Quarantine Journal: August 26 2020

Been feeling better since I last wrote. Got a shower chair from UPS this morning. Got it tested out. I guess I live a mundane life when the highlight of my morning was the UPS man bringing me that package. While I do prefer baths to showers, I am convinced I get cleaner in showers and in less time. But as much as my knees sometimes hurt, especially in the mornings, getting out of the bathtub after a long soak was getting to be a chore. Getting in was no problem, getting out was.

Found out an old friend of mine has to have a medical implant removed because it has gotten bad infections. Her surgery is tomorrow. I wish her only the best. My former neighbors are still under quarantine but haven’t shown any covid symptoms yet. I hope they stay well and safe.

Been really hot here the last several days. Supposed to start cooling off over the weekend. To help pass the time I’ve been watching old football games on youtube. I am saddened that much of college football season is cancelled due to the pandemic, but I also understand why. Hopefully this will just be a one year deal. But between the pandemic, wildfires in Australia and the USA, economic depression, protests, major elections, etc., 2020 has already been a year people will talk about long after I’m dead. I think this is the most eventful year I’ve ever lived. And we still have four months to limp through.

August 4 2020

Had an appointment with my psych doctor this morning.  We did a conference with an app similar to Zoom.  While my hometown has gotten it easy (so far) as far as the pandemic goes, my doctor offers this service to his patients.  We didn’t make any changes and I’m supposed to see him again in two months.

Been reading much more lately.  I not only read on my e-reader, but I am also reading some of my old hardback books.  Reading some of my old poetry books for the first time in several years.  I usually read in bed as it’s more comfortable for me.

Found out my neighbors are moving out.  I’m sorry to see them go.  We’ve had lots of people come and go this year.  I recently celebrated my 14th anniversary in this complex.  I’m now becoming one of the longest tenured residents in here.  I admit I usually don’t pay much attention to the comings and goings of people unless they’ve been here for a few months.

Been staying up later lately.  I usually stay awake until midnight and wake for good at 8am.  I still wake up at least once in the middle of the night most nights.  My aches and pains are less than usual lately.  Even my morning aches and pains are more bearable.  I usually take some advil in the mornings and that’s all I need.

Mentally I’ve been stable.  I avoid most news channels and social media these days.  I avoid the drama in my complex too.  I no longer have the patience for drama and nonsense.  I can’t remember the last time I watched cable news.  Almost no one I know does anymore.

I’m now almost five months into weathering this pandemic.  I can stay isolated for a long time if necessary.  Able to do this with some planning and buying extra food and supplies every time I get paid.

August 1 2020

Signed up for an audible account this morning.  Bought a few new PlayStation games.  Been working on those today.  Had some groceries delivered this afternoon.  I’m rebuilding my non perishable emergency stock.  Still staying home for the most part.  My neighbors came over a couple days ago and helped me clean my place.

Mentally I have been doing okay.  Have minor flare ups, usually a couple times a day.  But they don’t last very long.  Sometimes they can come on quite suddenly.  But they usually go away just as quickly.  Haven’t acted out on them lately.  Summer is usually a tough time for me.  I imagine the next few weeks could be quite tough.  August is traditionally my toughest time of year.

Quarantine Journal: July 20, 2020

Had some work done by maintenance in my apartment this afternoon.  So that is taken care of.  Bought some groceries over the weekend.  So I’m set for the next several days.  Been getting out of the apartment at least once a day for the last several days.  Reading a couple e books right now.  Working on Wealth of Nations and Count of Monte Cristo.  I read both of these years ago.  But I thought I’d re read them.

Besides the maintenance workers, my neighbors came and visited a couple times over the weekend.  They were kind enough to make dinner last night.  I provided the meat and they did the rest.  We had bratwursts and fried potatoes.  They usually cook for me and a few other people at least once a week.

Keeping in contact with friends and family a little every day.  A friend of mine is losing hours at her job as her company is struggling due to the pandemic and economic problems.  Another friend of mine and his wife are expecting their second child any day now.  A third friend of mine is back to working at the office in her job.  She had been working from home for the last few months.  My brother and his family are in the process of moving to a different house in the same town they live in.  My oldest nephew just got his drivers’ license a few days ago.

Baseball games will be starting in a few days here in the U.S.  I’m glad to see this.  I had been watching Italian and English soccer most days to get my sports fix.  It’s weird seeing games played in empty arenas.

Overall I’m weathering the summer well.  I don’t watch the news much.  I sometimes watch Bloomberg Business but not much else.  And I still sleep alright.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Return To Normal

Had maintenance come to my apartment yesterday.  Had to spend a few hours out of my place.  I just spent the afternoon in my complex’s library.  I met a couple of my newer neighbors.  I think both of them were younger than I.  I suppose after living in the same place for over thirteen years it was only a matter of time when I would be older than some residents.  I was twenty six when I moved to my current place.  I was one of the youngest renters here.  Now I’m beginning middle age and one of the longer tenured residents in here.  I admit I am guilty of not noticing new tenants in here until they’ve been here for a few weeks.  I don’t get out as much as I used to as I tend to keep to myself and a few of my immediate neighbors.  My neighbor made some chili and French fries yesterday and brought me a plate.  Chili and potatoes are among my favorite cold weather foods.

I am now staying up later and sleeping less.  Most days I am not in bed until 11pm or midnight.  But I am usually awake for good right before sunrise.  I still nap for an hour in the afternoon, but usually only three times a week instead of every day.  I still have moments of anxiety and irritability, but those usually last only a few minutes.  I can usually do well if I can just take a step back and just let it pass.  Mornings are usually the toughest for me.  I still have a cup of coffee, usually at noon instead of first thing in the morning now.  I usually eat one large meal a day, usually lunch, and have something small for dinner.

I don’t have much planned for the next few days.  My cleaner is scheduled to arrive this afternoon and I’m expecting a package over the weekend.  It’s a late Christmas gift to myself I bought with my Christmas money.  I got a few cheap games for my PlayStation.  They should be here either Saturday or Monday as most places don’t make Sunday deliveries, at least not here in USA.  There are some playoff football games this weekend I may drop in on.  And I have my books on my e-reader I’m working on.  I’m now a few hundred pages into ‘Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith.  I’m also working on Plato’s ‘Republic’ and Machivelli’s ‘The Prince.’  I read all three in my twenties.  I figure after about fifteen years I could stand rereads.

Overall things are going alright.  I feel like I’ve returned to normal after the holidays.