I began a much longer post yesterday, a walk down memory lane, my trip to Europe in 1972. But it was a much bigger project than I’d realized, because I had nothing of the trip computerized. I needed to scan photos and post cards and read through the Itinerary to jog my memory. I’m still working on it, but for now I thought I’d share my experiences and emotions from this morning.
I woke up with a feeling of dread. When I looked at my iPad to get a synopsis of what the latest news was, I couldn’t contain my tears. It all was awful. What broke me most were the articles about how manufacturers of the medical equipment that all countries need so desperately, are inflating the prices to 700, or 800 or 900 percent above the normal price, making it so difficult for hospitals and the smaller health care centres such as Long Term Care Homes, to get them, And then there are the stories of people praying on the elderly by offering to buy groceries and then absconding with the money; or offering to clean their homes with them out of them, and stealing from them. What has happened to humanity?
I dried my tears and went to the kitchen to make some breakfast. Although I wasn’t really hungry, I knew I had to eat. The fridge was nearly empty. I made toast from the last two pieces of bread, and made coffee. One thing we do still have is plenty of grapefruit, so I cut up one of those. I knew I had to go shopping.
Jim thought I should just order it again, but I wanted to be brave and not let the paranoia I was feeling control my life. I also didn’t feel it was fair to put extra burden on the stores and volunteers that are generously delivering for free. Despite my age, I’m healthy. I have a good immune system. And I wanted to keep it that way with some fresh air and exercise. So I made my list and gathered my little wagon and reusable shopping bags. I had a mask I’d made from a kerchief, and disposable gloves and hand sanitizer in my pockets. I didn’t take my phone to avoid it being exposed to anything. I took only the one card that I needed to pay for my purchases. I didn’t expect Jim to go into the store with me. He wore his gloves and went into the Post Office to pick up our mail and then waited outside for me.
When I got to the store, the parking lot was full and I almost turned back. Then I realized that many of the cars parked there were probably the ones that had usually been parked beside the old Community Centre next door. Whether they belonged to tenants somewhere, or the owners of the few businesses that were open, I don’t know, but the Community Centre had recently been torn down and Contractors were working within high fencing, cleaning up the remnants.
I took my mask and gloves out of my pockets and put them on before walking up the ramp to the store entrance. A staff member came to the door and told me that I couldn’t take my wagon or bags in with me.
I hesitated, disappointed. I felt that there was far less chance of there being any virus on my own cart and bags that had been with us in our own space for three weeks, than there was with the store carts and bags. But I couldn’t argue, under the circumstances. I took the cart and made sure she’d wiped the handle.
By now I could feel myself quivering. There weren’t very many people in the store. Some shoppers wore masks and most of them were very conscious about keeping a distance. Perhaps they were more concerned about me because of the heavy mask and gloves I was wearing. I got very warm and for a moment I thought I might faint, but removing my jacket helped. As I made my way around the store looking for the things on my list I was having trouble seeing clearly. I thought maybe my glasses were fogging up from my breathing through the mask. My quivering continued and I cursed in my head, thinking how terrible it is to be so fearful of doing grocery shopping.
At last I was finished, and through the checkout.
“Isn’t this fun?” I said to the cashier, who was one more time sanitizing the gloves she wore, behind a sheet of Plexiglas.
“I’ve had about enough of it,” she said and I agreed. “Thank you,” we both replied.
I took off my disposable gloves and handed them to the girl at the door, who said she’d dispose of them. She was wearing gloves too. I was glad to see that the wagon was still where I left it. I breathed a sigh of relief. When I walked out into the sunshine, I reached for my sunglasses and realized I’d had them on all the time! No wonder I was having trouble seeing!
I found Jim next door watching the construction crew, of course. We walked home enjoying the sunshine.
At home I put my mask into the bathroom sink to wash. I carefully handled the groceries and bags, putting them all away, always aware of what I was touching and wondering who else had touched them. I washed my hands many times.Oh crap! Did I remember to disinfect the counter where they sat? Nothing I used to make lunch touched that side. Is it too late?
Now we have enough food to last us for another couple of weeks. Who knows what things will be like when we need more?
I have no idea how the people who have been dealing with this daily as they do their jobs to provide health care and other essential services, have not lost their sanity. I weep some more for them.
It was heartbreaking to hear of your fear during your outing for groceries. I too went out today for food but was careful but not afraid. My cart was sanitized by a store clerk before I took it. I was told to put on gloves as well. People were very thoughtful and stayed their distance but there are limitations when encountering other shoppers in the same aisle. I just turned my back as they approached. People smiled and thanked each other when wise decisions were made.
Guess mine was a positive experience in comparison. I am grateful to have good health because I am approaching 82 years old in a few months. Since our lives on Earth are numbered, I know that I’m nearing the end but still hope for a positive life. But I don’t fear the end because the best is yet to come. It is the young that I’m most concerned about. This may not be the worst pandemic they may encounter.
Hi Helen. It’s so good to hear from you and to know that you are handling this crisis healthy and brave. I am doing the same, most of the time, but for some reason today I just wasn’t feeling so brave. It could be that I watch too much news on the American channels, which we got used to when in Arizona because we couldn’t get any Canadian stations. Once I got home and had some lunch, I went back to work on my story of visiting Europe, which has picked me up. I’m thankful for the adventurous life I’ve had and am not so worried about myself as I am Jim (he just turned 80) and the rest of my family. The walk also did me good. I’ve never been one to sit so much as we have the past month. Thanks for reading and responding. It’s always nice to hear from old friends.