My Life Is Not an ‘Acceptable Loss’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic

My Life Is Not an ‘Acceptable Loss’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I, too, have noticed what is most important to people. The shallow depths are obnoxious as hell. People are behaving as if this is suddenly over and life can go back to “normal”. Life is doing no such thing, and the sooner you come to terms with it, the better off you’ll be. The fact that people are now traveling to different countries by choice and going on vacations is a bit much for me. They aren’t wearing masks, gloves, or doing anything to protect themselves or those around them. And they’re taking great lengths to justify traveling with a newborn, and traveling in general. All of that to be at the beach? Really?! Perhaps I take it for granted because I am so close to the beach, but I’m not spending my time at a packed beach, park, or anywhere that involves crowds. It can wait, and it will.

I am at risk every time I pick up groceries in between Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh deliveries, which, let’s face it, is a privilege. Not everyone can have the bulk of their groceries delivered. It took me several months to even get a delivery slot. Once you have it, you’re good for future slots. I only have one complaint about my order, but that’s for Whole Foods to deal with. I am still going to places like Walgreens, PetSmart, and Trader Joe’s because they’re close by, and I still have medication and other things that I normally replace every few weeks. Trader Joe’s is doing the most to keep things clean, like sanitizing the shopping carts in front of you, and putting distancing labels on the floor so you can get what you need, get on line, and get out quickly. They’re still limiting how many shoppers are in the store at a time, so I don’t feel overwhelmed in there. PetSmart is predominantly empty. My cats still need supplies each month, so I do my best to make sure they have what they need.

I am usually a regular at my nail salon; rarely going as long as three weeks in between manicures. I worried they might not survive being closed for several months, yet I have not been back since they’ve reopened. I may not return until September or October. I’ve reached a new level of , “Who cares?” regarding my own nails because many regulars are over 70 and require people to socially distance. I would feel like an absolute  hypocrite if I went running in for an appointment immediately, as so many people did. I say this out of concern. One person I am semi-familiar with went running to her salon for a mani/pedi and two days later she had a staph infection. I trust my salon and I’m friendly with the owners. You will never see me post a photo of an infection asking people online what I should do about it. I would NEVER go back to a place that made me ill in any way,  and I would definitely report it to the owners, and to the board of health. Where there’s one staph infection, there are others. I will pass, for now. I can use foot masks temporarily until I feel safe enough to return to a “new normal”. It’s important to find out what they’ve done to make their customers, and themselves, safer. I know when I do call for an appointment, they will have answers for me. Yes, going in might make me feel better after the past four months of pure isolation, depression, pain, and misery, but at what cost?

My hair salon went out of business. I knew this was a strong possibility, especially when my colorist left a few years ago (Her new place of business was looted during a protest in Boston, so the owners don’t know if they can rebuild or not. This woman has been amazing to me from day one. She has guided me with maintaining a difficult hair color, got it sponsored for two straight years which saved me a fortune, responds to questions I have each month regarding what to use, especially when I am unsure about making it darker, richer, extremely vibrant, or lighter. We came to an agreement about lightening it up a bit for summer, in case I want to go back to my natural color in a few months.). I want to stay with the same stylist, but I have no idea where she will end up working or if she even feels safe to return to any environment involving hair right now. In the meantime, I found two alternative options and I am definitely going to get a significant trim as soon as possible, but I am doing so after reading all of the precautions put in place in order to protect their customers and employees. If your employees don’t feel safe, then the customer will pick up on that very quickly. Knowing that Ulta took care of their employees the entire time the stores were closed makes me much more willing to give them my business. The places that didn’t take care of their employees, well, it shows.

My point in all of this is that I am okay to run and get a much-needed hair cut, but I am not going to put myself or others at risk for something I view as frivolous. I wear a mask, I wear gloves, I carry hand sanitizer with me (I have actually done this for ten years. Mini sanitizers from Bath & Body Works are especially perfect for your purse. They are about to begin their semi-annual clearance sale, so if you don’t have a little one for even the shortest outings, theirs are fantastic and you can shop the sale online. Dr. Bronner’s has sprayable hand sanitizers, which are an excellent backup or first choice. I’m currently carrying one of theirs, along with a Warm Vanilla Sugar from B&BW. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are carrying Dr. B’s, and their website has them for direct purchase, as well.), etc. I wipe down everything that comes inside with Clorox wipes. I’m sure I look nuts when I’m doing this, but these are necessary precautions. Every little bit helps.

If you’re refusing to wear a mask, think about the possibility of you infecting those you love the most in life. Plenty of people are asymptomatic and don’t know they’re walking carriers, so every time they walk past someone who is already at risk, they can be making that person sick or leading them to their death. We aren’t being punished by being asked to wear a damn mask while in stores.

I am choosing to be smart this summer. I don’t have to go anywhere weekly, but I can get my hair cut and it’ll remain in good shape until Fall. In this, I feel like it’s all right, but if I had to go monthly, I don’t know if I’d take that risk seeing as how I will be going to someplace unfamiliar. And because there will only be one or two people there at the same time, it’s okay. There’s some distancing involved and I’ll still be wearing a mask. I’ll still be washing my hands and the stylist will be following specific protocols, as well. 

At my next essential doctor’s appointment in August, I very well might be the only person in the waiting room, and that is perfectly fine. It went well in May, and I know it will be fine moving forward. I’m not ready for crowds and I don’t think any doctor’s office is prepared for this, either.

I agree with nearly everything this writer mentioned. I have gone as far as refusing to discuss the virus with people because they’re obsessed and I am not. I would rather read a book, do some research, or write, than listen to people’s fears. Only one person took offense to my saying that I could not be a Covid 19 dumping ground. They took this personally and turned it into a fight. Via text. Did you just roll your eyes? Trust me, it gets worse and I will be discussing it, but I feel like many of us have had enough of the constant influx. I do NOT want to sit in front of any news coverage via television, online, or the radio. There’s a limit and I have met mine. There’s no point complaining about it because everyone is going to do whatever the hell they want. I want to continue to make the smartest choices possible. 

I’ll be here; keeping my distance and trying to maintain a sense of normalcy within my own day-to-day activities. I encourage everyone to do whatever makes them feel safe. We’ve never lived through something like this, so there’s an obvious learning curve, but it’s also a necessary one.

Wishing you all a healthy, safe 4th of July weekend.

Telehealth and A Scheduled Appointment

After a failed attempt last month to have a discussion with my headache specialist regarding my migraines getting worse, today was my first successful Telehealth discussion, and it felt good. Really good.

If you have a doctor who actually cares, regardless of their field, this is not a difficult process. However, it has lead me to realize that my headache specialist has no patience and is a difficult person. I respect her, but I can’t work with someone who has no respect for me as a patient. I’m just a medical record number to her. There are many appointments where she spends a good five minutes reciting names, and the entire time, I know she’s looking for me, but since she doesn’t look at anyone, it’s good to wait until you hear some version of your name. She usually starts with Erica, and unless I see Erica there, because I’ve learned who is scheduled at the same time as me, then I immediately know she will eventually have a practice assistant approach her to read the proper name off the paper in her hand. She never seems to recall even the most basic info about me, so I wait until she logs into her computer. When a physician has said to you, on four separate occasions, “Is this your first visit?”, it’s startling that faces are blending into the woodwork for them.

Moreover, there is never a valid reason for a doctor to raise their voice and/or yell at you, but she felt perfectly comfortable doing so over the phone. If you’re going to yell at me and talk to me like I’m a moron, it will never get you the desired response. Not ever. I’m not an idiot and I am not new to any of what I am experiencing. Doctors who talk down to you aren’t doctors you need in your life. I feel the same way about regular people, too.

If you suffer from chronic migraines, you probably already know that enormous doses of vitamin B2 and magnesium aren’t going to fix anything. I can only take the magnesium once every few days. and B2 doesn’t seem to make any kind of difference. This is not my first migraine rodeo. She shouldn’t tell me it’s “perfectly safe” when she didn’t bother to see if I am vitamin deficient before demanding I increase my supplements. Instead, she placed blame on a myriad of other issues, and then tried passing the buck to another doctor. That’s not going to work with me because I’m an educated patient and her screaming at me did not garner a positive reaction.

What galls me even more is that she actually billed for a conversation that didn’t even last ten minutes. I contemplated a phone call to my insurance company about this, since their requirements state it must be at least fifteen to twenty minutes via phone in order for any of my healthcare providers to bill for Telehealth, but since they already paid, I’m not going to argue the point. Yes, we all deserve to be compensated for our time, but rules ARE rules and she dismissed me, as opposed to having an intelligent discussion. I am going to ask for a secondary neurologist (as an alternative opinion) as soon as things are safe to proceed medically because she doesn’t want to order tests or talk over treatment plans with me. She is the first neurologist who refuses to put an emergency plan in place into my chart. Every other neurologist handed me a note for any potential trips to the emergency room because every emergency room or Urgent Care finds it so much easier to treat you if they have instructions on how to do it. We are all different and what works for Patient A and Patient B probably doesn’t work for me. I refuse to set foot in an emergency room ever again, but even my last Urgent Care experience was poor care, and it didn’t even involve migraines. Poor care seems to be the status quo, but I am fighting to change that because I’m not the only person who has had enough of the bullshit.

This incident made me even more grateful to have a tuned in discussion with someone today, and to have the take away be that I am doing my best and that the things that are creeping up out of the woodwork are things we will address and gain control of over time. A collaborative relationship is so much easier, and calmer, than a relationship where a physician thinks they can dictate your treatment to you. I hope she doesn’t have children, grandchildren, pets, or even a plant, because I’ve found, over time, that the way the majority of medical professionals behave at work is also how they behave in their daily lives. Others are clearly living a duplicitous existence because they’re only nice to their family or their patients, not both. Yes, I speak from personal experience.

Today, I was notified that my headache specialist will be honoring my treatment for this coming Wednesday. Do I think it’s an essential appointment? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m sick and that I would likely get worse without it. Thanks to a cancellation, my appointment was moved up, so that helps a bit, but having to wear a mask and gloves into a medical building is anxiety waiting to happen. The mask makes me terribly claustrophobic. I’m agitated just thinking about it. A lot has changed since my last treatment in February. I am hoping this one works well and that I am not in the building any longer than necessary. If I didn’t feel the treatment was working, I would reschedule, but I’m going. The mask and gloves redefine “Mugger Chic”. 😉

I am not feeling anxious or stressed over Covid 19. I’m just more self-aware and mindful regarding everything, and I am sure many of us feel the same way.

I’ll be fine and I have another Telehealth conversation scheduled for next Friday, so if I’m not fine, there’s someone on the other end who gives a shit, and that is comforting to know.

© 2020 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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