Another Day in Lockdown

Today is Friday, March 27.  It rained overnight, was fine and sunny this morning, and this afternoon is cooler and overcast. Now (4 pm) it is raining again.

Now it is Saturday, March 28.  I didn’t write yesterday. It is really cold today. When I went for a walk I got out my woolly hat, warm jacket, and gloves. I realised, when I went to the local store, that I didn’t need to touch anything, ungloved. That has to be a bonus. I also found that my debit card is not pay-wave,  although JD’s is. That is annoying.

I would really like to have a good donut. I realised today that whatever I want to eat, I will have to make it myself ((or teach JD how to), seeing our local store doesn’t do baking well. It’s probably a good thing that their baking is unappetising.  We have been eating poached eggs on toast, and hard-boiled egg sandwiches (apologies to vegans out there).

I also realised that now I can be an invalid, and there’s no one to take me seriously (or not), now that we are taking this virus seriously. It reminds me of when I was in Kenepuru Hospital, for several weeks towards the end of 2011, being rehabilitated. The hours were long and boring, and the target was to get through them, the boredom being relieved by meals.  In any institution, feeding times become so important.

But I do try to maintain a kind of schedule: reading the paper and books and magazines, listening to podcasts (the sound has become very grainy, as people isolate themselves), showering, checking the news on my phone, taking a daily walk, and watching television in the evenings. I also do some writing! And I try to get at least six hours sleep each night. That is important, and usually achievable.

Then there’s jigsaw puzzles. music, singing, painting, communicating with others – lots to do, really.

For JD it’s ideal, really. He doesn’t have to do anything (except not wake me up at night). He does still shave each day, which I do appreciate. Yesterday he advised me of the mental health support phone number. I suggested that my mental health would be considerably improved by his unloading the dish washer. As I am going to sleep he shares a new piece of information. Last night I heard that Boris Johnson has been diagnosed with the virus. He kept his symptoms, and the fact he was being tested, from the public, but changed course on the UK’s need to shut down. Now, I guess, we know why he pivoted. I feel for his pregnant girlfriend. He’s never shown much consideration for his female partners or his children.

JD is now very nervous about me going shopping. I am desperate to go and interact with another human being! By keeping my gloves on, I think I am limiting my exposure.  The shelves are quite well stocked, all take-out food is individually wrapped, and for two days now the only trumpet ice creams available are vegan and gluten-free.  

The news continues to be bad, although there are some uplifting aspects. Fathers are enjoying spending more time with their teenage children, now that both are forced to stay at home; people are enjoying poetry, and discovering new skills and aspects to their character. We are fighting an invisible enemy, but we are not being bombed or shot at.  Advertisements which look so inappropriate will surely cease soon, seeing one cannot buy or sell property, or buy things online here. “Back to basics” has many advantages.

It also seems to me that this sudden change to our existence, like climate change, must be accepted, and managed. It’s here whether we like it or not, whether we’re ready or not. And surely we can manage without cruises, which seem to have caused so many problems in so many places.

The US has finally passed a two trillion dollar stimulus package. This has various positives and negatives, depending on your point of view. Compromises have been made. The senate, most of them older white men, had to vote in person, those, that is, who weren’t self-isolating after Rand Paul’s testing positive.  3.3 million people have registered as unemployed. There is huge concern about the safety net previously provided by schools, and there is new respect for the work done by teachers.

Some wit noted that this shut down in effect put the US economy in a coma; however it seems there is plenty of different work to do: building field hospitals, building ventilators, finding new ways of making PPE, and shopping for those who cannot get out.  There’s a lot to do. A different kind of economy will be required. The US is number one in the number of confirmed cases today (100,000), a record I presume it did not wish to achieve. The US President has been  calling for a return to work and packed churches at Easter; some ar calling it the (potential) Easter Massacre. Many are warning against it. Governor Cuomo’s update today was truly inspiring. His sense of planning ahead was well supported. His briefing seemed to be carried by all the major networks, although some may not have shown it in full. It’s great to see someone actually taking charge, and planning. 

Some other US states have rapidly growing figures of infected people; if they don’t, they’re probably not doing enough testing. It’s distressing that medical folk seem to be a enormous risk.

It seems that this situation calls for a huge response to minimise cases: at present testing, isolation, and social distancing seem to be really important, along with treating the sick: hospital beds, personal protective equipment, and ventilators are needed, along with hope and compassion.

New Zealand now has 451 cases of Covid 19, including 83 new cases today. Of these, 12 are in hospital, including 2 in Intensive Care, one of them on a ventilator. Everyone here realises the seriousness of this situation. Evidently eight Air NZ staff have tested positive, all of them on international flights.  Hohepa sent another inspiring update this morning.

Last night we chatted with some of our family using Zoom. I now have it installed on my phone, and know how it works. What a wonderful platform! Evidently in Australia the internet is struggling to cope with so much traffic. In Australia, the PM has again refused to pay benefits to New Zealanders. This has long been a source of friction.

Today (Saturday) I would normally read film reviews in the newspaper, and then we would go to the movies. I like the way they say It takes a lot of discussion to make a movie, and one to spoil it. Please save your conversations for later. Usually there’s something worth seeing.

I miss our and my outings. But life is a whole lot simpler now – Eat, Pray, Love – although not like the movie!

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