This is how we’re faring

My last blog post was on Monday – it’s now Saturday morning.  Five days.  What’s happened in those five days?  On the surface of my family’s day to day life, not much.  We’ve worked from home, kids have enjoyed sleeping in (school holidays started early, on Tuesday) and we’ve managed to get some household chores done between us.  The dog has never been walked as much.  There’s chatting with friends on Google hangouts, dance classes and girl guides done via Zoom, plenty of binge-watching Buffy/Angel, and online shopping deliveries arrived.  I’m starting to feel as though I can sew again.  We plan to go to the supermarket/grocer once per week.  Just trying to figure out what’s likely to be the quietest time.

In among all this, my parents (can I describe you as elderly, Mum?  You are 82 and 93) are at their home two hours drive away from us in country Victoria.  They’re lucky to live in a very comfortable house surrounded by garden, with plenty of birds to watch and fresh air to breathe.  They’re quite well, but are in a high risk group if they were to get sick.  So they’re staying home.  Like everyone else.  We’re all staying home.  It’s the only way that we can slow down and manage the spread of this virus.

My brother just got back from America and to his home in Cairns yesterday.  It’s a relief to have him back in the country.  Of course, he’s now in quarantine for two weeks.  The predominant source of Australia’s covid-19 cases is from overseas travellers, with America being the most significant contributor.  However, we’ve now also got community spread.  ABC News (that’s Australian Broadcasting Company, for my overseas readers) has an excellent daily update of Australian statistics, sliced and diced in different ways.  Now I am glad that I have studied stats at uni more than once, because I do understand those graphs.  I breathed a small sigh of relief this morning when I read that for the second day in a row the number of new daily cases in Australia has dropped a little.  Maybe people are starting to really get the message and are just staying home!  (I wrote too soon – yesterday was Victoria’s greatest single day increase in the number of cases.)  However, the growth rate is still showing a doubling of total number of cases every 3-4 days.  The forecasts still have us reaching medical capacity around 11th April.

And in the everyday, it’s become harder to remember what day of the week it is and what time of the day it is.  It’s different without the routines and structures that we have when there is work and school and everything that goes along with that.  Maybe it’s like being retired!  The days start to blur into one another.  My ‘to-do’ list is still long, yet doesn’t seem to carry the same pressure that it used to, because deadlines and available time to get things done has all become much more fuzzy.  It surprises me that I don’t find this more ‘laissez-faire’ approach to daily life more difficult.  Instead, I seem to have relaxed into it.  No alarm clocks any more.  No public transport to catch.  As long as I get my work hours done in the week, it doesn’t matter when.  My body has shifted into getting up at dawn when the birds start chirping.  It’s lovely on the back deck in these beautiful autumn mornings.

I’ve switched from radio/television reporting on the pandemic to reading about it.  I find that more helpful when it comes to managing my anxiety about the situation.  I very much need to know what’s going on, especially as the situation is changing from day to day, but can moderate my exposure much more easily via ‘print’ (on screen, not on paper) media.  I’ve also made a concious decision not to focus ‘too much’ about all the knock-on effects that this pandemic will have/is having on the economy, mental health, schooling, disadvantaged groups, politics, the state of the world in general.  That’s just too overwhelming for me at the moment, with too many unknowns and things that I cannot predict.  Yet I know that I say that from a place of privilege – it’s much easier for me to be an ostrich in comparison to many others.  Clearly, this is going to have ripple effects for the rest of our lives.  But at the moment – it’s a few days at a time.   It’s also been good for me to focus on the blessings in my life – and I have many.  I am still acknowleding all the griefs and losses that have arisen as part of this situation – because they are true and they are there and need to be dealth with emotionally – but am tempering that with all the good stuff.  So many people have it much worse than my family does.

Gretchen Rubin shared the following in her newsletter this morning: In this article, I found the concept of “anticipatory grief” particularly useful—and its advice that the best way to calm ourselves is by coming into the present. And to stock up on compassion.’

Andrea shared some words in response to my last blog post that I also found really helpful.  She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, and wrote ‘the current situation takes me back to the aftermath of our earthquakes and that feeling of vulnerability and also being in the same head space as everyone around us and there only being one topic of conversation. We learnt so much through that and although at the time it seemed to go on forever we got through and the sun did indeed shine again.

Currently, the need to get the virus under control from a health perspective is the most important thing. Those of us who are not involved in front line health care really do just need to stay at home.  If in doubt, don’t go out.  And to all those health care workers?  Thank you.  So much.

8 thoughts on “This is how we’re faring

  1. Like you locked down. High risk because of asthma, so getting my groceries delivered for first time today.
    “Australia’s federal government has expanded the testing criteria beyond just returned travellers and those with close contact with an infected person.
    Unless the government expands testing we’ll have no idea of extent of community transmission, and no way of quarantining asymptomatic spreaders.
    But testing remains restricted to people with symptoms and doesn’t go far enough. Like South Korea, we should also be testing people without symptoms who are in high risk groups, such as close contacts, evacuees from cruise ships, and health workers who request a test.”

  2. Lovely post and perspective. Wishing you and yours well from America. Praying for more wisdom from our leaders and good health for all in the cross-hairs.

  3. Hi Lara, thankyou for sharing your thoughts. As always you present a well considered point of view. Like you I am concerned about my 85 yr old dad being 2 hours away from us in central Victoria. He likes to go shopping everyday as it’s an outing and he always meets someone for a chat. Just need to convince him to stay home now. So many new routines to get used to and as I work in allied health, I am trying to get my head around using online platforms for therapy. Interesting. Thankyou for continuing to post your makes. I always love to see what you’ve made and you always inspire me to get busy. Take care and keep well. 💐

  4. Great post Lara. “Elderly”? A patient told my doctor’s nurse that he was worried about his “elderly” 56 year old father. (Hmm. But I’m glad he was concerned.) My 70+ year old mother once told me that she was middle aged, so I guess we have to go with the flow! (I’d prefer that we just use the term “elder”, which has a certain tone of respect.)
    My husband and I escaped to upstate New York from Florida, and are (surprisingly) finishing our two week self-quarantine. That went by fast and I’ve accomplished almost nothing, although I’ve finally managed to find refuge in my sewing loft. We’re now realizing that we shouldn’t venture out, which is exactly what we thought we were looking forward to! WHEN IN DOUBT DON’T GO OUT” should be an international mantra. Thanks for that one!

  5. Thank you for your insights on what is occurring in the world today! My youngest son is in his last year of high school also. He probably will not be returning to school, as our district’s last day is May 7 due to remodeling projects this summer. Schools in our state are out until May 4. He is not sure how to feel. No prom, no spring sports, no class trips, no graduation (?)! He will do online learning, but that is not the same as being in class.
    My parents live next door, so I am able to keep my eye on them. Although they are still going out!
    Stay Calm and Sew On!
    Prayers to you and yours!

  6. Yes, yes, yes to everything you said about print over TV for information and not getting sucked in to all the speculation about what’s next! I don’t think it’s being an ostrich it’s protecting our mental health. I’m trying to use my privilege to help my community as much as I can, even if it’s just spending money locally b/c I am lucky enough to still be getting a paycheck. (for context, I’m in Kansas, US. We don’t have many covid cases locally but have been under a stay at home order for a week so far.)

  7. Good to hear you and family are doing well. I also get up very early, started after I retired, early mornings are so beautiful. I enjoyed your post, it is difficult to imagine life in other countries while being overwhelmed by news here at home. As you do, I read news online, finding TV/radio to be very harsh, worrisome, and a bit grating. Thinking of you, Coco

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