The New Social Visit:
This week my one "social" visit consisted of a trip to the cardiologist's office. (For those reading who don't know, I have coronary artery disease and a history of having had a heart attack and bypass surgery.) I see him twice a year for a check up. He tells me that the blockage in my carotid artery has not advanced and that he is happy with my lipid panel and liver values. I tell him about some anxious heart related problem that I have been pondering and he politely shoots my worries down. It's a pleasant time though because he is a really congenial guy, nice looking, my age, and possesses a very calm and reassuring demeanor. He usually enters the exam room and shakes my hand warmly. He is the only one who gets to call me "Liz." We chat, he listens to my heart and kind of checks to be sure nothing has changed in my activity level. Nothing ever changes in our routine. Until now.
As can be imagined, things were a little different for this visit because of the current pandemic. No handshake from the good doctor and he stood crammed into the corner of the room opposite to where I was sitting. Still pleasant but not quite the same. I guess this is the new reality up close, so to speak, though 6 ft apart. I feel lucky to have been able to keep the appointment. I am waiting in nervous anticipation for my upcoming doctor appointment with my GP, hoping that it won't be cancelled. Selfish perhaps but true nonetheless.
After I finished up and went back out to the lobby, I ran into one of my trail buddies. (I walk every day at my local lake and there is a group of people that I see regularly-my "trail buddies.") I wasn't too surprised to see her (this is a small county and I manage to constantly run into people I know even though I don't know a lot of people) and so I said hello. I learned a while back that her husband has a pacemaker. I assumed she was there for his appointment and I asked after him. She said he was at home and that she was there for herself. Wow! She evidently had some trouble earlier in the month and was getting checked out. I said my goodbyes and walked out thinking that in the middle of a pandemic it's possible to have something normal happen, like running into an acquaintance at the doctor's office. Things are normal yet not normal. I continue to be surprised.
My New Old Routine:
Despite the colossal upheaval to life that so many are experiencing, my own routine and way of living hasn't been too disrupted yet. We are fortunate that Rich is still going to work for now and that our income and health care have not been affected yet. (I am omitting the stock market melt down here.) I keep roughly the same schedule that I always do and have been doing the same things, more or less. Last week I went on a hike (the above photo was taken on that outing) and I had another doctor appointment. I continue to go on my regular walks. The park that I use is closed to traffic and hence, no boating or fishing. No congregating in parking lots either. The bathrooms are still open, thank goodness, but everything else is closed. On my last walk I saw my regular trail buddies and we all stood 6 ft apart and talked. That was nice. I may start wearing a mask though just to be safe. We have 3 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in this county so far (small peanuts, I know) and I want to be safe. I also have alcohol wipes in my pack and use those until I can get home and properly wash my hands. For those times when I can't get out because it is too damn cold or it is raining too hard, I have added some aerobics DVDs and a yoga DVD to my routine. My art practice has slowed down a bit but I expect that it will pick up. It tends to go in cycles. There are no major cleaning projects in the works and I don't have big plans to learn a new language or to get together in any kind of a group online. As I said, my routine hasn't changed much. But it sort of has, really, since I can't go out as often. Like everyone else I am adjusting to this new reality.
It's The End of The World...Or is It?
Lastly, I had a really nice email exchange with an online "friend." (I put that word in quotes by the way because I have never met this person but consider her a friend. We are told though that people we have met online aren't friends since we haven't met them in person. Is this psychosocial parsing of terms and overkill? Let me know.) She sent me a wonderful article by an author called Craig Childs. He is a commentator for NPR and a guy whose ideas I can get behind. I am not normally a doom and gloom paranoid kind of person but consider myself a realist. Just recently I had a huge revelation about our collective mortality; our time on Earth and where our civilization and planet are headed. It was a huge comfort to me to accept that eventually, all creatures become extinct. And this includes humans. Childs's ideas dovetail, I think, with what I am beginning to embrace for my life. I bought one of his books and am looking forward to reading it. I have some time, apparently.
I mention all of this, including what I wrote about above, because the conversation I had with my friend revealed that she has similar thoughts to mine; that life is cyclical and never ending. It's really a smallish big world that is shown to us just a little bit at a time, through chance encounters and emails, visits to the doctor's office and an online chat with a friend. Everything is interconnected. If I sneeze I might kill someone. (Extreme but true.) You can't pull one thread without nearly unraveling the whole tapestry. This year will wear on, like it or not, pandemic or not. Time marches forward. We keep our appointments, reschedule them, postpone vacations, all the while dreaming about the future. We cook dinner, go on hikes, and fantasize about an abundance of toilet paper for everyone. And the beat goes on.