Author Archives: dorothyanneb

About dorothyanneb

I'm a writer, advocate, and former nurse. I write literary fiction, creative non-fiction, humour, and when I need to exorcise my dark side, mysteries and thrillers. I love the feeling of getting a word right. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. the closest thing to paradise I can get, with my cat Bendicks, and the occasional and welcome visits of my three children. I do needle felting, knit badly, hook the occasional rug, and play the ukulele. Oh, and I live with MS. It's good for existential angst.

Last night I went to Manderley again, or how excavating one’s old writing can be a godsend


Pandemic blues. That’s what I put it down to, the lethargy caused by being trapped in place, uncertain of the future, a bit frightened of it, eating way too many carbs all day and they waking at 3 AM vowing to do better, only to rewake at 7 and head directly to the carb cupboard.

Actual fog. Mental fog is harder to photograph.

Because carbs. Serotonin. That hormone that makes us feel like we are in love, happy, fulfilled.

Truth is, despite some pretty heavy medication (life on pharmaceuticals! Yay!), I haven’t been feeling the joy much. Even watching my lovely tugboats ease up the harbour doesn’t cheer me, nor the cooling sea breeze, nor much of anything, really.

I’ve spent untold hours playing meaningless video games, read a bunch of books without remembering a single one (well, except Philip Roth and his endless focus on the status of women’s nipples -ugh- leading me to toss his books out with extreme violence…), watched way too many series on various streaming services. I’ve mopped my apartment floors countless times, enjoying the physicality of swinging the mop, the swish of the water over the laminate, the shine afterwards- but woman does not live by cleaned floors alone. The cat avoids me as I lunge at him with a hairbrush for the fifth time that day – he’s too hot to play, and spends his time over-grooming which leads to hair balls which leads to the need to mop the floors…

Not my apartment. Or me. Though it is beginning to look like this around here…

So I’ve decided to use this time to unencumber myself and am sorting through papers and documents and get rid of furniture I don’t like etc etc. In short, preparing myself for a new adventure once the doors finally open and life approximates normal again.

If it ever does. (where are those carbs?)

And suddenly I find my joy, because halloo hallay! I find some of the writing I’ve done in the past and you know what? It isn’t half bad. It’s only half good, true, but it makes me smile as I read it, enjoying my occasional fun description, turn of phrase, dialogue.

Because writing, like art, is a gift from the gods. I love crafting things but there is a special magic in things that come out of my head…without a pattern, with a tilt all my own.

It’s been tantalizing, too, because I am finding bits of paper writings- I know I’ve saved things in the ether, but running across the bits and pieces that are handwritten or printed out makes them seem more real, more immersive. And none of them are complete…leaving me hunting for more chunks here and there and everywhere.

Today I found a bit of a story I was writing about Cuba, one that I was working on when I went to the Humber School of Writers. It made me smile. It heartened me.

Writing begets writing, I’ve always found. And, when I write, I find I see the world more clearly – I am looking for the right word to describe what I see, what I create, what I hear.

It’s time to pull out the writing serotonin again. After all, when writing, I don’t need a mask…

Conflagration, or oh help, la!


I can’t bear it.

I am beyond the ugly crying stage and right into the moody despair phase, and I can’t seem to shake it. It’s that being surrounded by bad things you can’t do anything about feeling…

5022c9177605b099c7877296c23117a8The riots in the US and the return of Black Lives Matter protests (followed by the expected, ‘well, all lives matter’ bleating from the entitled), the unwelcome commentary about how, honestly, these people should just protest peacefully, the frustrating governmental non-response — or what I call the Smuckers Jam response (cover anything with enough jammy sweetness and it will seem tasty, even with an ugly name) – it’s all too much.

Come ON people! Way back in the 1970s, when I was living in the Boston area, I was part of a high school group called “Action (insert year here)”. We were involved in protesting the appalling state of inner-city schools, primarily black ones. At that time the push was on for busing of students from the inner city out to the fatcat suburbs, and of course, all the folks in the suburbs were appalled that black people would be sharing bathrooms with their precious babies. I went to a meeting where parents actually shouted that their kids would catch STIs from toilet seats shared with these students.

busing-1Protests of this objection ensued, not only in my little lily-white racist suburb but all over the Boston area. At the time, I was quite daring and snuck into Boston to join in a bigger protest. It was probably my only serious disobedience as an adolescent (I missed out on a misspent youth) and was about as effective as most of such things, but I felt it important to be there.

My parents would have killed me, primarily because of the risk to my person. Counterintuitive to kill me for that but hey, parents. My mum once hit me with a hairbrush because she was worried I’d been beaten up on the way home from Catholic Education class. Parenting isn’t always a rational thing, as my kids know well.

I was scared as hell at the protest. The Boston Police had their horses out and were pushing them through the non-violent crowds, waving batons at folks, and it wasn’t long before things got riled up. I’d left by then, taking my lily-white terrified behind back to safety.

Back then, I could not believe that in that day and age people were so uninformed, so racist as to deny education to students based on skin colour. (Of course, I know now it was all about property taxes and the haves really not wanting to share anything with the have-nots lest they get uppity and (GASP) want to move in next door.)

images-2I still can’t believe it. We’re now 44 years on and it seems to me little has changed. Surely we have learned something in all the years and wars and disruptions over the years? No. People are still trapped by all sorts of nasty frameworks and by golly, in North America at least, the Blacks and the Native populations (and now the Asians, again) are seemingly never to raise their heads without having them stamped into the ground in some endless game of  Whack-a-Mole.

Perhaps it IS time to be violent. Perhaps it IS time to shout louder than the NRA and supremacist idiots and make it known that we just don’t want this anymore. Perhaps this is the time to finally shake up the status quo. Heaven knows, even simply as a woman, I am mad enough about so many injustices to set some fires.

I have to admit, though, I’m scared. My still lily-white arse is 44 years further on, too, and I fear that once this violence takes off, it may be impossible to stop. Winter is a long way away. There are too many agitators working to overthrow democracy in the US who like to scare people and go about bopping people on the head, and the ‘leadership’ is using even the peaceful marches as an excuse to take away rights.

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Bad Sir Brian Botany seems to be in charge…

I fear greatly what will happen in November.

Up here in more quietly racist Canada, there are a lot of grievances simmering just under the surface. Deserved grievances. And, like the Coronavirus, violence can be infectious. I am worried it will spread north – especially during the recession to come after the pandemic. The competition for jobs will be harsh, people will be bitter.

I long for some leadership that would step up to the plate and hold police accountable for their appalling statistics, who would order some sort of investigation into the way things are being done…but wait…government-investigations-have-always-contributed-more-to-our-amusement-than-they-have

That was done before – in the 70s, in the 60s even. Investigations happen and commissions are held and many many trees die in mounds of paperwork, and things JUST DON’T CHANGE.

If only I thought a revolution was effective, I’d be all for it right about now. The problem is, there’s disruption, violence, and singing in the streets, and then it all goes back to how it was before, except maybe worse.

Like the Boston busing issue. Or the Arab Spring.

 

Seeking meaning in this isolation, or which book should I read next?


blur book stack books bookshelves

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

I have a rather extensive pile of TBR books languishing on my shelves and in my various e-readers (which I prefer for nighttime reading as I can take my glasses off and pretend to be young again). My cunning plan (thanks Blackadder) was to plow through a bunch of them while we are all quiet and then be able to make the fateful decision – keep or share? Clear out the deadwood, reclaim some shelf space…

Instead, I’ve been watching endless streams of movies. This does allow me to embroider and do other things – like inexpertly knit socks again and again…(Do you know the word ‘frogging’ as applied to knitting? It means pulling the knitting back to repair mistakes. More experienced knitters can catch up the line where they want to. I end up having to rip the whole thing out and start again. This makes me intensely want to do another hobby.) (But I recoil from crochet as I actually FAILED my crochet class, the poor teacher wandering off and bringing me larger and larger and larger types of yarn and needles thinking I couldn’t see what I was doing…so that’s out.)

imagesImagine. Me, “brain the size of the universe” (as Marvin would intone, gloomily) unable to master simple knot-tying! It doesn’t help that I hang out with a group of sweet but extremely competent and creative knitters and crocheters who whip off cabled loveliness and multicoloured charted knits with ease…They kindly ask to see what I’ve made. There is NO WAY IN HELL I am showing them my lumpish monstrosities. I have no idea how I can blow a simple garter stitch, but if you see me wearing a knitted scarf, I beg you to avert your glance and not look too closely.

But I digress. All of this frustration means no reading, and though audiobooks are lovely for mysteries and thrillers I can’t see listening to Proust…and he was on my must read list. This is a perfect time for digging into these famous tomes – Montaigne’s essays, Proust, Dante…no one is interrupting my thoughts or making, in fact, ANY NOISE except the cat who comes by to whine now and again. I can safely wallow in the written word.

That is if I can push my anxiety over the destruction of the world to one side.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 9.49.19 PMA wise friend once told me about the three circles in which we live: the inner one, ourselves, over which we have the most control; the middle one, over which we might have influence; and the rest of the world, over which we can do little or nothing about. As I get older and wrinklier, I realize that that middle circle is becoming thinner and thinner, and I am left with only myself to regulate and a world to watch.

God knows I try to widen the middle. I’ve been working with my old alma mater, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, on a project about the world reactions to Covid-19. It involved cleaning a variety of databases. My eyes refuse to cooperate and my MS lack of short term memory means I have to scan back and forth more than the average bear to check on details. I suspect I was more of a hindrance than a help. Now I just dip in for projects that don’t involve so much scanning, tugging my forelock at my betters as I do. My studies were so long ago…

All of this is slightly discouraging. Trying to keep up with things is a challenge. Showing people your work is often soul-destroying. Add the ongoing news of a WORLD GONE MAD, and it seems impossible.

9ac5f4a6c63ee2c2de1777a45469d94166bbb51aPerhaps it is time to open Proust, read what a man with nothing on his hands but time (and perhaps a few madeleines) was able to write and think about. He was the king of social distancing, and look at how productive he was! He wrote about love, and loneliness, and people. Those things we are struggling without.

Maybe he has a clue for self-regulation, for wrapping ourselves in a layer of security and allowing our minds to relax into free-thinking. I find myself muttering, “Of course, he had help!” Like Thoreau, who pretended to be all alone while having maid service and regular meal preparation… But never mind. Deep thoughts. Deep thoughts.

If Proust fails me, I can always head to Dante’s Inferno and frighten myself with eternal damnation. That’s gotta make today sound better. Right?

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This difficult time.


Adsum for Women and Children

I’m breaking.

Every day there is another tragedy… first, the Corvid-19 pandemic, killing so many, so unexpectedly, so horribly, then the execution of those lovely people in quiet Nova Scotia towns, and now, a terrible training accident, killing a crew from our precious military.

I am getting to the point of screaming at the media every time I hear ‘this difficult time.’ I’ve taken to ugly crying at the drop of a hat. Bagpipe music wrenches my heart. Hearing “We Rise Again” seems like a cruel comment on this province as it is hit, again and again, by disasters.

Not to deny the awfulness also filling the minds of Albertans, as their economy crashes and floods cover houses and infrastructure yet again. That is awful.

Or the suffering of the families of those in Quebec nursing homes, realizing just what they have left their elderly to survive. Those places are damnably awful. It’s time to put some of the owners in jail. In a double room, with no food and no access to showers. And then have the guards leave…Nova Scotia highway map

But Nova Scotia is a small place. We’re not as tightly knit as the media would have us think, nor are we universally kind or helpful, but everything that occurs does seem to happen right down the street, to someone we know or know of.

And our military is small. As a former military spouse, I know that a loss like this will ricochet through all the service, the Royal Military College, and the base here in Shearwater, where the crew was stationed.

It’s gutting. I am beyond heartbroken.

However, through all of these tragedies, there’s a nasty thread. Economies were taken for short term political benefit, cutbacks made, supervision decreased. Bad decisions made in the neocon goal of budget-cutting, while our richest in Canada get even richer and more powerful.Support, don't abandon, long-term care during the COVID-19 crisis ...

Nursing homes operate on the thinnest of strings. The staff is underpaid, undersupplied, and underappreciated.  People are parked in rooms too small to control any sort of infection, let alone one as infective as Corvid-19. That’s in the public, not-for-profit places. The for-profit homes cut back even further to appease their shareholders. Then inspections were cut back…

Public Health, stepping fiercely into this crisis, is fighting to survive. In Ontario, public health has to fight for funding from their municipalities. Municipalities are underfunded by provinces, who are undercut by the federal government. This domino effect goes on every election until the buck stops at the actual ground level. Municipal councils really hate to increase property taxes.

Public Health is invisible when it works, so it seems like an easy expenditure to reduce until suddenly the need is dramatic and visible: Walkerton, the measles outbreak, SARS, Covid… They can’t win – if they do their job well and control diseases and aid health, no one sees what they do. If they are unable to perform to the highest standard because there is literally no one home, they are blamed.

The RCMP are also often expected to work as a skeleton crew.  Why fund them? So much easier to find fault. Again, if they do their job, they can be almost invisible as they prevent violence and crime, act in good faith, guard us from disaster. If they act in good faith. We don’t know for certain that they do because oversight has also been neglecte

As for the military – if anyone really reported the state of the equipment they are expected to use, there would be an uproar. But funding has been chopped there, too,  in the goal of short term political benefit. I am a peacekeeping sort, and don’t support militarization – but if we are going to have a military at all, we are morally bound to take care of those who serve in it. As we are bound in all of these vital areas. I am ashamed of how we have lost the thread.

So, as the politicians step forward and talk about “these difficult times”, I find it hard to not to alternately grit my teeth and shout about how the times might not be so difficult if politicians (of all stripes and levels) would just think beyond the next election, make some leadership decisions, and have the courage and vision to stand by the things we need as a society.

Enough of the thoughts and prayers, likely from people who do not pray and possibly don’t think. (I’m looking at you, Mr. President.) Please, use this season of horror as a stimulus to making serious changes.

I’m EXTREMELY skeptical that anyone will.

So excuse me if I find the sad-voiced talk of ‘difficult times’ enraging.

I’m off to pay my taxes. Because we need our governments, however shallow they may seem.

 

 

Technology burns, or why I am taking so long getting to editing my novella…


Slo Mo Grey Laptop Computer Overheating And Smoke Coming Out Of It ...I know, I’ve been pushing it. I’ve been alternating between a 2013 MacAir, a 2010 MacMini, and an Iphone 6s for my social media and other time-wasting.  They are definitely showing the strain. So today, as I finally got my mind together to edit, there were so many steps needed to get things organized I am only now settling in at 6 PM.

First, I had to find my carelessly stored document, piled as it was in a variety of formats – Scrivener(only on Mac), Pro-Writing Aid(my editing program), and Pages – I wanted to migrate everything over to my slightly newer Chromebook (it has a (battery) life. And a bigger screen.)

Of course, none of my current writing programs are compatible with the Chromebook. So I save things as text files onto usb keys and physically carry them over to Moby (My ugly white Chromebook is much bigger than all aforesaid tools), to try to open things.

Before I can do that, everything I own tells me they need updates, all requiring time and fiddling and being pluggedin. I update everything.

27 Most Funny Computer PicturesI eat and watch the latest doom updates as I wait. I listen to a webcast over Zoom about editing to get me in the mood. Various pings tell me all is happy land in my various devices, so it’s time to move on.

But changing from Pages to a rtf changes the document to an unreasonable format when opening in googledocs.  Apple really does not play well with others. I suspect Google is equally grumpy. So I have to get a MSWord subscription (sign up, give card), plus of course have an offer for the Scrivener-like Dabble program for a free month (sign up, give card) I decide I could use that to help organize the editing. Scrivener doesn’t yet play with Google.

I spend some time trying to figure out Dabble, then try to import my document. And here I am. HOURS later. Not one word written.

Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast? Here's The Real Fix!Meanwhile, my phone battery is holding its little hand over its chest and telling me its battery is ‘seriously degraded’, something I suspected for some time since I spend my day switching various things through chargers.

(I know, I’m fortunate to have all these things to play with, first world problems, etc., but they are all dying in rapid order and I can’t afford to replace them! ) Not only that, but to buy anything, anything, requires hours and hours of research online.

I recently took a full day to evaluate vacuum cleaners, for example. Reading miles of comments, chewing through descriptions. Ended up with three in my ‘for later’ Amazon bin. Can’t commit. Reviews on each are mixed.

My brain hurts.

Imágenes, fotos de stock y vectores sobre Many Piles | Shutterstock

Searching for a phone for only a few minutes tells me immediately why everyone just buys the latest model. Too much choice, too many details, and not enough cheapie options. A slightly newer Iphone means I have to evaluate the 7 and the 8, see which would be better. What’s with the reconditioned ones? Are they safe? Should I instead go with Samsung or Google? How many programs would I have to re-buy and re-install if I did? 

DO I HAVE THE NECESSARY SANITY TO MAKE THE CHANGE?

Frankly, no.

Nor do I have the necessary change to increase my sanity with a phone that wasn’t gasping constantly.

WHY do I have to compare so many options? WHY do I need to get a degree in electronics and IT just to understand what I need to use? Why does everything cost $500 or more?

Remember when you could get a wee phone that plugged into the wall for $19?

I give up. Back to try to edit on the new computer system with a version of my story I hope I’ve saved properly on my various clouds/document files/USBs.

One day, when I recover from all the sturm und drang, I’ll get organized. For that, though, I’d have to remember all the passwords to the programs.

<SCREAMING>

😱 Face Screaming in Fear Emoji on Google Android 10.0

Evaluating…or those artists who self-isolate in the woods – did it work for them?


So here we are, heavily into the pandemic, learning how to talk to ourselves just so we can test our vocal muscles. I am following the advice for keeping a car running, and taking my voice out once a week for a trot around the verbal block. Cat remains unconvinced.

FH021312_003_CABREP_02For my part, I am noticing just now how every single one of my cupboard doors is slightly off-balance, with a wee dip to one side or the other, making all the spaces between the door fronts ever so slightly variable. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t UNsee it. I know it will drive me crazy over time. It’s making me want to get out the screwdriver except that I know if I do, they will end up even more tilty. And they aren’t my cupboards. Ruining them is not an option.

Messy is the way things are happening lately. Make coffee – spill the coffee and the water, drop the container holding the coffee, sweep that all up, only to miss the garbage as I tip it in, spilling it again all over the place. Make dinner, creating a mess on the counter because – see coffee –  clean that all up, wash pots, put away dishes, only to drop one, shattering it amidst the food still scattered on the floor – see coffee – and trying to clear that up before the cat walks all over it, so rushing so I spill it as I dump the dustpan. Start over.a-messy-kitchen

I suspect this all has something to do with the lack of finger dexterity I conceal in my stitching through pure will, but which means I can’t tie a knot in the floss or pick up a needle without my handy dandy magnet stick. (repurposed from my canning set because  I can too readily imagine the mess that would ensue if I made jam, for example.) Last night I took a full five minutes trying to tie one bit of floss to another. I eventually did but there may have been some language involved.

I was just testing my voice. Honest.

I am surrounded by things I am seemingly too busy to put away, thinking longingly of packing boxes, so help me, and their soothing plain brown sides and healing shutness. I feel certain I would feel better if I could put everything away behind those plain brown wrappings and send it away – but of course, no one wants my things, especially in the pandemic shut down. I imagine charities will be completely overwhelmed once we are let out…

Meanwhile, stories of artists and writers and creatives of all sorts moving out to glorious isolation in the woods or wherever are all over my internet feeds. It all seems like a more glamourous version of the isolation we are all in now, focused isolation, creative isolation. Could this be the way to go to get creative juices flowing?

reflection of trees in lake

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am becoming convinced that these folks really did this so they would never have to clean up. Or dress up, or brush their hair. I’m getting into this sweatshirt and pant existence. My hair is growing like a wayward shrub. If I was to never be seen again, except to tumble out into the sun some years hence with a brilliant novel in one hand, well, that seems like a viable idea.

So, my silenced-in-the-isolation brain tells me, ‘you could live in the woods! Never have anyone come by! Never have to account for your clutter or lack of progress or general moodiness! It could be done! Like Thoreau! You could write! Write! Write!”

“Hold on,” my brain says, “Thoreau had a maid and ate regularly in pubs and at friend’s houses. That’s not isolation, that’s just hiding clutter…” and “Internet, remember the internet.” and “But wait, you actually like talking to people, especially the kids whose toys you tidied back when you tidied things. And friends! You have some. You like seeing them.”

Truth is, I am getting out of the habit of communicating. I messenger people and try to connect as I can, but it is all getting more difficult to push myself to do so. Like the clutter around me, it all seems too much to take on. As time goes on, it becomes more comfortable to just not.

But am I writing? Creating?

Um. No.

I have to tidy up first.

 

Alone, so very alone


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It’s hard not to love Despair.com, especially in these times of comprehensive aloneness.  They hit the nail right on the head.  A few years ago they had another Demotivator that had a picture of a broken chain, with the title Dysfunction – which plays a lot in my head these days, lemme tell you, as I perch above my town, looking down at the empty streets.dysfunctiondemotivator

When I get feeling lonely, my immediate response is to flee, go elsewhere, start again somewhere, better, be a better friend, Roman, countryman. Distract myself with the busyness of motion, thrashing myself into various new holes, tossing out shreds of my past, leaping into a new uncertain future.

Of course, as my wise son has pointed out – if I do this I am still carrying the problem with me. Because it’s the one doing the packing.

I imagine this time in solitude is, for many, a time of evaluating relationships, a time to reattach if possible, to sever if not. We are all defining ourselves without boundaries, except those sharp ones of the buildings in which we are incarcerated. (Though, in prison, I suppose you might still have company of a sort…) So much of who we are is formed as we bounce against others, rounding our sharp internal curves, finding our borders. Without these, it gets hard to feel real.

I’ve always liked the image of the Velveteen Rabbit – the stuffed animal who was so loved that bits of it had fallen off, its seams were all rubbed bare, ears bent into improbable shapes. All done by love. And making the rabbit REAL.

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I used to feel very real. I had three loud, messy, imaginative children who were constantly pushing against me, forcing me to create new reactions and stretch my creativity. I was covered in kid slime and food and washable clothing. I never sat quietly without having one ear lifted to listen for pending disasters, fights, or suspiciously silent activity. I never ate anything without thinking if I should save it for the kids (or hiding it from them).

We used to have fascinating discussions. I miss those.

Now, they are grown and off and discovering their own realities, and while I know they are there for me if I need them, they are no longer here, smooshing peanut butter into my hair, emptying the fridge, scattering toys so I step on them. I can’t use them for edging. On the good side, that package of cookies is ALL MINE and no one else can have ANY. And, best of all, I can leave them in plain view on the counter and know I can return to find them just the same, without one missing.

My prior loves are off having meaningful discussions with someones else, and my dear friends are all tucked into their own cozy siloes, all finding their own edges. I find that as this isolation goes on, we seem to be turning ourselves inward more, getting involved in our interior selves – especially those of us who don’t have gardens or yards or big projects to throw our bodies against (or big men…sigh…but I digress). Others become fans of TikTok and do videos to share with others. I’m afraid my inner introvert (and serious lack of personal hygiene at this point) preclude such activities.

I know I am forgetting how to speak. It’s weird. Forming thoughts and words out of my mouth seems nigh impossible. I’ve taken to talking at the cat. He has taken to yowlingcute-dog-listening-poodle-thinking-2524377 back at me. I don’t quite understand him (yet) and know I should probably let someone know if we start having serious discussions about the world situation. I mean, I used to have lengthy chats with Pickles, the wonder dog, but he at least paid attention and had meaningful contributions that didn’t have to do with his service requirements…

People are getting crusty, and I’m beginning to want to step back from even mild contact because it can so easily go wrong when we are all strung tighter than a wire. Everyone is taking offense. Bluster abounds.

But there are also so many that are stepping up to the plate to help. I’ve donated as much as my budget can afford, but I still am tempted by this fundraiser being run by Despair.com – selling a T-shirt that says “A Lifetime of Social Distancing Prepared me for This” and, by doing so,  donating money to the Feeding America Corona Response Fund. Why not check them out? I live in Canada and the gaps are also fierce here, but gosh, if I lived in the US I’d be really needing a way to try to stop the madness and discriminatory damage being wreaked by the governments. (I hasten to say not ALL governments, but a significant number)

After all, as Despair.com says:

Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk…

 

Guest post: social distancing – Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog


Guest post: social distancing – Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog
— Read on multiple-sclerosis-research.org/2020/04/guest-post-social-distancing/

Waiting for the Tsunami, or Stay the F at home, already!


I know, staying at home (potentially with fighting children or that spouse you were barely tolerating at the best of times) is gruelling. I know. I have an eternally shedding/hair balling cat and you haven’t lived until you are woken up six nights out of seven with that horrible retching noise, followed by a bloom of vomit smell.

(I know. I’ve brushed him, fed him oils, tried to make him run around. But I digress…)

The thing is, we don’t have it that bad, we people at home. Think of where you could be. Like a prisoner in a long term care home, for example. Because that makes me quiver with terror and nightmares.

It’s bad enough being limited by physical disabilities and living with that trapped feeling, but imagine being physically limited, such that you could not be taken anywhere else because you need professionals to care for you, and watching as your home-mates start to fall with Covid-19…

Terrifying.

Because you know, without a doubt, that if you get this thing, it’s going to take you out, in a nasty brutish way. I hear it makes you feel like someone is standing on your chest and pulling your arms. I hear breathing becomes painful, wretched, impossible.

And to add to the wonder of the infection, you must also add the total isolation you will be in as you slowly, painfully leave this world. Alone.

Not that I ever wanted an audience for my last moments. Though I’ve been present at other’s ends and felt my presence was a comfort, so I might change my mind about that. But having no option for company as I gasp out my last few agonized breaths is a scary proposition. Options are good.

As are the options to get care. As a 60+ year old with multiple pre-existing conditions, I am probably not high priority for those scarce ventilators. But even I am higher on the list than many of my chums and definitely anyone in a care home. Those guys will just have to be let go.

And then there’s the life of the trapped health care workers. I remember from pandemic planning long ago that the only health care professions who were REQUIRED to show up to look after sick people were nurses. It’s a condition of our licensure, something about not abandoning patients. Lots of docs and other professions take their job equally seriously, but nurses are the only college required to be there, inhaling viruses and struggling through their own fatigue and overwhelming despair.

Bravo to them, to first responders (also tasked with being there, by god, no matter what) and all those who step up to the front as they can.

And yet, you healthy folks, you are still looking for loopholes, talking about sewing masks so you can go out in public as you will, sneaking into “speakeasies” in the UK, getting together with friends and family, “because it’s just us and I have to see the grandkids.”

Not needed

Shame, shame on those of you who selfishly insist on living life as normally as possible, going for recreational shopping, taking the kids for play dates, meeting friends for drinks. You may not realize this, but you are likely committing murder.

This is the time to actually get your head out of your own arse and look after the rest of the society. Do without for a bit. It won’t kill you to not meet up, especially with all the technology available. Stay away from the parks. Don’t play with power tools. (You won’t get that sawed off arm looked after)(or, more likely, you will, while someone’s grandfather dies in the bed next over.)

So, stop it. Know that you are increasing people’s risk. Know that people will die if you don’t. Some will die regardless, but the next time you head out to merrily break the rules, imagine yourself at the end of a hallway in a care home, as the virus creeps down the corridor towards you, as your former dining mates become absent, as the staff change over to new, uninfected people. As they tuck you into bed and you lie, alone, trying not to inhale the air or call for help or panic, trapped as you are in a bed as helpless as a turtle on its back, unable even to fully turn your head. As death walks down the hall on soft-tread feet, opening the door to your room, slowly, slowly, inevitably…


This is definitely NOT okay. Once again, in addition to making life miserable for the disabled, this leads to bigger problems down the road as people who were doing well at home become sick and have to be moved to the hospital.

Bad on all fronts. Please request that home care be made an essential service.

 

via Please Help This Nova Scotia Home Care Castaway! Letter and four simple action items.