async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Now It's Gotten Real: How Covid-19 Has Affected Me Off the Road

Friday, March 20, 2020

Now It's Gotten Real: How Covid-19 Has Affected Me Off the Road

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I feel like I need to start this post off with the disclaimer that is at the top of every email I've been getting from work (and there have been many):
"COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and we want to keep you informed with the latest information..."
So even as I write this post, things may change as soon as I publish it. In fact, I've edited and updated it multiple times before today's publication. There are just so many unknowns and that, more than anything has affected me. I'm pretty flexible and I can roll with the changes, but the uncertainty is really making my head spin. The good news is that the anxiety I was feeling last week before that ill-fated trip to Florida resolved upon my return home.

Now, the goal is to stay healthy. And calm.

Obviously, COVID-19 is affecting all of us in different ways and I wanted to share what's going on in my life off the road too. I'm kind of curious how everyone else is managing--feel free to share in the comments or drop me an email.


Anxiety
As the week has gone on, I've started to feel a little more unsettled. The amount of information coming out regarding COVID-19 is staggering. The news media is blasting updates non-stop. Even worse, well-meaning friends are posting stories on Facebook which are sensationalistic and triggering and often untrue. I've made the decision to limit my time watching the news and on social media, and to only obtain my information from my employer, which has been providing at minimum daily updates in a calm, factual manner. I continue to do my daily workouts which has helped me establish a routine as well as calm my nerves.


Social Distancing
As a self-proclaimed introverted extrovert, I'm a social distancer from way back. I don't mind spending time alone and have never been much of a 'group person'. However, I am a hugger and a handshaker and those practices have had to go on hold. That quick return from Florida is still on my mind-2 flights in 3 days put me at high risk to contract the disease. My parents are trying to return home now, which I'm not so sure is a good idea. Sanitized fingers crossed that they or I don't get sick.

Keeping a Sense of Humor
Laughter is truly the best medicine. When you work in healthcare, you have to keep a sense of humor. Laypeople don't always get our brand of humor, but I've always found that keeping a sense of humor has kept me sane in a crisis. Our current situation is very different than anything I've ever experienced, but the funny bone hasn't gone dormant. The memes have kept me laughing. No matter what happens, we need to keep smiling.

Time on My Hands
Staying home has me finding myself with a lot more time on my hands. While I really need to dig into some spring cleaning and home projects, I've done my share of learning about the coronavirus. Catching up on blogging. Went on a virtual tour of some of the National Parks. Reading lots of books. Been virtually decorating like crazy. On Sunday, my oldest came over for dinner and we all played Monopoly. How long has it been since that happened?


Grocery Shopping
The first task upon my return home from Florida was to obtain groceries. My husband, who never fails to surprise me, suggested that I order online from Amazon prime. He's pretty thrifty and that seemed like an extravagance but I eagerly tried to fill my virtual cart. I did the best I could but there was so much that was unavailable. When I proceeded to the checkout, I got a message that stated no delivery dates were available. Hello? Wouldn't that have been helpful to know before I filled my cart?

Early the next day, I drove to Whole Foods and was greeted by a lot of empty shelves. No red peppers? No potatoes? Onions? Chicken? They did have chicken wings but I didn't want those. I did the best I could but as an alternative, I have been looking at recipes for tofu-based meals. Sofrito anyone? Thanks to Birchwood Pie for the suggestion.


Work
I have been on 'vacation' all week but on the day I publish this post, I'll be back to work. We are seeing only 'essential' patients; children under 15 months for well-visits and sick patients who have been screened to rule out COVID-19. This means no one with cough and fever, which is basically 90% of what we see this time of year. All clinics have seen a large decrease in the amount of patients being scheduled. Telemedicine and virtual visits are being implemented. I'm going to be a part of that and I will be working from home. I think virtual visits and telemedicine will be a great alternative for me and being immunosuppressed, I'm hoping to decrease my exposure to patients, which would lower my risk of contracting the disease. Never ever have I thought I'd be able to work from home in my field, but there you go.

Can I just add how grateful I am to work for the largest health system in Illinois and Wisconsin? The resources and the expertise that they have access to is really reassuring. While at times I sometimes feel like a cog in the wheel, right now, I couldn't be more appreciative. I don't think I would have the option to do telemedicine in a smaller practice.


Family
If you read Sunday's post, you know that I came home early from my Florida vacation to care for my Badger, who was injured in a snowboarding collision. At the time of his accident, we already knew that classes were changed to online for a few weeks. This week, the University of Wisconsin cancelled live classes for the rest of the semester. It's harder on my son than on us--I love having him here. He's unhappy being away from his friends and his apartment. The restaurant in Madison where he works is closed and the tutoring job he had is on hold. His girlfriend came home yesterday from visiting her parents and that made him happy.


My Hair
I know, I know, first world problems. My salon has closed. I was due to get my hair colored this week--now I need to figure out what to do. I'm sure not ready to go gray yet! Do I need to go back to the box color? I did find this brush-on product which works great--for now. Go ahead laugh at me, but coloring my hair is really my only beauty indulgence. I may need to add a white stripe to my Bitmoji.

Thanks to Lady Bird Running for this laugh today!
I know this situation is constantly evolving 😜...how are you being affected by COVID-19? Anyone else feeling anxious? Are you hoarding toilet paper or anything else? (I'm not.) Have you made changes to your meal plans with lack of availability of food items? Are you off work or working virtually from home?

Some final food for thought: 




I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.







32 comments :

  1. Thank you for what you do in the field of health care! Perhaps telemedicine could become a new normal for you in the future!
    I too would be super concerned about your parents flying home right now. Do they have an option to stay where they are? As you know, my sister works for the airlines and right now it is business as normal but I guess that could change at any time and perhaps that is what your parents might be afraid of. I think they should rent a car...lol

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    1. They have the option to stay put and they also have a car, but they chose to make the decision to fly home next week. It was against my advice and all I can do is pray that they don't contract the disease. Boy oh boy. Tough times.

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  2. I have so much empathy for health care workers. You guys step into the fray when we are backing away. I'm really glad to hear you can work from home; my PT boss is still seeing patients and that makes me very nervous for her.

    I had a bit of (OK, a lot of) anxiety a couple of days ago and really WENT THERE. Then I decided, after calming down, that I too needed to limit my exposure to the news and social media. We started watching a movie each night (thank god for Netflix and Hulu) and it's been great to get totally immersed into something and forget about the crazy world we are living in, if only for a couple of hours.

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    1. I've gone there a few times in the past week--unfortunately, my son's snowboarding accident just added to my anxiety. Let me say that I am so grateful I can work from home. I'd rather be in the office, seeing patients, but I sure don't want to catch this thing.

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  3. I have the opposite reaction about the constant news updates... I can't look away. But I almost feel like they're making me feel BETTER, like I'm fully-informed and on top of things. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but it would drive me nuts to turn it off. I'm working at home, stocked with food & supplies, and still running outside (with social distancing) so I'm OK and not panicking.

    Agree with previous poster about watching a movie each night! I've been doing that too and the escapism is great.

    Thank you for all you do as a health care worker! We ALL appreciate you all so much right now!

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    1. I can't handle the drama and misinformation perpetuated by the news. Now there's a tylenol shortage because the news reported that people shouldn't take ibuprofen. Oh, and plaquenil? A drug used to treat RA (I've taken it) and lupus was shown to maybe help patients who are moderately to severely ill with COVID19. Once that went live on the news, the drug is now unavailable to the people who need it. This stuff makes me nuts!

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  4. So LOL about the hair color thing. :) You're not alone, though. I do think you're going to have to color it at home -- if you can find any, I bet there's a run on that, too!

    My Whole Foods was fairly well stocked when I went there on Tuesday? I think that was when. They even had onions & potatoes, and I probably didn't buy enough of them.

    I'm an introvert period, so the truth is it's not that hard on me, in fact, I'm busier than usual so it's not like I'm looking for things to fill my time.

    It was great that you got that short time with your parents. I hope they are able to come home safely, but I agree, I have several snow bird friends who are considering coming home earlier. My nieces, who both lived in NYC, both went home -- one to CA, one to the town I grew up in, where my sister still lives.

    I don't really find myself to be too anxious much of the time. I think the meditating is a big help with that. :)

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    1. I totally thought about you when I wrote that section on the hair color, lol! I'll be good for a couple more weeks. I don't want to do the box--it really messes up my hair when I go to get it professionally colored.

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  5. My anxiety is pretty high and I am not usually an anxious person. I miss my social life as I am usually out and about w friends most days. My son, like yours, is not a happy camper right now. I don't know what to do to try to cheer him up. I also think he thinks we are being over protective but I feel like that's my job now more than ever even if he is almost 20 years old. Trying times! Be safe at work I am sure they so appreciate having you there

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    1. You are such a social person and I'm sure you are really missing your friends! I am happy to keep up with social media and my crossfit friends via our workouts.

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  6. It's amazing how information on this virus has changed in the past few weeks. I get whiplash trying to keep up. Keeping my fingers crossed for your parents too.

    I loved the comics by The Oatmeal. Thanks for sharing. Have you ever run one of his races? I would love to give one of them a try sometime.

    I made the decision to go gray a few years ago, so no hair-coloring dilemma for me, thank goodness! :)

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  7. I agree with limiting exposure to news and social. I noticed a few years ago that listening to the news was making me sad and anxious and wasn't making me particularly well informed, so I kind of dropped out and have been happier since. We've kind of adopted voluntary shelter in place, and thankfully we can both WFH. For sure I'm not hating the extra time with family. Work is a bit busy this time of year so I don't have as much free time as I'd like but I'm more than happy to have that problem.

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    1. I'm sure my virtual phone calls will pick up as this thing worsens. Scary. But glad to be able to work from home.

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  8. So great that you can do telemedicine and virtual visits! It must be a great relief to the "front" staff.
    I'm anxious, but not for myself, more for my parents.
    From what I've heard from Switzerland, young people are having a hard time with the lockdown. They want to see their friends, and they don't take the virus seriously. Yesterday, a number of them met in groups by the lakeside in Zurich. The police had to disperse them and send them home. Social isolation is tough, but especially for young people.

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    1. That is happening here in the US. There were still people traveling to Florida and congregating on the beaches. I don't think we've seen the worst of it yet.

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  9. That's great that virtual visits and telemedicine are possible now so that you can work from home. That comic about anxiety is so true! Thanks for sharing everything with a sense of humor, it definitely helps :)

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  10. It's encouraging that China hasn't reported any new cases in the past two days (unless that's changed since the last I heard). I had an appointment for my hair next Thursday, but that probably won't be happening. I don't have grey (that I can see), but my roots are nasty. Major first world probs LOL

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    1. I hope that we follow China but I wouldn't hold my breath. Stay safe!

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  11. I am married to the least anxious person on the planet, so he really keeps me balanced. Like you, I've limited the amount of "news" I'm reading. We are in Hawaii for another 2 weeks and are waiting to see if our flight gets canceled.

    And in case you've ever wondered how many companies you have bought from online, now you know because every single one of them has sent their response to COVID-19.

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    1. I've been getting a lot of emails from obscure companies, and now it all makes sense!

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  12. I'm working from home until at least the end of the month. What I've started to do is turn the TV off during the day and just work with music in the background. This has helped with my anxiety A LOT! I just couldn't take hearing about Covid 19 every hour on the hour.

    I did a virtual happy hour with a few friends on Tuesday and it was a lot of fun. It was a nice distraction. I've also been finding humor as a great way to cope as well. Thank goodness for memes :)

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    1. I like the idea of a virtual happy hour! Not a bad idea at all, Kim!

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  13. Great post, Wendy! I’m glad your son is OK and you are staying healthy. I was one of a handful of people in my office this week (holed up in my own office with my door shut) but I’m going to be working at home from now on, so I”m sure I”ll feel that difference. I totally feel that grocery store meme. I’m just not an over-shopper, but have had enough luck getting groceries early in the morning.

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    1. My husband just got home from the grocery store. No toilet paper and no eggs. We're not going to starve here!

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  14. Thanks for sharing how this insidious virus is impacting you. As a fellow immuno-suppressed mom, I know you'll understand when I say that since Covid-19 landed in Chicago, I feel like I've had a target on my back. Thankfully, I can wfh. Four of my five guys, plus my spouse, are home and, while what groceries we're able to get seem to disappear before our very eyes, we are all happy, healthy and counting our blessings. Thanks to you, Wendy, and your fellow healthcare professionals for all you do. Stay well!

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    1. It's pretty scary, isn't it? My husband is still going to work--I hope he doesn't bring anything home. I'm glad I get to work from home right now.

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  15. I love that infographic thing, I was just describing it to someone in my photo group. And I'm glad your employer is looking after you. We're OK here, worrying about friends and Matthew's elderly parents (his brother is nearby so getting their groceries; Matthew will go to live with them if they fall ill). As someone not high-risk and fairly fit and well right now I am helping the community effort to support everyone.

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    1. My biggest worry right now is my parents--they are still planning on flying home this week and I just don't agree with that.

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  16. My anxiety is killing me. I just don't do well when me routine is disrupted. Running is the one thing that has stayed constant and keeps me somewhat grounded.

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    1. I'm working on a post for Tuesday about anxiety--I think this is affecting so many of us! Glad we have running. Stay safe.

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