Navigating the Pandemic

I was reading an article in the New York Times this morning about being single and alone during the pandemic. As I fit into both of those categories I thought I would put my thoughts to paper. I spent most of my life suffering from minor anxiety attacks, most of them precipitated by either marital or work-related stress. Since having shed myself of both of those causes a number of years ago I had been relatively free of any attacks for quite some time. That is no longer the case with the pandemic ever looming in the background, attacks can creep up on me without any cause. I am 72 years of age with underlying health issues so I was concerned.

One of the commenters to the article mentioned that he had not had human contact in three months. While I commiserate with him, I have not felt the touch of another in human in eleven months. Not a simple handshake and certainly not a hug from a loved one. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones since I do work part-time and have been able to interact with work colleagues and customers while carefully maintaining social distance and always sporting a mask. We have had periods where the business has been under curbside mandates and interaction has been limited to my colleagues.

I should consider myself lucky that, although we do not share a family bubble, I have friends that live just two kilometres away. Most of the last eleven months we have been able to get together outside for a walk or a brief visit. I have not been in anyone else’s home and other than one time, no one has been in mine for the entire eleven months. We have been asked by the government not to make unnecessary trips and to not drive between different published zones in the province. This has kept me from being able to even make driveway visits with loved ones in different areas. I have been lucky enough to have had short video visits with those I love.

I began the pandemic totally paranoid. I was fortunate to be able to isolate at home for the first two months and to eliminate all outside contact by having everything that I needed delivered to the house. As time went on I became a little braver and began to make short forays into town. As more and more information became available about the virus and, trusting in science, I learned that as long as I held any interactions to brief exchanges wearing masks and distancing, that I should be able to protect myself. Sanitizing and hand-washing became a routine. After shopping, I bring everything in the back door and separate out items that have to go into the refrigerator from those that don’t. Those that don’t go into the refrigerator are left in the basement for three days before they are touched. If anything absolutely has to be touched the packaging is wiped down with disinfectant, opened and the packaging is immediately thrown away. I then completely disinfect my hands and any work areas used. Am I crazy?

I am a lover of nature and I was able to spend most of the warm months outdoors doing the things I love. Winter has driven me inside and marked the return of my anxieties. I am fortunate that I have had lots of opportunities to do work around the house however, on some days I am unable to move past my anxieties to do any of those things.

March is fast approaching and with it will come the one year anniversary of Covid-19 concerns in Ontario. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Two vaccines have been approved for use in Canada but, it would appear it will be mid to late summer before I am able to be vaccinated. I am not looking for your sympathy, I am just explaining what my life has been like over the past year. I know it has not been easy for anyone and I know that many of you have suffered in ways that are vastly different and more serious then mine.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read about my journey.

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