Life in a Pandemic

It’s all horrendously normal, in some respects.

We’re far from the epicentres of Europe or even the U.S. up here in Powell River. While the virus has hit British Columbia, it doesn’t seem to have reached us on the Sunshine Coast yet.

That will change soon. Already we have a case on the Island. It won’t take much for it to hop a ferry and join us here, in beautiful, isolated Powell River.

But things here still have a veneer of normalcy to them. People go to work and school. They still have events. Seedy Saturday is this weekend and it’s going on.

At work we have new protocols to protect ourselves and members of the community. Those protocols change every day.

Small changes in everyday life have occurred, too. You can no longer get your reusable cup filled at the coffee shop, to protect those that work there. Workers are wearing gloves and disinfecting their workstations after every customer.

People are disinfecting their grocery carts before shopping. The local school has thankfully cancelled their spring break trip to Europe.

There isn’t panic. More like the town is a corral of nervous horses. Skittish, milling about. Not spooked and trampling yet.

There’s a quiet while we wait for it. The sound, the crack-shot of a news headline: First Powell River Case Confirmed.

Preparation and Worry

We need to prepare, I know, but there is something tremendously difficult about actually doing so and knowing you’re ready. Some part of me is clinging to the normalcy we still have, resisting doing what I know needs to be done, and now.

Social isolation. Stock up for if one or both of us does get the illness. Restrict our travel outside the house to absolutely necessary trips: doctor’s office, work. Turn the front entryway into a decon chamber. Set up for home delivery of groceries, so it’s ready if we need it.

We already disinfect all our groceries when we get home with them, before mom touches them. I use gloves at the gas station. I’ve got alcohol sanitizer in my car and don’t touch my face unless I’ve sanitized my hands when I’m out. Mom follows the same rules too.

And when we’re out we keep our distance from other people, as much as we can. This is made harder by the folks who don’t understand personal boundaries when we’re not in a pandemic.

Seriously, people. Back up.

Mom is immunocompromised, with an infection in her leg plate and probable Hashimoto’s. She’s on antibiotics to deal with the infection in the leg, and will require surgery again to remove the plate, which will increase her risk even more.

If I need to turn the house into a fortress to protect her, I will.

1% of Life

About 60% of my being is tied up with worry for those I love. My mom. My husband, who has preexisting lung issues. Other family members with their health issues.

Another 39% is tied up with thoughts about my own future, as a healthcare worker that’s not a nurse. Will we prepare enough here? Or will we face what Italy is facing, where people without nursing training are being conscripted and given crash courses in patient care out of desperation?

Will I end up working long shifts in one set of personal protective equipment until I can’t stand anymore?

Or will we flatten the curve?

Only time will tell at this point. So the remaining 1% of myself is trying to focus on some sort of normalcy. Like continuing to write, despite everything.

Next project: a list outlining all my needs in case of quarantining myself.

Tomorrow I get paid. It’ll be time to stock up.