruit and veggies.”
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The same family member received this note from a friend:
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“The situation here in northern Italy is terrible. thousands of people are sick and dying. the army had to transport dozens of truck deaths to other regions last night because they can’t bury them. people who get sick are taken away to hospitals hundreds of kilometers away from their families, and if they die you are not allowed to give the last farewell. I hope you don’t have to get to this situation! I sincerely wish you to learn from our mistakes and do not think that it is just a banal influence. . . we embrace you strongly and hope and pray for everyone!”
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From Mexico my mother wrote:
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“Lake Chapala Society cancels all activities as of March 18. I am sitting in their garden as the men trim the tall trees. Will have a meal at the cafe here which is still open. Then go to buy groceries! The outbreak waits on the horizon and all schools are closed for at least 30 days. Most restaurants and businesses starting to shut down. Many expats and people who are able….are self-quarantined and only going out for necessities. Yesterday Trudeau called for all Canadians to return home and many are leaving now. My heart hurts for the poor globally who are suffering the most. Vendors, small business owners and so many others.”

This is the second week I’ve been housebound, except to go to the doctor’s office twice. The first time they sent me home with asthma medication and advised to come back if any of my symptoms got worse. The second visit, the doctor garbed herself in protective gear and stuck the long-sticked swab up my left nostril. I think I was one of the first people tested in this area for the Coronavirus. Until recently, it was hard to get tested around here, unless you had a high fever, troublesome cough, and had been in direct contact with a suspected carrier or visited a select foreign country. Which surprised me, as I’d recently traveled through L.A. airport, and we are so close to Seattle, where many have been affected.
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Honestly, the only reason I was likely granted opportunity for a virus test was because I was curled up in a ball, with my face mask, crying about the severe chest pain and overwhelming fatigue. I was told the test results would take 3 to 5 days and informed, by the doctor, that she wasn’t quite clear on how the process even worked. It is day 7, since the nose swab, and I was just updated that it could be another 2 to 3 days, until test results.
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The day I was tested, I started self-isolation in my bedroom. For awhile, my partner, David, joined me; but with more recent reports, being I am in the high-risk category, I spend the time in my bedroom with only my senior pal: my miniature Labradoodle Violet. She is grumbling under the bed at this moment from boredom.
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I meet David a few times each day out on the balcony. He sits about 10 feet away, and we converse about the day. What’s happened with his job, mostly. And then we share statistics and facts about what information we’ve recently perused online. I’d say, all said and done, I’ve likely read about 400 articles on the topic of the global health crisis. Facts and information are one way I soothe my anxiety. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” as my aunt would say.
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David and I give one another imaginary hugs. We hold out our arms and bring the air in closer. A bear hug for one. Once he is housebound, and no longer going outside the home, likely in a few more days, we will then wait 12 days until we touch.
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Last night was hard, as my POTS flare up has affected my digestion. The good news is I didn’t have to run to the toilet, only casually stroll back and forth from bed to bathroom, for about 3 hours, until the vomiting subsided. Today, food and I are at a standoff. Especially anything that resembles cheese. Primarily, because I am limiting my traveling outside of my bedroom and the food is outside my room. And, also because I just don’t want to see food reappear again after it’s been digested. Today I am sipping on Gatorade and pickle juice.
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There have been a couple nights I have slept with my Nana’s black rosary. I don’t think I have the virus, but the POTS’ crushing chest pain, coupled with whatever my body is fighting, and that all over joint and muscle pain, it was too tall of a pain and scary-time oder to ignore. One night I bargained with God. I promised if I make it through this, I will be better at being a living testimony to Jesus and my faith. I guess that last sentence counts as a start.
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It’s odd how all the things that used to seemingly matter, woes that kept me up at night, and caused me fret, and fed my sometimes-endless anxiety cycle, don’t much matter now. Many work travel and events canceled. My Alaska airline wallet is full from refunds. The flight agent said as long as I rebook a flight by January 2021, I can use the credit. And my immediate response was: What if this isn’t over by then. There was a long eerie pause.
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This is the first day, since March 9th, that I’ve had energy to do much of anything. Everyday, before today, was small accomplishments: I folded a few clothes items. I refilled a bowl with dog food. I gathered one load of laundry. I picked up Violet’s droppings from the backyard. Most days, my energy was reserved for walking to the bathroom and back.
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My worry is if this is a bug, but not THE bug, then what would THE bug do to me? And then there are many more a worry: those of a mother, a partner, a community member, and earthling.
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I couldn’t turn on my computer for a week. The energy involved in doing that small task seemed insurmountable. I mostly slept or searched for articles on my phone (without my glasses, as I was too tired to look for them). In the last few days, I’ve had my mental clarity returning, and the beautiful blue sky has been adding to my ability to move about. I even started doing a few minutes of remote work.
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I am counting my blessings. That of a remote job. That of a partner. That of family nearby. But I am dreadfully worried for the world and our people. My thoughts focus on the environment and how at least some pollution has subsided. I think about all the people dying alone or apart, and it breaks my heart.
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My wise middle son, who is on the spectrum, is home from college. All my three sons were to graduate on June 13th of this year. All three. And suddenly, so much has changed. We talked on the phone today. My middle guy is at his father’s down the street, and afraid he might be a non-symptomatic carrier of the virus. He is afraid of hurting us. I reassured him he can’t get me sick as I’m barely leaving my room. I hope he comes by soon to stay. Maybe tomorrow. (Senior Year: Degree in editing and writing)
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My mature oldest son is on his way here from up north and has a job interview early next week in Oregon. He’ll be taking my grocery list and shopping for us. I am looking forward to our balcony talk. But I so want to keep him here. (Senior Year: Degree in composite engineering)
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My baby, my beautiful baby, is helping to ensure the community is fed. He is working at the local Safeway grocery stocking shelves and bagging groceries. (High school senior accepted into music program with hopes to be a choir teacher)
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It’s my youngest’s first real job that he only secured 2 weeks before everything took a turn for the worse. He started coughing and sneezing a few days ago and feels fine. Thinks it’s allergies. I Mommy-Scolded him and sent him straight to his dad’s to stay in his bedroom and call in sick.
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I spoke to him from the top of my balcony from where he stood outdoors on the brick walkway. I miss touching my sons.
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(Please note WordPress challenges: Some of the comments I am unable to access at this time because they aren’t loading and the like button below is not working.)
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11 thoughts on “Life on a Hill: Day Ten

  1. i am co -Author of a book .this is about ,Disability and Sex .can give you a link if you would like
    my blog,http;//mark-kent.webs.com
    twitter,supersnopper

    mark

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  2. I’ve been avoiding the news for some time – I was an early politics burnout. I get news from the NYT & BBC on my phone, so I’ve kept up with what’s going on in general, but I hadn’t heard any stories from Italy, though I knew it was hardest hit. Now I’m in tears. Those poor people! Nothing like this has been seen in Europe since WWII, has it? It breaks my heart.

    Isolation is not a change for me since I take care of my 93 year-old mother, despite FM & EDS. Her heart doctor recommended hospice last week. Her birthday’s in June and today I’m wondering how old she’ll be when she dies, and whether anyone will be able to come to her funeral. Will we even be able to have a funeral?

    Who ever said that to “Live in interesting times” was a curse, surely understood the difficulties to be faced.

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    1. I wish you and your mother the best through these times. Italy makes it all very, very real. And having to get tested, brings it close to home. I hope your mother lives long to see the virus pass. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I’ve been thinking of you! Was gonna schedule a chat but then the world spiralled and I’ve been reading too much news that I never read otherwise to process too .
    I am so beyond sorry to hear you are sick. That’s so scary! I’m sending warm thoughts your way and wish I could do more! As an aspie we are already trapped in our heads and body sickness triggers all the things!!! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a labradoodle named Julio. He steals everything Hi there. I am going around the neighborhood introducing myself. My name is Marc. My blog contains excerpts from my book The Driveway Rules. It contains memoirs about growing up with undiagnosed autism. I hope you stop by.

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