July 17th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


In the mornings of the two days that we went to see the eye doctor, I’d wakened up with a bit of a scratchy, sore throat and I was tired, so I wondered if I needed to postpone the appointments, but I was pretty sure that it was due to my allergies and extreme heat. By the time we had to leave for Peterborough, I was feeling just fine so I answered the questions at the doctor’s office honestly. But, by Thursday evening my throat was really sore and my ears were blocked. Again, under normal circumstances, I would have gone with the allergies diagnosis, but I began to worry about the slight chance that it could be COVID and I felt very concerned about having been to the Optometrist office the day before.

On Friday morning, after breakfast and allergy pills and using the netti pot, my throat was back to normal. In fact, I felt better than I had for weeks! Still I felt that I should go to the local clinic for a COVID test just to be sure. It was in the next town over from us. The info we found online wasn’t up-to-date so it took a couple of tries to find it, only to discover that it wasn’t open on Fridays! I’d have to wait until Monday, or drive further to find another clinic. It would have been nice to not worry over the weekend, but I knew I wouldn’t get the results before the next week anyway. So we kept pretty much to ourselves all weekend, going out only for an evening walk around our rural block. We don’t usually meet up with anyone we know to stop and chat. When we did see friends who were standing in line at the ice-cream shop, I kept my distance while they chatted. I’d forgotten to take a mask with me. That night my throat got really sore again. I was so disappointed.

The weather cooled down some. I slept better and regained my energy. I had no more sore throat after that. I kept doing the Self-Assessment on the phone App. I never did have any fever. By Monday I was confident that it wasn’t COVID, but I made appointments for both Jim and me to get tested anyway, to relieve everyone’s mind. We had to wait until Tuesday.

The Clinic visit was a horrible experience. I was called in first. Jim filled out the questionnaire while he waited in the car. I was expected to fill it out while also answering the verbal questions that were being fired at me from the technician! I have no idea if I filled in the written pages with all the correct answers! He finished his questions and then waited impatiently, holding a very long stick in his hand, for me to finish my form.

“Take off your mask. I’m going to put this way up your nose. Don’t cough and don’t pull away,” he said. And there it was, pushing further and further through my right nostril until tears rolled down my cheeks. I resisted the urge to pull back by holding my breath. Even after it was removed, the pain lingered. Outside, the slight breeze entering my nose increased the discomfort. I wish I had a picture of that!

“We’ll send you the results in two to three days, or you can go online to get them,” the other, female, worker said to me as she handed me a page of information. She was very pleasant.

Jim had his turn. He didn’t have to fill our questions at the same time as answering verbal questions, but he did have to endure the same pain. He was unable to resist pulling back and the fellow held his head!

I can’t imagine President Trump and his staff going through that every single day!

On Wednesday we drove to Cobourg to look at storage sheds for our new bikes, which should arrive within a month. On Thursday we went back to order one and all the materials needed to build the floor. I stayed in the car and Jim, of course, wore a mask and used hand sanitizer. We had no way of bringing it all home, but one of our neighbours offered to pick them up with a trailer when they will be going that way on Monday. We know what we’ll be doing next week to fill in some time! Assembling.

This morning, we went online to get our test results – NEGATIVE!

July 10, 2020 – Mind Travelling during COVID-19


Last week I started a post this way:

Some days I feel like we’re just treading water, living on hold. I’d really like to get back to doing some sort of travelling. It’s still not safe to venture too far away from home, but there are things we could enjoy within our own province. Maybe we could possibly fly to BC to visit my family. But now that the airlines have decided to fill their planes again, I’m not comfortable with that.

Then my muse disappeared. With no travel, I had nothing more to write.

This week we had a few things on our calendar. Monday we were again hosting our weekly Ukulele Jam on our lawn. Well, we thought we were.  We got all set up under the trees and waited. No one showed up! We did a bit of practicing ourselves and some of our neighbours came out to chat.

On Wednesday, we thought, Jim was to have a care conference by phone with his brother’s support nurse (Andrew) at the Long term Care Facility where he lives. It was supposed to be at 10:00 a.m. At 11:00, when Jim hadn’t heard from him yet, he called the home. They had to track Andrew down and would have him call back. We left here at 12:00 p.m. headed for our appointments with our Eye Doctor in Peterborough. We got about half way there when Jim’s phone rang. It was a call from the Nursing Home. The appointment with Andrew was scheduled for Thursday, not Wednesday!

We carried on to Peterborough. Because there were all new rules of conduct, due to COVID-19, timing was crucial, so we’d left home early enough to allow for the  possibilities of road construction delays, as is the norm every summer. We arrived at the Clinic parking lot a half hour before my appointment, so we waited in the car, with the windows down, capturing any little breeze that drifted in. We were on a week of extremely hot and dry weather.

Five minutes before my appointed time, as instructed, I put on my facemask and entered the building. I rang the bell on the office door and waited for someone to come out. When she did, she looked at her clipboard and said, “Iris?”

“No, I’m Judy,” I replied.

She looked through her papers and said she’d be right back. When she came out again she told me that the mask I was wearing (which has a filtered vent on it) wasn’t allowed because it “let’s air out.” She said she’d have to check with the doctor, but she had been told no vents. I explained that there was  a filter. She said she had one she could give me if they didn’t allow mine.

Vented Mask

I shrugged and said, “Okay.” She couldn’t see my smile behind my mask.

Another woman came along while I waited and she was asked questions and then ushered into the office. I wondered why, since I was there at exactly my time slot. I texted Jim to tell him that I’d be longer, and that he wouldn’t be able to use his vented mask either.

My turn came to answer all of the questions. I put on the mask that I was given and tucked my own into my pocket. After using hand sanitizer on the way through the door that was being held open for me (we were told not to touch anything, including the door knobs) I was instructed to sit in the rolling chair located near the station where eye glasses are checked. I’d just sat down when someone else rang the door buzzer. The young woman went to answer it and then came back saying, “I must have the wrong Judy.” She got the file and said to me, “You’re Judy Green, right?”

“No,” I said, “I’m Judy Lawless.” She looked perplexed. Apparently the woman at the door was also a Judy.

The technician heard the conversation and looked at the daily list of patients. “We don’t have a Judy Lawless on today’s list,” she said.

“What?” I asked. “I talked to someone on Monday, confirming my appointment, and she sent me the emails. Do you have Jim Victor on there?”

“No.” She checked the next day’s schedule. “Your appointments are for tomorrow. Dr. Shields isn’t even in today!”

I was stunned. “Okay,” I sighed and got up and headed toward the door. She ran past me and said, “Wait, I’ll open the door for you.” I waited, then dropped the mask into the waste basket that I noticed by the door as I headed out to tell Jim my saga. He checked his phone calendar and sure enough there sat the two appointments for the day, but they were both for Thursday! I don’t know why I had it in my head that they all were to be on Wednesday.

We were to meet a friend at Costco parking lot to pick up something from him. I texted and he asked if the original time would still work. I said sure. Jim had just asked if I thought we should buy the e-bikes that we’d looked at a couple of weeks ago. I’d given up on them because he didn’t seem that interested, so I was happy that he’d changed his mind. We stopped at the store and ordered them. They don’t come cheap, but I think when they arrive in August the weather will have cooled down enough for us to get out on our local trails at least.

When all was done and we were driving home, I replayed the appointment mix ups in my head, and realized that we both should have thought to check the eye appointments when we learned the conference call was not that day. And, I think I was a little rude with the women in the office. And I could have saved the mask for later use. I blame it on the lack of sleep and the high heat. My brain felt frazzled. I hope that’s all it was!

Fortunately, I was able to return the next day and apologize, and I was relieved to learn that my eye issues haven’t gotten any worse, and neither have Jim’s.