31 March 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe and Me

Normally, I would be posting a "Last Day Local" blog post, but nothing is normal right now. Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order which went into effect at 12:01 am, March 24th.  This order was in response to the coronavirus pandemic. What this means to the citizens of Michigan is that all businesses except those deemed "essential" remain closed until at least April 13. Businesses that can remain open include health care, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and banks to name a few.  Workers in essential occupations can go to work. 

These are historical times we are living in. This pandemic is affecting all the United States at this time. Many states are issuing the same orders and I imagine more shelter in place orders will be forthcoming.  

It is scary times when one stops to think of the impact this will have on families, the economy, businesses, and our local communities.  The news coverage is insane. There is 24-hour coverage of the pandemic on many news cable channels. Much like we do with our genealogy research we have to analyze the source. There is a lot of misinformation on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even partisan news channels. I have relied on NPR (National Public Radio) and information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) for my information. 

I haven't used this blog for my own personal thoughts or for political purposes, but due to the historical impact of the pandemic I thought I would share my thoughts on the times which we are living.

March 10th: Today was my mom's 90th birthday. I woke up with a sore throat and knew I couldn't go celebrate with her and risk making her sick. The coronavirus is worldwide. The United States hit 1000 cases with 31 deaths. It is scary times and the federal government response has been unfocused. The virus hit Michigan today with two confirmed cases. Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a state of emergency. She ordered school closures until April 5th, 2020.

March 14th: My sore throat is gone, but I am having sinus pressure. I don't think it is related to the virus; it is just seasonal stuff I go through every year. It does make one think what it could be though. 

March 15th: My aunt, Alyce (Sleeman) Fredricks died today. It was first announced that the funeral would be by invitation only because of the limit of no more than 50 people gathering. Next, it was decided that there would be no church funeral. A graveside service would be held for immediate family only. It will be live streamed on Facebook by the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Caledonia, Michigan. I have been thinking about my aunt's family because I know how comforting it was to have extended family at my dad's funeral. Aunt Alyce's family won't have that. It is sad times we are living in right now.

March 16th: I am feeling fine now. but things in Michigan are not getting better. All restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other businesses are to close for two weeks, March 17-April 5. No groups larger than 50 may congregate. People can order food for takeout or delivery. I am concerned about take-out food at this point. Many restaurant workers do not receive any sick pay or time off. I can't be sure that workers are staying home and not going to work if they are sick. The CDC are saying that people over 65 are at risk for complications for this disease. I am 62, Kirk is 68. Those with other problems such as heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions, asthma, obesity, and immunocompromised individuals are at a greater risk. I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions today. It was the first day I was out since March 6th. I went to the drive through. I used antibacterial hand sanitizer in the car. When I got home, I washed my hands and used a Lysol wipe to wipe off my medicine bottles. This virus is making one think about what they are touching and what others have touched. I was scheduled for a uterine lining biopsy on Thursday, the 19th. The doctor's office called and said they had to cancel my appointment. I wasn't given a rescheduled date. This is a cause for concern for me. I don't like waiting to know what is wrong, I feel better when I know what is going on and I can make a plan for action. 

March 18th: Michigan reported its first death due to coronavirus today, two more occurred later in the day. I think this is just the beginning. The individual counties are reporting when they get there first case. Currently, 116 cases have been announced in Michigan. Tests for the virus are scarce and hard to get, so people feel there are many more cases that have not been able to be diagnosed. I find myself worrying about others more than myself. My mother lives in Story Point Living facility in Portage Michigan. Story Point is restricting visitors to essential people only. No visitors are allowed. Luckily, my mother can get all three meals where she lives. My in-laws live in Aurora Ponds, in the Grand Rapids area. They are still allowed visitors at this time. All three are 90 years old and older and I worry if they were to contract the virus they wouldn't survive. I worry about my children as well. Travis and his wife, Alayna, live in Houston, Texas and Kirsten and her husband, Chase, live in Forest Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago. They are both in big cities with international airports. The news creates anxiety in me. I try to limit how much news I watch a day. The federal government wasn't on top of things and tried to downplay the effect it would have on the United States and for the first time in my life I don't trust the news coming out of Washington, DC. I didn't vote for Donald Trump and I won't vote for him in November of this year. I feel his leadership of this pandemic could have been so much better. I am sure history will have a lot to say about this period of time.

March 19th: I had groceries delivered from Meijer today through Shipt. I placed the order online with what I wanted and then a Shipt shopper shopped it and delivered it. The shopper left it on the back porch, Kirk and I put gloves on, wiped the bag handles down, and brought the groceries into the house and set them on the floor. We took each item out and wiped them down with a disinfectant wipe before putting them away. The virus can live on metal, cardboard, and paper. Jeesh! there is so much to think about. I couldn’t get everything on my list because some of the grocery store shelves are empty. The virus has brought out the hoarders. For some reason, toilet paper is being bought out. I guess people figure if they are going to be home for a couple of weeks, they don't want to run out of it. Other items that are scarce are milk, eggs, snack foods, flour, yeast, meat, frozen vegetables, ready to eat canned and frozen food, paper towels, soap, and disinfectant type supplies. I think people are panicking and worried we will run out of food. I only bought what I needed to get through two-three weeks of staying home. 

March 21st: Today is Kirk and my 39th wedding anniversary. We had a couple of plans to celebrate that had to be changed because of the pandemic. First, we were going to go to Bardstown, KY for a long weekend and explore the bourbon trail. When the virus first started increasing in numbers, we decided we better stay closer to home. I looked for a nice restaurant to go to that would have a good steak and seafood. There isn't much like that here in Battle Creek. Next, we decided we would go to the Shipshewana area of Indiana and get a good Amish meal. After Michigan closed restaurants, except for takeout, we decided to stay home.  I decided to make a Chinese meal for us. The week Kirk and I met, the teachers at the school he was teaching at went for a Chinese dinner in Sarnia, Ontario. It was about an hour from Deckerville, Michigan, where we met. Kirk went and it was that night that he asked me on what would become our first of many dates. I figured a Chinese dinner would bring back good memories.  I made Lemon Chicken, Beef with Cashews, Rice, Egg Rolls, and Crab Rangoon. The only thing missing was the fortune cookie. I still remember the fortune from that Sarnia dinner. It was, "he is someone to be taken seriously."

March 23rd: I am feeling anxious today. I have felt anxious in the past and I could usually attribute it to thyroid problems, but my thyroid levels are normal. I know it is the constant barrage on social media and the television of how severe this virus can be. There is still a lot of misinformation out there and trying to find reputable sources for information is more important than ever. Seven deaths have been reported in Michigan. Nationally, over four hundred have died. Kirk and I spend our days reading, watching television, streaming shows or movies on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I am catching up on Call the Midwife and started watching The West Wing. Kirk watches science fiction shows. We watched the movie, Outbreak, which we had seen years ago. It was a timely re-watching of it. Of course, there is a lot of time for genealogy and I have been organizing my files and sourcing previous research in my Roots Magic genealogy software.  States are starting shelter in place orders. Illinois is under one. Kirsten works from home so no change for her. The Chicago Blackhawks games were cancelled and now Chase, the director of photography for the Blackhawks, is working from home. Chase's parents, Dwight and Leslie, live in Spain. They have been visiting Kirsten and Chase since the first part March. Now that Illinois has issued a shelter in place order, they will be staying with Kirsten and Chase until that is lifted. Plus, Spain has closed their borders and I don't think they would be able to travel home at this time. Leslie's father, Les Agnello, died. His memorial service was scheduled for late March, in California. The service was cancelled due to the virus.

March 24th: Michigan has issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe order. What that means is we are expected to stay home unless we work at an essential business or have essential business to conduct. Many places have closed. Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, banking, and getting gas are still allowed. Most bank lobbies have been closed and if you need to conduct business it is by appointment only. The drive throughs are open in order to make deposits or get cash. Kirk and I are not planning to go out unless it is an emergency, or we need prescriptions filled. I haven't been out of the house for eight days. Kirk went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a couple of items we needed to get us through the next couple of weeks, or longer.  Each day that goes on and the more cases that are diagnosed causes Kirk and I concern. We are concerned for each other and for our parents, who we are not able to help at this time. The last thing I would want to do is to carry the virus to our parents and have them get sick. The constant need to wash hands and sanitize everything we encounter is overwhelming. Many people don't take the stay home order seriously. I see neighbors coming and going all day long. We are such a mobile society; it is hard for people to stay home. I don't have a problem at all. I have enough projects, reading, and researching to keep me busy for months. I wouldn't mind going out to dinner, but that is a very small thing to give up in the scheme of things right now.

March 27th: The United States has over 100,000 cases of the virus and over 1500 deaths. This is a serious virus. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with cases. The need for hospital beds, respirators, gloves, masks, and gowns is severe. The federal government isn't stepping up to lead. The individual states are expected to obtain their own resources and every state is bidding against each other for the needed supplies. New York, Washington, California, and Michigan seem to be the worse states in number of cases right now. More states will be affected in the coming weeks. The stay at home orders are increasing and the reason for this is to "slow the curve" as they put it. If we can keep the cases from sky rocketing it will give hospitals time to treat individuals. If we slow the curve our hospitals won't be overwhelmed. It is too late. The hospitals in these four states are overwhelmed. I fear it is going to get much worse. My feelings range from anger to disbelief. I am angry at the current state in Washington, DC. and our President. I can't believe that a nation such as the United States didn't take this seriously when intelligence started briefing the President about the pandemic and its effect on the United States. What kind of person would subject his citizens to this? 

March 29th: The numbers are getting worse. The Michigan Governor is doing all that she can to get the hospitals the supplies that are needed to fight and treat this virus. She had supplies under contract and the federal government told the supplier not to sell to Michigan. This is politics at its worse. The President did grant Michigan a state of emergency status. Kirk and I are still staying at home. We have done a couple of projects around the house. Kirk painted the bathroom. We had the supplies before the crisis started. Buying these types of supplies would not be essential. I have Spring cleaned the kitchen, dining room, and living room. I had deep cleaned my office when I bought two new bookcases, in February. I have our bedroom left to do. In the middle of all this stressful living our water heater decided to stop working. It took a few days to find out if we could get it fixed because of the stay home order. There is some confusion about what businesses can stay open and what ones have to close. It was decided we could get a new one installed. I am thankful for that because I wasn't looking forward to cold showers and boiling water for washing dishes. 

March 30th: We woke up to a flooded basement this morning. Kidder Heating and Air Conditioning, Marshall, MI did the work on our water heater. One of the shut off valves broke and no one told us. Kidder said they didn't use that valve, but Kirk and I haven't been able to move that valve for years. The valve was in the bypass position, not where we had it. Kidder said they would come out and look at it, but it wasn't their fault so we would have to pay a $130 service call.  No way were we going to pay them for something that was their mistake in the first place. This shut off valve is attached to our water softener too. Kirk called Besco Water Treatment Company in Battle Creek, they were here within 15 minutes, replaced the valve and tuned up the water conditioner, for FREE. They are a great company and we appreciate them so much more now. That is the way to treat your customers during a crisis. Pooh on Kidder!

A lot of genealogy meetings, seminars, and conferences are being cancelled. Many organizations are choosing to hold virtual meetings. I am President of the Michigan Genealogical Council and we are scheduled to hold our monthly meeting April 9th. Our February meeting was cancelled because of weather, March meeting was cancelled because of the pandemic and I didn't have a plan in place for a virtual meeting, in March. Our April meeting will be held virtually using Zoom platform. One of my council colleagues, Tom Koselka, offered to let me have a practice meeting and he walked me through the options on Zoom. I feel a lot less nervous about hosting the board meeting now.  

Michigan has 6498 confirmed cases with 184 deaths. Each day more and more people are getting sick. I worry about the people who have to work on the front line of this crisis. All hospital employees, janitors, and grocery store workers are at increased exposure of getting this. The state health department says Michigan hasn't reached its peak yet. The Detroit area has the most cases. My county, Calhoun, has 17 cases. No age bracket is immuned to this disease. I talk with my mother about three times a week and she is doing well under the situation. She seems a little lonely and I am thankful she lives in a place where if she needs help it is there for her. I need to see about having her prescriptions transferred to a place that will deliver. There is so much to think about these days.

This is what the first three weeks of dealing with the pandemic, coronavirus, has been for me. I will continue to keep track of my thoughts and activities so that those in the future can see what a 21st century pandemic does to a society.

Stay home, stay safe, please.

No comments:

Post a Comment