Mask Up!

What's Driving the Rise in Suicide Among Middle-Aged Men ...

When I heard the President of the United States complain that wearing a mask made him feel like the Lone Ranger, I knew there were problems brewing. (Can one of his aides explain how the mask works, please?)

At the start of this pandemic, everyone was was cautioned not to use medical masks because there was a shortage, and they needed to be available for front line workers. That situation created an immediate market for home sewers and since then fledgling businesses have sprung up in the most unlikely places. A large, vacant factory in my town sprung to life after being retooled to produce masks. Thousands began rolling off the lines. Companies who formerly made sports jerseys converted to these face coverings and you can now promote your favorite team by wearing their colours. I myself, got into the action. I was a sewer, I had lots of spare fabric, and plenty of time on my hands. I made them available for free to anyone who asked, but after making about 300, I was over my enthusiasm.

People started out wearing them cautiously not really certain they would protect them from the virus, but as more has been learned about covid-19, we now recognize that masks do indeed help keep infections down. As communities try to reopen their businesses, masks are increasingly being mandated. Some people have come up with creative solutions to the mask requirements.

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Masks definitely come with their own set of responsibilities. Don’t leave home without one; wash or change them after each wearing (yes, this is extra laundry; you’ll manage), and for goodness sakes wear it properly. It should cover your nose and mouth, not one or the other, not hanging from one ear, or slung under your chin.

If you are someone who enjoys a snack as you go about your business, then a mask may just be the ticket.

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For many of us, it is summertime and we enjoy spending time (which many of us have plenty of at the moment) out in the sunshine. Please remember your sunscreen.

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I know this virus is scary, but please don’t do this. This is more frightening than covid.

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Listen, we all have to do our part to contain this pandemic and get back to our lives. If everyone would just comply with the science, we will soon be able to enjoy going out socially again. mask#6

In the meantime, I need to get groceries. mask#8

Be safe. Wear your mask! Everyone needs to do their part.

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Quarantined!!!

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When the virus first arrived, I must admit that I was concerned. I am a senior and have been diagnosed with COPD, so there are a couple of strikes against me to be sure. As the pandemic gradually took hold, and we were asked to quarantine inside our homes, I wondered how I would manage this new reality.

Living alone had prepared me well for the “no contact” rule, but how would I get groceries and pet food and the one prescription that I take? Not to worry! My daughter insisted on getting these things for me, but she lives about a 45 minute drive away, so deliveries had to be co-ordinated. She would arrive with my shopping, leave it on the porch and stand well back for a brief visit. Our system worked fine, but it left me feeling sad (because I couldn’t touch her) and more isolated than I had ever imagined. I had never realized how much my social contacts meant to me; even those brief conversations with grocery store clerks, strangers on the street that say “hello”, weekly dinners with friends, the barmaids at my local pub, and acquaintances from classes that I take, I missed them all.

My friends and family are only a phone call away and in the beginning the calls were frequent, but when no one is going anywhere or doing anything, there becomes less and less to talk about. On a recent Saturday night, a friend decided to set-up a group video call for all of the regulars of karaoke. It was wonderful to see everyone and enjoy a virtual drink together.

The truth is I missed those people even more when the call ended.  It made me sad to think that this damn virus was stealing precious time from me. The reality is that the longest part of my life is behind me not ahead of me. There are so many things I still want to do and time does not stand still, even for Covid-19.

I am also blaming this bloody infection for turning me into an eating machine. I must finally admit that  unhealthy eating is my coping mechanism for depression. The strangest things have become my cravings. Items such as licorice all-sorts, cinnamon buns, and marshmallows to name but a few. quarantine pic #1

My cravings led me to take the chance on a trip to the grocery store. I did not want to add junk food and wine to my shopping list because my daughter thinks I am a responsible person, and I did not want to dispel that myth.

The grocery store venture gave me the courage to join the line at a local liquor store. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Even the lengthy, socially-distanced line could not deter me. It was my chance to interact socially with strangers, and it filled that void albeit temporarily.

Well, weeks turned into months. I missed my life, my hair was a mess, my feet looked like they belonged to an unidentifiable creature, and I followed our infection numbers like the stock market. We were indeed “flattening the curve”, but what next?

Several weeks ago, we moved into Phase 1 of opening our area. It didn’t really mean much to me because the places included in this phase were of little interest, but then we reached Phase 2. I was ecstatic! That first week, I went to the dentist, the hairdresser, had drinks on a patio, had a pedicure, and dinner with friends, all maintaining proper protocol and safety rules. It was better than winning the lottery.

This virus has reiterated what I already knew. It is the little things in life that bring me joy, and most importantly, it is the people in my life that matter most. We are not out of the woods yet, so keep following the rules. There will be life beyond Covid-19.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo