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Archive for the ‘COVID’ Category

Covid

I wrote about a colleague who has COVID. He has been sick for three weeks. He is in his early 60’s, had a mild heart attack at the beginning of the year, lost a lot of weight and now COVID. I had a deep chill when I heard he was sick.

News about him is sparse. My employer is very strict about HIPAA, but I began gleaning some updates. At first it seemed he was getting a mild case. Fatigue, a little fever, but he thought he had it whipped. Not so fast. He got that second wave and ended up hospitalized with pneumonia. He has been in the hospital for several days.

Somehow his wife and teenage son have escaped it. I think his wife had a mild case. She had been sick right at the time he got sick. Regardless, he is not well, however, his denial is huge. He is telling a colleague he will be back to the office next week. He is still in the hospital. Plus none of us are in a hurry for him to return in case he spreads it around.

During all this, my company did flu shots this week. Thank goodness. I not only did the flu, but got my first shingles. That shingles vaccine is nasty. It hurts during the injection, my arm was sore after, I got a mild headache, and I am flat out exhausted today. Plus I have to keep my paranoia in check because the shingles vaccine side effects are similar to COVID. What was I thinking?!

I am sending positive thoughts for my colleague. I hope he recovers soon and doesn’t get sicker. Fingers crossed….

New Etiquette

I had a fun day planned last minute with some Miami girlfriends. Long story, but they were moving, cleaning and the like. I was invited to go along for the ride and hang out by the pool. Delightful.

I planned to wear a mask in an hour long car ride with one GF and maintain my social distancing at all times otherwise. A change of scenery would be nice.

But….we had 2 more Covid cases at work. One is a person I see every day albeit only in passing. I disclosed to my GF. After sleeping on it, she cancelled with me. She was quite apologetic. I reassured her that I was 100% understanding and fully on board with her decision. I didn’t push or question her decision because I don’t want her doing something outside her comfort zone.

Am I disappointed? Of course! It would have been a fun day. Am I upset with her? Not one bit. I get it.

This pandemic has caused a shift in social norms. I have written about my own reluctance to hang out with friends. In my case, my reluctance avoided a day spent with 2 dear friends who had COVID and just didn’t know it at the time. So when my GF un-invites me, I get it. I have been in her shoes. Trust your gut.

I don’t understand people who want to push their agenda on others. I hear/read stories of people being pressured to gather at social events. It’s one thing if it’s your choice, but hopefully societal norms are shifting to allow people to speak up and step back. No more being too nice and accommodating!

A Little Anxious


I have not heard my internal drumbeat for quite some time. I had heard it in March and April, but then it thankfully faded. Now, this week, it started again, albeit softly. My drumbeat is my sign that I am anxious. I don’t feel too much in control and I like to be in control.

Perhaps this is a lingering PTSD effect of Isaias swinging past and we haven’t even hit active storm season. Perhaps it is a discussion board on a professional site about the gloomy future of business. Perhaps it is the hard conversation I had with my son about school expenses, my thought that his dad is struggling to meet his obligations, so my son needs to talk to the financial aid office about more money. Maybe it is a combination of all three and more.

One thing I know is that I am a trifle weary about my utter lack of social life. I am trying to dig deep into focusing on things I can control: diet, exercise, sleep and finances. I am holding back on my spending. That is always a false stress-reliever for me so when I want to buy shit, I now stop and ask why? My cozy apartment can’t hold much, so any purchase needs to be carefully analyzed. I am focused on saving, saving, saving and frugal living, but honestly, that’s boring. No razzle dazzle there, but I do like seeing my savings grow, so I need to savor that.

I need to focus on what does bring me joy these days. I need to embrace the simple pleasures. My Beachbody on Demand (BOD) has been a surprising happiness builder for me. Yesterday was rainy so I couldn’t go outside for my nightly walk. Instead I did 30 minutes of Country Western dancing. This was in addition to my morning 30-minute Barre Blend, which combines barre and Pilates. To know me is to know that I have 2 left feet, no flexibility or rhythm. BOD has been introducing me to my hips and teaching me about coordination, stretching and footwork. Plus I get to look ridiculous in the comfort of my home with no one judging me. I also get to do these workouts repeatedly on my schedule and I advance when I feel comfortable moving on. I really like that. Look out Shakira – when I find my hips, they won’t be lying!

The other thing bringing me joy these days is the simple pleasure of being able to go to an office and be around people. This week is a trifle boring because I am in a lull with most of my projects. I have a few interesting things to do and some not so interesting, but I am around pleasant people all day without pressure.

I am reading a good book. Finished another last night. I have listened to some interesting podcasts. I have a weekly Zoom Toastmasters and this week I have a Zoom bingo night with another professional group. I am sleeping well. I just wish I could go to dinner or brunch with some girlfriends. I wish I had some girlfriends up here. The pandemic quashed all my plans of developing a social network up here.

Part of my internal drumbeat of anxiety is what I am seeing and hearing out of my professional networks. A tsunami of more layoffs and shutdowns is coming. Companies are distributing boxes to employees so they can pack up and work from home permanently, however, as those employees drive off the company knows most will never return. Lots of companies are closing up offices as of the end of September to coincide with the end of the third quarter. More will close up in December so horrific write-offs can be done for 2020. This will enable companies to potentially salvage 2021 after shedding everything possible.

Add to that mess the fact that as a woman over 55 years old, if I am laid off, I will be the last hired. Age and gender discrimination ratchet up during times such as these. Don’t believe me? Go read the studies. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/bye-boomer-the-coming-cull-of-workers-over-50-2020-07-29

For now let me be thankful for what I have. I am thankful for my job, my work colleagues, my cozy apartment, my growing savings, my health and much more. I am very lucky to have what I have.

Boring is Good

This week I have felt bored. Life is ho hum. Then Taz gave me a wake up call. We had a long chat and she was filling me in on news from friends and my Ex’s family. Wow – talk about drama.

This friend’s mom had two heart attacks. The friend is trying to finish school and her fiancé was transferred to an out of state job. Another friend’s grandparent passed leaving behind an autistic son with metastatic lung cancer. The friend’s mom is now nursing her brother while he battles pneumonia and lung cancer. The same friend is dealing with a boyfriend who has accepted a job promotion and transfer.

Then my Ex had some serious drama with his fiancée’s daughters. Long story, I won’t go into it, but I felt bad for the guy. Really bad.

It was just drama, drama, drama. Wow. I have never been so grateful to be ordinary and dull. Thank you, Karma. You won’t hear a peep of complaint from me. Not a single peep. I am ever so grateful for all I have. Now let me drag my ordinary self to bed in my cozy, simple apartment.

Test Results are In

The news have been full of woes about COVID testing, but I have to say my experience wasn’t that bad. I got a text 2 business days and 4 actual days from my test date.

I waited until I got a second text days later because I didn’t recognize the company texting me. I googled them and said, “Crap, this could be my test results”. They do need to do better on that part of things. Anyway, my test came back (drumroll…) negative. Hallelujah!

However, my work colleague (who is also a dear friend) came back positive. She’s the one who is also a kidney donor. She felt crappy one weekend, has had an upset stomach, only ran a fever for 2-3 days. She is lucky it appears.

COVID is a very strange virus. Her hubby got it at work – both his boss and a coworker tested positive. The coworker was briefly hospitalized. The hubby, by the time he tested, came out negative. He had mild symptoms, mostly digestive.

With Florida spiraling out of control, we are seeing/hearing more cases at work. People have fled back to work from home, thankfully. This leaves fewer people in the office. I am now mask on all day, eat lunch outside, use only one bathroom and really minimize my movement around the building. That is all I can control.

I got my hair cut today (mask on, temp check, etc). My stylist is very careful and sanitizes the area, mask, gloves. But people around her and me for that matter aren’t. Young man comes in for his haircut and only puts a mask on when told to do so and then wears it under his nose. Maskhole. A barber waltzes in and doesn’t have his mask on. He dumps his bag on his chair and heads back up front. I don’t know if they checked his temp. He too is a maskhole wearing his mask under his nose. WTF. I held my tongue because the owner was right there and had told the young customer to mask up. The barber had no excuse.

My young stylist tells me her very young roommate who just moved down to SFLA got COVID. This caused my stylist to flee her own apartment for two weeks. Apparently the roommate was quite sick. She was and is running around on Tinder dates, partying in Ft Lauderdale. What is wrong with people? Sigh.

Once again, this is not something I can control, so I will let it go. I will keep my focus on the things I can control. Thus here I sit at home, safe with a really cute haircut.

2020 Simply Sucks

Taz called today to check in. She had sent me a tub of banana pudding from the world-famous Magnolia Bakery and I had sent her a series of really funny pictures ending with one of me with my cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk because my mouth was full of that amazing pudding.

After we chuckled about that, discussed my health and lack of test results, she segued way to what she really needed to talk to me about.

“Mom, did you ever have a miscarriage or problems conceiving?” My heart sank. No, I had been blessed. Taz was not. She miscarried at about 4 weeks and had to have a d&c.

We talked about it. She is hesitant to tell a lot of people. She is not telling her dad. I told her that this is her story to tell and I won’t share it with anyone. I mentioned her aunts by marriage had struggled. I mostly listened. That’s what she wanted. No platitudes because they never work with her and I find them to be a trifle condescending.

This had happened about 2-3 weeks ago. She had felt a bit broken at the time and didn’t feel up to talking to me about it. She talked about having genetic testing afterwards and she’s fine on that front. Her doctor reminded her that a third of pregnancies end like this. She said twice that it had not reached the stage of having a heartbeat.

That hurt. When your strong daughter repeats something like that, you know that it is the mantra she is using to try to put it behind her. Her husband was crushed. My heart aches for them.

“2020 absolutely fucking sucks,” I spit out. “The only damn good news has been your fellowship.” Now, I know there are a lot more good things in my life, but at that moment I felt the searing pain of all that she has endured this year. The stress of fighting for her prestigious fellowship, working a COVID ICU when she had no training for it, the stress of the pandemic in general, struggling to keep her and her hubby safe from the virus. She has been through so much.

I knew that they wanted to try for a baby this year. I had not asked if it was put on hold due to the pandemic. That is none of my business. Now this news answered my unspoken question. They had hope. They have the love, courage and strength to bring life into this crazy world.

Tonight I am so sad. So sad that these two amazing people are going through yet another difficult time. It is always so hard to watch your kids suffer and only be able to wring my hands on the sidelines. I say a prayer for Taz and her hubby. May their hearts heal.

Covid Testing

I took my Covid test on Friday. It was a straightforward, rapid process and now I am waiting for my test results.

Have you been tested? If not, here is the skinny on my experience. I went to a free, drive-thru site sponsored by the county health department. I made an appointment two days prior. The appointment making was the most time-consuming of the entire process. I spent over 30 minutes on hold and registration takes about 10 minutes. The actual test process was faster — I was in and out in about 10 minutes.

The instructions are to keep your car window up until the actual test and just show your drivers license through the window. I drove to Tent A and they confirmed I was on the list. On to Tent B where they again checked my ID, scribbled some code on my windshield and put a test bag under my windshield wiper. On to Tent C, the actual test.

In Tent C, they showed me a test vial with my name and address. Confirmed yet again that this was me. Then came the dreaded swab. It was…unpleasant. She stuck that thing up there and swirled around like a champion. I realized two things: 1) I can breathe no problem during this test and 2) I can speak. Yes, you can voice your opinion. I said that it was unpleasant, but thank you. LOL. I do feel for these healthcare workers, so I don’t want to be Negative Nellie.

My left nostril felt violated for about 30 minutes. It mainly was a slight burning sensation waaayyy up my nostril. Not a big deal at all. I think my left nostril just wanted to document the indignity of the test. As I write this post, it harbors no ill will about the test. The dread of the test is much worse than the actual test. Much like many things in life — your brain worries you into a senseless frenzy.

I feel fine. No symptoms. I don’t think I have Covid, however, I take my temperature twice a day and log it. I bought an oximeter just in case. I am as prepared as one can be. I have plenty of Tylenol and other supplies.

Today my lovely state of Flori-DUH logged in over 15,000 positive cases in a single day. The same weekend Disney World reopened. It is a shit show down here. I am happy to be working from home for a couple of days.

This scare has taught me a valuable lesson. I cannot let my guard down for a minute. I cannot let my guard down with friends. I cannot be too careful at this point. I will wear a mask at work all the time now. I don’t like it, but unfortunately, it is necessary. The odds of more folks at work testing positive are too great for me to let my guard down.

I think I have been lucky this time, but I don’t think I want to try my luck at this game of Covid Russian Roulette again.

May luck be with you.

Vacay – Part II

I was being lazy after my son left and hung around the cabin. My birthday was the final part of my trip. My son had guiltily left the day before (I didn’t need or want guilt about his departure). My dad and stepmom planned to hang with me for the birthday afternoon and evening, then we would all leave the next day. A short, but sweet visit with them.

Until I got the Happy Birthday text from my GF at work. She called me. She may have COVID. However, I have been directly exposed not only through work, but she gave me a ride to the car rental and we didn’t wear masks. Sigh.

I immediately cancelled my afternoon rendezvous with the parents. My dad then said what I was thinking. Go home. Immediately. So much for my birthday. Fortunately I don’t get hung up on that type of stuff. My poor dad had gotten me a cake. Sweet thing.

There were multiple reasons for immediate action. I didn’t want to get too sick to drive. I didn’t want to further contaminate their house. I had to pass a Florida checkpoint, so I needed to be reasonably healthy for that. If I am going to be sick, I want to be home.

I packed up, washed the sheets, wiped down the house with my Clorox bleach spray and hit the road. Shortly after midnight I was tired, but home and the car was unloaded.

Today I slept in, returned the rental, picked up some groceries, made an extra key to my apartment. I am ready. I received official notice from work (via my GF who is HR) that I am not to return to work for another week. I am to work from home.

This will be interesting. I am waiting to speak to my boss who does not like WFH at all, even though she does it successfully when on a deadline. I have my laptop with me and I don’t need much else.

With the logistics all in place, let’s talk about me. How do I feel? No fever, my neck is a bit achy, I have a mild headache and a slight dry cough. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? I called Taz. Not much to be done at this point. I am scheduling my own COVID test right now. No sense in waiting if I already have mild symptoms.

Am I scared? Not yet. I do want to know if I have it. I am very worried for my GF. She donated a kidney to a family member a couple of years ago.

Like Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part. Sigh.

Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

Vacay – Part I

Vacay has been nice. I enjoyed the company of my son and his friends. They are smart, well-mannered guys. We sat around with a beer and discussed adult stuff. I enjoyed their opinions and stories. I think they enjoyed listening to my stories and thoughts as well.

We did a couple of low key hikes ending with a picnic. The boys took one day to hike something more strenuous while I hung around the cabin reading and relaxing.

They all left a day or so before me. I spent most of one day home alone. Initially I thought I would go walk around my favorite lake, but instead I have puttered around the cabin.

I am feeling a trifle blue, but at first I didn’t know why. As I thought about it, I think my minor funk is more about this never-ending pandemic. Before I left, two work colleagues reached out because they lost their jobs. I have tried to ignore the real world, but I see the surge of COVID cases in Florida and sigh.

How long will I have to abstain from activities, restaurants and the like? I think it will be 2 years. Taz agrees. I don’t want to be one of the first getting a vaccine. I want someone else to be the guinea pig.

Two years of limited socializing. Two years of probably not expanding my social circle with new girlfriends. I am doubtful I will be able to do any group lessons for any activity.

So that is why I have a funk today. It’s OK. My dad is popping in to celebrate my birthday.

Not my hike, but we saw similar beauty…

I Spoke too Soon

In my last post, I was basically “ho hum, no excitement around here”. Ha! That was like inviting the gremlins of mischief to pay me a visit, so they are popping out a bit.

My lovely state of Flori-DUH is redefining the word spike. Remember I wrote about opening up and people running around like raging chickens? We have clear evidence that FL is full of nothing but raging chickens. Raging chickens that party like crazy and refuse to wear something as simple as a mask. You want to see people’s full blown crazy on display? Watch this video of a Palm Beach County commission meeting where they voted on mandatory masks (it passed in spite of the crazies). Now some of you might not be CNN fans, so feel free to bypass the reporting, just listen to the absurdity of my fellow residents.

Anyway, now masks are mandatory in stores and at work. Work that has become quite busy now that I am heading out the door for vacation. We have known that eventually our 600 employee, multiple office firm would be impacted by Covid. Now it has. We have a handful of people in multiple locations testing positive. That results in their colleagues freaking the fuck out (I can’t blame them).

The huge Covid tsunami is cresting over our heads and the leadership team is paddling frantically to try to ride the wave. I have been handed a bucket so I can bail while they paddle. That’s the best analogy I can provide about what I do to help. Suffice it to say that my regular duties are on hold as I bail water.

Add to this that my boss has hit her wall. She isn’t the only one. A lot of people are beginning to buckle under the weight of all this. She is one of many. She has been holding up so well for so long, but this past week was not her week. Her mom, who lives 8+ hours away, had been ill and is now released from the hospital but not able to fend for herself. She, much like me, has a difficult relationship with her mom. My boss has been in pain since January from recurring back issues. She is finally getting some treatment, but it looks like she will need intense surgery to set things right. Plus we have a pandemic and she is on our Crisis Management Team. It is a lot to carry around and last week the weight was too much.

I actually sent her home one day. She had a doctor’s appointment and I urged her not to come back to the office. I asked her if she would have told me to return if I felt like she did. She said no, so I suggested she take her own advice. She did.

I have been helping with daily employee check-ins. Early in the week, a senior VP who runs the Crisis team was working with me. He mentioned that he had been awake the night before extremely worried we would be getting an outbreak.

Pessimistic Paul nailed it because the rest of the week was spent handling a handful of people being tested and two positives in different locations. Add in a new mandatory mask mandate with about 160 people coming to work daily and you have got fun times because some people don’t want to be screened or wear masks. Ugh. We make it as quick and easy as possible, but you always have those who resist.

I have actually been in good spirits. I just stick to my comfort zones and do what I need to do. My girlfriend invited me to go boating this weekend and it sounded lovely….until she mentioned they were stopping at a restaurant for lunch. Nope, can’t do it. Add in that I have a bunch of things to do for my vacation and nope. I just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of a waterfront restaurant. Those places are chock full of rule-breakers. I stayed home and cleaned my apartment. It’s OK, I have a fun-filled, relaxing vacation up in the mountains of North Carolina.

That lovely vacation is questionable also. We have a lot going on at work, so I have agreed to be flexible, take my laptop and be available if they need me. Fun times. I don’t mind. The weather should be amazing – no AC needed, just open the windows and let the fresh air blow through. We can take a few hikes, a few rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just generally relax. I have zero expectations except to unwind and spend time with my son and his two best friends.

Let’s hope I get to go! Everybody stay safe, keep your mask on and wash your hands!

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

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