Me, Viruses and Living My Life

For almost 3 years now, I’ve been in the demographic for “high risk” for Covid and now, it appears, for the flu and RSV. I don’t have an underlying condition; I’m just over the age of 65. I know plenty of people in my high-risk age category who have simply chosen to ‘get on with life.’ They don’t want to avoid large public indoor settings and have gone to the theater, the opera and movies. However, in those places, they can continue to wear a mask. Where mask-wearing in an indoor public setting is difficult is, obviously, in restaurants. I’m not sure if anyone has invented the mask that permits the wearer to keep it on and still eat. Even a nasogastric tube requires access through your nose.

It was one thing to be able to meet people for meals outdoors when the weather here in New York City was warm. Today, December 13, 2022, the temperature is averaging the mid-to-high 30’s. The forecast has wind chills getting it down, at times, to the 20’s. Dining outdoors at restaurants, even with well-positioned heat lamps, requires fortitude.

So the existential dilemma is whether to throw caution to the wind and eat indoors. Obviously, that decision comes with hoping for the best.

I’m eating with my family indoors in a restaurant this evening. I’ll keep you posted.

Covid Information Overload?

There’s so much information to figure out.

If, like me, you read a newspaper –or 2, watch or listen to the news, get emails and push notifications from reliable news organizations, listen to news podcasts (also reliable), or get emails or texts from family members or friends, you’re probably getting Covid updates many times in a day. Some may contain new and important information for you personally. Some of it you’ve heard a zillion times before. And some of it, frankly, seems to contradict other disseminated information.

“ENOUGH!”, I mutter, as I yank my ear buds out if I’m listening to a news podcast or slam down the lid of my laptop, if I’m reading a newspaper online. I’m Covided-out!

My news blackout period holds until I receive the next push notification on my phone on, you guessed it, Covid.

My Voting and Covid Vaccination Stickers!

My 5 grandchildren, ages 7 and younger, love stickers. I order ones online these days with animals, superheroes, fruits (you name it), to adorn envelopes for letters I’m sending to them. The letters (and the FaceTime calls) are our only ways of regularly being in touch.

However, this year I have my favorite 2 stickers. I got my “I Voted Today” sticker after I voted, having waited in the freezing cold on an early voting line for an hour and a half. It seemed a small effort for what was a critical election.

My other favorite sticker was the one I got Saturday, after I received my first Covid vaccination at the Armory on West 168th Street in Manhattan. If you’re interested, here’s information on eligibility and how to sign up. You would need a Weill Cornell Connect account:

As I was leaving, a security guard posted at the exit ramp congratulated me and told me to have a nice day. I thanked him and told him that this was the first step in my being able to hug my grandchildren again.

These are definitely 2 stickers I’ll always cherish.

“I’m grateful for…”

Thinking about what you’re grateful for helps deal with Covid stresses.

We’re all going through a pretty horrible time. I don’t have to recount here all the ways Covid 19 has affected our lives –assuming we’re even still here to replay those consequences.

So, here’s one thing we can do. Just sit quietly every day and be grateful for anything that’s good. That gives you happiness. That still works well. No matter how inconsequential.

I’m very grateful that, so far, no one in my family has gotten sick. I’m very grateful that the 2020 Presidential election is over. I’m very grateful that at least one Covid vaccine appears to have a 90% efficacy rate.

Some days I’m just grateful that the sun is shining when I go for a walk. A few weeks ago, I spotted a beautiful pink rose in Riverside Park.

You get the idea.

Single pink rose blooming in Riverside Park, NYC.

Coffee and a Muffin for Stress

Just as Charles Dickens said, these are “the worst of times.” Election stress times Covid stress equals Stress squared.

I decided yesterday morning, the day after the 2020 Election, that I needed to do calming things: take a walk and listen to music (and not listen to “The Daily”, which is my usual go-to podcast for walks but which would undoubtedly be discussing the election), start a new book and, last but not least, try going on some virtual tours to museums all around the world.

To accompany me on that tour yesterday morning would be something never allowed in the galleries of The Louvre (or in any other museum, for that matter): a cup of coffee and a muffin. It was a delightful experience all around and for approximately an hour, I totally forgot about the 2020 Election. There’s nothing like coffee, a warm muffin and great art to make you forget about the craziness around us now.

Let me know if you need a good muffin recipe.