Come Together by Staying Apart

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My buddies in Isolation Nation

I didn’t make the title up. I got it from watching a video some guy  named Sheldon Watson made that is circulating the web via social media right now. Its a 2 minute video of Vancouver, BC, sort of one of my home towns, and its showing the stark reality that is Isolation Nation.

Canada seems to be getting it, at least. I’m proud of Canada and my Canadian friends and family who are going as equally stir-crazy as those of us Americans right now. No different than my friend and her family in Israel and my cousins-in-law in Scotland.

The video starts with an empty Lions Gate Bridge (!!!) and includes images of downtown Vancouver as well as the Burrard Street Bridge with nothing and nobody on it. The visual of the lone jogger on the sea wall was pretty intense, to be honest. It ends with the nightly clanging of pots and pans and cheers and whistles as Vancouverites support one another through this really difficult time.

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Long walks with the barn cats. No more dogs means you take your cats for a walk.

I am so proud of so many people right now. We have come together by staying apart to keep the most vulnerable among us alive and keep our medical systems from being overwhelmed. You can’t say this virus isn’t real. By the time I finish this blog, more than 40,000 people will have died in 8 weeks in the United States alone. And that’s WITH social distancing and gutting our economy.

I am sad, though, when I see the protesters and how close they are to one another with stupid signs and ridiculous chants about our rights & freedoms. It isn’t your right to congregate and pass along a very infectious, potentially lethal, unseen virus and then go and see my husband at his Walk-in clinic and get him sick.

He is over 60. Healthcare workers get bombarded by this virus, often while not even knowing it.

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Helena, MT rally today protesting Covid19 restrictions. Photo from MTN news.

But here they are, even in Montana, protesting without wearing masks or gloves and thumbing their noses at our state’s restrictions. Governor Bullock will decide this week what he’s going to do about “re-opening” the state (restrictions are set to end on the 24th of April.) We have 433 confirmed cases as of this morning and 10 deaths.

Our hospitals have not been overwhelmed because people have adhered to the stay-at-home policies. Curves have not flown off the charts and many have leveled a little, even in places like New York City.

Flattened curves, however, don’t mean the end of Covid19 spread. Not at all! We just slowed things down so that we don’t have to see the visuals of doctors and nurses wearing garbage bags flying around, patients in hospital beds lining hospital hallways and refrigerated trucks backing up to load the overwhelming number of bodies before the morgues and funeral homes can take them.

I have tremendous empathy for the folks in New York City and I take some comfort in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s briefings. He doesn’t sugar-coat anything and he shares his own empathy. I am so sorry for what their health care system continues to go through and I am so thankful we hopefully will see nothing like that.

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More from today’s protest in Helena, MT. Photo from MTN news.

These rally/protest photos show people maybe sort of making a distancing effort but they aren’t all 6 feet apart. No frigging way. No gloves. No masks. Hey, Buddy with the cell phone… you going to wipe down that screen and then touch your face and breathe your possibly diseased air onto T-shirt there while shouting out the violation of your rights & freedoms?

How about my husband’s rights & freedoms?

Or my friends who are getting aggressive chemo right now for their cancers?

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One of those very good friends… (xo, you guys)

I won’t be supporting anyone who wants to gather right now but I will support you in your struggle to maintain your sanity.

I get it.

I really do.

We are, as a nation and as a planet, scared.

And yet the planet is breathing a sigh right now because of the lack of airplane and vehicular traffic. Perhaps we will all realize we maybe don’t need to travel by car or truck as much as we have been.

Perhaps we can take this time to stop and really, truly think about how beautiful it is that we have made the effort to stop the rapid spread of the virus. Many of us are reaching out to our friends and loved ones more regularly than before. I have got to  know some people way more than I did before during screen time and because we are all reaching out.

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More friends at the farm during Isolation Nation

One friend today simply asked us all how we are doing and how we are coping. She got a lot of heartfelt responses (along with one, “this virus is BS” post.)

It is not BS.

It is real. It is deadly. And I worry the fuck out of my husband being on the front lines in this country.

And he worries about bringing it home to me, too. While we are lucky we aren’t caring for elderly parents and we don’t have children in the house and we live at the end of a very long road that borders forest service, he still worries about me.

I will admit that I had a fever and chills when he was here the last time and I was up all night freaking out about it (like Chris Cuomo has talked about during the virus’s rampage through his own body… the anxiety likely leads to even more sweats and more chills and despite the need for sleep it continues to elude you.) (Perhaps the Sandman, himself, is self isolating!)

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We did socially isolate together on a quiet golf course a couple of weeks ago… masks were on whenever people were nearby and the carts were heavily sanitized.

A day or 2 after my night of (I’ll admit it) fear (and sweat), Alistair got the call that one of his patients from his last time back had tested positive. They are trying to keep him from the testing side of the clinic but it IS the same clinic and the same parking lot and the same waiting room.

So did I have it? Maybe. I am asymptomatic and feel great. I never had a cough and my temperature was normal the next morning. I am 47 and don’t have any underlying conditions and I eat well.

Can I get it again if I had it? Nobody knows. Its a NOVEL virus. We’re all figuring this out as we go here.

Rest assured, if you see me out in public I will be wearing a mask and gloves. And I will stay the fuck away from you.

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More “friends” in Isolation Nation here in my office.

I shall continue to try to post things that I learn and things that do not create hysteria. I will continue to be a real life voice from someone living this and from what my husband sees. His hospital’s models predict Bismarck will peak in mid-May. That’s still several weeks away so you will continue to not see me if I can help it.

I can do it. We have a lovely house and there’s that forest service and long driveway to hike. There’s the barn kitties, the indoor kitties, the Bee Gees and Fyfe’s Ornithological Society. I have my journal (I encourage you all to journal! Its healing, you can write whatever you want, nobody is going to check your spelling/grammar and it won’t be judged), I have my fourth book to finish, and I have recipes to play with.

I also have my sense of humor and my loving husband to talk with on a daily basis as we both give each other strength despite missing one another terribly.

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I tried ground beef stroganoff last week and it was really, really good!

If you don’t have coping mechanisms then please reach out. Find someone to talk to or just send a private message.

Try to keep your head up and know you are not alone. Be like the Vancouverites who have turned the vibrant, beautiful city I know and love into a ghost town. My stepson, Gareth, lives there and he has shared how proud he is of the city for closing itself down.

Be #vancouverstrong, be #montanastrong, be #whereveryouwantobestrong.

But do it wearing a mask and gloves and from 6 feet away from me, please. Better yet, just stay home.

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D’embe. Socially distancing himself from Jockey.

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Jockey. Returning the favor.

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Poor Professor Higgins, though, is a hugger. “Can you pick me up, please, Mummy. Lift with the knees…”

 

 

13 thoughts on “Come Together by Staying Apart

  1. Thank you, Tanya! I too am appalled by what the crazies are doing to endanger the rest of us. I have been in self Quarantine for 7 full weeks today. My parents are in their mid 90s and my dad is having heart issues because of this stress. I have to remain in the quarantine zone because I have to take groceries up to my parents which I get delivered to me. After all this time, I’m having issues with my own friends who refused to wear a hanky over their nose or wear their gloves. I’m losing friends left and right. In fact, I just want to leave the country, there had been shooting all day here nonstop, and people parked at the top of my property as if they own it and going out into the state lands. I am a woman who lives alone on the edge of the wilderness, and I don’t feel one bit safe. There’s no place for me to walk in nature out here because we’ve had some mountain lion incidents, but more than anything I am horrified by people and their stupidity and ignorance. Thanks for the blog. I don’t mean to be negative, but this has been the toughest episode of my life.

    • Evelyn, I can’t fathom what you are going through but I get it. My community might be close to what you are describing. I would feel safer with the mountain lions. Sort of… I am shaken by what I am seeing even tonight out of leaders’ mouths and it just fuels peopke. I think we need one more month of quiet distancing but I’m not sure America will allow for it.

  2. Patti Quiring

    You’re such an articulate young lady. (Yes, you’ll always be young to me.) It’s a frightening and frustrating time that we’re living through, but we will get through it. I’m interested to see what “normal” is going to look like in two years time….

    • I don’t think normal will ever be what it was but that could be alright if we cur down on annual Influenza deaths each winter. Lol, I’m far from young but I appreciate your perspective and, as ever, I treasure our friendship. Virtual hugs, Patti.

  3. Graeme

    Crazy times both sides of the Atlantic then. So glad we are in a rural area too. It would be harder in a town , for me. Pottering around in the garden is keeping me sane and walks with Clova, easy as no people to avoid. Stay safe guys

    • Definitely getting outside has helped with mental health right now, Graeme. I am so sorry for your loss of business right now. I am not very comfortable with states re-opening up soon. Georgia, for example, this a Friday. Ugh. You guys stay safe, too!

  4. Kathy

    I agree with you and see there may not be anyway of stopping protests or people wishing to get back out there,people with differing viewpoints, ready to fight for their rights so to speak. If we open up I hope to see even stricter guidelines every one in masks and gloves and yes if you break the rules a fine.We are doing this without that now.If we don’t have this in place I fear we will be in lock down again with many more deaths.We have come a long way in dealing with this pandemic but we have so much more to learn I fear violence will be some folks answer. Fear our government is afraid of this too.

  5. Government is being pig-headed about this. We have done great work… let’s not undo it! Hearing GA is opening up partially on Friday. I am so thankful for where we live right now, Kathy! It will be 3 weeks from now when cases will spike. Masks and gloves for sure! With fines, yes! Thanks for your thoughts, you are not alone. xo

    • D’embe hasn’t been very nice to Jockey. We are slowly making it work. I think it was actually Jockey at the beginning (and the fact D’embe was intact at first). The nicer weather allows us to open the barn up more during the day when they are out. Stay safe and healthy, you two!

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