Friday, March 20, 2020

Hanging in a thread

Road all to myself on cloudy day run
When I got worried during cancer treatment @danafarber, my nurse, Vytas, wld call me a Nervous Nellie & say "They'll figure it out." Believing him, I relaxed a little. Without the same confidence in our great leader, there is no such balm w/ #coronavirus.

I'm not a big tweeter but I did want to share this thought. I remember Vytas sitting on the edge of my bed and saying "They'll figure it out." Vytas was a cancer survivor himself (lymphoma) and was one of us. He followed me wherever I went, starting from my diagnosis in 2003. I can't believe he has been gone for 10 years. He died not from lymphoma but from a heart problem resulting from the radiation he received. In looking him up to spark my memory about the year of his death, I came upon something I wrote. It was on Brigham and Women's Hospital's newsletter for nurses. The remembrance said,

A Newton resident, Mr. Durickas dedicated himself to patients, even when he struggled with his own health issues. His caring personality often made an impact on patients. One of those former patients is Ronni Gordon, a writer who blogs about running and battling with leukemia. She recently wrote of her memories of Mr. Durickas.
“Over many years and through four bone marrow transplants, he always took that extra step. His kindness and sense of humor helped me get through many tough spots,” she wrote. “I’d panic over some new detour on the road to recovery, and he’d calm me down with a mix of knowledge, a talent for putting things in perspective, and, always, something funny.”

The nation needs a Vytas, and we don't have one. Couldn't we even have someone with at least a voice that isn't grating, someone with a calm tone, such as I heard in the message that my Congressman, Richie Neal, left on my answering machine in giving a heads-up to an upcoming informational call that he would be giving? This article in The Atlantic, "No Empathy, Only Anger," , lays out the tone and substance of the administration's failure. The news is so all around bad, from two Republican senators dumping their stocks before the economy went bad, to mismanagement and missed opportunities, that following the news is sickening, but not following it is not in my nature. I am trying to limit as much as I can. For example, last night I didn't read or watch one bit of news, instead catching up on Grace and Frankie.

Is it lunch time?
Given absence of guidance from the top, states, localities, communities, and individuals and friends and family are trying to fill in the gap. Kudos to Serenity Yoga (and others) for setting up a virtual studio. I did my first class this morning via my laptop and enjoyed connecting with others and keeping up my practice. Afterwards, I had a FaceTime coffee chat with a fellow yogini. Last week four friends and I tried to share a virtual cocktail hour. There were some technical difficulties, but I guess we'll have to learn.

I've been to the supermarket twice and hope to not go again until this clears up. I wore a mask and gloves, but the mask kept slipping, and as I tried to fix it behind my ear, I thought about how I should not be touching my hair. My friend the pharmacist said he thought I was OK, but the concern afterwards really dragged me down. I'm either going to use online means or go to River Valley Coop, which has started curbside pickup. THEN you read about how you have to wipe your groceries down (which I didn't do) because who knows who has touched what.

Also why are people hoarding Hellman's mayonnaise?

My kitchen is ready to be painted, but I'm not sure if I should let the painter in. As of this writing I have said to put a pause on all of the house repairs. It's not finished but it's good enough. I do go back and forth on the kitchen. I would like to have the kitchen back...

It has been pointed out to me that being quarantined is nothing new to me; I learned how to live with limitations after each of my four stem cell transplants. But at least then I knew what the enemy was. In the case of the virus there is so much uncertainty.

There is still dog walking and following the dog around the house taking photos of her or getting a hug. On one of the nice days this week, I played singles with the BF. I evened out the playing field by making up rules as we went along, such as if he hit a serve that I couldn't return, I got a mulligan. (I gave him some second chances too!)

Absent tennis at the club, I am trying to do a little more running. The other day, I ran four (up and down hills) and walked two. It's not easy to get out the door like it was in the old days, but it's doable, and once I get going I'm grateful for it. I can almost forget what a mess we're in.

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