Pandemic journal: Day 23

Sunday, April 5, 8:49 AM

Day 23 of voluntary social distancing, Day 20 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 17 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: partnering 

My back still hurts, unsurprisingly. I thought when I woke that it might be getting better, and maybe that’s so, but it still feels very stiff; my instinct is that I badly need some form of lengthening but I need it in my lower back and not in my upper, and the upper is so often where it comes from when I try to stretch. 

As far as my state of mind, though… last night I found very well-written, day-by-day posts from a Redditor who’s working in a hospital in NYC. They were terrifying: the drugs don’t work; the CPAP-type machines that might help patients also spread aerosolized particles everywhere; doctors are required to attempt to resuscitate patients even when their prognosis is very poor (not “poor” like, this person has a disability, although that’s probably also happening, but poor as in, this person will survive this attempt only to be comatose); they’re losing some of their own. It’s very intense reading and since it was posted in medical Reddit the comments are quite intense as well.

My back hurts, just sitting here. I’m afraid I shouldn’t even be writing?! Would typing be any better? [It’s the same chair/desk setup but typing is more symmetrical.] I’m trying to vary my posture but I don’t know that anything is helping much.

I talked to JN yesterday who said she’s been thinking of us and feeling our situation is so hard, because her preschooler has a built-in playmate as well as a yard, and we don’t. She said she imagines that if she were in my place she’d be losing her mind. But I feel the opposite, that I wouldn’t be able to handle more than one kid right now! So it was good to hear we were each concerned about the other, but feeling grateful for our own situations. That is the best sort of exchange to be having at this time! 

A small child with short black hair descends sunny wooden outdoor stairs

I once again can’t remember a whole lot about what I did yesterday. The hours do blur together, as do the days; it’s valuable to be writing every day. 

I know we had a chat with the family; Mommy is still so hung up on food that even though she can’t go shopping she’s constantly online shopping; she sent A a fruit basket, and has shipped me sausages and bacon. She also ordered herself a new laptop even though she was waiting 48 hours to see if hers would revive after she’d spilled water on it; it did revive, and now she has 2 laptops. I tried to impress upon her that this is not what delivery and warehouse workers should be endangering themselves for.

Not long after that, I joined another family group chat with the older generation, and it was nice to see everyone looking well and in good spirits (I’m sure Owl being on the chat also helped with that). Actually… I felt a little annoyed that they seemed so unaffected, but I suppose that’s really what we want, is for them to seem normal!

I made a birthday card for S while listening to some lovely quarantine music… it’s raining today and it was yesterday as well. I fried fish for dinner and we made a plan for a family movie night. Owl supervised as I colored a drawing they’d made for me yesterday. I went back on the grocery site and discovered that the 2 things I really wanted had been added — ginger root and brown sugar — so I got some of each, and then, because I’ve been feeling a little scandalized by how much food I’ve ordered in the past few days, removed some things from my cart that felt less necessary and more like panic purchases. I don’t know if I’ll regret that later — I hope not — but I really don’t want to be hoarding, or making delivery drivers lug unnecessary things around. I feel like, 3+ weeks after this all started, my eating habits are backsliding a little, not helped by running low on beans and getting a bit tired of them, I suppose, or just cabin fever-ish in general, perhaps. Yesterday I ate 1-2 of the remaining bakery cookies (they’re not small) and then before dinner I got hungry so instead of doing my usual thing of trying to stave it off with almonds and fruit and cheese, I went into the “decontamination” hallway and retrieved the colomba Mommy has shipped to us, and ate 2 slices even though I know that stuff makes me sugar-crash hard.

Colomba di pasqua (Italian Easter bread) with slices cut off

I suppose it’s a mental strain, trying always to do the right thing, trying to plan for the unplannable, trying to keep track of everyone I want to check in with, being present for others in these Zoom meetings, trying to keep productively occupied, processing… no wonder I’ve reached a point of just wanting comforting things! Other people have been there from the start and it’s amazing I held out for 3 weeks! 

A line from Laura Ingalls Wilder comes to mind — might be from The Long Winter, or Little Town — about Laura not knowing what she wanted, just knowing that whatever it was, she couldn’t have it. That’s a bit how I’m feeling too… I can’t have anything that will fill this space, so I put food into it because we still have that and it makes things good for a moment. 

Sending loving thoughts to everyone for whom sheltering-in-place (or not being able to) has created or exacerbated injuries.