I must admit I am struggling to cope with COVID.  I know I’m not the only one.  My life actually turned upside down at the end of January 2020, when my husband broke his hip.  Because of the location of the break, the doctors decided to let it heal as you would a broken rib or toe.

I became his caregiver, getting him in and out of bed, waiting on him hand and foot.  On top of that, I began doing all the things he usually did around the house, such as cooking dinner.  This change of status required me to move my office, which is in my diva den next door, into the main house.

The change unleashed my anger and frustration.    My husband isn’t the best patient, and I am an impatient nurse.  My solution was–and continues to be– to eat and drink more than I should.  Just as I had gotten into a routine, joined a gym, and hired a housekeeper, COVID hit.  Since my husband has chronic lung disease, we went into lockdown on March 15th at our central Texas ranch.  Fortunately, I made grocery store runs before the shelves were cleaned bare and, small mercies, have sufficient toilet paper.

Now I’m back to square one, trying to establish a new normal on top of a new normal.  And, the longer this goes on, the more paranoid I am getting.

Just thinking of going to the grocery store sends waves of anxiety through me.

My worries:

  • To mask or not to mask, that is the question.
  • To glove or not to glove, that is the question. And, where would I get them?
  • Will I die if I touch the take-out pizza box? Should I spray it with Lysol before I open it?  Should I spray the pizza as well?
  • After a trip to town, should I strip off my clothes outside the house and wash them immediately or burn them?
  • Should I Lysol my car door handles every time I get in and out? If so, will it ruin the paint?
  • Will Clorox wipes be back in stock anytime soon?
  • Should I wear gloves to get the mail and let it sit for five days before I open it? If I am late making a payment because of this, will it be forgiven?
  • How can I make myself concentrate and do what I need to do?
  • How do I break myself of the habit of checking NPR and the Houston Chronicle websites several times a day to see the latest COVID news, which further depresses me?
  • Do I try to cut my hair myself or suck it up until I can pull it back in a ponytail?
  • Will all distilleries start making hand sanitizer? Do I need to stockpile the booze?

My positives:

  • While my husband can’t get in and out of bed by himself, he is improving, and I am now back in my diva den.
  • I have toilet paper.
  • When the oak pollen clears, I will be able to get out and work on the ranch.
  • I’m fortunate enough to be able to drive the country roads near my house and view the bluebonnets. Nature is responding as if the world is at peace.
  • In Texas, guns are essential and gun stores are open.  So, if the food supplies run low, I can hunt.  Anyone got a good recipe for squirrel fricassee?
  • In Texas, liquor is an essential commodity. Please send recipes for easy-to-make gin-based drinks.
  • I have toilet paper.
  • I am good at the computer so I can have happy hours with friends and family remotely.
  • I am retired so I have income coming in and do not have to stress about where the next paycheck is coming from.
  • I can support my local merchants by making online purchases.
  • I can determine what day of the week it is by looking at my Google calendar.
  • My Wi-Fit still works! It reminded me I haven’t used it in 1,534 days.
  • I have toilet paper.
  • I have three N-95 masks that have been in my garage for several years. We bought them to do woodworking.
  • I have a shotgun to protect me in case anyone tries to steal my PPE.

Perhaps by focusing on my blessings and avoiding a constant stream of news, I can calm my angst.  After all, the new normal may be an every day routine for months to come.

Note:

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (nami.org) has a great guide for handling anxiety during COVID.  You can download it at:

https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf