Category Archives: Coronavirus

Infusion day

I’ve been a little nervous about this upcoming infusion, as so much has changed from 4 weeks ago. We are now under a shelter in place order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Essential workers and activities are still allowed, but people everywhere are taking all the advised precautions. I’m wearing a hand-sewn paisley face mask a dear friend dropped off for me last week, as well as a pair of latex gloves.

My pretty paisley mask

My husband dropped me off, and we tossed virtual kisses at each other as I got out of the truck. I walked into the cancer center, where my infusion center is held on the 2nd floor. In the entrance area, between two sets of automatic double doors, a man is sitting on a bench, wearing a face mask. I walk through the interior double doors and I’m summoned to a Purell stand and asked to sanitize the latex gloves I’m wearing. The woman at the station then asks where I’m headed. When I tell her the infusion center, she informs me that they have their own procedures and will ask me the necessary questions and check my temperature. I’m wondering if she can read my timid hesitation and confusion through my half-covered face.

I took the elevator this time, to get to the second floor. I usually take the stairs, but I still have poor balance and wanted to avoid needing to touch the handrail, even though I was wearing gloves.

On the second floor there are two women blocking the check in area. They are standing at makeshift stations, tall, round tables holding boxes of face masks. Each table is proceeded by a line of red tape on the carpet several feet away. This is where I’m asked politely to stand. Everyone is wearing a white face mask. I wait patiently for my turn.

When it’s my turn I’m instructed to remove the mask I’m wearing and put on the mask they have provided. They said I could wear my mask over the white mask if I wanted, but I declined and put it in my purse. I’ll save it for another day. I’m asked a series of questions and my temperature is taken, and the woman signs the form for me. So I don’t have to touch anything.

Once I’m cleared they tell me to stand at a red paper square on the floor, several feet ahead. I walk over and wait to be called but it’s tricky because the masks muffle all the sound and I can’t read lips that are covered, obviously. I forget how much lipreading plays a part in my speech comprehension.

A woman far ahead looks in my direction and points at me, because it seemed clear to her I wasn’t getting the message to come over to her desk. She checks me in, quickly, puts an ID bracelet on my wrist, and then I’m sent over to the waiting area. I find a seat away from other patients, breathe deeply, and wait.

When my intake nurse comes through the doors ahead, she sees me immediately and I can tell from her eyes that she’s smiling. As we walk back to my corner station, she mentions that it’s probably hard for me with all these masks on. She remembers me well; I’m a regular at this place. I say yes, that I forget how much I use lipreading until it’s not available anymore. It’s not impossible to understand, just a little more challenging than normal. Nothing I can’t deal with.

To be perfectly honest, the rest of the infusion went just as usual. It was a bit strange to see everyone walking around with face masks on, but I didn’t feel a heightened sense of dread or anything. It felt like business as usual for everyone. For all the nurses and staff, this has become their new normal (for now, at least) and they are well adjusted to it. Once I was sitting in my infusion chair, I felt completely at ease and had no reason to be fearful. And once I had my mask on properly, it was actually quite comfortable to wear. To quote the Dread Pirate Roberts, “I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”

Dinnertime

I’ve always been a planner, and for the last several years I have established a routine of planning our meals on a weekly basis. I know meal planning is not for everyone, but it just makes things easier and way less stressful for me. With that last grocery trip, we are set for at least two weeks of meals. And since all the events have been cancelled, I now have something to fill out my fridge calendar:

But that’s not all the fun I’ve been having! Thursday I had a video visit with my new cochlear surgeon. We needed to meet so they could “establish care” which I guess just makes things easier when working with the manufacturer of my implants, especially when it’s time to upgrade to the newer model.

This coming week I have my regular Tysabri infusion. For the first time in years, I’m nervous about going to this. My last infusion was just days before everything shut down, but now we are in full blown shelter in place status and I am worried that I might pick up the virus and bring it home to my family. But my husband and I both agree (as does my neurologist) that the risk of another MS relapse is a far greater risk, and so I must get this infusion. The last time I missed a dose, I lost 60% of my vision, permanently. So I’m going, but I am going to be as safe as possible. Rather than riding the Spec-tran, I’ll be dropped off by my husband. I’ll be wearing an N95 mask (he had a few in the garage that his dad reminded him he’d given him awhile ago) and rubber gloves. I told hubby I thought I would look like some kind of freak walking into the infusion center and he said probably not, because everyone else there will be dressed the same. I don’t think the nurses are going to give me any grief over being too careful. So I’m sure it will be fine, but if you wanna mark your calendars to pray for me Wednesday, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.

I’ve really been enjoying our family dinners lately. We’ve always eaten together as a family, nearly every night, but family dinnertime feels different now. Our schedules are clear, so we are far less rushed. Nobody has anywhere they need to be. A couple nights ago we were all sitting around the table and legitimately enjoying each other’s company. We were talking about what we planned to do, where we planned to go after all this is over. My daughter brought up some great memories of a trip I took her and her brother on, to visit downtown Lansing. Together, we reminisced about all the places we visited that day and what fun we had. Then she said we should go again. Sigh. I love that girl. She’s a city girl, just like her momma.

I worry sometimes about my daughter because she’s extremely introverted, and she’s spent almost every waking hour of this quarantine holed up in her room, playing Roblox. But then she comes out and chats up a storm, telling me all about the fun she’s having. The other night we watched Dr. Strange together, at her request, and after the movie was over we discussed our favorite parts of the movie.

So, I feel like I’m bonding with each of my kids, in entirely different ways. It’s been really nice. This quarantine stuff certainly stinks, and it sure wasn’t what any of us would have planned for our lives, but I’m thanking God for the opportunities it’s giving us. Every storm cloud has a silver lining, and I hope that you are finding your silver lining amidst this storm.

Runs with Birds

Laundry Always Waits

I ran today. I hadn’t run in over a week, and I would say 90% of that was because I was feeling emotionally drained. And I won’t lie, I’m still feeling somewhat emotionally exhausted, but I knew I needed to get some sunshine and fresh air. My soul needs it. So I jogged, I walked, I waved at strangers, and I listened to the birds sing.

I came back to the house and all the world’s problems are still here, but they don’t seem to be weighing me down as much. For now. Until they get too heavy again and then I will go out again and offer my cares up to the Lord and let the birdsongs fill the empty space in my heart.

I pray you are all doing well and staying healthy. May God sustain you and meet you wherever you are.

Getting Groceries these days

Ordering groceries these days is really…. weird. First off, the stores have been running out of a lot of things: toilet paper, flour, all the frozen things. Some of the shortages are due to people just panicking and losing their dang minds – like the toilet paper shortage which I’m sure everyone in this country is aware of. But flour and frozen foods, I think those things are flying off shelves because a lot of people are doing what we are doing, stocking up to minimize their trips to the store. So when I placed the order I warned my husband that we might not get everything that we wanted, but we agreed that “we’ll get what we get and we won’t throw a fit.” Of course, I said I might throw a little bit of a fit, but I would do my best to keep it contained.

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So the weird part though, is that the shoppers are dropping the groceries off on people’s porches or in their garages. And then they leave. It’s the safest thing we can do right now to minimize exposure, but it’s strange, not to have the normal face to face interaction. Especially when they know that you are right inside the house, watching them unload the groceries. The Aldi shopper apologized to me that my groceries might smell like disinfectant because she uses a lot of it. I told her she was our people, and thanked her profusely. Then she sent the above picture to let me know everything had been unloaded and it was safe to come outside and get our stuff.

As you can see from the photo, we also had a Meijer order delivered shortly before. We had to order from two different stores in order to get all the things we needed. My husband, standing there at the back of the truck, wiped every item down with a disinfecting wipe and I brought them in once they were clean. It was a super fun process I do not look forward to repeating in two weeks when we’ve run out of food and supplies again.

Y’all, in a normal, coronavirus-free world, grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. So I am super grateful for all the shoppers working their a$$es off to make sure the rest of us are well fed and safe at the same time. We are in strange times these days. Be patient, be kind. We won’t be here forever.

Skating with Piper

It’s been rather rainy the last couple of days but last week my son and I got out for a couple walks with the dog. My son is very active and full of energy, and he’s been doing surprisingly well during this period of quarantine. In the past he’s been pretty busy with sports so I don’t always get a lot of one-on-one time with him. Now that he’s in isolation, he’s been coming around and chatting with me about whatever is on his mind at the time. Folks, I am loving it. And the fact that he loves getting outside to walk the dog is pretty awesome too. Our last trip out before the rain came was with Piper on a skateboard, pulling Luke. She was a little confused about how it was supposed to work, but towards the end she almost had the hang of it. Almost. And you can tell by the smile on her face below that she was absolutely loving the attention.

There’s a new sheriff in town

For the past week and a half I’ve been allowing my kids to sleep in and stay up late, playing video games in their rooms all day. However, I’ve been listening to Celebrate Calm parenting podcasts and now I’m feeling motivated to be more intentional and proactive with engaging my kids in healthier daily activities. We will see how I feel about it in the morning, but after talking with the kids this evening, I think they understand that their state of total freedom is ending. They were laughing and joking and even offering up ideas for activities. So tomorrow I’m going to try to stay up when my alarm goes off at 7 am. I’ll have my coffee and devotional time with Jesus, and then I’ll scribble out a daily plan. Hopefully a plan better than the one I proposed this afternoon (pictured below).

I’m going to try to make this a fun, adventurous time. I’ll still want them to incorporate some official schoolwork, using the resources their teachers have been sending us, but I also want to capitalize on this time I’m having with them. This is like bonus time, and I want to take full advantage of this and use it to get to know my kids better. I’m looking forward to this and I’m praying God will bless this time. If all goes well, they will look back on this year with fond memories*.

*I wanted to call this new endeavor “Corona Camp” but my son didn’t think that was a very good idea. Not age appropriate, or something, I guess. I’m open to other suggestions if you’ve got any!

Socially Distant but not absent

So, there is a coronavirus pandemic in full force. For the past week, we’ve been practicing social distancing. This a term that one week ago had to be explained. Now it seems everyone is using it as if it’s been a common part of speech all our lives.

As a mostly introverted person, social distancing is not very difficult for me. Mostly. I’m happy to stay home. But even for this introvert I’m concerned. I wake up each morning with a panic rising in my belly. I worry about how long this is going to last. Is it even working? What upcoming events were we looking forward to that will need to be cancelled or drastically altered? How will my kids be affected? Am I going to have to start homeschooling them? What activities and experiences are they missing out on? And the biggest question – how can I continue to parent well and keep my panicky feelings from spilling out on my children? I do not want them to be negatively affected by this. I want them to become strong, resilient human beings. The way survivors of The Depression and World War II turned out to be incredible human beings.

The real truth is that almost all of my nagging questions are things I can do pretty much nothing about. Worrying is futile. And all it does is feed that panic, allowing it to rise further. So, knowing this truth, I repeat it to myself and I remain rooted in my faith in Christ. He knows I’ve lived through uncertain times, and He was the one who helped me live through them and come out stronger. I have no reason to believe He won’t do the same thing again, for all of us.

Stay home. Stay connected. Stay well.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV