My mom suggested that I keep a journal during this crazy time, documenting all the weirdness that is going on. I pulled out an actual notebook to start writing and then realized that my blog was the perfect place to document this. This is a major historical event that most people have never been through. I know I haven’t. So today I’m going to backtrack a little bit and document what has been happening so far. I know my story isn’t the same as everyone else’s, but its a story none the less.
The beginning of the month of March got kicked off to a crazy and surreal start. After giving my 2 weeks notice at the job I’d had for over 5 years, I had my last day on March 6. I spent the weekend celebrating with friends, sleeping in, and getting ready for the upcoming week. March 9 was to be my first day working for myself. My mom had major surgery planned for March 10, so I spent the first week of my “new job” with her. She spent 2 days in the hospital and then was allowed to go home. On top of all of that, the Coronavirus was starting to make it’s way to the US. Well shit.
We all knew about the virus and the toll it was taking on China. We knew it would get here eventually, but we really had no idea the toll it would take on our lives. The first time it had an impact on my life was the day of my mom’s surgery. My dad had gone home to take care of the dogs and when he came back an hour and a half later they wouldn’t let him back to see my mom. He was told that on the surgery floor that only one person could be with the patient at a time. My mom was put in a holding area after her surgery and hadn’t been moved to a room yet. I had some work to do, so instead of fighting with them I left and my dad went back. We were very confused since both of us had been with her for most of the day. It wasn’t until I overheard a nurse talking about a meeting they’d just had that it all started to make sense. During the time that my dad was gone the hospital had a meeting and it was decided that on critical floors (such as the ICU, maternity ward, and surgery floors) patients could only have one guest. And so began the first of many changes that would completely change our lives.
Over the next week things really started to get weird. You couldn’t find toilet paper, paper towels, or lysol ANYWHERE. They went from shutting down events with over 250 people, to 100 people, to 50, and then down to 10. Concerts were cancelled, the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA ended all of their seasons prematurely. Next thing we knew they were closing bars and nightclubs – any places that groups would gather were being shut down. Our lives included a new term – Social Distancing. If you HAD to go out, they were suggesting that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people. Let me tell you that most people have NO idea how far away 6 feet is.
The coming weeks brought more changes across the entire country. First some states were put on mandatory 2 week (or more) “shelter-in-place” orders. You were only allowed to leave your home for essential things… the grocery store, pharmacy, or doctors appointments. In Florida, all restaurants were told that they couldn’t serve people in the restaurants, so everything has gone to take-out or delivery. Gyms, parks, movie theaters, and stores were the next to close. It got to the point where the only places you could walk into were grocery stores, hospitals, and the doctor’s office – and even those were limited.
Over the weekend multiple counties in Florida put a 2 week “stay-at-home” order in place. My county hasn’t done that yet, but they will be enforcing all of the regulations that have been put in place. Now you can be fined for not keeping people away from each other in the grocery. Seriously? Just make everyone stay home.
Places like NYC and Seattle are pretty much shut down. I have a friend in Seattle that has barely driven anywhere in weeks. There are stories of people in Brooklyn singing or playing music from their balconies. I heard emergency sirens yesterday for the first time in ages. I guess at least some people are listening to what they are being told and staying home. Even the criminals are afraid of this.
Sunday’s news report said there were over 5,000 people in Florida with the virus now. 5,000 people! Just last week it was barely over 150. And then last night the President extended the stay-at-home guidelines for another 30 days. Welp, see ya later April.
It is a very weird time that we live in. Since March 6 I have only seen my parents. On Wednesday night I had a video chat/happy hour with my BRF Jenn in St. Augustine. I lost track of how many times we said “this is SO weird.” Every aspect of life is weird now. Friday night 2 friends surprised me and we had a social distancing happy hour in the driveway. They brought beer and chicken sandwiches, and I sat on the front porch while they sat in chairs in the driveway (more than 6 feet away I might add). It was wonderful for so many reasons, but scary at the same time. I am worried about my friends but I’m not allowed to hug them or see them. No hugs??
I try not to get too freaked out about this. I know it is awful and can be deadly, but if I think about it too much I will lose it. I hate being away from my parents but since they are both over 65 I know it is for the best right now. I don’t like the idea of them going to Publix or Walmart, but I know its necessary. I gave my mom a whole list of instructions when I found out that she was going with my dad to Walmart today. I can’t imagine losing either one of them to this.
Have you heard about the restrictions at the hospitals? People are dying and their loved ones aren’t able to see them during their final hours. Mothers are giving birth alone. Nursing homes aren’t allowing visitors. My dad’s cousin went into Hospice this past week and died alone. Our family won’t even be able to hold a funeral. Dude, you can’t tell Catholics they can’t have a funeral!! (please know that I’m kidding here. I’m not, but I am. The Catholics out there understand.)
I’m lucky, on one hand, that my new job was already a work from home situation. When all of the restrictions started popping up I was already set to work at home. But my entire job (and paycheck) revolves around businesses wanting to spend their money on social media and marketing. And you know that if things get bad, that is one of the first things that is going to go away. In fact, my week started out with one of my clients dropping. One isn’t too bad, but once we start going past that it will begin to cause problems for me. Thankfully those I work with are doing everything we can to show our clients that right now is the time that they need us the most. If people can’t GO shopping they are going to shop online right? Let’s just hope that is what happens. I’m just trying to keep a positive outlook.
So there ya have it, my first month of Coronavirus mayhem. I plan to continue documenting what happens and what I’m doing to stay sane (have I mentioned that I’ve read 8 books already this month?). Stay safe everyone!