Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Nasal Swabbing

At work we have a handyman. He works for a number of people, but he was over here last week hanging a room divider for the girls’ room. On Friday, he called us and told us he was being tested for Coronavirus because someone in his apartment complex had it. Today he called us with the results: His test came back positive.

Now of course we are sorry that he is sick, although he has no symptoms. However, that means that our household needed to be tested. Fortunately, Watermark Church is doing free testing for people without insurance. Since I am on the Parkland Plan, I don’t have traditional insurance and I got the test for free.

Let me tell you: The nurse who administers it is a little humorous about it. “That physical feeling of being violated will pass, the emotional part I can’t help you with.” Which was actually cute the way she said it.

But yeah! Did it feel like a violation!

The swab is about 8″ long and it goes up your nose. Up your nose and down your throat and into your brain. It is a long-ass swab. It wasn’t exactly painful but it was not at all pleasant.

Of course I got all tense and that makes it worse. They do it with you sitting in the car and I arched all up out of the seat. I felt like, if I could have tipped my head at a different angle, it would have been better. But yeah, not fun, not fun at all.

The whole car got tested and now we wait for our results. For the next 2 weeks we are quarantined which means the 5 of us (me, Victoria, our 2 guests and the baby) are stuck in the house. Together. Victoria and I get along pretty well, I don’t know the girls will be after being cooped up for 14 days.

I am going to let my daughter take the car for the quarantine. She has things she needs to get done and I can’t go anywhere so she might as well use it. I hate for things to be wasted through non use. (Remind me of that with regard to art supplies.)

I did however get two very cool masks in the mail today from Lilydale. Who is a person in Canada. I don’t know her real name, she’s an online friend so I only know her alias. So that was a nice surprise.

And I got Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. Tacos and egg rolls. Greasy greasy food but I’ve been eating home cooking for a couple weeks now so it was really good for a change.

Here’s hoping the tests come back negative and life returns to “normal”.


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Sick Tigers

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/bulletins/285036f?fbclid=IwAR1DPwRx87nhxZDXdcet6lRQCfOMyVAeXgz60b6wiluNE8B3-IwhgtwSShg

A zoo in New York has a Tiger that is sick with Covid-19. That really scares me. I could live in a world with fewer humans, although Covid is a particularly horrible way to go. But to think that we could harm animals makes me sad. This virus is mutating, I guess, as these things do. But to think that someone accidentally infected a tiger! Tigers are important to me.

I don’t have words for the kind of hollowness this puts in my chest. I could almost cry.

But the tiger is expected to recover at this time, so hopefully that will be the end of it.


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“Plague Trip”

Took a little road trip with the roommates today. It’s interesting to get out in the world after being at home so much.

First stop was Fiesta for a money order. While L went in to take care of that, F and I went to McDonald’s. McDonald’s was a bit of a clusterfuck, though there was worse to come. In spite of the fact that the app says you can get 40 nuggets for $10, the lady insisted you could only get 20 for $7.50. F became very frustrated but settled for the 20. I got a sweet tea and a McChicken. The lady at the payment window didn’t have half the order so we had to verify it again. The chicken was dry and had obviously been cooked a while ago. Then we went back and picked up L.

I got to look at the scenery while we drove along. Usually I am driving myself so I don’t get to look around much. I was struck by how many big trees there were. We passed a golf course surrounded by a stream. A man and a big buff-colored retriever were walking along in the water. There was a group of black kids in black clothes, except one in a purple hoodie that seemed so bright in contrast. But on the roads there were almost no vehicles. The lack of traffic is what really feels apocalyptic. Gas prices were down to $1.34, though they are 20 cents higher closer to home.

Next stop was CVS for F’s meds. One of them is a controlled substance that is not kept in stock. I understand that because I go through this with my psych meds from time to time. F’s script had been submitted on Tuesday. Today is Friday. He called CVS to be sure it was ready, and the local CVS said they didn’t have it in stock, it was at another CVS 2 towns over. When we got there, they told us they didn’t have the prescription. Apparently when it’s a controlled substance they can’t electronically transfer it, the doctor has to submit a new script. So the choices were, order the drug which will take over the weekend to arrive, IF the manufacturer ships it, which is an ongoing problem not related to Covid-19; or have the order cancelled and get the doctor to send new orders. F opted for waiting over the weekend, though he did say that if the drug wasn’t there on Monday, he would have to contact the doctor. He wished the lady a “happy plague” when we drove away.

Then we went to pick up some items L had loaned a friend. I stayed in the car. The friend did come up to F and hug and kiss him, so I hope she was not infected. While we were waiting for L, we saw an old lady with really unfortunate hair. I told F, if my hair ever gets that kind of thin, I am going to shave my head and go with wigs. I have thought of doing that anyway, but the cost of wigs is off-putting. I actually have sympathy for the woman. We talk about male pattern baldness but nobody talks about women’s hair thinning as we age.

Next stop was Eatzi’s. I love Eatzi’s but I can’t really afford them. I had to pee so I went in with L to use the restroom. L bought me a coffee, so that was a treat. She also bought good bread, pizza and cookies. We ate the Mexican wedding cookies while we waited for the pizza. Yup, desert before dinner. The cookies went really well with my coffee. The pizza was freshly made and hot. The crust was thin though I think it could have used a little garlic or butter to be perfect, and I really liked the cheese.

Final stop was Dallas Tamale and Tortilla Factory. F wanted pork tamales but this late in the day all they had left was beef and jalapeno. I probably won’t be eating any of them because jalapenos don’t like me. L bought the last ones, and the lady that came in after wasn’t able to get any. I bet she was kicking herself for not going in sooner, since she was already there when we pulled up.

Then we went home. We didn’t stop for mail, which is fine, I’ll just take a walk tomorrow to get it, unless it rains. And my belly is full of snacks, though I will want to eat again before going to bed. It’s been a good day.

Now to write some snail mail.


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Isolation To-Do List

I wanted to use the graphic for this list, but I can’t find a version I can share. So here is a transcript, especially good for those of us who are struggling to keep a schedule during the day (hi! I know I’m not the only one). I thought this was a good list:

ISOLATION WELL-BEING DAILY TO-DO LIST

  1. Essential tasks:    [ ] Shower   [ ] Medication    [ ] ____________
  2. Clean one thing / space
  3. Tend something growing  [ ] Plant   [ ] Child   [ ]  ___________
  4. Be mindfully present to
    1. A sound or song
    1. A sensory feeling
    1. Something you see
    1. A spiritual practice
  5. Reach out to a human beyond your home
  6. Do one thing to get your heart rate up
  7. Do one thing you’ll be glad you did later


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How Fast Things Change

Yesterday felt like life was all uncertainty, and today feels completely different.

First of all, I talked to Shepherd Inn. We figured out that the current shelter-in-place orders are going to be extended. That’s not a surprise to me, really, we are still getting increasing numbers of cases in Texas so there’s no reason to think they’ll let the orders lapse any time soon. Also, unofficially, the state government is already discussing extending them past April 3.

In any case, we decided to postpone me moving in until the middle of the month. I don’t think orders will change then either, but since the place is due to open on May 1, I don’t know that I can wait any longer to settle in. I think it’s important that I am not arriving at the same time the girls are, for the sake of stability. So this is good. I feel more grounded about that.

V also asked me if I want to work, which I do. So she is going to set something up for me that’s part time at a food bank. Part time is perfect for me, since this will be physical work and I am not used to that. I need to figure out how to use an app called ShiftSmart because that is how I’ll get paid. It’s only $10 an hour but I have bills I need to take care of, I need the income. They pay by the day, with about a 3 day lag for the first check.

Monday morning I’m going to pick up my daughter and we’ll go pick up my meds at Parkland. Then J and I will arrange a way for me to pick up boxes from her. Probably she will put them in the yard and I will drive by to get them.

While I’ve been packing, I’ve been finding all kinds of cool stuff. I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know exactly where it was. No, really, I’d forgotten that I had some of it. But that’s okay! One day I will have a studio room and I’ll be able to organize stuff so I can know what I have and where it is. Just getting things boxed up is my goal for now.

So I’m feeling a little better about things. I have a plan for the next few days. Shower in the morning and get dressed since that helps me feel human. Something about putting on pants and a bra makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, gives me focus.

Sometimes all I need is a little sleep and a new day to have a new attitude.

And you know, things are going to be okay. It’s all going to work out somehow and it’s gonna be good.


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What To Do?

When I started this post, I was thinking more, what activity should I pursue now?

Now that I’ve called my daughter, I am thinking about what to do about Covid-19 treatment protocols.

I am concerned that, IF I get sick and IF it is bad enough that I need a ventilator, I will be denied one. I am 55, which isn’t terribly old but it’s not young, and I have a pre-existing mental health condition. I don’t exactly fit the profile of a good risk if there is a shortage of ventilators. I wanted to give my daughter an advanced directive to fight for me. I am not done with life yet.

I know, I know, I’m probably over-reacting. Yet there are decisions being made that point in that direction.

A Texas politician has suggested that grandparents would be willing to die for a strong economy for their descendants. Collin County has determined that all businesses are essential to a healthy economy so they are not closing things down. Now businesses still have to follow the governor’s guidelines like having fewer than 10 people in the building, but the business doesn’t have to close.

In the meantime, there are almost 1400 cases of coronavirus in Texas, and I believe right around 20 deaths. We are still on the up side of this curve, and I fully expect things to get worse before they get better. I expect to get sick and be sick for like 3 weeks, and get over it. But just in case that isn’t how it plays out, I want my position known from the start. That’s why I called my daughter.

Monday I am due to go to the pharmacy and pick up my meds. I asked my daughter to go with me because I’m not sure I have the money for parking. One of us can wait in the car for the other one.

I have a friend with some boxes for me. We are trying to figure out how to get them without having contact. I figure she can put them on the porch and I can get them.

I really want desert tonight but there is nothing sweet left in the house. There isn’t even bread for toast. But I want a snack so I’ll have to find something.

Stay safe out there. It’s getting real.

Don’t forget to check out my Patreon!


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Sheltering in Place

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 days since I last posted. I mean, I guess, so little is going on in my life right now that the last post, which I think was the last time I was out around people, seems like it just happened. The days are blurring together.

So, situation report. Dallas County has gone to sheltering in place. Nobody can leave the house without a reason. You need to have documents from your boss to go to work. You can go to the grocery store or the pharmacy. And that’s about it. Now I don’t know how they’re going to enforce the work documents. And if I’m driving to the grocer’s, well, how do I prove that? Current guideline is, if you don’t have the paperwork, you can get up to 180 days in jail. What do I get for going to the pharmacy? I mean, I need my meds.

I was supposed to have a third interview for Shepherd Inn this evening, but we cancelled it. It was mostly a meet and greet with the board, not a final decision. So we are still planning a move-in date of April 4. This should be okay, assuming the shelter-in-place orders are lifted on April 3, as anticipated at this time. I sure hope so, because I need help moving my stuff so I need people to have a certain amount of mobility.

I did have group today. We met on Zoom. There were about 10 of us altogether which is really pretty good for online.

I also heard that people need to be checked on. We are stressed and we are already less than optimum, so I must remember to check on people over the weekend when we don’t meet.

It’s so easy for us to fall into the doldrums. I nap a lot now. I am both energized and dragging, waiting for something to happen. I need to pack but I’m not sure how fast. I mean, I want to leave stuff out so I can amuse myself, but it’s not like I do anything right now. I kind of can’t focus but I need to do something to make the time pass. I don’t feel like I can make art right now. It seems frivolous somehow. Not to mention that I don’t really have the space for it. I don’t have any work space right now.

I went to check the mail today. I talked to my daughter while I took the walk. It was good to hear her voice. There wasn’t anything good in the mail, just a magazine that I can’t read because there isn’t enough light in this room and the print is so small, and some junk mail. I need to generate mail so that fun mail comes back to me.

I read an article about Covid19 today, and what the end stages look like. Pretty much you drown in your own body fluids. The care provider said he expected to see yellows and greens because that’s what infections look like, but with this he is seeing pinks. The capillaries in the lungs are leaking red blood cells into the lungs. Also, between delirium from the fever and the inability to draw a deep breath, patients are struggling and flailing in their beds. Some of them have even pulled out the breathing tube because it feels like they are being suffocated. So often they are being restrained. Clearly for their own good, but it looks and sounds horrible. Not to mention, even if you get through the crisis, there can be terrible damage to the lungs. However, Europe is doing drug trials for a, well, I’m not sure it would actually be a cure, so I guess that makes it a treatment. They are looking at a small handful of drugs: a malaria drug, an ebola drug, and two AIDS drugs, if I recall correctly.

So that’s about it. That’s my life right now. I miss getting out and getting around people. I need to remember to keep taking showers and getting dressed because it helps me feel better. Normalcy is a long way away and I don’t know how long this will continue. Trying to be more optimistic. Might even succeed.


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Watching the World Shut Down

Italy is closed. Yes, the whole country.

I am watching the US, in particular Dallas where I live, slowly grind to a halt.

As of today . . . Gatherings of over 500 are banned. Now that’s big for a wedding, but it’s small for a rally. I hope we are able to go back to large gatherings after the crisis passes.

Schools are closing. Around here most schools have more than 500 students so that’s in line. But there are concerns that some kids rely on that school lunch and even the school breakfast. And many parents are only able to work because the kids are looked after.

Mega churches are also shutting down. Of course many of them already have online services so that might not affect attendance. Or it might. They might find out how many people go for the fellowship rather than the message.

The Dallas Museum of Art has closed until further notice. I can see museums becoming echoing halls of antiquities that nobody visits even after the crisis is over. I have a Logan’s Run1984 feeling about it.

The city has declared a state of emergency for health purposes. Government is cutting back to bare bones staffing. City managers will not all be in the same room any more.

People are encouraged to “self quarantine”, which basically means isolating yourself in your home. When in public, try to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people. Don’t hug or shake hands. Call the doctor and the hospital before showing up at the office, because they might not be able to accommodate you.

I have concerns. Self quarantine is an awful lot like isolating, which is a problem for those of us with behavioral health concerns. I really appreciate my support groups and the friends I have made there.

Nobody keeps a 6 feet space between each other. I was in Walmart last night and the lines were packed. People were right up against one another. Lines were long. I see chaos resulting from trying to make space. Lines would reach up aisles which would interfere with shoppers. People wouldn’t realize who was in line and accidentally cut others off.

I am less scared of the virus than I am of the government.

Texas has 46 reported cases of Covid-19, with about 7 of them in DFW. That isn’t very many, but this is still the beginning of the situation. I expect to get sick. I expect it to be like a very bad cold. I don’t expect to get the shortness of breath part but you never know. I understand the concern is about having sufficient medical services. Once you get to the breathing issues, the best treatment is a ventilator. Problem is, there are only so many ventilators so only so many people can be treated. The goal is to keep the number of cases manageable. Nobody really talks about containment, though you would think the self quarantine thing would help. People are going to get sick, is all I’m saying. Better if the numbers are spread over a longer time so that fewer people are sick at the same time. I hear there are other countries where the number of people needing treatment has exceeded the capacity of hospitals to care for them, and they are making some hard triage decisions. Hopefully we can avoid that situation.

We are, for the first time as a nation, looking at employment decisions. About 60% of citizens live paycheck to paycheck. People have 2 or 3 low paying jobs to make ends meet. And low paying jobs are often part time and without benefits. Here are all these people in service jobs who work closely with the public who can’t afford to stay home and still meet their financial obligations. Things are going to change, though I can’t say what those changes will be.

These are my thoughts at this point in the process. I don’t know what’s going to happen so I have no real speculation yet about how things will affect me. I am not looking forward to being stuck in the house. I don’t know how this will affect my job search. Anything could happen.

I will make it through. I just wonder what the world will be like when everything’s over.