How are you doing with the latest spike? I am sad. Thank God for self-care, God (lol), and all the love I am blessed to have in my life.

#COVID #susanstrasser #susanstraserblog #amwriting

U2’s lyric, “I can’t believe the news today…” rang in my head loudly this morning. It made me stop eating breakfast.

Every weekday I have my coffee, juice, vitamin, toast or waffle over an old fashioned copy of my local newspaper, the Frederick News Post (FNP). And I read. One of the mixed blessings of COVID-19 is time. Since I do not have to rush out of the house and go to work and am furloughed, I often skim and read almost the entire A section.

As a lot of you know, I’m a food addict, and because of this disease, I usually am trying to moderate my caloric intake. But this morning I experienced the phenomena known as “losing one’s appetite.”

COVID-19 strikes again. In two weeks, our Frederick County’s confirmed cases have gone from 5,703 to 6,949. Our 7-Day Positivity Rate 5.5% to 7.33%.

Simply put, and quite obviously, this is bad.

Our little state of Maryland, like everyone else, is not doing well, either. 30,000 more cases in the past two weeks. Positivity rate 6.8% to 7.3%.

But it was the AP article entitled “Very dark couple of weeks” that made me put my fork down. The subtitle was “Morgues and hospitals overflow.” And I couldn’t. Nope. I remember all this from the Spring. Mass burials. Funeral homes postponing funerals. Or Zoom funerals. Hospitals erecting temporary buildings to house patients or at article’s end, something about setting up tents in a parking garage? Oh my God. All this again?!

It’s only a week since Thanksgiving. It will get worse.

You know those jokes people make about not wearing pants, not wanting to get out of bed, gaining weight, hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer… well, for the first time on a weekday in 9 months, I went ahead and wore pajama pants all day. I needed to. And I found my fuzziest socks. And hugged my kids and husband really hard this morning in an effort to calm down. I emailed my sponsor. I let my What’s App chat group in on it. Brought my husband up to speed on exactly WTF I was crying about early this morning before he went to his office space to work. Oh, and my new BFF. When my 12 step program suggests this writer and recovering addict talk and write about her feelings with her loved ones, she takes it seriously.

I really didn’t feel up to doing life today. For the first time in 9 months, I was really done. I pride myself up on getting up early, Monday-Friday, and homeschooling the kids with their virtual classrooms and the assignments in between. I get up earlier and get my writing or exercise time in before that. But God is good. He kept me moving. I got those hugs. I postponed reading any more news for the morning. I saw one serious looking article on Facebook, and scrolled right by. Whew!

In Frederick, MD, right now, we happen to be getting our first cold snap of the season: 30 degrees at night or so, and maybe mid 40s during the day. Just this week. These are normal temperature ranges for this time of year, but paired with this news, and tripled with these being the shortest days of the year, it does indeed, literally and emotionally feel like a dark couple of weeks.

So what can we do? I get those hugs and conversations from my kids, hubby and cats off and on all day and evening, even if sometimes I want to kill them. 9 months! I text and call my program friends. I go to my 12 Step Zoom Meetings.

I remember that I am powerless over just happening to live during a pandemic. Like a meme said on Facebook lately, I’m tired of living through a historical event. Indeed. I heard about the flu pandemic of 1918. And stories my parents told me about children who had polio. Higher infant mortality rates in general in the 1930s and 1940s.

I’ve got to write.

I’ve got to write through this powerlessness, anger, hurt, loss, and grief of normalcy.

Someone I knew who knew someone I knew lately tested positive. So my husband and I semi-quarantined for two weeks. One day within those two weeks I didn’t feel well, and freaked out. I went and got tested. Waiting in that line for an hour and half really brought home some of the experiences people are having with this to me. I was just another person. But I am a person. A person who might have been exposed. An anonymous person waiting her turn to have her blood drawn by a nurse I’d never met, and her to put on the cotton wad and medical tape. I was given a phone number to call. I had to wait three days for the results. I was scared.

Hope is coming. The developing vaccines are very promising.

But we’ve got to hold on. Take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and encourage everyone to mask up, wash hands, and do as little business in public as possible. I was really encouraged this afternoon running to my neighborhood Starbucks. Almost every driver on 2 mile round trip had a mask dangling from their ears, pushed down to their necks, or still on. We are doing this.

And a benefit of face masks in the winter? Like scarves, they keep us warm! I’m trying.


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