While Social Distancing

Truth be told, the outbreak of Covid-19 and restrictions of our movements have not changed our day to day life all that much. Because we have been self-employed almost all of our lives, we have never known how much we would earn in a day or a week, let alone a year. We just kept working, accepting jobs and we kept on paying our bills, our mortgage. We didn’t let fear enter the equation. We just always trusted that everything would work out. We’re also used to working at home or from a van or an Airbnb or a picnic table in a campground. We’ve always cooked together and eaten together, even while travelling and living in a campervan. We’re content with just one other. You could say, self-isolating together is our natural state.

In all of the stories, news articles, etc we have been reading for the past two weeks someone suggested keeping a ‘pandemic diary.’ Since selling the house and moving into the van in May 2014 I (Julie) have been keeping a diary of sorts. Each day since then I have made note of what we’ve done, where we’ve been, people we’ve met, things we’ve seen, what we’ve purchased and where etc. So, keeping a ‘pandemic diary,’ is merely an extension of a well-established part of my daily routine.

We still do all of the things we normally do like prepare and eat three meals a day together, walk the dog 5-6 times a day, work, read, talk, express our love for one another despite Duff’s objections, watch Netflix, communicate through social media, sleep, etc. Just before we were asked to ‘social distance’ or ‘self-isolate’ we moved my (Julie’s) dad into a long-term care home just around the corner from our apartment here in Amherstburg. We have not been allowed to enter the home since March 13th. It is looking like this necessary restriction will be in place for several months, at least. As a result, we now ‘visit’ dad by calling up to the nurse’s station on 3E and ask them to direct him to the window of his room. We call up messages, pantomime, blow kisses, hold MacDuff’s paw up and wave it to Dad. Dad smiles, waves, blows kisses and sheds happy tears in return. This too is now a part of our routine. Just yesterday the home provided an email address to which family members may send notes and photos to loved ones. Something else to add to our daily routine. Those living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s don’t know or remember (though they are told countless times each day by ever-patient staff) why we, their family and friends, are not visiting them and have abandoned them in a place which may be completely unfamiliar. So, these small measures/ gestures become more important than ever. We recognize and appreciate the love and care provided by the nurses and PSWs. It is more for these heroes that the visitation restrictions need to be in place. If they do not remain healthy there will be no one to care for our parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends.

Has your routine changed? If so, how? Are you spending more time cooking? With your family/ partner? Are you taking advantage of self-isolation to learn something new? Take up a new hobby? Take an online course? Please share in the comments.

Remember, the most personal is the most creative, according to Martin Scorcese.