May 3 2020

Got some groceries this weekend.  I was able to get the frozen meat I needed.  I picked up some more cleaning supplies.  I have an order of facemasks coming in a few days.  Those have been tough getting.

Still spending all of my time at home.  It’s starting to get to me a little.  I find myself easily irritated and a little paranoid occasionally.  Glad it doesn’t last long.  I still sleep a great deal.  I usually sleep ten hours a day now.  I have started taking naps in the afternoon again.

Mornings are my toughest time for aches and pains.  I don’t move as quickly as I used to.  My aches are primarily in my knees.  A few minutes of moving around seem to help as much as anything.

Haven’t been to a doctor since December.  I imagine most doctors aren’t seeing anyone for anything unless it’s an emergency.  I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic has been on mentally ill people without regular treatment.  It’s tough enough for me and I take meds every day.

Quarantine With Mental Illness: April 27 2020

Been under self quarantine for over six weeks now.  I’m still holding good on my necessary medications and most of my cleaning supplies.  Ran out of frozen meat yesterday.  I won’t get paid until May 1, but I have plenty of non perishable food.  I’ll make it through, it’s just a matter of doing it.

I try to talk to my family and at least one friend every day.  I haven’t been spending as much time on computer games lately.  Still listen to audiobooks and watch science and tech videos on youtube.  Sometimes I just want to sleep all the time, even with the warmer weather and longer days.

Been reading more online articles, mainly about science and tech.  I am convinced that many tech trends will be sped up because of this outbreak.  I still avoid news channels.

 

Quarantine Journal: April 23 2020

Woke up at 3 am.  Played some computer games until 7:30.  Went back to sleep until 11 am.  Talked to my parents and my neighbors this morning.  My cleaning lady will be arriving this afternoon.  So I guess I have my day more or less planned.

I occasionally have some knee pains, especially if I sleep too long or let my joints get too cold.  I’ve found myself keeping my legs under a blanket when I sit in my easy chair at my computer.  I think I’m more sensitive to the cold now than I was even a couple years ago.

Got my lease renewed yesterday.  I’ll be staying here for at least one more year.  I’ll find out my new rent rate within a month.  I expect it to increase some.  But then, the price on almost everything is going up.

I shop for groceries more often now.  I buy in smaller lots.  I have been having problems finding frozen meat the last few weeks.  I can still find soup mixes and non perishables alright.  I can imagine that home delivery for groceries will stay in high demand even after the outbreak ends.

I ordered some clothes through amazon a couple days ago.  They should be here early next week.  I’m still holding good on all my supplies besides frozen meat and Lysol spray.

Been listening to lots of audiobooks lately.  I listen to mostly history and finance books.  I get mine through youtube.

Mentally I’m back to mostly stable.  I do have momentary flare ups of anxiety and irritability.  Yet those usually burn out after a few minutes.  The mornings seem to be the worst time for those.

Haven’t been to the doctor since early December.  With the outbreak going like it is, I’m kind of paranoid to leave my apartment complex.  But I have a few months of medications on hand.  And I get my meds mailed to me now.  I won’t have to renew my prescriptions for months.

The NFL Draft is tonight.  I probably should watch that for some since of normalcy.  While I prefer college football to pro football, it is always fun to see what teams college stars end up going to.  And I especially love the guys from smaller schools that no one knows about who end up becoming big stars in the pros.  I am definitely going to miss the Olympics this summer.

Quarantine Journal: April 22 2020

Got my lease renewed for another year this afternoon.  The land lady knew I was paranoid to be out and about during this pandemic and was kind enough to bring the necessary paper work to my apartment.  Took about fifteen minutes to fill everything out.  I should be finding out my new rent rate by June 1st.  One of the things I like about my current apartment complex is that, since we have mostly disabled and senior citizens here, most people understand why I don’t get out as much as I used to.

My neighbors hosted a cookout yesterday.  While I didn’t attend, they were kind enough to save me some smoked chicken.  It was exactly what I needed.  Having good neighbors and understanding management at my complex has made this pandemic easier to navigate than it would have been in most places.

Bought two pairs of sweat pants through amazon yesterday.  They should be here within a few days.  Probably should order some facemasks soon.  I hope those are available.

Been having a hard time finding frozen meat lately.  I’m glad I can still find soup mixes, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.  I’ll be real happy when this pandemic burns out.  Talked to an old friend last night.  I think the quarantine is starting to get to him.  I understand.  It got to me and I had a short lived breakdown last week.  So glad it got over quickly.  It is annoying I can’t be out and about.  But, as I’m immune compromised with my mental illness and weight problems already, I have to leave that to a different time and place.  I understand the quarantine recommendations.  I just hope this mess passes soon.  It is encouraging that places hit hard early in the winter like China are starting to reopen.  I think most places here in USA are right in the middle of it right now.  Could be rough sailing for another couple months.

Saw on the news feeds this afternoon that human trials of a covid 19 vaccine are supposed to start in a few days over in Germany.  Sure hope it works.  It is good to know there are already a few possible candidates for a vaccine even after only a few months of this outbreak.  If I heard the term covid 19 a year ago, I would have guessed it was the name of some obscure punk rock band.  I wouldn’t have guessed it was a new virus that would infect a few million people by April 2020.

So far I haven’t shown any of the symptoms.  I did have a bad cold back in December that made me feel rough and sluggish for a few days.  So far, staying home, washing my hands several times a day, avoiding touching my face, and doing what I can to boost my immune system seem to be working.  We’ve had at least a few dozen cases in my hometown already.  But I think Nebraska is going to hit it’s peak later than most cases.

I’ve been on quarantine for almost six weeks already.  I have lost track of the days.  I don’t usually socialize in person much besides my neighbors.  I still talk to family and friends almost every day.  This pandemic is easier to bear as I have easy access to communication and internet.

Caring For Physical Health During Quarantine and Hope For The Future

Had a short lived breakdown a few days ago.  I think weeks of isolation finally got to me.  It was intense, but short lived.  In this case, I was able to vent over the phone to my family.  After I had vented for a half hour, I took a long nap.  I was grateful to have not had this breakdown in public.  I fear if I have a breakdown in public I’ll end up in jail.  It seems that in too many cases, people don’t understand mental illness.  I am convinced most people, even with the internet, may not realize just how prevalent mental illnesses really are.

I have some cool neighbors that, while they may not share many of my interests in science and literature, are excellent and understanding people.  They may not share my interests, but at least they don’t condemn me for having different interests.  I sometimes buy them groceries and keep them company while they help with my laundry and cook for me at least a couple times a week.  Even during a pandemic and bad recession, I still have cool neighbors and we help each other out.  It’s helped my physical health to have more home cooked meals and more variety then I normally get.

It’s been several weeks of self quarantine during this outbreak so far. It’s more manageable than it would be otherwise because I stay in contact with my neighbors, friends, and family.  I try to call my parents a few times a week.  I have a friend and some cousins I keep in contact with via Facebook.  I have cool neighbors who have helped me immensely over the last several months.  I just hope I can pay it back and/or forward someday.

Because of my bad back and knee, my mobility is not what it was even a few years ago.  Most jobs I ever had, like factory worker or janitor, I was on my feet for several hours at a time.  If there is anything from my twenties and early thirties I dearly miss, it’s how easy mobility was in those days.  There were many days in those years I would walk all over the neighborhood, the old downtown, and the parks in my town just to break up my days.  While I am happy with the experiences I’ve had in the past and the wisdom I now have as I’m only a few weeks away from my 40th birthday, I do miss my mobility.  I hurt my back in a car accident a few years ago and it was never the same even after rehab.  Granted, being overweight only made my problems worse.  At least I haven’t gained weight for over a year and a half.

While I don’t think I’ve lost weight lately, I don’t think I’ve gained either.  My clothes still fit the same as they did eighteen months ago even with less walking and standing.  I have made changes to my diet and routine that my be keeping me from really tacking on the weight.  I rarely eat carbs or sugars.  I lift weights most days.  I sleep probably nine to ten hours a night most days.  I avoid stressful situations and people as much as possible.  I meditate usually an hour a day.  For this I usually just lie in bed and do breathing exercises.  I turn on my CPAP machine and just do the rhythmic breathing.  I imagine people can get the same benefits through just focusing on their breathing with their eyes closed or through prayer.  It also helps that I eat more vegetables.  Even though most my vegetables are canned or in soups, it’s better than nothing.  I take a multivitamin every morning.  I take a vitamin C pill too.  I’ve heard it can help boost immune system.  While I still get colds, they are usually mild and last only a day or two at most.  Sometimes I will wake up with a bad running nose and sneezing.  After a vitamin C pill and extra fluids with breakfast, I’ll be fine within a few hours.  And my fluids are usually nothing more than just tap water or cold tea.

I still have aches and pains, usually in the mornings.  Sometimes actions as simple as getting up and moving around for a couple minutes can be enough to clear this up.  It can be cleared up with something as simple as getting out of bed, using the bathroom, and doing my morning wash up routines.  Warm baths can help with sore joints too.  My dad always said soaking his hands in warm water every morning helps with the pain in his fingers and thumbs.  Now that I’m starting to have sore knees, I understand why he does this every morning.  Many times the best thing I can do for sore joints is to force myself to move around.  Even when I’m working on a blog or watching a movie, I force myself to stand up usually once every hour no matter how busy I am.  I do the same thing when I’m reading a book in bed.  My joints thank me when I move around more regularly.  Maybe it was a good thing that I rarely had desk jobs in my younger years.

Even during a quarantine and major recession I try to stay optimistic and positive.  I usually make myself watch at least one encouraging video per day on Youtube.  I have been watching videos on positives that are coming due to the pandemic.  One positive for me is that I am forced to watch my physical well being more closely and I have more of a sense of urgency to stay in contact with family and friends.  In the past, I was sometimes guilty of being annoyed if a friend or family member called my phone when I was preoccupied.  I’m not nearly this bad anymore.  I don’t even really get that annoyed when someone calls and I’m in the bathroom or sleeping.  I’ve even found myself telling my friends when they found out I was asleep, “I needed to be woke up anyway.  Don’t feel bad.”

We are now several weeks into this crisis.  While I’m not naïve enough to believe we will have major sporting events even this fall, I am hopeful that we can weather this crisis.  To quote Matt Damon from ‘The Martian’, we will “have to science the **** out of this” but we are already doing this.  I am hopeful we can have a vaccine and or effective treatments for this corona virus by this time next year.  My mother remembers the polio crisis in the 1950s and getting vaccinated when she was a child. I imagine the generation that are children right now will be talking about the corona quarantines of 2020 even when they are old men and women.  Hopefully, a few of them can be talking about while living in colonies on the moon and Mars.  As bad as the job losses and conflicting information has been in 2020, I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic would have been had it happened back even in the 1980s before easy access to internet and the medical testing we have now.

April 18 2020

Haven’t written in a few days.  Had a couple rough days in the middle of the week.  I think the forced quarantine finally got to me.  But I’m back on the mend after a couple tough days.  Slept a lot yesterday.  Sometimes sleep helps me when the anxiety and depression really hit.

Had neighbors come visit earlier this week.  We wore facemasks and chatted.  There was four of us in total.  Even wearing the masks we made a point of staying several feet away from each other.  It felt like a little bit or normalcy in the middle of a pandemic.

Reading quite a bit these days.  I had taken some time off a week ago.  But I’m back at it.  I don’t write much other than my blog.  I talk to Mom and Dad usually once a day.  I talk to old friends who aren’t on facebook much at least once a week.  I have a friend in Omaha where she and her husband are both working from home now.  I imagine that will be more of an option for people once this outbreak burns out.

It’s refreshing to see nurses, doctors, cleaning staff, truck drivers, delivery people, etc. get the recognition they have been due.  It’s sad it took a major tragedy to get this to happen.  Both my parents were medical professionals, so I always knew how tough and stressful their line of work could be.

Missing Sports During Quarantine

Been under volunteer quarantine for over a month.  I sometimes lose track of days at this point.  Many of the things I love about spring I haven’t gotten to take part in this year.  One of my spring traditions is watching the college basketball tournaments.  It’s always interesting to see what small schools pull off upsets and then make deep runs into the playoffs.  I’m also missing baseball.  It’s been a tradition of mine to have a game playing on my tv while I was working on my computer or reading a book.  I miss not following games I wouldn’t normally care much about because of my fantasy baseball league.  I’ve been part of a league for over a dozen years with a couple college friends and some of their coworkers and friends.  Only within the last few years did we start charging league dues.  But even those are only twenty dollars a year. I’ve never won our league, but I mainly do it to make watching baseball even more interesting.

I’m going to miss the Olympics this summer.  I have no doubt that Japan would have done a great job as host nation.  My favorite sports to watch are gymnastics and track.  I make a point to always watch the gymnastics finals and the sprints finals.  Even as a teenager I was never flexible or a fast runner.  Maybe that is why I pay so much attention to running and gymnastics.  Hopefully this pandemic burns out enough that we can have the Olympics in 2021.

I’m missing soccer too.  I have a niece and two nephews who are big soccer players in youth leagues.  So I started watching soccer games a few years ago to try to understand their sport more.  I have a subscription to ESPN Plus so I can get out of country soccer games.  I sometimes watch MLS during the summers.  And I make a point of watching the US national teams are playing.  But that is on hold for the time being.

I’m missing spring football practice.  This Saturday would have been many colleges annual Spring Game.  It’s essentially a glorified practice.  And here in Nebraska, that game normally draws capacity crowds of 90,000.  90,000 attendees for essentially a practice.  Yes, we Nebraska fans are crazy like that.

NBA playoffs would have been going by now.  I’m missing those too.  I’m even going to miss hearing about The Masters golf tournament and the Triple Crown horse races.

It still feels odd not having a ballgame on tv most nights.  I’m going to be glad once those get up and going again.  The NFL Draft is next week.  Of course, it’s going to be done remotely.  I may watch that.  I’m a bigger fan of college football than the pro game, but it is interesting to see what pro teams college stars sign with.

April 13 2020

Been a good day so far.  Bought some groceries.  So I’m set food wise for a while.  I was up pretty late last night.  I’m still staying home all the time.  I haven’t been off my complex’s property in a month.  I haven’t had problems with boredom yet.  I do have even more aches and pains the last few days, especially in my knees.  The best thing for that seems to be stand up and walk around more often.

I am so grateful for home delivery right now.  I’ve been getting my groceries and medications delivered to my home for a few years now.  It worked so well that I quit driving my car.  Having a phobia of driving made the decision to sell my car made the decision more easy.  I haven’t driven a car in over six months.  And I don’t miss it.  My budget is thanking me now that I don’t have to buy gas two to three times per month.  I haven’t even shopped in a Wal Mart or a mall for almost three years.  Most of my house supplies I get either from Amazon or through my supermarket home delivery.

 

Easter Sunday, Self Quarantine, and Mental Illness

It is Easter Sunday as I write this entry.  Happy Easter to all my Christian friends and readers!  Even though I haven’t been a regular attender of church services for several years, it just felt odd this year that attending Easter services and then going to my aunt and uncle’s farmstead for dinner and having my cousins’ kids hunt for Easter eggs and candy in my uncles large back yard wasn’t an option this year.  I heard even the Pope delivered his Easter Mass to an empty Vatican this morning.  But we are living in trying times that people will still be talking about even a century from now, much like we talk about the Spanish Flu outbreak of one hundred years ago.

We had a bad ice storm this morning.  The power went down for over three hours.  Luckily, the water still worked.  I wrapped in blankets and read some while I waited for the power to return.  Did some Skype with my mom and dad this afternoon.  Their church hosted Easter services online.  I heard that one of their church’s members died from coronavirus earlier this month.  I called a college friend of mine today too.  He said they had over twelve inches of snow in his hometown in South Dakota.  Both he and his wife are teachers at the local high school.  They are always busy with teaching their students online and taking care of their very active two year old daughter now.  He and I are both missing baseball right now.

With the exception of today, the weather has been pretty decent and typical of early spring in Nebraska.  It’s sunny during the days but still kind of chilly at night.  I usually have my windows open during the daylight hours.  Even though I don’t leave my apartment much besides picking up deliveries, I still get some sunshine through my open windows most days.

My neighbors made Easter dinner for me and a few other tenants this evening.  Had ham and cheese.  I don’t usually cook anything extravagant as I mostly cook only for myself.  I am still good on non perishables like soup mix, peanut butter, honey, ramen noodles, and canned vegetables.  I broke down and ordered some frozen meat through my supermarket.  That’s supposed to arrive Monday afternoon.

My cleaning lady arrived on Thursday.  She was wearing a mask and surgical gloves while she worked.  I wore a facemask while she was at my place.  I wear masks when I have guests or when I pick up deliveries.  So far, I’m holding good on supplies even after a month of self quarantine.  Back in early February, I was talking with my best friend and she mentioned that she was doing early preps in case things got bad.  She lives in Denver and works in an essential industry.  She’s out in this mess most days.  But she keeps a constant supply of hand sanitizer on her person.  A friend of mine who works in a pharmacy had to take a leave of absence from work because she was fighting sicknesses and has preexisting conditions that would have made coronavirus even worse.

I’ve been self quarantine for over a month now.  I am still holding pretty well overall.  While I occasionally have moments of flare ups and irritability, I haven’t had a full psych breakdown since before this mess started.  I still take my psych meds every day.  And I meditate and sleep more these days.  I still lift weights most days.  I eat healthy and avoid sugars for the most part.  I have weathered the last thirty days well.  Looks like I can look forward to at least another thirty days of self quarantine.  Yet, I still feel hopeful overall.  So far, we haven’t had mass unrest or civil problems, at least not here in the USA.  I am also encouraged by how people are helping each other out more.  I suppose the best I can do is stay home, stay sane, and write about my experiences.  Hopefully I can be an encouragement to those not managing as well as I am.

Quarantine April 8 2020

Been warmer and sunny the last two days.  While I didn’t go outside, I did have my windows open during daylight hours.  Even though spring has officially started, we are supposed to have some chilly weather starting this weekend.  My town has even a forecast for snow on Easter Sunday.

My neighbor gave me a facemask two days ago.  I wear it whenever I answer the door.  I haven’t had any deliveries for a couple days.  I’m sitting alright in terms of supplies and food.  So glad I listened when one of my friends mentioned back in early February that this could outbreak could get rough.  Allowed me to beat the rush when it came to getting supplies.

Social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem for me.  I was isolating and not going out as much for at least the previous year.  Now I no longer have to feel guilty for it.  I haven’t had any symptoms, at least not yet.  I do take vitamin supplements every morning with breakfast.  I still wash and disinfect my hands several times a day.

Talked to my cousin this afternoon over facebook.  She is married to a career Navy man.  She’s handling it alright, even with two young children.  My hometown has at least a couple dozen cases, but then I do live in a small town of less than 40,000 people.  It is a college town, and with the college going to only online classes, there aren’t as many people in town.  It feels quiet like summer around here, granted without the warm weather.  My town always comes back to life in late August when the college students come back.  Even though it’s been 15 years since I was a college student myself, I still have many happy memories from those years.  And I am grateful that facebook allows me to keep in touch with many of my old classmates.  My dad had always said he regretted not keeping in closer contact with his college and Air Force friends.  I hope people my age and younger don’t make the same mistake.

Sleeping well overall.  Been feeling stable for the most part.  I sometimes do get a little irritable.  I guess it was only a matter of time before some of the symptoms of my schizophrenia crept back in.  I don’t feel paranoid about my neighbors, landlady, or even the coronavirus.  But I guess I do sometimes get irritable about having to stay home all the time and just being so limited.  Yet I can deal with this.  Just press through.  If my grandparents’ generation had to go to war or work in war time industries, then the least I can do is stay home and stay healthy until the pandemic burns out.

I still take my psych medications every day.  I’m not about to ration those.  I have a set up with my doctor and my pharmacy where I get 90 day supplies at a time.  And I have been able to change over to having my medications mailed to my house so I don’t have to drive out in a blizzard or anything like that.  I also had some samples saved up from my doctor’s appointments.  I explained to the doctor why I wanted to do it this way.  I was completely up front in saying in case I couldn’t get out for several days I wanted an emergency supply.  I’m grateful he agreed.  I guess growing up in a farming community and having lots of farmers and small business owners on both sides of my family, we took emergency preparation seriously.  No, we didn’t build a fallout shelter in my cellar or listen to conspiracy theories when I was growing up.  But, with the nearest Wal Mart over an hour drive away and the nearest grocery store being a 15 minute drive away, we knew very early on if we had some emergency, whether a natural disaster, etc., we would have to be on our own for at least several days.  Every farmer I knew had either a gas powered generator, solar panels for emergency electricity, or both even back in the 1980s.  Having a plan for emergencies is a good insurance policy.  I sleep better at night knowing I can weather at least some crisis.