Screaming into the void: Pandemic Rant

All in all, the pandemic hasn’t been that hard on me. I’ve been working from home since March because my company believes in keeping us safe. My finance is a tech guy and was able to set me up well to work from home. He’s mostly worked from home as well. We both have jobs that are work-from-home-able. I have not lacked in food, or shelter.

Emotionally, I have been wrecked. Most of that started on Thanksgiving, but I’ll get to that. I am not sleeping well, but that may be due to pandemic or peri-menopause, because of course that decided to start this year. I have insomnia most nights. Seven hours of sleep is bliss, but I usually get 6 or less. Some nights, often several in a row, I get less than 4. Makes the MS fatigue and other symptoms, act up. Joy. And no, coffee at this level of lack of sleep and fatigue does not help. (It is lovely though and I still drink it.)

I am an ambivert. I like my time alone and I like being around my people. I fucking miss my people. I have seen some of my important people, but not enough of them, in any sense of that phrase. It hurts. It aches. When I am able to see my people, I don’t know what to do. I ran into a friend at the grocery store. I felt like screaming. I wanted to do so much more than say five words to her. We are both in need of talking. At least we know we have each other. Doesn’t stop the ache.

And now for the real reason I started writing this today.

On Thanksgiving Day, my sister let me know that though she thought covid was real, she didn’t need to wear a mask. She said a lot of other things, but what it came down to is: she is a covid denier. She, her husband, and their children don’t wear masks if not required.

She said all this to me while on a video call with me, in front of our 74-year-old, frail mother.

A few years ago, her husband pointed something out about my mom. He thinks she would not survive a bad illness. My mom is underweight. Since his declaration, she has not gained any significant weight. She is 4’11” and 68 pounds, at last weigh in. She’s always been tiny, but even she admits she is too thin. How did she get this way? She just doesn’t eat much. It has never been about “can’t afford to” or anything like that. She just doesn’t eat much.

So here we are, during a pandemic, and my mom is living in Arizona, near my sister, who has a lot of issues.

For Christmas and Thanksgiving each year. My mom is either with me, or my sister. So if she is with my sister for Thanksgiving she comes to me for Christmas. We switch off every year. This year, my mom was supposed to come here (Illinois) for Christmas. I did not want this as I did not want my mom traveling during the pandemic. Because, well, NO. My sister was adamant that my mom should absolutely not cancel her plans and come here anyway, because she and her family have traveled on planes twice during the pandemic and they were fine…

My mom’s doctor said it’s not a good idea. I am still thanking her in my heart.

One of the reasons my sister wanted my mom to come here is because unbeknownst to myself or my mom, my sister and her family booked a vacation in Flagstaff for three days on Christmas. Fine, good, great. Have a blast. But don’t use that as an excuse as to why mom should still travel. And then, I don’t know, maybe include your own mother when she is told it isn’t safe to get on an airplane? (They drove to Flagstaff.)

My sister refused to include my mom in her Christmas plans. As I write this, my mom is in her condo in Mesa, AZ and my sister and the family are in Flagstaff.

I didn’t voice my opinion to my sister on any of this, as I didn’t want to guilt her into anything and have her resent me. (No, we don’t have a good relationship and mom has always been great at guilt tripping.)

There are a lot of reasons I think my sister decided not to take my mom with. I am not writing them all out as I really don’t know what the reason is. The end result is: my mom was left alone and when a neighbor invited her to listen to a Christmas choir, she went.

My 74-year old mother went to a church gathering on Christmas Eve, during a pandemic, in an auditorium. Some people were wearing masks, but not all. (Talked to my mom on Christmas and she told me all this.) She enjoyed herself. She moved to Arizona in July and is having a hard time making friends because… pandemic. The church choir gathering was in an auditorium, as stated, and there was space between people. So that’s good but it still concerns me. Then, on Christmas, she went to her neighbor’s daughter’s house for dinner. My mom said there would be 18 people. 18 people…

Fuck.

I want to cry about this. I want to tell my sister and my mom my fears, but my sister has already proven to me that she won’t listen. When I told her I don’t do much, as I have MS, she sent a screenshot (we were texting) of the MS website and which MS patients should be most worried about the pandemic. Like I didn’t have a right to worry and be careful, JUST FOR THE SAKE OF NOT WANTING TO HAVE THIS ILLNESS.

Some of the covid symptoms mirror some of my MS issues. Due to MS I have fatigue, muscle and body aches, I have had a loss of taste and smell (very mild in comparison to covid symptoms), some confusion (enough that it’s tough to work) and the inability to wake or stay awake.

I have talked to friends who had covid. Their loss of taste is far more prevalent than mine ever has been. Still sucks.

There is about 1 day a month where I instantly fall asleep each time I hit snooze. If I take the day off on those days (if a workday) I go back to sleep and don’t wake up for hours. When I initially saw all those symptoms, I thought, ‘fuck that’ and knew I was doing the right thing by staying home and avoiding people.

If you’re curious:

I have fatigue and muscle and body aches on a regular basis. I also have confusion to the point of not being able to work on a monthly basis and I am often not sure if something smells bad because it has gone bad or if my MS is fucking with me. The loss of taste is almost monthly as well.

Since I’m babbling: I have lost someone to covid. He was a former co-worker. He was sweet and funny and lovable. He was also 35 years old.

And: I gave a friend a gift card to Walmart (I hate that place, he does to, but it’s where he shops for groceries and the other place doesn’t have gift cards.) He immediately went out, bought groceries and sent me a picture…. Immediately went out and got groceries. If you don’t understand what that means, then congratulations, you’ve never been poor and hungry.

I think that’s it. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I needed to get all that out. I really hope the pandemic ends soon so that we can return to a more ‘normal’ state. I don’t want to go back to the normal from before the pandemic, as too much has happened, but I would like us to find a ‘new normal’. Good luck, happy holidays and stay safe my friends.

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