Coronavirus Chronicles, old couple

Wait, wait, wait

People who don’t know any better or don’t have friends who live in other countries often cite long waits for health care as a reason that they don’t want government sponsored health care for all. Yet, we have long waits for specialists in this country even with expensive insurance, so there’s yet another bullshit reason against socialized health care.

Really, as we wait for this rheumatology appointment, we are both feeling a bit desperate. Sandy tried to get a vaccination appointment at Walgreens and they turned him down because he filled out the form stating the he had health issues. Aren’t those the very people who need the vaccine the worst? So he called his GP office to ask their guidance and they said to wait until after he sees the rheumatologist on March 11. Still a week away.

In the meantime, his condition gets worse and we are worried, very, very worried. He wants to start swimming at the Y again because he thinks that would be good exercise for him right now. He does a couple of minutes of the video exercise, when before he got shingles he had gotten where he could do 15 minutes twice a day. We worry about the rapid acceleration of his muscle loss. He needs to be able to get out and about for his mental health. I think that he will need physical therapy.

I should be able to sign up for a vaccination early next week, according to an email I received from my workplace. A clinic is being set up for all the higher education workers in the area. Plus, FEMA is setting up a mega-site here in Greensboro at a closed Dillard’s store in Four Seasons Mall, with a drive-through lane.

We are treating each other with loving care these days – each of us trying to do our best under these circumstances.

But we have things that need to be attended to – like the plumbing problem. Like the Honda Fit that has been sitting with a dead battery for several months now. Like rebuilding the front steps, which involves getting permission from the Historic Commission. The possibility of having to put in a ramp. Like the pile of big chunks of dead silver maple that I had hired two different people to split for firewood for me last year. One stopped answering my texts. The other gave it a valiant try before he smashed his thumb and now he has a back injury. Since then, it’s become a termite incubator. So I’m calling a couple of landscapers today to see if I can get estimates on cleaning up the yard, then bi-monthly maintenance. That will be a start, and it would be good to get it done now before mosquito season begins.

That is likely where the Ireland/Portugal trip money is going to go.

However, the good thing is that we do have the lake retreat. I went for a walk with some of our friends on Sunday morning and we sat on an outside deck and chatted over coffee for a couple of hours. Hopefully by this summer we will all be vaccinated and go down to the lake for a weekend or so. One couple just sold their big truck rig and bought a huge RV. Maybe we will buy a small RV instead of moving to Portugal.

The biggest challenge for me in all of this is the possibility of a giant change in our lives. I have spent most of the pandemic, and really the last 15 years, relying on travel planning as my therapy. Finding the cheapest flights. The quirkiest old motels. The AirBNB rooms. Recently, planning to emigrate to Portugal. In a way, the emigration plans are the easiest to give up, since thinking about transporting the cats and what possessions we would ship over was sometimes overwhelming.

I have to find a new way to cope. I hope that my instincts are wrong about this, and Sandy will bounce back and we will still be able to travel to national and state parks and museums and walk on trails. But, if not, we’ve had a good run, and we are luckier than most people to have the memories. I am thankful that I documented our trips so well on this blog, and hopefully there will be many more. We haven’t checked off our bucket list yet, but we’ve knocked off a few major items like Cahokia, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Newgrange, Giant’s Causeway, Yellowstone, Glacier NP, an Alaskan cruise, Tuscany, Cornwall…pretty amazing when you list them all. There is a lot in this country we’ve yet to see.

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