March 29 2020 Self Quarantine

Talked to my brother and my parents for quite awhile this afternoon.  Found out they are having church over the internet during this crisis.  My brother teaches Sunday School and did so over webcam this morning.  Made some barbecue chicken for an early lunch.  Spent much of the day playing computer games.  Haven’t had any guests since my cleaning lady came on Thursday.  Been watching youtube.  Saw a couple movies on Amazon Prime this weekend.  Saw a documentary on the history of the British Navy this weekend.

Been reading more this weekend.  Talked to my best friend over the weekend.  Said she doesn’t get out much other than going to work and walking her dog.  She said she’s going to be working on a new painting in her down time.  Sleeping a great deal this weekend.  I lift weights every other day.  I also do breathing and mediation twice a day.  I’m still holding good on my food supplies.  I get my disability pension in a few days.  I won’t have to really buy much as my supplies are still holding out.

Haven’t left my apartment other than to pick up deliveries for two weeks.  I am so grateful for internet and delivery services right now.  I’d be in real trouble if this would have happened when I didn’t have easy access to internet or delivery.  Saw a video on youtube this morning that said to the effect that had a pandemic like this happened in the 1980s, many people would have already lost their jobs as most places didn’t have the ability to work from home.  My friend in South Dakota is teaching his classes online.  Said he spends a couple hours a day answering emails from his students.  And his wife is expecting their second child this summer.

Overall I’m still holding good mentally.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how well I’m holding up.  This is definitely a time of crisis when history is being made every day.  It’s a stressful and sad time for all of us.  I doubt the world will be the same once this pandemic clears.  I have no idea how long I’ll have to self quarantine.  Hopefully effective treatments can be discovered soon.  Even with a possible vaccine going under trials right now, it could be over a year before it’s ready.  Yet, it’s quite amazing how fast our scientists and doctors have been able to move on this.  The first cases appeared in China in early December and only a few months later we are testing at least one possible vaccine.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished with collaboration and easy communication.

Self Quarantine: March 28 2020

It’s raining and overcast in my home town.  On the surface it looks like a typical early spring day.  Not much traffic on the highway outside my place.  Bought some cleaning supplies yesterday.  Been doing more reading these days.  Contacted a few family members I hadn’t talked to in a while.

Still holding on alright mentally.  I haven’t left my apartment except to pick up deliveries in almost two weeks.  Been watching a lot of comedy and history channels on youtube the last few days.  I try to check the news only a couple times per day.  I’ll have to drop off my rent check in a few days.

Still sleeping a lot.  But sleep is good for the immune system.  And having to avoid people doesn’t bother me as much as it would most people.  Overall things are still going alright.

Self Quarantine: March 26 2020

Watched a couple Star Trek movies yesterday.  Called my parents twice.  Talked to an old college friend yesterday.  His school in rural South Dakota is doing online teaching now.  He spends several hours a day with that.  His wife is also a teacher, so there is usually always someone on their home computer.  A friend of mine in Denver was classified as essential worker status because she works for a financial institution.  She’ll probably put in lots of hours for the near future.  Saw that my home county now has two confirmed cases of covid 19.  I live in a small college community of less than 40,000 people.  The town has gone eerily quiet since this was declared a pandemic two weeks ago.  For the last two weeks the only time I’ve left my apartment was to pick up grocery and medicine deliveries.  It will probably be this way for awhile.  The only time I see any real traffic on the highway outside my complex is during the morning and evening commutes.  I have a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska who works in a pharmacy and she said things are crazy there.  She wears masks and gloves every time she leaves her house.

My brother and his wife have worked from home for the last three weeks.  Their four kids are all doing online school for a few hours a day.  My mom and dad are doing alright.  They sometimes binge watch westerns on their streaming services.  I call them at least once a day.

I call my neighbors at least once daily.  My neighbor lady helped me with my laundry yesterday and her husband cooked dinner for us.  My cleaning lady will be here this afternoon.  I just realized there were some supplies I was supposed to pick up for her that I forgot about.  But some cleaning supplies like disinfectant sprays and cleaning solutions are in short supply some days.  Twice in the last two weeks I tried to buy Lysol spray only to find the store was out.  Fortunately I found an old can I had forgotten about stashed away in my closet.  I didn’t go stock up on toilet paper or anything crazy like that.  The craziest things I did buy was some bottled water.  At first I was afraid the water might go out.  But I needed some as I try to keep a few days worth of water stored away just in case.

I’m still holding good on my psych medications and over the counter pain pills.  I bought some ibuprofen a few weeks before things got real hectic.  I haven’t had a real shortage of anything, at least not yet.  I’m glad my family took disaster preparation serious when we were kids.  Living in a small Nebraska town with the nearest Wal Mart being an hour drive away, we stocked up whenever we had the chance.  It wasn’t unheard of to have a major snow storm shut down the highways for a few days.  When I was thirteen, we had an ice storm that knocked out power and water in our town for three days.  Some of the farms outside of town were without power for a few weeks.  So I guess disaster preparations were never foreign to anyone living in our small town.  Most of the people I grew up around worked in farming or ranching, so they were people who were used to having to be on their own just by the nature of their work.  Even though my parents weren’t farmers, I learned some of those habits of being self reliant and prepared just by growing up around it.  I guess my family and those I grew up around kept some of the old pioneer mentality even in modern times.

Emergency Preparation and Disability

A few years ago I wrote a couple articles about emergency preparations.  Now that COVID 19 has been officially declared a pandemic, now is a good time to review this.

Some musts people must have include several days worth of emergency food, mainly non perishables that require little to no preparation.  Things like beans, rice, canned foods, jerky, peanut butter (if you are not allergic), honey, several days worth of bottled water in case the water goes out are a good place to start.  The best are things that don’t need to be kept cold and or won’t spoil for a long time.

Other things that will be needed are extra over the counter medications like pain pills, cold medicines, flu medicines, nasal spray, and a first aid kit.  With as overwhelmed as hospitals could become, you may have to rely on yourself, family, and neighbors for anything that isn’t life threatening.

Prescription medications are a problem.  Most places won’t allow you to fill several months worth of medications at once.  It’s simply against the law.  Prescription meds are a tough call.  As for me, I have a set up where I get my meds filled for 90 days at a time.  I also had some samples from doctor’s appointments.  Do not go off your meds, especially anti psych meds.  We’re all already under stress as is.  Going off psych meds during a crisis like we are facing will make things even worse.

Having cash on you may be a good idea, especially if the power goes down or there are bank runs or ATMs run out of cash.  Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when away from home.

Get on good terms with neighbors and family if you aren’t already.  If things get really bad, like survival type situations, you will be glad you have a close by network of neighbors, friends, and family to fall back on.  I am limited mobility now, but I am on good terms with most of my neighbors and my land lady.  It helps that I helped out lots of people when I was still healthy and very mobile.

Also, wash your hands with soap and water.  I can’t stress this enough.  Avoid going out in public if you feel like you have a fever or are getting sick.  Stay home if you have to.  Wearing a face mask is not going to keep you from getting sick.  What it can do is, if you are sick, reduce the spread of germs from you to everyone else.

Finally, we are living in a time and place where history is being made on a daily basis.  Our descendants will be talking about these days years after all of us are gone.  Stay calm and avoid large crowds as much as possible.  Don’t be touching other people unless necessary.  We are living during stressful times.  But most will make it through.

Push for Spring

Today is Mardi Gras for my Catholic friends.  The start of Lent season was always a sign for me that winter was almost over.  I have weathered the winter alright so far.  I haven’t had any breakdowns since before Christmas.  I started reading a book that was over 1200 pages at New Years and I’m barely over half done.  But I try to chip away a little every day.  I try to contact family and friends at least once a day.  The last few days my best friend and I have been having a running dialog over facebook messaging.  She works a job where she occasionally has down time and can chat for a few minutes even if she does have to be on her feet all day.

I got some real good news several days ago.  I’m getting new flooring in my apartment.  I’m getting my walls repainted to and some work in the bathroom done too.  I never thought I’d ever see the day I’d get excited over getting a new toilet.  But I guess that happens once I hit middle age.  I’m supposed to be getting this in a couple weeks.  The only drawback is I have to be out of my apartment for several days.  I’ll probably be staying at a hotel here in a town for the duration.  I imagine I’ll be doing lots of sleeping and internet research for that time.  But I can accept a week of inconvenience in order to have my apartment updated for the next fifteen years.  I guess this is my end of winter good news.

Doing Well

Doing much better the last several days than normal.  Getting quite regular sleep, my aches and pains aren’t nearly as intense, I’m getting more mobile, at least within my own apartment, I don’t have as many issues with anxiety or paranoia, and I’m not even bothered by guests to my apartment.  It’s amazing how much of a difference a couple months can make.

I try to talk to family and friends at least once a day.  Even if I don’t leave my apartment every day I still attempt to socialize.  I still hear from my neighbors once a day on average.  After spending an entire day out of my apartment last week, I was able to touch basis with several of my friends here in the complex.  One friend I talked to for almost two hours.

I’m reading more too.  I’m now a third of the way through Wealth of Nations.  It will probably be one of those all winter projects.  I try to read at least one hour a day.

I don’t participate on social media much outside of close friends and family.  I am inactive on my groups.  I usually just read posted articles and don’t comment.  I no longer have the time, patience, or energy for online discussions and disagreements.

I still watch movies every so often.  Been catching up on some of the newer movies I didn’t see in the theatre.  In fact, I haven’t been to the theatre in over five years.  I haven’t even been inside a fast food restaurant in almost two years.  The only time when I eat fast food is if one of my guests brings in food.  Fast food doesn’t agree with me much anymore.  I prefer my own cooking or my neighbors’ cooking.  At this point, I would rather host guests and make a home cooked meal as opposed to going to a restaurant.  Besides, far more places deliver than even five years ago.

I haven’t driven a car in a few months.  I sold mine back in the fall to a friend of my dad’s.  My car wasn’t doing any good with me not driving anymore.  I just got to where I was too scared to go on the road.  I actually got a panic attack one day while driving.  I’m glad my old car went to a good home.

Don’t have much planned for the next few days.  Probably will watch the Super Bowl.  I have several friends who are Chiefs fans and a few family members who are 49ers fans.  I guess it makes no difference to me who wins.  I would just like to see an exciting game.  Even when I did watch lots of pro football, I watched the Super Bowl more for the game than the commercials or half time shows.  I used to go to Super Bowl parties when a few of my friends hosted them in their apartments.  Those were fun times.

It’s been quite amazing in that I haven’t had any bad flare ups for over a week now.  Even the few I had were quick hitters that were over within a minute or two.  Right now I’m doing quite well, far better than my usual for the last year or two.  I think it definitely helps that I am in more contact with my neighbors, family, and friends.  Going to the doctor for my annual checkup in December let me know where I stand and what I’m doing right and what needs adjusting.  I’m currently on a winning streak.  I hope I can keep this going for awhile.  It feels like things are going back into some kind of normal and more relaxed.

End of January Updates

Had a quiet weekend overall.  Watched a couple movies on amazon and talked to family and a few friends.  Spent the entire day Thursday out of my apartment while maintenance was being done.  So I was out and about all day.  Caught up with a few of my neighbors.  Had some good conversations, the kind when I talked so much my throat was sore at the end of the day.  Been a few years since I had a day like that.

Overall I’m less paranoid these days than I was during the fall.  I think things began improving about late October to early November.  That’s about the time I got to know my neighbors better.  We usually talk once a day just to see how each other is doing.  I usually leave my door unlocked when I am awake now.  I used to leave my door locked all the time.  Sometimes if I was really paranoid and anxious I wouldn’t answer the door.  I don’t notice people walking and talking in the hallways as much as a few months ago.  I used to be real paranoid about that.  I think it helps alleviate the anxiety and paranoia even more getting in touch with my neighbors.  I still have occasionally have days I just want to stay in bed.  But those are becoming fewer and less frequent.

I’m also having fewer problems with aches and pains.  I started taking some supplements for my joints a few months ago.  I now have fewer aches and am more flexible.  I don’t wake up nearly as stiff and sore as I used to.

I’m starting to need less sleep again.  I usually go to sleep around 11pm and wake for good by 6am.  I occasionally nap in the afternoon.  I feel better rested overall than even two months ago.

I’m still lifting arm weights three to four times per week.  I’ve been adding more exercises and reps the last several weeks.  I started regularly lifting weights last March.  It  was a slow go the first few months.  Gradually I built up strength and endurance.  Eventually I added more exercises and reps.  I definitely notice a positive difference in my strength and stamina in less than one year.  I want to keep this up.  Can hardly wait to see what the next year will bring.

I’m having fewer flare ups the last several weeks.  Sometimes I even go entire days without flare ups.  And the flare ups I do have are shorter lived and less intense.  I think it helps that I have connected more with my neighbors and old friends in the complex.  It helps that I avoid negative people and situations, in person and online.  I don’t spend much time on facebook anymore except to chat with a few old friends.  I don’t even participate much in my tech and science groups.  If it weren’t for a few old friends and promoting my blog, I wouldn’t even have a facebook page anymore.  One of my close friends is thinking about closing down their account.  I was off facebook for a week over the autumn.  It helped me to alleviate stress and irritability.  Other than a couple friends I just don’t get much out of it anymore.  I guess after 10 to 12 years I’m finally ready to truly cut back.  I still have my email address.  Besides, the friends I stay in contact with are the types I don’t need to keep in contact with on a daily basis.  This isn’t high school anymore.

Between getting back in touch with my neighbors and friends in the complex, exercising on a regular basis, keeping in contact with friends and family, reading books on a regular basis, watching more movies, and getting even more active with this blog, it’s been an eventful and fruitful last couple months since the weather turned colder.  I guess we still have another ten weeks of cold and dreary weather.  But I have held up well the last several weeks.  I can face the next several weeks too.