Coping During a World Pandemic

Coping During a World Pandemic

Back in February, word of the coronavirus worsening in China was being broadcasted across the radio, news media and social media. I figured that it would run a course like SARS back in 2003, which didn’t overly concern me nor affect anyone I knew.

Towards the end of February, as I got closer to the date I would fly to Australia, I was a tad nervous, since I wasn’t sure who I might come in contact with that may have traveled from China. I felt a little better when I heard that Australia closed its borders to SE Asia.

A few days into my trip, while on a tour van in Tasmania, one of the passengers said that Seattle just reported their first cases of the virus. He asked me if I knew anything about it – I didn’t.

Over the next few days, I began to hear more and more about how the virus was spreading to other countries. Then, I got sick.

It started after doing a partial hike near Cradle Mountain, which I ended because it was very windy and around freezing temperature. I had only taken clothing for cooler weather, not temps under 32°! As I sat in a shelter waiting for the rest of the tour group to return from the hike, I started to feel poorly. First, it was a very stuffy nose and headache. But then I started to get a chill and shiver a lot. By the time we got back to the hostel, I was shivering so much, my teeth were chattering. I knew I had a fever but had no thermometer to check it. I couldn’t bear the thought of food, but my tour guide got me soup and made me eat it. He also gave me some Tylenol.

By the next day, I wasn’t feeling much better and visited an ER in Queensland but was released without any testing for what they were now calling Covid-19.

I continued to feel poorly, running a fever off and on until I got on the plane to come home. My fever finally went away, but I kept the nasal congestion, along with a bloody nose for another week, once home.

I felt better a week later, so I went on a road trip to eastern WA. I was going to camp, but it didn’t feel right, so I came back home the same day. It’s a good thing because the state parks closed the very next day.

Our state also gave us stay-at-home orders around the same time. It was ok to go out for groceries and to get some exercise & fresh air, but we needed to keep six feet from others. Eventually, we were told that if we were outside, we should be wearing something to cover our mouth and nose. Since it was near impossible to find the medical facemasks for protection, most turned to making masks from material, using a bandana, or scarf.

A friend of ours made one of the old doctor plague masks from centuries ago, only in leather, for William. Back in the 15th, 16th, and 17th century, doctors would wear masks with long beaks (stuffed with herbs to mask smell), cloaks, hats and gloves to visit sick people or around dead bodies.

When pumping gas or going to the store, I made sure to wear my mask and some disposable gloves. As soon as I got back into the car, I would remove the gloves, then use gel sanitizer on my hands and a antibacterial wipe on my door, steering wheel, cellphone, gear shift, and anything else I may have touched with the gloved hands.

Schools closed for the rest of the years. Businesses had to close unless they were considered essential, like medical or restaurants that offered take-out or delivery (but no sit-down meals inside). Our world vastly changed and continues to be restrictive. We don’t know when this will end, and we can go back to normal.

During the stay at home order, my clients (and potential clients) have not given me any graphic design work. I get it…why invest money into a design project when one doesn’t know if their business will survive this pandemic? I’m lucky, though, since my husband already works remotely, and his company is doing just fine. Others aren’t as lucky, with millions filing for unemployment.

Understanding all this doesn’t stop the depression. It’s not constant, but at least a couple of times a week I find I don’t have any appetite, I sleep for 11 hours at a stretch and I cry over the littlest things.

These days, I try hard to keep myself occupied so depression doesn’t get worse. I bought an electric-assist bike (because of the hills here) and have really enjoyed getting out a couple times a week. I can ride on the street, away from people, so I can stay safe from the virus doing this activity.

I took a short walk at Edmonds Marsh and took some photos, avoiding other people.

I was hired by the Census Bureau to go to homes that didn’t respond online, but I keep getting emails that things are on hold. The pay isn’t much – only $22/hour and mileage reimbursement, but I was counting on the money to supplement me while my business tanks.

Starting the first Wednesday in May, I’m to start delivering Meals on Wheels every week. Masks and gloves will be supplied and they now tell me someone will call to schedule Covid-19 testing, including an antibody test (to see if I had it, got well, and didn’t know it).

So many plans have had to be canceled or rescheduled (field trip means that I’m leading them through the Mountaineers).

  • March 14 – Discovery Park Smartphone Photography field trip: CANCELED
  • March 18 – Photography Potluck: CANCELED
  • March 21 – Discovery Park Pacing Hike: CANCELED
  • March 25 – Photo Presentation at Mountaineers: CANCELED
  • March 27-29 – Coulee Corridor Birding Trail field trip: CANCELED
  • April 4 – Stillwater Unit birding field trip: CANCELED
  • April 9 – Conditioning for Hike & Backpacking at Mountaineers: RESCHEDULED
  • April 15 – Photography Potluck: Changed to Zoom meeting
  • April 18 – Frenchman Coulee Photography field trip: CANCELED
  • April 26 – Bloedel Reserve Photography field trip: CANCELED
  • May 13 – Behind the Shot photography presentation: RESCHEDULED
  • June 6-12 – Vancouver Island field trip: CANCELED (ferries canceled, and border will still be closed)

It remains to be seen whether my other plans will happen or be canceled. The ones in bold are the ones I’ll be the most upset about canceling.

  • May 5 – Umtanum Ridge Naturalist field trip
  • May 10 – Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge field trip
  • May 16 – Washington Park Arboretum field trip
  • May 20 – Photography Potluck: May change to Zoom meeting
  • May 23-25 – Camping at Battle Ground Lake State Park plus hiking in area with Marcus, Haylee and MJ
  • May 26 – Conditioning for Hike & Backpacking at Mountaineers
  • June 2 – Woodlawn Park hike
  • June 3 – Behind the Shot photography presentation
  • June 6 – Bremerton Waterfront Photo Scavenger Hunt
  • June 7 – Ebey’s Landing hike
  • June 14 – Flaming Geyser State Park hike
  • June 16 – Saint Edward State Park hike
  • June 17 – Photography Potluck
  • June 20 – Iron Goad Trail hike
  • June 26-28 – Camping near Mount St. Helen with hikes in area
  • July 3-5 – Camping at Birch Bay State Park with Marcus & family for 4th of July
  • July 21 – Photography Potluck
  • July 25-31 – Banff Road Trip; camping & hiking
  • August 9 – High Lakes Loop Photography field trip
  • August 12 – Bruce Dorn/Canon presentation
  • August 15 – Naches Peak Loop field trip
  • August 16 – Coal Miners Trail hike
  • August 19 – Photography Potluck
  • August 22 – Sunrise/Mount Rainier Night Photography practice
  • September 5-7 – MJ’s birthday celebration weekend with family
  • September 9 – Night Photography Workshop (teaching it)
  • September 12 – Sunrise/Mount Rainier Night Photography field trip
  • September 18 – Seattle Waterfront Night Photography field trip
  • September 19 – Stonehenge at Maryhill Night Photography field trip
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