Coping

Things are beginning to open up in a lot of the country. Not in my neck of the woods — or at least not by much. I’m okay with this, because I think opening up will cause a spike in cases and therefore in deaths.

I’ve been coping, though. Oddly, since I usually have trouble with summer. Maybe developing the coping skills for the coronavirus has helped.

I fall into the high-risk category: asthma, history of occasional bronchitis, pneumonia twice in the past six years, including one three years ago that landed me in the hospital. My family isn’t allowing me to do so much as go to the grocery store. I have some tendinitis in both ankles, probably exacerbated by my insistence in January that by God I was going all around San Cristobal if it killed me. I am probably never going to see the Galapagos again in my lifetime, so I was going to see as much as I could. I had a four-footed cane and walked very slowly, and spent one of our days there on a boat and swimming. But the tendonitis means long walks or hikes (both of which are legally allowed) are not going to happen. Hence I am stuck in the house, except for occasional car rides to help preserve my sanity. (I still can’t go to the beach because it is outside the allowable distance.)

And I may be for some time. “Opening up” does not decrease my risk should I develop the virus. If I am called into work this fall I may have to make some difficult decisions.

In the meantime, I have developed a couple of coping strategies:

  • I dress and shower every day. And by dress, I mean real clothes, not pajamas or sweatpants. It sounds like a no-brainer, but I see a lot of videos of people in sweats.
  • I wear earrings often. (Although that is as much a matter of retaining muscle memory; my tremors have gotten so terrible that most everyday activities are difficult. Wearing earrings helps me keep the skill of putting in earrings.)
  • I have started an “Art of the Day” post in my Facebook. I get great joy out of acting as “curator.” I have done this every day for six weeks and intend to continue, for my sake, mostly.
  • I do occasional intellectual work. A friend had me contribute citations for a post he was doing on the difference between Obama’s response to Ebola and Trump’s response to COVID-19. I enjoyed it greatly. I mean to do more of that.
  • The friend of mine who runs trivia on Monday nights (currently on hiatus, like everything else) posts a “Quarantrivia” video. It’s a little thing, but I look forward to it every day. I’ve even contributed a few.
  • My friend Jane resurrected the “Drink of the Week” club we had in college. The group meets over video, of course — and because it has been advertised in other alumna FB pages it gets a lot of different alumnae participating. It allows me to have contact with people outside my household.
  • I don’t drink too much.
  • If I binge on TV, I don’t binge on things that I know will stress me out. (No Tiger Kings, for example). I find myself binging on old movies and Ken Burns’ documentaries. (And lately Great Performances has been showing Broadway shows: I’ve seen 42nd Street and Kinkyboots, and have The Sound of Music on DVR. Also, I have been watching a lot of horse racing.
  • I try to let go of outcomes. Most days I can’t (I wouldn’t be me if I did not care deeply about the world), but I try not to worry too much.

The Rocket Scientist is coping by home brewing, gardening, and baking. We now can drink bottles of our “Pandemic Porter,” and last night we had a salad made of lettuce from our garden, and we have not bought a loaf of bread in weeks. (He’s working from home, and has a lot more interaction with people.) In some ways, this is a throwback to when he was in graduate school, when we gardened and made our own bread. (We started home brewing a bit later.)

There are some compensations to being stuck together:

  • The aforementioned homemade bread.
  • Dinner together every night.
  • No restaurant food — fast or otherwise — means I have been slowly losing a little weight.
  • I rediscovered how much I like to play backgammon. (Nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with me, but I am working on getting people here to play other board games.)
  • Being with people who for the most part I like being around. (I worry about The Red-Headed Menace who is stuck in a small room with only one other roomate in his apartment.)

So that’s how I’m getting by. How about you?

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