We’re starting to check people’s temperatures as they enter the building at work. It’s strange to stand there, hold your breath, wonder and worry for the three to five seconds it takes for the thermometer to register your temperature and for your coworker to let you know whether it is safe or not for you to be there.
We’ve been doing our best to keep our masks on and to keep our distance from each other, but it isn’t always easy. We’ve spread out the filing and the equipment so we don’t have to hover near each other for what we need and we’ve reduced the number of seats in our classroom. Every door is either an entrance or an exit, and soon lunches will need to be taken outdoors.
I’m actually beginning to get used to wearing a mask all day. I might even be starting to like it. At first it was awful, but now it makes me feel protected. I feel like I’m doing the right thing, even if it is uncomfortable and sometimes anxiety inducing. More than that, it feels safe and not just because of the virus. It’s the same reason I wear thick-rimmed glasses and let my hair fall in my face. I like to be hidden.
There’s no telling how long these precautions will be in place or whether things will get better or worse, but the rumors floating around aren’t comforting. There is the budget, of course, I won’t even get into that, and talk of not all kids going to school on the same days and a limit to the number of kids that can be on a bus on a time. These are going to be some very big changes and we are being asked to be patient and wait until at least July 1st before we expect any concrete answers.
It is still surprising how just 4 hours back at work can exhaust me not just mentally but physically. Almost every day this week I have needed to nap for over an hour after returning home. I really hope it will start getting easier soon. I’m losing a lot of time I could be using to read, or write, or listen to podcasts, or even clean my house, all the things I have been doing since the quarantine began. I’d like to make time for them still, even that time must be greatly reduced.
At least I’ve been keeping up with the evening walks around the neighborhood. Even when I don’t think I’m in the mood or when I don’t think I have the energy, within minutes of getting out there I feel good. I never regret it. I wish I was seeing some difference in the way I feel or my weight on the scale but it seems no matter how much more I move I still seem to gain.
Starting next week I’m going to move our old elliptical machine into the garage and track my meals, snacks, water, and coffee intake. There is a disconnect somewhere and I mean to find it and start making some progress.
It’s a question of less and more, I am sure. Less of the bad options and more exercise. Less excuses and more willpower. Less letting my emotions control my consumptions and more mindfulness in every meal and movement.
Mid-week means something again. It’s my second day back at work and I’m already looking forward to the upcoming long weekend. Not because today was a bad day. Quite the opposite, actually.
Early in the day two of my coworkers and I took a short break for a small grocery run at Walmart. We ended up finding exactly three bottles of hand sanitizer. Later our boss told us she’d just come from Target where Clorox wipes had just been put on the shelves. She gave us all permission to leave then and there to get some. I haven’t been able to buy either product in months. Today felt not just good, but lucky.
Work was easy enough. I’m largely being left alone to do the projects I’ve tasked myself with. No one is worried or bothered by me. I’m still feeling a little off from my infusion yesterday but on the whole I’m much, much better. It’s just that being out and being around people is still a lot. Even at the infusion center yesterday, I felt withdrawn and irritable by the people around me. I wanted to be left alone.
I wonder if the anti-social change will be permanent. I suspect not, but I don’t see the scar healing over completely. This experience will change us all, and social interaction might not ever be the same.
I’ve noticed I get angry at people who are not following guidelines for masks or social distancing in public. I glared at a man in the home improvement store yesterday who didn’t wear a mask and I felt almost disgusted seeing coworkers hugging. I don’t mean to be so harsh and I am actively weighing and adjusting my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs toward others as needed.
I don’t know what is the right level of anger or what kind of social consequences there should be. I know that I can understand why people do the things they do and I also know that this is new for everyone and quite hard to get used too. I’m trying to be patient and forgiving of the defiance and the disregard, but it is not easy.
It’s infusion day, again. This one is a little more special. It’s the last of what they call the “loading doses”. After this I go on a more regular schedule of every eight weeks, as long as all the tests they did at the lab beforehand come out stable that is. We still have to see if the drug levels are where they should be and if my white blood cell counts and a few other things are where they should be.
I’m still dealing with some questionable and slowly worsening symptoms, but I’m in contact with my healthcare team and no alarm bells are going off yet. A few more tests have been ordered and I am being asked to hold off on lower the dosage of any of the medication I am currently taking which is a real bummer. I was looking forward to at least one less pill a day for a while.
The center is still a lot quieter than usual. I think non-essential procedures are still being postponed. It was nice to be to be out of the “broom closet” private infusion room and back into the open area with the big bright windows again but the nurse warned me that next time I may not be so lucky.
I know other people need these spaces, but it bothers me that because my infusions are shorter; I have to be shut into a windowless room and every time I bring it up t the staff I’m brushed off. I don’t think they understand that it’s depressing to be there no matter what your condition or how long your infusion takes. I should at least get to see the sun while I’m there.
Went into work.for the first time sense early March. So much has happened and changed since then. Not just the spreading of the virus and the lockdown orders and reopening guidelines, but also with me personally and my relationship to my coworkers and to work as a whole.
The day went much more smoothly than I worried it would. Wearing a mask for four hours is pretty awful and staying six feet apart isn’t as easy as I hoped it would be, but it wasn’t so bad that I felt anxious or frustrated. It will take some practice and some getting used to too.
The day before the district shut down I was promoted, so this was also my first day in my new role. Surprisingly, and quite comfortingly, not much seems to have changed between me and my coworkers. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean, I was always respected for my work and all that had ever been missing was the title and the compensation. Finally, everything has fallen into place and work feels more right than ever.
I only stayed for four hours but it exhausted me to be there even a short time. I’m not used to being out of the house for so long or to being around so many people. I was home by lunch, and shortly after I was napping on the couch. I lost hours trying to recover from all the new social interactions and I still don’t feel quite myself yet.
Today is the first Sunday in months that feels like a real Sunday. I’m thinking more about work than I am about the freedom and the goals I had for today.
I’m trying to remember all the goals and joys I had at work. I’m trying to remember who I was two months ago when life was put on hold. I’ve changed a little since then I think. I’ve grown in ways I am only begining to become aware of. This time alone, this loneliness, these hours outside of time where I could belong to myself as fully as any human can hope for, have shown me something I never would have seen, who I and and what kind of life is like to have.
My job is a good one as far as jobs go but it’s not how I’d like to spend my life. I’m not sure what that means, if I could or want to even change it, but it’s s feeling I can’t shake and a fact I cannot unlearn about myself. The future is more uncertain than I can even begin to comprehend right now.
Another lazy day. It’s okay. I feel fine both emotionally and physically. There is a little guilt, a little panic, and a little excitement bubbling below the surface. Next week life begins again, and I am mentally and emotionally freaking out. It’s not so much the work or the people but the changes, the new way of operating and the etiquette that I’m nervous about.
A lot of my anxiety is social. I do not like when I either have to meet new people, or meet people in a new setting, or when for any reason the social norms or expectations are ambiguous.
I’m afraid, I guess, of looking stupid, of offending, of not being liked. It sounds dumb, but in the time of Covid-19 there are expectations about masks, about how close to stand, and about cleaning and hygiene. There are offences over your level of concern or belief about the virus, its origins, and the government’s response.
There is, for people who over think the details most never even notice, a lot to think about and navigate.
I comfort myself by remembering that no one knows how to act or react right now. There is no right or wrong, just whether you care and are willing to correct or stubbornness and recklessness. I do care and I am willing so I should not feel afraid.