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.

Self Quarantine April 6 2020

Woke up shortly after sunrise this morning.  Talked to mom for almost an hour.  Wrote to some friends but haven’t gotten any responses yet.  Talked to a college friend last night.  He’s a school teacher and said that teaching online classes and watching his two year old daughter keeps him busy most of the time.  Found out a friend of mine in Omaha and her husband are now both working from home.  She said the only time she leaves her house is to get groceries and go to the pharmacy.

Still working on some classic literature.  I try to read for at least an hour every day.  Have gone easy on the coffee and tea for the last few days.  I am usually less irritable on days I don’t have a lot of caffeine.

Ordered some groceries that are supposed to be delivered this morning.  Meat is getting tough to find these days.  I’m having especially hard time finding pork and chicken.  I’ll probably be eating more soup until this crisis passes.  I was able to find ice cream.  Haven’t had ice cream since last autumn.  Been craving sweets lately.  So glad I have a jar of honey to cover this.

I still don’t watch much news.  I do search youtube a little every day for videos with the theme of positives that are coming from the pandemic.  One positive is that more places will be offering more work at home options.  Another is that we, as a society, are realizing just how important people like grocery store workers, truck drivers, nurses, doctors, etc. really are.  And the reason I’m able to stay calm in this crisis is largely due to internet and easy access to communications.  I mean, I live on poverty level wages (at least for American standards) and I’m still able to weather the worst pandemic we’ve seen probably since Spanish Flu one hundred years ago.  My life would be much harder if I couldn’t keep in contact with old friends, family, and order groceries for next day delivery.

Self Quarantine: March 31 2020

Last day of March as I write this.  I haven’t been outside in two weeks.  The only time I leave my apartment is to pick up deliveries.  Had a pizza delivery this afternoon.  I was ready for a day without cooking.

I been reading more online articles.  Been watching some youtube videos.  Some of my favorite channels are the best of reddit videos.  Haven’t been binge watching amazon prime yet.  I may start that in a few days.

I slept most of yesterday afternoon.  So I was awake most of last night.  It was eerie how quiet everything was in the overnight hours.  Things are much quieter now than normal even in daylight hours.

Oddly I haven’t been feeling much stress or anxiety lately.  Maybe that was from getting my supplies earlier than most people.  It helps I don’t have to run out to the stores every time I need something.  Been getting home delivery for groceries and medications for three years.  I was used to it before it became vital.  And since my paranoia sometimes made me isolate for days at a time, being on self quarantine hasn’t been overly disruptive for me.

As of right now, I’m not running short on anything.  I did have problems getting Lysol spray.  I was lucky enough to find I had a spare can I forgot about under my sink.  I didn’t horde hand sanitizer as I don’t normally go out in public for long periods of time.  I definitely didn’t horde toilet paper.

Started drinking tea and coffee again.  I usually have a cup of coffee with breakfast and a cup of tea in the afternoons.  I have found that drinking just a plain cup of hot water often settles my guts.  My grandma did this for years.  Said it helped settle her stomach.

I talk to friends at least once a day.  I call my neighbors every afternoon.  I call my parents every morning.  Some of the videos I watch on youtube are along the theme of tech advances that will come due to coronavirus.  I also watch comedy shows too.  Saw a couple Monty Python movies last week.  Saw a couple George Carlin and Bill Hicks shows too.  I’m thinking trying to find some old Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor later this week.  Thinking of finding some old Jeff Foxworthy too.

Been dressing pretty comfortable too.  Most days I just were t-shirts and sweat pants.  I do wear sandals when I have to venture out to pick up deliveries.  I still take hot baths every morning.  Those help loosen my joints and I think the humid air helps too.  I don’t have any visitors other than my neighbor helping me with my laundry every Wednesday and my cleaner arriving every Thursday.  Since I got my new hard flooring, I no longer need to have it vacuumed.  I did buy a new broom and lots of Pine Sol.  Seems to be less dust in my place now that I don’t have carpet for it to get caught in.

The days are getting longer and the weather is starting to warm.  I usually run my furnace only in the overnight hours.  I usually run the fan during the days.  I’ve had my windows open a few times to let some breeze in.  We’ve had quite a bit of rain the last several days.  But the trees are starting to bud and the grass is starting to green.  Spring is here.

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.

March 18 2020

Been back home for a week now.  Got all the necessary things in the remodel done.  Haven’t left my apartment in two days.  So far I’m doing alright.  Renewed my Netflix subscription and watching some movies and comedy shows I had always wanted to see.  Saw some Monty Python this morning.  Watched some George Carlin skits on St. Patrick’s Day.  I try not to watch the news much.  Sometimes it can get too discouraging.  The best I can do right now is keep my hands washed and avoid large crowds.

I talk to my family at least once a day.  Contact friends on a near daily basis too.  I keep hydrated and take a vitamin C pill every morning.  I started lifting weights again.  I took the previous two weeks off while the remodel was in progress.  I am so glad I got that done when I did.

Overall I’m just preparing to settle in and bunker down for the time being.  Have some money saved up for emergencies.  Hopefully won’t have to go anywhere anytime soon.  Sounds like things are getting crazy out there.  Stay safe and stay calm.

Late Winter Updates

Been doing alright the last few days.  Staying close to home except to meet delivery people on ground floor of my complex.  It gives me a reason to leave the house.  I usually get a few deliveries per week, whether it’s groceries, items I order through Amazon, or the pizza guy.

I’m getting new flooring next week.  My parents are visiting for the weekend too.  I’m also getting my walls repainted and having some work done in my bathroom.  I’m actually happy about getting a new toilet.  Yes I am middle aged.  I’m looking forward to having my place remodeled, but I am not really looking forward to having be out of my nest for a few days.  But I can put up with it to have the problem solved for 15 years.

The weather is starting to warm up.  The last few days it hasn’t been below freezing except at night.  The snow we had over the winter is melted.  The tree outside my window is starting to bud.  And the migratory birds are coming back.  I often hear geese flying overhead and my town is a big spot for cranes returning this time of year.  When I still had a car, I’d drive around out on the county roads near the river and just look for cranes.  They would just be sitting in the fields and be so thick you couldn’t see the grass.

Baseball season starts in a few weeks.  My fantasy league draft is in a week and a half.  I haven’t done very well the last couple years.  My best finish was a second place finish in a league of twelve a couple years ago.  Hopefully the Rockies can do better this year.  Regardless, I am ready for some spring.

It has been a long winter for me even though I haven’t had breakdowns since before Christmas.  I did a lot of reading over the last few months.  I usually pass my days with reading, computer games, staying in contact with family and friends, and keeping up with my neighbors.  I usually see my neighbors once or twice a day.  They usually make dinner for me once a week.  They make some excellent Mexican dishes.

I usually do most of my own cooking.  I think it’s been two years since I ate at McDonalds.  I just don’t really like fast food that much anymore.  Makes my stomach unsettled.  And I’m a pretty decent cook, at least for myself.  I can make some pretty good bratwursts and barbecue chicken on my electric grill.  I don’t do much baking as I don’t eat much bread or carbs anymore.  I eat a lot of grilled meats, vegetables, and soups.  Pretty simple tastes I suppose.

I don’t drink as much caffeine anymore.  I usually have a cup of coffee with breakfast and that is often it.  I sometimes get jittery and irritable on days I have too much coffee.  Plus I am convinced it makes my muscles tight and makes me breathe harder.  An uncle of mine rarely drank anything with caffeine because he said it “cuts your wind”, meaning it made him breathe hard.

Don’t use social media much except to keep in contact with close friends and family.  I had to cut down my friends list and change some of the settings because it was getting too overwhelming to manage.  It’s not that I am upset with people, it’s that I can still contact them if needed.  The good thing about facebook is that it’s easy to drop in on old classmates.  I do my best to avoid being part of arguments.  I already have too much chaos running around my mind to intentionally add to it.  Sadly, mental illness has put limits on my ability to socialize.

Returning To Stability

It’s been a good day.  Talked to my landlady and I’m going to be having some maintenance work done in my apartment within the next couple days.  I’ll have to be out for a few hours while the work is done.  My neighbors said I could stay with them for the day.  It is work I have been needing done for a few weeks and it is finally being worked on.  One of the reasons I’m glad the holidays are over is that I can now get things accomplished that have been on the back burner for a few weeks.  Holidays are a stressful time for me, partly because almost nothing can get done during the holidays.  This is especially bad in the case of emergencies.

With some of my Christmas money I bought a few cheap games. I also subscribed to Disney +.  Yet most of what I watch is NatGeo.  I did watch Avatar a few days ago.  Hard to believe that movie has been out for over ten years already.

Been sleeping better since I received my new bed.  I also read more too.  I’m currently working on some of the classics I read in my early twenties.  I am keeping myself occupied in spite of the colder weather.  One of the things I like about winter is that I can get a lot of reading done during the long and cold nights.  I’m adapting well to the winter.  Winter and spring have always been my happiest times of year.  Late summers and early fall are usually my toughest times of year.

I’m still lifting weights three times a week.  I definitely feel stronger than I did when I started this routine last March.  I may have not lost weight in 2019 but I didn’t gain any either.  It looks like I have to adjust my eating activities to lose weight.  I want to lose weight, but for health reasons.  I really don’t care about impressing other people that much.  I can do most of my socializing at home anymore.  And my blog I can do from anywhere I can take a laptop and find a wireless internet connection.  I couldn’t have imagined doing what I am doing as a blogger even ten years ago.  Back in the mid 2000s I was still trying to get into writing through literary magazines and traditional publishing.  I probably couldn’t have gotten the audience and platform I have now except via dumb luck before blogging became big.

I still don’t know what this blog can become ultimately.  As it is I try to treat it like a job, even though I don’t make much money at it.  I didn’t know I had much of a talent for writing and story telling until I was in college.  I wouldn’t have figured this out had I never went to college.

Once I get these maintenance issues resolved within the next day or two, I’ll be set for awhile.  Just right in time for the next cold spell to come in.  I enjoy the cold weather.  I love reading with a cup of coffee and reading while under a fleece blanket.  I can hardly wait.

December 3 2019

Had my annual physical checkup this morning.  Sadly I haven’t lost any weight since last year, yet I didn’t gain any either.  The really strange thing is my clothing fits better than even last year.  I don’t know if it’s because I gained muscle or if I’m just delusional again.  I started on a blood pressure medication.  Not surprised as my dad has been taking blood pressure medications for over thirty years.  My lab results will be coming back in a day or two.  The big things I got taken care of was the new blood pressure medication, new prescription for a cpap machine, got the paperwork going to try to get some home health aide programs, and just getting everything up to speed again.

I had a physical back in summer 2018.  Shortly after I developed serious agrophobia.  I got to where I was fearful of driving.  I finally sold my car several weeks ago.  I heard it went to a good home.  I got to where I wouldn’t even leave my home most days.  I was just that fearful of being out in public.  And just spending time at home no doubt made my physical health worse and led to the paranoia and phobias just building on themselves.  When I was out in the parking lot waiting for my ride to the doctor’s office, I had two residents who thought I had moved out.  No I haven’t moved out.  I am just home bound most days.

Things have been going down hill for me for right on five years now.  I had three good friends die within six months of each other.  They all lived in my complex.  Then I had another friend die in 2016, also in my complex.  I had my car accident in 2015.  That was the beginning of the end of my road trips.  After that car accident, I went into a deep depression and gained well over 100 pounds in three years.  I had a few rounds of physical therapy.  But that car accident really took most of my confidence.  2016 and 2017 were even more depressing as I had falling outs with most of my family and friends, mostly over politics and religion.  I am still not on speaking terms with much of my family or some of my old college friends.  The whole thing has become a mess I am too overwhelmed to deal with.

I tried to talk to an old friend about toning it down some, but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.  Told me it was my fault for being so sensitive and triggered.  Well, screw you!  If we as a civilization have gotten to where we no longer care about friends’ emotional health and generally don’t care about empathy, then I want no part of it.  I don’t understand people who care more about politics and religion than their oldest friends.  I never will.  Hell, I don’t want to understand people like that.  The only real positive that has come out of everything falling apart for me is that I got to find out what friends and family were genuine and which ones were frauds.  Sadly I lost most of my friends and don’t talk to most of my family besides my parents and a couple cousins.  Yes I said frauds.  If you care more about your precious damn politics than you do friends and family, you are a fraud.  End of discussion.  This is not open to debate.  You will not be responded to.  You were never a good person.  I’m glad you are out of my life.  Don’t ever come back.

Random Thoughts On A Saturday Night

Been snowing on and off the last few days.  So I have just stayed home and admired the snow while watching football or listening to music.  Haven’t read much the last few days, not even articles.  I have found that I actually remember what I hear in audiobooks more than what I read in regular books.  I don’t read very fast anymore.  And when I do, I find myself stopping every half hour or so just to think over what I’ve read.  It’s a terrible way to try to read novels, but it’s perfect for heavy reading like philosophy and science books.

I guess winter is here.  Not that it bothers me any.  Spring is usually my favorite time of year, followed by winter.  I love the chilly weather, long nights, and not feeling pressured to go out all the time.  I enjoy the holidays more as I don’t venture out into the stores and fight the crowds anymore.  What Christmas shopping I do is all online now.  I got too much sensory overload from going to stores.  Too many bright lights, too many people, and too much noise.

I haven’t had much for flare ups for a few weeks now.  I think it helps that I am spending more time with my neighbors.  I usually see them once a day, sometimes twice.  Last weekend they spent an entire afternoon at my place.  I think it’s helping ease some of my stress and anxiety about people.  I have become quite fearful of crowds the last several months.  And the fact that most of the time when people wanted to talk to me, they were angry or I was in trouble.  For awhile, this made me very paranoid.  Sometimes I would have panic attacks when I heard people talking in the hallway.  Sometimes I wouldn’t answer my phone even if it was a friend or family member.  I have gotten over that recently.  I still answer even if it’s an obvious telemarketer.  But rather than get upset, I just hang up after a few seconds.  It’s not the most polite thing to do, but it’s not as bad as yelling at the person or machine on the other end.  About the only time I don’t answer my phone is when I’m taking a bath or a nap.

I’m also having fewer aches and pains.  The worst are always when I first wake up in the morning.  And when I sit down for more than a couple hours, I can be kind of sore for the first minute I’m standing up.  Anymore I almost always make a point to stand up at least once every hour, even while I’m on serious projects.  I still lift weights three times a week.  I think I’ve lost weight.  I don’t know if I really have, but my clothes fit better, I recover from being out of breath faster, I recover from anxiety and irritability quicker, I sleep better, and my back doesn’t hurt as often.  I still stay seated most of time when I have guests or my cleaning lady is doing her work, but it’s just so I don’t get in the way now.  Even the shirts I bought a few months ago are now kind of baggy.  I still wear a lot of sweat pants and cargo shorts, but it’s mainly because they are so comfortable and I do most of my work and shopping from home.

I sold my car a few weeks ago.  I sold it to a friend of my parents who was needing more reliable transport.  And I wasn’t driving much as I have found I can do almost everything from home now.  I was also getting kind of unnerved about driving too.  It’s just too much going on all at once.  I admit to getting distracted and sensory overload easily.  It’s just best that I don’t be out on the road anymore.  And if I desperately really need to go anywhere, my town does have a few taxi cabs and a few Uber drivers now.  My brother and his wife live in Oklahoma City and they usually hire Uber drivers when they need to go to and from the airport to avoid paying for a parking space.  I have an account, but haven’t actually used it yet.  I don’t miss driving that much.  It was just becoming more of a hassle than it was worth.  I enjoyed going on road trips all the time when I was in my twenties and early thirties.  But as I have gotten a few years older, I pretty much enjoy spending most of my time at home in the company of family or friends.  I’m glad I travelled when I was young and in more stable health.

I don’t regret any of the travels I did.  Actually, there really isn’t much I regret about my life so far.  Sure I regret getting schizophrenia, but it’s not like I had any say in that.  But I’ve made my peace and adapted accordingly.  I know it’s popular right now to be nostalgic about the past and be convinced that the world is going to hell.  Yet, for me, there isn’t any time in history I would want to be at other than the here and now.  If I had been born in my grandparents’ generation, I wouldn’t have had decent medications and would have been lifelong institutionalized if I was lucky.  As it is, I can live more or less independent and on poverty level wages because of medications, social safety nets like disability insurance and Medicaid.  Thanks to computers and internet, I have easy access to almost any kind of information I want within reason.  That alone would make the scholars of any previous era jealous.  And I get access to this treasure trove of information for the cost of one dollar per day.  I find myself looking up things all the time, even useless information like when I’m talking football statistics with my friends or family.  I couldn’t have done this twenty five years ago.  And now that slightly over 50 percent of the world’s population now has internet access, it is starting to no longer be considered a luxury.  For me, it’s an absolute necessity for my current lifestyle.  I’ll take easy internet access over flying cars and meals in pill form any time.

November 12 2019

It’s been another good day.  I spent the afternoon hosting my neighbors as visitors.  They were here for a couple hours.  I forgot how good it was to have visitors that weren’t family.  I had been isolating more or less for months.  I hope this is because of paranoia on my part.  But I just don’t feel safe in public anymore.  Haven’t for a long time.  I guess spending most of my time at home, reading books, writing, and working on computer games has become the new normal for me.  I no longer want to deal with outside drama. Some people can be so mean anymore.

I’m having fewer aches and pains overall.  The worst is when I wake up in the mornings. After a soak in a hot bath, and my morning routines I feel better.  I make it a point to stand up for a couple minutes every hour or so.  Used to be I would sit for hours on end when reading, writing, etc.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  It wasn’t healthy.

Been writing a few emails.  Got a couple responses from an old friend from high school. I find it easier to communicate via email than social media.  Social media is alright to drop in for a couple minutes.  But it simply wasn’t designed for long, drawn out conversations.  Those are the exact conversations I crave.  My best conversations have never been over facebook.  But I and my friends are rediscovering emails.  I now treat them like traditional letters.