Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hard Times

We think the little deer who brought us so much pleasure this winter is dead.  There is, at any rate, a deer carcass at the bottom of our hill, just down from our back gate.  We had become suspicious when crows started to gather a week ago, and then of course our unusual siting of a turkey vulture was a major clue.  It is not unusual for deer to die over winter, even in the more moderate middle part of our State, and we knew that he was always alone and seemed to be awfully skinny, but it is sad.  And it is always sadder to lose 'someone' you have known and loved.  I feel guilty, too, that we didn't pick up on the signals sooner, worried that he might have suffered needlessly by the too-eager carrion birds when we could have helped him cross over more quickly with a single shot.    The news, and now our back yard, are too full of death reports lately, this is not our normal Spring.   My brother, who knows more about outdoorsy stuff than I do, says that sometimes a single deer will be shunned by the herd, perhaps because they know it cannot survive and they are not willing to share their warmth and food with a lost cause.    All I know is that it will be a bit hard for me not to think of the remaining herd as The Mean Deer, who wouldn't let our little guy join in all their (rein)deer games.

I am working on making masks, first for Jack's sister and nieces, and then for some local hospitals, which are begging for them.   Although they are obviously not useful for front-line work, we found out that the people who clean the hospital rooms, the people who staff the desks, the scribes -- people who have no direct patient contact -- are all unprotected.   In these days of heightened infection, those people are sometimes accidentally exposed to an infected person, often when an incoming patient lies about their symptoms for fear of being turned away.  One of our nieces says she would like to use them over her N-95 mask, since she now is forced to re-use it anyway and figures having covers can't hurt.    The tutorials on line say that once you get in a rhythm, you can make a mask in less than ten minutes each, but my first ones took me well over an hour.   It has been very slow going.  That might be partly because the sewing machine table is at the worst possible height for my shoulder so that even a few minutes of sewing is painful.   Since I'm supposed to stretch my arm in all directions, I'm telling myself that this is just a part of my physical therapy.  I made Jack model the first masks for me because I cannot reach behind my head yet to tie them.   I would have liked to use elastic instead of ties, but there is apparently a national shortage of that, too.   I am also still trying to find my jewelry wire and pipe cleaners to use in the nose area, all supplies I know I had in the old house, but haven't yet uncovered here.   I just don't remember whether I kept any of those supplies or whether, more likely, I donated them.  

My son is finally able to work from home, since the University is not an essential service under our Governor's new "shelter in place" order.   I am very glad about that.  Even though he was not seeing a lot of people at work, he was seeing some, and it made me anxious, both for him and for his family back home.  My daughter is still in the Orleans Parish jail, but I have to admit that New Orleans does not sound like a safe place to be right now, inside or outside the prison system.    This is not a good time or a good country to be poor and disabled.  Her father, a photographer and musician, has been exposed and is awaiting test results for Covid-19.  I was surprised to learn today that several people I distantly know have been exposed, and at least one has tested positive.  Although  Michigan is not at the top of the list for infections (so far), we are in the top ten and the numbers are climbing.

My brother Bill wants to go home.  His car will not be repaired for several weeks at the  earliest because the shop is closed down and, at the time of shut down, the parts hadn't yet arrived.   I am reminding myself hourly that he is an adult and capable of making his own decisions, and my husband believes we could get him there and back without having to stop for gas or a recharge, limiting out exposure.   I don't blame him, of course, because I would hate being forced away from my own home and my own stuff, but I am not ready for him to leave.    I (think I) would feel so much better if we were in normal times and had been able to get physical therapy and nurse evaluations for him before he thought about going back to live alone.

My other brother, John, reminds me that this is a good sign, really, that Bill is feeling well enough to complain.   He is not wrong.

I remind myself hourly that we are the lucky ones.  we have the resources to order what we need, plenty of food, and generally good health.  We have a very comfortable house and a lovely view.  Our exposure is extremely limited now that we aren't visiting the hospital every day, and we intend to keep it that way.  So far, knock wood, our families are safe and healthy.    My goodness, unlike so many people, we have heat and running water and indoor plumbing.  We are anxious about the government's hurry to reopen businesses, because we believe the science that indicates that this could all come crashing back down.  But for the moment, we are doing fine, and I have been trying to keep my mind right here in the present.  

1 comment:

Marie Louise said...

I agree with you, you and I are extremely lucky to live a rather 'normal' life during this times. My heart aches for those people without a safety net and not knowing when and how this situation will end.
I can imagine that your brother wants to be in his own home. Isn't it true that the older you get the more you want to be in your own house?
You made some nice facemasks, I made also some but it took me also much longer than in the tutorials.
Stay safe and healthy!