Scared to Leave the House Post Quarantine

I went out the other day, in Uber, riding with my mask and gloves, all the windows open,  the 1-mile to the pharmacy drive-through and then the 1-mile back home.

It had been 9 weeks and 5 days since I had gone beyond the front and back porches. It was really scary, but it was a short trip.

Today’s Appointment

I have an appointment today to see the Infectious Disease doctor, a required in-person visit for my chronic yeast infections and intertrigo ( a new word for me).

intertrigo Navelgazing Writer

But, I am terrified to go. I will not have a car to sit in while I wait for their calling me into a room. I will have to sit in the waiting room. With a flimsy face mask and gloves. How will I really be protected?

My Hair Navelgazing Writer
Pointing to my growing hair, but the gloves and mask are protecting me… in my room.

An aside, how the holy hell can anyone think a mask and gloves is enough to protect a first responder/doctor/nurse/respiratory technician/etc. is beyond me.

Riding a Bike

When I had the gastric bypass in 2001 and lost a million pounds, Zack and I got bikes to ride. He for exercise for me… me for fun. When I got on the bike, I reached for my seat belt.

bike seat belt Navelgazing Writer

Of course that was ridiculous, but it was a habit and whenever I was riding, I felt totally exposed and like I could lose my life at any moment.

This feels like that.

Where is My Armor?

I want to be inside a bubble of protection. Not a metaphorical one, but a real one.

Bubble Navelgazing Writer

If I knew where to get one of these, I would.

And Another Appointment, Too

I have a Dermatologist appointment on Friday. I don’t know if I can go to that one either. It has been 6 months since my last cancer check. I felt like why bother when, if I had it, they wouldn’t do surgery on me anyway during the pandemic, but now that they are starting to do “elective” surgeries again (as if cancer surgery is elective), I would have to have it removed.

I Can’t Do It

Writing this, I am so filled with anxiety, I have cried throughout.

I cant do it Navelgazing Writer

I cannot possibly be alone feeling this, can I?

A Brighter Day

May 1, 2020 was a much brighter day.

Spilling My Words

Navelgazing Writer

I just think I needed to get the fears out there and that took a lot of the energy out of the feelings.

Clearly, sharing helps. I need to remember that.

The feelings build slowly, then get more distressing until I am feeling that train heading closer and closer. I feel like I am going to fall under the train, then write here and suddenly feel immense relief.

Not Being Alone

crowded Navelgazing Writer

I know I am not alone in all this distress. That helps in some ways and makes me feel so sad in others. I wish I could take the pain from those that hurt, too, but my shield of protection is tight around me right now. Selfishly, it is me first at the moment.

Therapy Plans

group therapy Navelgazing Writer

I had my intake with the new counselor whatever day it was ago and she said she has 2 groups she also wants me in. You know you are on the downside when you are being recommended for several days a week of therapy. I look forward to it. I need some guidance and while I have done every kind of post-mental hospital support groups, it never hurts to have some reminders and maybe learn new skills.

The groups will be online and I look forward to seeing how they do them. Zoom? Some other way? Should be interesting.

I Quit

sad news Navelgazing Writer

… anymore.

Help for My Coronavirus Anxiety

12:10pm

I have felt so goofy for really thinking I was on death’s door. And looking back at the posts even before thinking I was sick, I can see the level of my anxiety rising more than ever.

How I did not realize it when I, a non-drinker, was drinking a bottle of amaretto every 2 days. I was not thinking, obviously. Now I see how much I was/am hurting.

I have been dealing with anxiety for a long time, had agoraphobia for a couple of years once, then intense stomach aches all last year.

Anxiety COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic
art by Alexa Rae Inspirations

At my last psych appointment, February 12, 2020… before we knew much here in the US, my doctor offered me anti-anxiety meds… “Benzos” (Benzodiazepine). Because I have an incredibly addictive personality, I turned him down. The message I left yesterday was, “Bring on the Benzos!”

1:20pm (I just got an Telehealth appointment for Saturday. I can make it until then.)

Self Diagnosis/Self Help

Oh, I thought it was amusing as all get out that I diagnosed my own disorder yesterday. How hilarious is that for a mentally ill woman?

Anxiety COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

So, I Googled and read about 300 articles on Coronavirus Anxiety and the main thing they say, of course, is to meditate. Be mindful. Stay in the moment. (Well, they do say to severely limit the news, too.)

Anxiety COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

And what is really bad is I fucking meditate! Clearly not enough to work through the anxiety. I will begin new strategies today… guided meditations on YouTube will be a good way to do that.

An aside: I found this beautiful site (Coronavirus Sanity Guide) with FREE meditation, live discussions and holistic, gentle ways to find yourself Ten Percent Happier.

I think I will go meditate now.

Thanks for listening and hanging in there with me. It means a LOT.

Anxiety COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Test Results: NEGATIVE!

And I am confused about how to feel! Isn’t that weird?

On the one hand, I have a baseline. And we know I am a hypochondriac, aka Somatic Symptom Disordered.

Pandemic COVID-19 Coronavirus

On the other, I was hoping it was positive so I could have antibodies and not get sick again. It would have been wonderful to have gone through it as if I was dipping my toe into the brook instead of being thrown into the ocean like most who get it experience the disease.

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/somatic-symptom-and-related-disorders/somatic-symptom-disorder

But, the takeaway, and I am still formulating it, is that now that I know I am negative, the goal is to stay that way. To isolate even more. A friend from work made me a face mask and I will wear it religiously out of the room, along with gloves (which are hard to come by as we know).

I am also embarrassed.

Pandemic COVID-19 Coronavirus

Terribly so. I really thought I was on death’s door. And here I am a week later feeling fantastic. Can I stay alive without freaking out about every symptom I have? Can I stop taking my temperature obsessively? Can I just deal with my co-morbidities and leave it at that?

I need to see my psychiatrist and talk to my therapist as soon as possible. I was having anxiety issues before, now they are exacerbated 1000-fold.

I’m sorry I worried you all. Crying wolf on accident is embarrassing. I am sorry.

Pandemic COVID-19 Coronavirus

…It Feels More Like a Memory

The line from Hamilton: An American Musical is:

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory

I have had that line in my head for weeks now. Like a low hum over and over again.

Today it is gone. Startlingly gone. Delightedly, GONE.

Pandemic COVID-19 Coronavirus
artist, Tomasz Alen Kopera

It will take the results of the test to know for sure, but was I really walking towards dying or was I just being dramatic (as my mom spent years telling me when I was as a girl).

Why, then, have I suddenly lost all desire to die? Nothing really changed. I am taking my meds the same. I am doing the same activities.  I have not felt good working in days and today, I am excited and having a great time.

What is going on?!?

Tonight is Going Well

If I do go to the hospital, I have a friend who will post for me. My children passed on the task but this friend said sure. Good for them!

12:15pm

Feeling okay tonight. If I eat, my intestines rebel quite vociferously, so I think I shall abstain and see how that works.

My breathing has been exceptionally good today, even the asthma has been minimal. Very odd and very different than the last year of constant wheezing. Will be interesting to see what goes on as time passes. Even laying down tonight causes no lung or breathing pain. Still no temperature. Woo hoo!

I am listening to Mists of Avalon, the 4th reading I have had of that book over many years. I tried to read Anne of Green Gables, a story I love in the TV series, but the book was just… so… hyperbolically effusive, it was sicky sweet. I could not continue. I tried to imagine being 11 and reading it, but not sure I would have liked it then either. I will remember Megan Follows as Anne in the show.

I am going to poke around the Net for awhile. Trying to stay away from COVID-19 info. I am quite saturated.

More soon!

 

What If I Lived?

9:50pm

The really poor feelings come and go. My throat hurts like crazy, but I have only had to do the Nebulizer twice today. Breathing isn’t horrid tonight.

And no fever tonight (so far).

I read about this “slow burn” sort of thing:

“They say, ‘Hey, you know, I think I’m getting over this,’ and then within 20 to 24 hours, they’ve got fevers, severe fatigue, worsening cough and shortness of breath,” said Ohl, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Then they get hospitalized.”

I wonder if I am in that 24 hour window.

What if I make it through the 24 hours and am still off and on yucky, but still home? What if I recovered even though fat, diabetic, kidney disease, lung diseased people are THE prime target of COVID-19.

What would that be like?

Lit Sparkler Up the Nose

1:40pm

Holy fuck, the test hurts.

A lit sparkler up the nose just begins to describe the feeling. Then the person wielding the sparkler tries to touch your brain and burn it.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

It’s been an hour and I still feel the burning sensation.

So here’s the best part… HAHA… the most absurd part.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

It will take SEVEN to TEN DAYS for the results.

I’m not kidding. So many around the country are baffled. I answer with: Welcome to Florida Health Care.

I told the sparkler lady I could be dead before the results come back. Sheesharooni.

I feel alright at the moment. Trying to eat something, but it tends to make my stomach hurt, so might be done with food for awhile.

Gonna rest.

Waiting for Test Appointment

I gave an extensive history to nurse, then saw the doctor who was really kind. I thanked them both for being there and helping people during this hard time.

I’m having GI crap again (HAHA!), so that isn’t fun at all. My stomach hurts. Breathing is meh… not horrid, but not easy.

I got a “Rx” to be tested and they will call me with an appointment within 24 hours to go through a drive-thru test site a mile away. Not sure how I will get there yet, but will deal with that when the time comes.

Rest, hydrate, and call EMS if I cannot breathe.

Let’s see what the day holds!

Still Home, Not Much Change

6:00am

I slept sitting up and walking to the bathroom brought on weakness and a lot of pain in my back, my right lung more than my left. I sweat through the night, but have no temperature now. Not feeling too terrible if I do not move. I’ve been doing the Nebulizer ever 2 hours and that seems to help, too. That cinched feeling has abated some, but I do still feel it.

Wouldn’t it be the bomb if I survived this?!?! I am on Day 4 of symptoms. The timeline says short of breath on the 13th should begin and severe breathing issues the 16th. I have a morbid note in my phone for the 22nd: Dead yet? I do amuse myself if no one else. HA!

By day five, patients with preexisting conditions might find that they have trouble breathing, and it usually takes about seven days for a person to go to a hospital.”

“Early studies found that most people who die of the disease will do so within 14 to 19 days. “

So I have a few days to write still? Sheesh. I feel like I’m walking towards the edge of a cliff knowing I am going to be walking off.

I just found this… also not very encouraging:

They say, ‘Hey, you know, I think I’m getting over this,’ and then within 20 to 24 hours, they’ve got fevers, severe fatigue, worsening cough and shortness of breath,” said Ohl, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Then they get hospitalized.”

I won’t do it, but I honestly wonder if taking a slew of pills and some amaretto might night be the best option. I never think about things like that, either. But this? A different time.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

Lung Tightness Starting

It’s 10:00pm and the lung tightness started about 90 minutes ago. I’ve been debating going in (I will have to call EMS because I do not have a car), but really would like to wait until I talk to the doc in the morning. If it gets worse, I will just go, though.

I have asthma, new since this year, actually, and this feels different. This feels like I have a cinch around my upper body. You know those velcro things you wear to protect your back? That is what this feels like.

Fever ebbs and flows. My eyes are burning from the fever. I continue barfing, too. No diarrhea since I stopped eating.

I am a DNR and have the paper I wrote that on close by.

Will write as I can.

Thinking I Am Sick

8:00am

I am having horrid stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting.

I am lost about what to do next, though. Call my provider, I will do at 9am.

5:45pm

Called at 9am and got a tele-doc appointment for tomorrow morning at 8:30am.

As the day has gone on, I’ve developed a fever (my normal is 97.3 and temperature is 99), a headache and it is harder to breathe. Breathing is worse when laying down, so I am staying upright as much as I can. I’m also beginning to cough and have had a sore throat since yesterday. One more… body aches. Ugh!

Of course I am trying to read everything in the world and found this about the GI symptoms:

In the small study of 204 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Hubei province of China, researchers noted that nearly 49% of these patients presented to the emergency department with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. This subset of patients with abdominal pain as their chief presenting symptom also had a more severe course of their illness, while also taking longer to seek medical care.

(emphasis mine)

I had a friend at work send me to Chris Cuomo on YouTube and he shares how to MOVE and BREATHE DEEP to help keep the lungs clear. I have been doing that since watching it. It is much easier sitting up.

Send good thoughts.

The Pandemic Tipping Point

I hear a low hum of laughter coming from the White House… from Jared Kushner, from Stephen Miller… from the former White House staff including Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. I hear a higher hum of hilarity coming from many, if not most, of the Republican Party. And, sadly, an enormous amount of people who call themselves christians chuckle behind their hands. And most assuredly, the loudest guffaws are coming from white supremacists.

edel rodriguez pandemic covid-19 coronavirus
artist, Edel Rodriguez translation: the real face of Donald Trump

Calculated Response

I believe the government, aka President Trump, is not doing anything to improve COVID-19 testing, getting supplies, acquiring and dispersing medical equipment, enacting the Defense Production Act or anything else positive to keep people alive… on purpose. He cannot even fake being kind by enacting a federal stay-at-home order.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

The people dying are black, poor, immigrants, old, sick and, in their eyes, a burden on the economic system in the United States, a system they have been trying to overhaul for decades.

Eliminate Food Stamps! Keep Immigrants out! No School Lunches! Medical Care for all… are you kidding?

But beyond economics, the possibility of seeing mostly white faces in the United States, I believe, is what propels those in charge to do whatever they can… or NOT do whatever they can… so those with coronavirus just die off and get out of their way already.

Wishes Becoming Reality

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

I really do think the Republican Party is giddy watching the Pandemic unfold. I think they are visualizing every election and financial hurdle being removed as if God was swiping the Thanksgiving table clean with His forearm.

Killing the Voters

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

Today, Wisconsin was required to have their election.

Wisconsin’s controversial election is back on for Tuesday, and voters will get no extension on the deadline to return absentee ballots despite the coronavirus crisis, thanks to two top courts that sided with Republicans on Monday.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, issued an executive order Monday afternoon postponing the election to June 9, citing the public health risk. But the state Supreme Court hours later overturned the governor, siding with the Republican-controlled Legislature, which had challenged his order.

Later in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wisconsin Republicans on a separate issue, voting 5-4 along ideological lines to overturn a lower federal court’s decision to extend a deadline for absentee balloting.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

I heard a speaker on MSNBC awhile ago that said one would think that considering everything, Republicans might actually have had some compassion for what has become a literal life or death decision to step out of the house to vote.

Clearly, they do not.

I haven’t seen anything like this in my lifetime. I’m almost 60. You know, it’s almost unbelievable. I remember long lines during the Reagan years, but the confluence of events is ridiculous. It’s amazing. And I do think Fitzgerald and Vos are setting people up to be killed,” said Todd Marsh, a Milwaukee voter, referring to the Republican leaders of the state Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus

Who’s Falling by the Wayside?

The federal government still isn’t sharing any official statistics regarding the racial breakdown of coronavirus deaths. But this information is starting to seep out at the local level from some states and cities, showing that the pandemic is disproportionately killing Black Americans and other communities of color.

And I know, because I can hear them laughing from here, that those in the White House and their friends and family are thrilled beyond measure.

The Question Becomes…

… will Trump eventually enact a stay-at-home order? Will he figure out how to get tests to everyone who needs them? Will he quit attacking the messengers that tell him hospitals still do not have what they need to stay safe?

How many minorities, folks in nursing homes and those with pre-existing conditions have to die before any positive movement is made?

Far too many.

My heart hurts.

pandemic covid-19 coronavirus
Sadness artist, Francesco Depentor

DNR – No Vent – No Intubation

I created this sign and hung it over the head of my bed:

coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

Relieving the Decision

This COVID-19 Pandemic is crushing our country… really, crushing the world. As more and more folks get sick and some of those sick die, I’ve made some decisions I never thought I would have to make in my life. While I have felt closer to death than not the last few years, now it is looming, shadowing almost every thought I have.

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, I’ve been hearing that doctors might eventually have to make the excruciating decision about who gets a ventilator, a machine that breathes for the patient, and who does not get one. The number of vents around the world and here in the US, are far below the number of patients that need them. As each day passes, they are in shorter supply and we are not even at the apex of the epidemic yet.

The time is for decision-making has arrived.

Doctor’s & DNR

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine
This was in Wuhan, China (you can tell because they actually have protective gear) in late February 2020.

Doctors have begun initiating their own DNR’sDo Not Resuscitate orders… because it’s clear that certain COVID-19 patients are going to die no matter what a medical team can offer. Therefore, if a patient “Codes” (goes into cardiac or respiratory arrest), the doctors are being permitted to:

“‘think more critically’ about which patients should receive one of their limited number of ventilators, and that the institution would support doctors who ‘withhold futile intubations.'”

“Futile” being the operative word.

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

“Aerosols” During Resuscitation

When resuscitation occurs, that is one of the most dangerous times to be around a COVID-19 patient. During the life-saving procedures:

“…airborne transmission may be possible in specific circumstances and settings in which procedures or support treatments that generate aerosols are performed; i.e., endotracheal intubation, bronchoscopy, open suctioning, administration of nebulized treatment, manual ventilation before intubation, turning the patient to the prone position, disconnecting the patient from the ventilator, non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation, tracheostomy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”

So what do I do if I do not want to infect the healthcare workers around me?

I die at home.

Hospice Care?

coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

I have been trying to see if there is Hospice Care for those dying of COVID-19, but have not found anything but warnings to those that go into the homes of COVID-19… until today.

Ex-NFL kicker Tom Dempsey in hospice care with coronavirus

“Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey is in hospice care after being diagnosed with coronavirus, relatives said.

“Dempsey, who once held the NFL record for booting a field goal 63 yards when he played with the Saints, began receiving hospice care Wednesday after contracting the virus last month during an outbreak at a senior living center….”

But the likelihood of finding someone to help me at home would be slim, so I am thinking of other options.

Dying at Home

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

There are other people here at the house and the prospect of their finding me dead isn’t appealing, but I am kind of lost about what to do about the situation. I listened today as they said ambulances are waiting in line for 5 hours at the ER door to bring someone in and then the person is sent to the waiting room for another 10-12 hours, then there are 100 beds in the ER crammed everywhere and people die waiting.

I do not want to die among strangers. I would rather die in my bed.

I want to die in my bed.

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine

Setting Up the Scenario

I will not go into details at the moment, but I have set it up that I will have someone with me as I die… on the phone… and I will not die alone. This person will set everything in motion to get my body removed in a timely matter, call the kids and my mom and alert my work. The girls will get into my Facebook, come in here and say I am gone, etc. etc. etc.

I have been told I am being morbid, but I find more peace discussing these things, getting all in line.

I do not want ANYONE to feel bad about my dying, from EMS to doctors to nurses to the kids, etc.

I want to die in peace, being a caregiver, even in death.

dying coronavirus COVID-19 DNR Pandemic Quarantine
Peace in Chaos & Beauty