Quarantine Diaries – Week 4

Jason and I have been wondering a lot about what the world will look like when all this is over. Already we’ve seen some signs – a local university, for instance, said that it won’t be requiring SAT/ACT scores for three years starting fall 2021. I’ve also heard from many teachers in many different states that they’re required to put out virtual work, but also not allowed to fail students even if work isn’t turned in. How are universities and future employers going to adapt to the folks who had one of their pivotal years in high school during quarantine? Everything is going to have to change. I also really hope this can lead to some better changes – like valuing those employees our country previously said weren’t worth raising our pitiful minimum wage for, or realizing the barrage of standardized testing is pointless and detrimental to students.

Unfortunately, this was another scary week in the Gignac household. Worse than the previous, I’m afraid. Y’all? I’m drowning right now. I’m overloaded and having trouble seeing forward. My tarot card above is exactly how I feel.

I’m writing this all because I need written records to look back on. If your mental health is at a point where you cannot bear to hear more about quarantine stuff, skip to the bottom of this post for a list of positives and highlights and Nice Things. We all need some of that right now!

–Friday, April 3rd
Local count: 342, 9 deaths, 47 recovered. Huge spike in numbers today due to the nursing home outbreak that I mentioned in my last quarantine post. We also heard that the city is beginning to issue major penalties (like revoking occupancy certificates) for businesses that refuse to comply with the shelter-at-home protocols. (Apparently, the biggest violators are Planet K and vape shops. Go figure.) The city leaders finally closed golf courses, too. Community spread is now leading travel-related cases in the city for the first time. On the home front: Jason and I got word that our May 5K has been moved to July – a good decision though the heat will make that one a rough event. At least it hasn’t been canceled altogether! I had a facetime coffee date with a friend to help alleviate the monotony.

–Saturday, April 4th
Local count: 384, 11 deaths, 47 recovered. Jason went grocery shopping and I’m just so thankful that HEB is taking really good care of its employees and customers right now. Plus we managed to find toilet paper for the first time in a month, woo! I haven’t been sleeping well since all this started, and I crashed for a fitful nap in the afternoon. Ugh. But I also found a tutorial on making myself a mask out of an old pair of Lularoe leggings, which worked okay. I wouldn’t expect it to protect me/others much, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

–Sunday, April 5th
Local count: 410, 12 deaths, 67 recovered. Today was a rough and scary day. Everyone was feeling fine (J and I even went for a walk first thing in the morning –> ), and then suddenly mid-afternoon, Jason crashed with chest pressure, body aches, and a 99.9 degree fever. He took the city’s evaluation pre-screening and then called Urgent Care on their advice. They were able to get him in for a test the same evening. Once there, they listened to his lungs, took an EKG (because of a family history of a heart defect – the EKG was normal/fine), and did a nasal swab for the COVID test. They sent him home to convalesce, and said he should receive his results in 5-7 days. !!! We’re just going to assume he has it and try to take care of him while also staying six feet away… I’ve been thinking about where Jason might have picked this up, and I’d guess he was exposed at Walmart back on the 27th. We’ve avoided Walmart because they’re taking just about no precautions at all, but that day one of our two junk laptops died. The boys need those for school and shipping estimates for online ordering were several weeks long, so Jason ran to Walmart to pick up whatever was available. His symptoms began about 10 days later.

–Monday, April 6th
Local count: 456, 12 deaths, 77 recovered. San Antonio put through a resolution to extend shelter-from-home (which technically ends on the 9th) through the end of April (which is when the state order currently ends anyway). They also officially put through the recommendation to wear cloth masks when in situations where social distancing is difficult (like grocery shopping, despite precautions taken by stores). Jason woke up with shortness of breath in addition to other symptoms. Not bad enough for the ER, but still not a great sign. For the first half of the day, he worked from home just to keep his mind off things. Then he slept the whole afternoon straight through. My friend Stephanie went to HEB to get us a few sick foods/items like soup and Gatorade, which was a godsend since we’re currently not supposed to leave the house.

–Tuesday, April 7th
Local count: 503, 18 deaths, 77 recovered. We had a big spike in our death numbers here today, though not an actual spike in deaths. It turns out that the nursing home that had a massive outbreak due to lax precautions was also hiding the numbers of folks who died of COVID in their care. Almost half of SA’s death toll has been from that facility, as well as almost a fifth of confirmed positive cases. It’s unbelievable. That facility needs to be SHUT DOWN, but sadly it’s state-governed and not under the jurisdiction of San Antonio. Sigh. Otherwise, Texas closed down all the state parks and historic spots, including walking trails, until further notice today. At home: It is really odd to take care of someone from six feet away. Jason has entered the digestive-distress portion of this illness, and I feel so helpless standing “nearby” to ask if he needs anything, washing my hands multiple times throughout the course of helping him get food or water, dropping Tylenol onto his plate or into his hands without touching him. Stress and worry are compounding, particularly as I’m not only acting as caretaker, but taking over the things he normally handles (cooking, for instance) and full-time responsibility for Ash (who has remained steady-but-not-improving for the last two months).

–Wednesday, April 8th
Local count: 554, 20 deaths (10 from the nursing home outbreak), 92 recovered. Personally, I had a bit of an emotional meltdown this morning after waking up at 5:38am for the seventh morning in a row. WTF, internal clock? This is not okay! Stress, anxiety, worry, overwhelmingness, insomnia, fear, lack of exercise, lack of schedule, and not-enough-attention-to-nutrition have snowballed on top of me. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep hole and don’t know how to even begin to escape. I want to begin building my front garden. I want to go for a run, or a hike, even alone. I want my hands to heal from the rawness of washing up 100 times a day as I take care of Jason. I want my kids to be able to go back to school, if not this semester, than in August. I’m exhausted, and teary, and I don’t have a lot left to give right now. In better news, Jason started feeling more alive today. He ate more, and didn’t feel sleepy in the afternoon like normal. Hopefully he’s on the mend!

–Thursday, April 9th
Local count: 615, 22 deaths, 92 recovered. Thankfully, it seems that the outbreak at the nursing home has been contained and hasn’t spread to other facilities despite some (previously) shared staff. Unfortunately, the economic crisis is coming to a head – people without jobs or food, the city losing millions in revenue, etc. It’s going to be tough, and we have a long way to go. As for the family: Hallelujah – Jason’s results came in, and he tested negative for covid. I know there have been false negatives, but this really has seemed more like a stomach flu after the first day or two, and I really think he’s safe. It’s such a relief. I spent the morning in a bit of a messy-emotion flail, relief warring with deferred grief and fear and anxiety. Afterwards, though, I felt good enough to dress up for the day, and be a little silly in celebration.

This week I got a preview of what could happen should one of us catch the plague, and it’s not pretty. I really hope everyone starts STAYING HOME. The number of cases in the USA is INSANE – a full third of the world’s cases. So many people are sick and dying, and it’s just so terrifying. This morning I have to go out grocery shopping (since Jason is still sick), and I’m scared because I have so many underlying conditions. It’s the first time I’ve been out to the store in a month, and with it being so different (limited numbers, spacing decals, plexiglass stations, etc), it feels like a new-to-me place and my anxiety/agoraphobia is spiking badly. But my family needs this, so into the danger I go.

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
With the world a mess right now, I need a place to look at all the good things. Here are some highlights of my week:

  • San Antonio is enough ahead of the curve that they were able to loosen restrictions on COVID tests, and thus when Jason got sick, he was able to get in for a test that same day, even if results would take time.
  • friends willing to get groceries for you when you’re not supposed to leave the house
  • the shoutout and messages from the hosts of Real Life Ghost Stories after my review this week – it still boggles my mind every time someone reads this tiny blog of mine!
  • a few more friends and family joined Marco Polo, so I’m able to stay closer in contact with them
  • the folks who host the Real Life Ghost Stories podcast put up their first youtube channel video, giving me more spooky paranormal stuff to listen to!
  • Jason starting to feel better, and then getting the negative test result
  • My family didn’t have any good masks (just construction/dust-protection paper masks, and the one leggings mask that turned out to be AWFUL to try to breathe in), so a friend made us some and dropped them on our doorstep.
  • Our vet is still open curbside, so we were able to get Ash’s next round of medicine without any person-to-person contact.

How was everyone else’s week? Are you all still holding up? Please reach out if you need to talk!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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