Personal After Effects of the Pandemic a Year Later

Posted by fiesty76 @fiesty76, Mar 9 8:38am

Living alone and being complimented on my positivity this last year of early COVID self-quarantine, there are new challenges now despite having been vaccinated.

With highly compromised lungs, home delivery of groceries, and rare “seniors only” early trips to one large dept store for house essentials quickly became the norm.

Increasing reliance on telephone visits and internet groups for personal contact, along with grabbing a mask before stepping out of the house for a short walk down the driveway to the mailbox became the rule.

Daily news of the spreading pandemic, along with exploding hospitalizations and business closures gave more reason for isolation.
Incessant media coverage of vitriolic and divisive accusations of candidates of one political party against the other leading up to the presidential election and aftermath changed an occasional check of the daily news into a new, almost addictive obsession.

Maskers vs non-maskers could soon be identified as supporting one political party vs the other. Tensions among friends intensified as political differences surfaced and it became more difficult to maintain relationships while “agreeing to disagree” on opposing views. As it became increasingly more difficult to navigate “safe” topics, long standing trusted associations became strained and in some instances stopped altogether.

Inability to visit a hospitalized best friend or be present as the final stages of illness eventually took its toll left one bereft of the comforting traditional rituals of grief.

Days and weeks melted together as once filled monthly social and appointment calendars remained blank. Daily menus rose in importance as new recipes were tried and a larger portion of each day was spent in the kitchen.

Netflix, computer games and escape in more fiction became the favorite “pandemic sitters” night after night.
New hobbies, longer more frequent walks and time spent in the yard made one believe this time would pass and we would all come out unscathed.

Last week proved an unwlecomed surprise with unanticipated reactions. Entering a person’s home and office for the first time after a year of not having others into mine or being in anyone elses, left me standing in the foyer in a state of uncertainty and almost wonder.

When I’d made two recent trips to the clinic for the Moderna vaccines, patients had been met at the door for temperature scans and questions before being re-directed away from the main clinic to a restricted area.

Four weeks later, returning for a mammogram, there was no one at the door to take temps, the area was wide open and a glance at the large lab waiting area found every chair taken. Seeing all masked but so many sitting elbow-to-elbow made me freeze and want to flee. I don’t scare easily but this made me very uncomfortable. Who had been vaccinated? Who might have undiagnosed Covid? Was that sporadic cough or sneeze allergy spawned or contagious?

Afterwards, returning home shaken, I was quick to say that I wasn’t yet ready to resume restaurant dining when a friend called to suggest that our group celebrate our vaccinations with a lunch out together. I’m just not ready.

In my state, masks are no longer required; all businesses fully re-open tomorrow; reports of new and increasing numbers of virus mutations are limelighting the news as I sit here wondering if I’ve developed agoraphobia to some degree.

After weeks of delighting in thoughts of what might be my first “back into the world at large” ventures, instead of visits exploring each aisle of long deferred pleasures, I think it will be far wiser for me to take very small steps into those yearned for places I’d been so anticipating for so long. I need to become braver and more confident emerging from the chrysalis so tightly woven over this past year.

Will I continue to take long advised personal public health precautions of masking and distancing for some time going forward? For me, the answer is an easy: "Yes".

Am I alone in this new challenge of becoming more comfortable in this changed world of more freedoms? Are others experiencing surprising reactions as new first steps toward more normalcy are being taken?

@fiesty76– Haven't you felt me holding your hand? I'm right there with you fiesty. It's a shock. If I can get away with canceling something, I will. It's a new world out there, a magical one.

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And I have had the opposite reaction – a little.
I have gathered with immediate family and very dear (fully vaccinated) friends these past 2 days, and am giddy with delight. I have visited (a few) stores, during unbusy times & fully masked – if the parking lot is busy, I don't go in. If I go in and there is not (real) masking and distancing, I leave. I will have my hair done next week in my hairdresser's one-chair salon, because I trust her.

Our doctors, dentists and therapist are all still using precautions, but I was one of few who never really stopped making & keeping appointments – even to the point of having 2 surgeries in 2020.

Restaurants – umm, not yet – except for one tiny neighborhood bistro with widely spaced tables and food that does not translate to takeout. Bars, theaters, concerts, dances, crowds – nope! Airplanes – not in the foreseeable future…

We still never leave home without masks in our pockets, and don't hesitate to put them on. Closely watching your state @fiesty76 because we really want to visit our home there but…
Sue

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@fiesty76 ~ My daughter, along with friends and I have been having similar discussions lately about what life will be like going forward and are we “ready for public viewing”?
We’ve talked about not being able to “unsee” the videos of aerosol transmission from people’s mouths as they’ve casually chatted, sung, or talked in loud gathering places such as restaurants, bars and concerts. Will we ever be comfortable speaking face to face in a group again without picturing toxic moisture drops attaching to our hair, faces, clothing, up our noses. Maybe one good thing will come out of this as people will finally respect personal space.

Having gone through hefty chemo treatments for AML and then having a stem cell transplant left me severely immunocompromised the entire year of 2019 during recovery. Masks, social distancing, no hugging, etc., were my norm as illness had to be avoided at all cost.
Finally, January 2020 I was just beginning to have a little taste of the old life by venturing out a little more. My BMT-team even ok’d a trip to Florida as long as we drove and had minimal contact with people. Then…Covid-19. I was already an old hand at everything the populace was being required to do to avoid the spread of this virus. Now everyone had to mask, social distance and use the same cautionary measures my husband and I had to do for that past year. I had no sympathy for the whiners about not begin able to comply!! When asked if this bothered me, I joked, as an introvert, I’d repaired for this my entire life! More of being able to stay at home without anyone thinking I’m turning into a recluse.

Admittedly, after two years of basically being cloistered except for check-in visits to Mayo or my local clinic, thinking about being sprung into public is a mixed bag of emotions and a bit intimidating. I am ready to be with my friends again. I miss our dinners out, our quick lunches together, our whine and wine sessions, (though I still can’t have the wine…sigh). But I honestly don’t know when I’ll ever feel comfortable sans masks in a public setting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living in fear and will certainly be out in public again armed with my vaccinations. But as an immunocompromised person, I will also continue to be proactive for my health and others by being responsible with my actions.

I agree with Merry. It is a new, magical world out there! We’re all changed through this experience. We need to let our ‘sprit of endurance’ take over and propel us forward! Love your attitude, Miss Fiesty!

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@fiesty76 You wrote your thoughts beautifully. you wrote the thoughts of many of us as we live behind closed doors and in our small and smaller worlds, It is indeed a shock to my entire being to consider walking freely into a grocery store or going out with friends for lunch or for goodness sake just doing something for fun! Fun!!!???? Fun. I'm going to have to learn how to have fun. How to laugh. How to relax in the real world with real people and doing real, normal things again!

It was almost overwhelming when I stopped on a whim to see the beautiful flowers of spring and bought hanging baskets for my patio. I always love this time of year when life is returning to the world, but this is very different, isn't it?

We've been living a shuttered life for over a year! That's a very long time to hide yourself away from everything normal, all 'normal' activity. I've realized how 'shuttered' we really are now, from each other and everything we know. Will life really ever be the same? What and how much of what have we lost, has changed, has changed us forever? Are attitudes so changed we will never get civility in our treatment of others? Respect for others and their ideas and thoughts?

Perhaps. Hope not. But, there is so much anger and hostility and cancelling out the other person! I pray we come back to some place with joy and honor and peace and trust…….Please God. We need our help. Help us to reach out our hand and touch……yes, touch others and lift them up! We've all been torn down for so long……time to allow ourselves to smile and see each other's smile and smile back!

Fiesty…..I'm smiling at you, a huge twinkle of a smile and reaching out my hand to your in friendship and love and here to walk with you to our new world. Hope.

Bless you and all of us as we learn again to live our lives in freedom and joy! It is a wonderful, frightening thought…..
elizabeth

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@sueinmn

And I have had the opposite reaction – a little.
I have gathered with immediate family and very dear (fully vaccinated) friends these past 2 days, and am giddy with delight. I have visited (a few) stores, during unbusy times & fully masked – if the parking lot is busy, I don't go in. If I go in and there is not (real) masking and distancing, I leave. I will have my hair done next week in my hairdresser's one-chair salon, because I trust her.

Our doctors, dentists and therapist are all still using precautions, but I was one of few who never really stopped making & keeping appointments – even to the point of having 2 surgeries in 2020.

Restaurants – umm, not yet – except for one tiny neighborhood bistro with widely spaced tables and food that does not translate to takeout. Bars, theaters, concerts, dances, crowds – nope! Airplanes – not in the foreseeable future…

We still never leave home without masks in our pockets, and don't hesitate to put them on. Closely watching your state @fiesty76 because we really want to visit our home there but…
Sue

Jump to this post

With the new CDC blessing that those fully vaccinated can gather in small group, I feel great relief. I had my first haircut in a very long time, went to the dentist and making other medical appointments.

I have not been out socially with friends yet, my daughter who had been participating in Novavax trial found out she was on a placebo but she will receive her vaccine next month, so by May she should be fully vaccinated. Her husband had the "real" shot. My son is vaccinated, his wife is not. When she's vaccinated, we'll be able to have our Thanksgiving at my daughter's this year. What a wonderful thing to look forward to. My daughter may organize a belated Mother's day get together with her in laws and us.

Still haven't been eating out. Had 2 take outs in the last year.

Stores still require face masks for patrons, and even if they lift that requirement, I'll still be wearing mine, don't want to take any chances. Hope more people are taking this vaccination seriously.

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I have not socialized at all, nor gone out to stores or markets. Have been in the Drug store twice. My nephew has a birthday at the end of April and by then I will be all set with 2 vaccines. All of us all get together at my sister's for partying. I can't wait.

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@merpreb

@fiesty76– Haven't you felt me holding your hand? I'm right there with you fiesty. It's a shock. If I can get away with canceling something, I will. It's a new world out there, a magical one.

Jump to this post

@merpreb, Thank you, Merry. I just wasn't prepared for the clinic changes, especially the very crowded lab waiting room. Seeing so many was truly unnerving.
My calendar, after so many blank months with nothing scheduled, is beginning to fill with rescheduled appts and I'll be returning for my prepared tax form Thursday from the in-home office. The trick for me will be in taking small steps until becoming better acclimated.

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@sueinmn

And I have had the opposite reaction – a little.
I have gathered with immediate family and very dear (fully vaccinated) friends these past 2 days, and am giddy with delight. I have visited (a few) stores, during unbusy times & fully masked – if the parking lot is busy, I don't go in. If I go in and there is not (real) masking and distancing, I leave. I will have my hair done next week in my hairdresser's one-chair salon, because I trust her.

Our doctors, dentists and therapist are all still using precautions, but I was one of few who never really stopped making & keeping appointments – even to the point of having 2 surgeries in 2020.

Restaurants – umm, not yet – except for one tiny neighborhood bistro with widely spaced tables and food that does not translate to takeout. Bars, theaters, concerts, dances, crowds – nope! Airplanes – not in the foreseeable future…

We still never leave home without masks in our pockets, and don't hesitate to put them on. Closely watching your state @fiesty76 because we really want to visit our home there but…
Sue

Jump to this post

Celebrating your delight, @sueinmn.
My largest gathering this past year has been hosting several times at my outside table two very close friends who have also closely adhered to pandemic guidelines. One has had her second Moderna and the second is scheduled for his next week. We are eager to celebrate at the table and this time without wearing masks the whole time!

Like you, I'm steering clear of airplanes for the foreseeable future. Daughter, grands and I are planning a summer visit by meeting somewhere in the middle between our states and I can hardly wait. My 84 yr young friend made a successful drive from here to Denver to see his daughter but I am not as willing as I was once in striking out that distance alone. He carried his own food & drinks there and back and only stopped for gas and restroom breaks.

The coming weeks will reveal how TX does regarding the no mask mandates and all businesses fully re-opened. I've waited this long so will wait a bit longer to see if there is an uptick in virus cases. I can only imagine how eager you must be, Sue, to revisit your friends at your second home.

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@loribmt

@fiesty76 ~ My daughter, along with friends and I have been having similar discussions lately about what life will be like going forward and are we “ready for public viewing”?
We’ve talked about not being able to “unsee” the videos of aerosol transmission from people’s mouths as they’ve casually chatted, sung, or talked in loud gathering places such as restaurants, bars and concerts. Will we ever be comfortable speaking face to face in a group again without picturing toxic moisture drops attaching to our hair, faces, clothing, up our noses. Maybe one good thing will come out of this as people will finally respect personal space.

Having gone through hefty chemo treatments for AML and then having a stem cell transplant left me severely immunocompromised the entire year of 2019 during recovery. Masks, social distancing, no hugging, etc., were my norm as illness had to be avoided at all cost.
Finally, January 2020 I was just beginning to have a little taste of the old life by venturing out a little more. My BMT-team even ok’d a trip to Florida as long as we drove and had minimal contact with people. Then…Covid-19. I was already an old hand at everything the populace was being required to do to avoid the spread of this virus. Now everyone had to mask, social distance and use the same cautionary measures my husband and I had to do for that past year. I had no sympathy for the whiners about not begin able to comply!! When asked if this bothered me, I joked, as an introvert, I’d repaired for this my entire life! More of being able to stay at home without anyone thinking I’m turning into a recluse.

Admittedly, after two years of basically being cloistered except for check-in visits to Mayo or my local clinic, thinking about being sprung into public is a mixed bag of emotions and a bit intimidating. I am ready to be with my friends again. I miss our dinners out, our quick lunches together, our whine and wine sessions, (though I still can’t have the wine…sigh). But I honestly don’t know when I’ll ever feel comfortable sans masks in a public setting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living in fear and will certainly be out in public again armed with my vaccinations. But as an immunocompromised person, I will also continue to be proactive for my health and others by being responsible with my actions.

I agree with Merry. It is a new, magical world out there! We’re all changed through this experience. We need to let our ‘sprit of endurance’ take over and propel us forward! Love your attitude, Miss Fiesty!

Jump to this post

@loribmt, Thanks for reading and for your response. Goodness, you could have been the poster child for all of us with your additional year of practicing the public health advisories when the pandemic struck! Like you, Lori, I keep seeing the aerosol transmissions videos in my mind's eye and wonder how long it will be before "getting beyond" those images.

I do hope that others will have learned from this to better respect an individual's personal space. I've always required more of that than some. Years ago, a colleague got two other guys to "tease" me by standing close enough to make me uncomfortable. I would automatically step back and they thought it funny. It wasn't for me.

Yes! We can celebrate our re-entries to our magical world as Merry wrote and I especially appreciate your suggestion "to let our 'spirit of endurance' ..propel us forward. May there be much better times just around the corner for us all!

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@ess77

@fiesty76 You wrote your thoughts beautifully. you wrote the thoughts of many of us as we live behind closed doors and in our small and smaller worlds, It is indeed a shock to my entire being to consider walking freely into a grocery store or going out with friends for lunch or for goodness sake just doing something for fun! Fun!!!???? Fun. I'm going to have to learn how to have fun. How to laugh. How to relax in the real world with real people and doing real, normal things again!

It was almost overwhelming when I stopped on a whim to see the beautiful flowers of spring and bought hanging baskets for my patio. I always love this time of year when life is returning to the world, but this is very different, isn't it?

We've been living a shuttered life for over a year! That's a very long time to hide yourself away from everything normal, all 'normal' activity. I've realized how 'shuttered' we really are now, from each other and everything we know. Will life really ever be the same? What and how much of what have we lost, has changed, has changed us forever? Are attitudes so changed we will never get civility in our treatment of others? Respect for others and their ideas and thoughts?

Perhaps. Hope not. But, there is so much anger and hostility and cancelling out the other person! I pray we come back to some place with joy and honor and peace and trust…….Please God. We need our help. Help us to reach out our hand and touch……yes, touch others and lift them up! We've all been torn down for so long……time to allow ourselves to smile and see each other's smile and smile back!

Fiesty…..I'm smiling at you, a huge twinkle of a smile and reaching out my hand to your in friendship and love and here to walk with you to our new world. Hope.

Bless you and all of us as we learn again to live our lives in freedom and joy! It is a wonderful, frightening thought…..
elizabeth

Jump to this post

@ess77, What a lovely response, Elizabeth. Finding answers to your deeply felt questions are so important for us all going forward.

Due to the brilliance, innovations and wonderful discoveries people of our nation and the world are making to improve all of our lives, we can be assured that the pandemic will pass. Whether we can return to expressing differing opinions civilly is a challenge there is no known vaccine for.

However much work it takes, it will be up to each of us to continue to offer and extend our hands in friendship and goodwill toward one another. Thanks, Elizabeth for extending yours and may hope plus effort bring us all to a place of regained trust and joy in each other as we again celebrate the freedoms we hold so dear.

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@mayofeb2020

With the new CDC blessing that those fully vaccinated can gather in small group, I feel great relief. I had my first haircut in a very long time, went to the dentist and making other medical appointments.

I have not been out socially with friends yet, my daughter who had been participating in Novavax trial found out she was on a placebo but she will receive her vaccine next month, so by May she should be fully vaccinated. Her husband had the "real" shot. My son is vaccinated, his wife is not. When she's vaccinated, we'll be able to have our Thanksgiving at my daughter's this year. What a wonderful thing to look forward to. My daughter may organize a belated Mother's day get together with her in laws and us.

Still haven't been eating out. Had 2 take outs in the last year.

Stores still require face masks for patrons, and even if they lift that requirement, I'll still be wearing mine, don't want to take any chances. Hope more people are taking this vaccination seriously.

Jump to this post

Yes! @mayofeb2020, the relief from receiving the vaccines is almost indescribable! It promises that we can soon be with loved ones and begin to re-enter our worlds-at-large with more confidence.

After almost 2 yrs since my last visit with my little family, I can only agree at how wonderful it will be for more of us to not only get to be with our loved ones again but also how wonderful it is to once again start "looking forward" to those things so long put on hold this past year.

LIke you and probably a lot of others here who will continue to take precautions, I think just making simple forays back into the world after so much restriction will take some getting used to. I hadn't considered beforehand how shocking and even frightening that initial "crowded room" experience would be for me.

Instead of previously taking for granted "making plans", now "looking forward" again takes on new and more appreciated meaning.

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@merpreb

I have not socialized at all, nor gone out to stores or markets. Have been in the Drug store twice. My nephew has a birthday at the end of April and by then I will be all set with 2 vaccines. All of us all get together at my sister's for partying. I can't wait.

Jump to this post

@merpreb, After your strict isolation, your nephew's birthday celebration may cause some "joy highs"! Yay!

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