Going out anywhere for any reason can very easily slap you upside the head with what's going on in your world. It isn't TVLand.
Carol was scheduled for her usual every three weeks Herceptin treatment. I've gone with her more often than not. Today included.
Akron is not a huge city but it comes with its fair share of traffic, road construction, delays, etc. Today was spooky. It took us less than ten minutes to take the normal 15-20 minute route to the hospital oncology building. And the parking garage had dozens of empty spaces available. So we arrived more than forty-five minutes early for her appointment.
The next shocker was finding out that the only people allowed in the building are the patients. They had a small table with hand sanitizer set up in the hallway just inside the entrance. A nurse wearing a mask and gloves was there and asked which one of us had an appointment. Of course Carol answered and the nurse looked at me and told me I'd have to wait outside. Everything in town is shut down so there was nowhere to go...other than back to the car. Which is where I sat for the next two hours. Did I bring a book? Noooooo.
We did end up with good news, though. Her last echocardiogram showed a nice improvement in heart function since the previous test. From 49% to 55%.
And, almost as good? I scored some toilet paper at Walgreen's. Who's yer Mama?
Sister Ann came home from work Friday and looked a little shaken. They laid off a dozen people from first shift. Thankfully, not her. She won't find out until Monday how many from second shift got the boot.
She works in a lab for a company that tests oils and such from transformers. Many of their customers are in New York, California, Connecticut and other states that are shutting down. Thus, a drop in their business.
There is no union so they don't have to lay off by seniority. Ann has worked there over 20 years but a co-worker with 30 years was one of the ones let go. They've started checking everyone's temperatures before they come in to work and they adjusted the work schedules so there is no overlap between shifts.
Our brother in Cinncy is a salesman for a manufacturer and is working two or three days a week from home. Several of his customers stopped allowing "outsiders" into their facilities, so a lot of his work is done by phone or computer face-time. His daughter has been working from home for two weeks... for the Council on Aging. His son works for Northrup-Grumman writing software and is now also working from home except when he is working on classified gov't jobs.
Everyone is grateful to still have jobs but it feels like they're all walking on eggshells hoping the other shoe doesn't drop.
Carol is starting to get cabin fever because she can't go to church. Liturgies are cancelled. She needs to avoid people because of her shakey immune system anyway, so I'll probably be doing any shopping for her. She's been staying busy at home doing her laundry and sanitizing the bath and kitchen. I'm trying not to worry but sometimes I catch myself wondering how long this whole situation is going to last. We are close enough to the interstate(s) that we could hear the traffic when sitting on the porch. Now? Barely noticeable. It's just so surreal. It feels like the world is disappearing.
For Ohio, all schools closed at least three weeks, no groups larger than 100 so some churches are going with techno-preaching or nothing. All bars and restaurants closed except for take-out. Sports are gone...pro, college, high school. The number of confirmed cases of the virus are doubling every day and spreading across the state. Gas was down to $1.78 yesterday. Race tracks and casinos are shut down. Football Hall of Fame is closed along with the Rock Hall and all museums. McDonald's is doing drive-thru only, closed their dining rooms.
We were going to go out for my birthday lunch on Saturday but changed plans to ordering pizza and renting movies. (If you haven't seen "The Good Liar" and "Harriet" I highly recommend both.)
All three of us sisters have spent the past two weeks passing a head cold back and forth. I was lucky enough to get it twice. Copious amounts of sneezing and sniffling. Hopefully, we're done with it but still taking the recommended precautions to avoid anything worse. We're all in the vulnerable age group and of course Carol has the compromised immune system, so other than Ann going to work and an occasional grocery run, we're pretty much old lady home bodies. I'd like to say everyone is going to be fine soon but reality is probably that we have a long road to go before we can even start to relax. Be safe and smart, my friends.
Grocery shopping this week included three bottles of hand sanitizer. Or so I thought.
After paying for my purchases, I noticed a bottle of the hand sanitizer, like the three I bought, sitting on the little shelf at the end of the conveyor belt.
I thought to myself , "hmmmm, either the bag boy forgot to pack one or the cashier thought I might want one in my purse." Right? It could happen. That's what they do when I buy a Snickers bar.
I innocently picked up the bottle and put it in one of the many grocery bags in my cart and pushed the cart outside to my car. No alarms. No one chasing me.
Unload the grocery bags at home and I count FOUR bottles of sanitizer, not three. I'm puzzled but not alarmed. I look at the store receipt and count THREE sanitizers. I'm still puzzled but I finish putting away everything except I leave the bottles on the kitchen counter.
A short time later, Carol came to me with a grin on her face and one of the bottles in her hand. "Did you see what you took?" On one side of the bottle, in big letters, was "STORE".
I was going to take it back yesterday, but the weather was crappy and I didn't feel like driving in wet snow the size of dinner plates. Besides, what would I say when I got there? Would they just chalk it up to a senile old woman having a brain fart? Would they laugh out loud or have me arrested? I've never been arrested. Would prefer to keep it that way.
Life is too short to be glad a month is gone, but... February was overwhelming in many ways so I'm welcoming March even though we know that life brings what life brings no matter how prepared we think/hope we are.
Being my sister's advocate/caregiver is almost a full-time job. I do not regret being here for her in any way. Unfortunately, though, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and then I start to have a little pity- part for myself in my head. I've had to cancel plans for myself numerous times because what she needs takes priority over what I'd like or need to do for myself. I worry about doing something wrong or making a mistake that would have a negative impact on her medical or financial situation. She just isn't able to handle much without help. So here I am.
And then I feel guilty about stressing because, really, she's been fighting cancer every day for eight years ...and I'm not. I'm pretty sure I would have made a lousy mother.
Anyway. Somebody tell me to shut up and stop whining.
I am glad that March has so far been prettier than February. Lots more sunshine and much less snow. I know it's only been five days but it still helps brighten my mood to think Winter might be seriously winding down and Spring is almost in sight. Plus, my birthday is on Friday the 13th this year and that always makes me chuckle to think how many silly people worry about all those old superstitions and let them ruin a perfectly good day. Plus Plus, I almost share a birthday with my blog friend, Joe. I do believe his birthday is March 20. I wish him a great day. Now I think I'll spend some time thinking about what's still good in my life and ponder on that for a while.