Mar 17, 2020

Keeping Up With .... COVID-19.

It's back, or more precisely (since it never really left) - it's gained a freakish momentum.  A life of its own.  It's so thick in the air you could cut it with that proverbial knife.  That sense of impending doom, that rim of anxiety that seems to edge practically every aspect of our daily lives as we try to keep on keeping on in the shadow of COVID-19.  

Image result for flatten the curve australia coronavirus financial tines
Via The World Economic Forum

Incidence rates are climbing rapidly in many countries across the world and passionate debates continue regarding what we can do to 'flatten the curve' to cushion the impact of the virus on our health systems and economies.  Frighteningly, some countries seem more intent on allowing their citizens to somehow, maybe develop herd immunity.  To a disease for which we have no vaccine and also not enough resources to care for all those who may suffer fatal forms of the virus.  

Image result for flatten the curve australia coronavirus financial tines
via The Financial Times

With more countries going into lockdown and the usually porous borders of the world being sealed tightly one nation at a time came the news of how life here in Australia would change immediately with hints of further restrictions in coming days and weeks.

Where is Australia headed?  I hope our leaders head the advice of the medical community, our public health and epidemiology specialists and our scientists rather than making decisions based on financial gain.

It's frankly, frightening and I've found the last week of uncertainty mentally exhausting.  I was fortunate (but unfortunate to have to be there in the first place) to have been tested late last week for COVID-19.  

Image result for blue line road
via google images

I went to the clinic in my area health service and it was like being in a disaster movie.  A fresh bright blue line was being painted on the driveway to how pedestrians the directions to the clinic.  I found its permanence (it is as thick as the normal lane markers on your average road) worrying.  How long will this go on if even the directions to the clinic are permanently painted into the road?

Despite the sunshine streaming through the windows, there was a bleak greyness to area where we waited to be tested.  Colleagues in head to toe personal protection gear issued me with a mask, I washed my hands and waited.  There was a tense silence in the waiting room.  I normally cringe when I see rooms full of people with their heads down over a screen waiting for something but that day, it felt normal and reassuring.  As people vacated seats, a staff member would approach the seat in full PPE and wipe it down liberally with bleach.  I looked back at the sea of phones for a calming reality check....

I am so grateful to everyone I encountered.  For their calm, compassion and professionalism as they assessed us all.  Staff who have been pulled from their usual duties to keep this horror show on the road.   I am fortunate that my test was negative.  I returned to my normal life after getting my result,  As normal as it could be in the midst of an unprecedented wave of news on social media offering advice, statistics, new developments in our national and state-based strategies to suppress the virus.  I don't think I've ever read as many work-related emails in such a short period of time.

What does normal even in this COVID-19 world?

Naturally, we responded as we have done all through the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hit the shops and panic shopped.  It hasn't been so good-humoured this time.  Brawls, the vulnerable being pushed aside... desperation and uncertainty has revealed ordinary people are capable of doing.  

Image result for woolworths special hours

Well played Coles and Woolworths, though, for offering special shopping hours for the more frail and vulnerable so that they now get access to vital groceries.

If nothing else COVID-19 has given us some of the best memes and 'fake news' articles (it's getting harder to spot the fakeness these days) of the year.

If not the century...

I've gotten out the door into my backyard and moved, done yoga and pilates at home, pottered around indoors and generally done all I can to keep my mind and body busy.  Those numbers on my Apple Watch have been a great motivator and distraction in the midst of all of this.

The one thing that this practice self-isolation did give me (as it took away so many little things I take for granted) is time.

Time to make pancakes and time to enjoy them with Master SSG.

By the way, pancake presses (gotta find the alliteration wherever you can in times like these) are the key to your sanity when faced with making your own pancakes at home.

I got mine at Woolies and it makes perfect, fuss-free pancakes every time.  It's easy to clean and relatively easy to store.  I have read that you can also make omelettes in them.  Watch this space.  

In between my kitchen adventures, I've been spending my time in the great indoors knitting (I've embarked on a knitted blanket project!!!!!) and playing Monopoly.

Lego is a no brainer.  Did you know that there's now remote-controlled Lego?  Neither did I but $20 worth of AAA batteries later, I agree that it's a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed this, to be honest.  I wonder which board game we should try next?  I think I have just enough AAA batteries for one more.

Back in the kitchen, I made an amazing Ultra Satisfying Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.  Your eyes are not deceiving you, fish sauce really does give store-bought chicken stock a kick.

In with the fish sauce went a large handful of homegrown herbs, lots of vegetables, the chicken (of course) and butter.

The end result was a glistening golden soup that nourishes body and soul like nothing else.  Photos taken at dinner time at the dining table just can't do that golden shimmer justice.  Take my word for it, though, the glimmer was there!

I made some more slow cooker bread as our carb of choice over noodles as I was making the soup to freeze and pasta in soup just doesn't keep well.

As we face increasing changes and restrictions to the daily life take we took for granted (and occasionally whinged about), here are the three take-home messages keeping me sane and helping me gain some perspective:
1.  Find the humour and accept the reality.  Homeschooling will be a challenge for both us as parents and the children.  I'm going to return to the motto that kept me going through the newborn months 'Everyone's fed and no-one's dead'.

2.  Remember the sacrifices made by the generations before us and compare their bravery and love for their fellow citizens with what we are now being asked to do.

And last, but definitely note least...


Take it away, Gloria!

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