It is almost Autumn. School has started and leaves are beginning to change.
But in the bizarre world of Covid-19, it still feels like March. That’s when things closed down. That’s the last time I hugged Auntie Katie or the cousins. That’s when I sat at The Rocking Frog with Misha and chatted about regular life. As someone on TV said, during Covid, it is always sometime between breakfast and dinner, it is always NOW.
Visiting the dead people at Lone Fir Cemetery always puts things in perspective for me. These folks saw difficulties that make ours seem small. In the days before sanitation and vaccines, hundreds of babies died before their first birthday. Typhoid Fever, Spanish Flu, World Wars I and II took folks in their infancy or prime and there was nothing to be done for it.
In comparison, being stuck at home is pretty small. Not going to camp is doable. We just need to get through this year, this election, this political and national health debacle, and come out the other side with our humanity intact.
So, remember to love each other, hug who you can. Pet dogs and smell flowers. Help those in worse situations than yours. Be your best self.
On Friday, Grandpa Nelson finally felt lousy enough to call the doctor. He had been having fevers every night for weeks, along with fatigue and dizziness. I mentioned this to your Mommy (Dr. Olga), and she said Grandpa Nelson should talk to his doctor. They chatted via an on-screen meeting and agreed that Grandpa should visit the hospital and get checked out.
Auntie Bridgett drove and I rode in the backseat as we three traveled across the river to the west side for the first time since the shut down began in mid-March. It was so good to see the Willamette River sparkling and the bridges arching in the sunshine. Downtown, though emptier than usual, was beautiful. The parks and statues glowed, and the shining buildings reflected the clouds and sky. It felt like coming home.
We continued up the hill to OHSU, where we have been many times, but we didn’t just park and walk in. As part of the new procedures for limiting everyone’s exposure, we waited in the car and called to let them know we had arrived. A doctor walked to one of the small tents and Grandpa Nelson left the car to be escorted in. Auntie Bridgett and I had to wait in the car. I understand that fewer folks in and out of the building is safer for everyone, but I still wished I could go with him. We read, sewed, and drew, for nearly an hour.
When Grandpa came out he said that his had been checked for blood oxygen (fine, at 97%) blood pressure (a bit high, at 160) and been swabbed for the corona virus. That result won’t be back for a day or so. He was told to stay inside and rest and limit exposure to other folks. He was also told that whether this was Covid or some other virus, he would not be “well” until he had three full days with no fever.
Once we were home he had lunch and slept for a long time, got up, had dinner and went back to bed. Now we just wait for the results and do what we’ve been doing. Positive or negative, it won’t really make a difference. There is no cure, or even effective treatment. But we will know.
PS. We got the results back. No Covid-19 in this house! Grandpa Nelson still feels icky, but at least it’s not big and scary. Just small and irritating.
We seem to have gotten a touch of Covid here in the house. Last Winter, Auntie Bridgett had a few bad weeks with no energy and a cough, supposedly before Covid-19 had hit us. We now know that it was certainly in the country by then, and that could have been our first wave.
Now Grandpa Nelson has a small cough, evening fevers and body aches, and no energy. Last night was his first bad night, and we used a cool washcloth to keep him comfortable before it was time for more fever-reducing aspirin. We are keeping him hydrated and fed, even though his doesn’t have any appetite.
If all goes well, he will be mildly uncomfortable for a week or so, and won’t need to see a doctor or get tested. This would be good, because any distance you can maintain from medical locations is a good one. But what that also means is he won’t be added to the “Who has had Covid” count. Neither will the other thousands of folks dealing with this at home. They are under the radar.
And as a person who reads the daily updates for Covid-19 cases tested, hospitalized and deceased, this bothers me. How can we learn anything from numbers we know are wrong? How can statisticians look at what they have and create percentages? Do they just shrug and add “a bunch more?” They must be pulling their hair out.
I’m sorry I don’t have any fancy photos of flowers for this post. I have included pictures of two of my most precious possessions.
The shut down because of Covid-19 is now in its third week here in Portland. It is starting to get me down a little.
The last time I sat down with anyone besides Auntie Bridgett or Grandpa Nelson was March 11, when I had a cup of Golden Fire tea with dear Misha Moon at the Rocking Frog. Now, with the extra time imposed on us, we have both finished drafts of our stories that we were talking about.
That same day I met a good soul named Roger, and we exchanged stories of our childhoods in Southern California. His had a stepdad who was a building inspector in Watts, not far from where we lived for a while in Bellflower.
Grandpa Nelson and I had lunch at McMenamin’s Barley Mill the next day, just before they closed up shop for the duration.
These are the sort of chance meetings and conversations that I have taken for granted, and now, for a while at least, they are over. I miss my species.
We eat, chat, read and write, here in our pleasant little house. There is enough room that we can be alone when we need to be, and we have games and movies and food, and even enough toilet paper. There is nothing really wrong, as long as we stay inside and away from people.
So, I heave a big sigh and tell myself to get over it, and decide what to do today.