Frustrated

AAARGH!

Right. With that out of the way … deep breath … write.

January started well enough. The world and its politics continued spinning along. Then came February. With Valentine’s Day and all its accoutrements, life still seemed normal. Shops, physical and virtual, had morphed from Christmas themes to embrace hearts, bears and cupids.

Then came March, and bam! Gone was the cherubic cupid, here was contagious Covid, and the start of a period of frustration that continues to this day.

I had to work from home during the lockdown. The biggest frustration was coping with a new regimen that had been thrust upon me with little preparation or training. Where there used be the banter and bustle of a normal workplace, now there was just the restricted rectangle of a computer screen for all manner of communication whether it was verbal, written or everything in between.

My days were spent flitting between Zoom or Google Meet instead of a Conference Room or break room, clearing documents on PDFs and softcopies that refused to be edited, cursing the devices when the screen froze or programs hung or inexplicably shut down, wasting time searching for files that never arrived or ended up in strange shared folders. Technology will never replace human contact and spirit.

I also volunteer at a library which, obviously, had to shut its doors and my heart cried for the regulars I knew would be adrift because there was no access to reading materials, companionship and a quiet refuge. I think about these regulars constantly, wondering if they are safe, if they have food and care, if they are mentally up to the conditions imposed upon them.

Each day, I watch as the news reported the ever increasing toll on human life and on humanity. Each day, I cheer and salute every single one of the frontline workers, praying for their safety and continued good health. Each day, I pray for a cure, a solution to the shortages of supplies and aid, and for the horrible numbers to stabilise.

I’m not going to ask why this virus descended upon us. Ebola, H1N1, SARS … these should have taught us that viral pandemics are inevitable. But I am going to ask why things became such a disaster. Those earlier viral spreads should have taught us that by being vigilant, by being prepared, by being well stocked in supplies and medicines, and by taking charge and having a robust plan, we should know what to do, how to do it, and do it for the sake of our citizens. Yet there are leaders that cannot lead and citizens who care little about each other.

This virus is novel. How we should deal with it is not. Yet, here we are.

To be honest, things are not the worst where I am currently. Despite the quarantines, masks, swabs and restrictions to our movements each day, I am grateful there is adequate healthcare, enough facilities, and a low death toll. I am grateful I still have my job and I look forward to resuming in my library. But I know not every country is in a good place at this moment and it frustrates me.

To every single person who has been affected by this virus, or lost someone, I am deeply sorry. I have no words that can take away your pain. To every one who has had to make sacrifices in one form of another, I thank you. To every one, be safe.


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RDP ~ FRUSTRATION


The Event

If there ever was a time I was woefully unready for what would confront me, it would be 1 July 2020. You see, that was the day I suffered a heart attack, aka The Event.

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If you’ve known me awhile, you’ll know I’m struggling with a poor relationship with my mother. And that the current distancing situation has been both a blessing and a challenge. However, I never saw this challenge coming.

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Well, on the Tuesday before The Event, I’d gone to work as usual and then had lunch out. Where I live, work and dining out are allowed provided a group does not exceed 5, and work spaces are spread out and we work in teams to reduce intermingling.

I felt tired and not terribly chatty but passed it off as the after-effects of having submitted two projects that morning. Then I went home and had dinner with my family.

I felt muscle spasms across my back and a pokey hollow feeling in my chest. Again, I thought it was exhaustion, and regretted not having headed home early for a nap! I had an early night instead and woke up feeling normal.

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Wednesday was my off-day so I was at home when the spasms hit at around 2pm. This time, I felt like I was running a vertical marathon and unable to stop. My chest felt as if it was splitting apart, I couldn’t fill my lungs and then came the cold sweats … and the realisation that this was Not Good!

I went to the hospital.

It must have been a sign of the severity of The Event because I went from check in (mandatory temperature check and Safe Entry registration) at the hospital entrance to the OR in less than 30 minutes. No usual 2 hour wait for a doctor this time!

I was strapped to an ECG machine, had multiple needles inserted to draw multiple vials of blood, had two teams of personel to change me out of my home clothes and into scrubs, had chest x-rays done and gone from the Emergency Admissions area to the Heart Centre OR.

I had no time to feel fear really. I was more agog at all the activity going on around me and I remember thinking these medics were as efficient and coordinated as Formula 1 pit crews! Two doctors explained that they’d have to put a stent into one of my arteries; it would be inserted via an “injection” near my right wrist. I learnt later that they’d also spoken to my waiting family. Throughout, a nurse held my hand or kept her hand on my shoulder, patting me in silent comfort. Bless this lovely person!

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In the OR, the surgeon explained the processes and asked if I wanted to watch how the stent would be inserted. Sure. Why not. The other option was to stare the overhead lights.

A huge video screen was angled towards me, and I was thus privy to an exclusive front row seat to view my beating heart. Coloured dye flooded the screen and highlighted the problem artery. Suddenly, a stent appeared in place like an elongated UFO. This was the moment that brought immense relief from the pain and tension, and the moment of total peace.

“You feel nothing now, right?” the surgeon asked from the other side if the monitor. “No more pain?”

Today, I would have asked if that meant I had moved on to some other plane but at that moment, being able to inhale normally was good enough!

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I spent 2 nights in the Cardiac ICU and was discharged to recuperate at home for the rest of July.

So here I am. I’ve had 2 weeks of Cardiac Rehab and physiotherapy sessions. I’ve spoken to a counsellor, and will be meeting a dietician next month. Then I’ll be meeting my surgeon to discuss affairs of my heart moving forward.

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There has been nothing conclusive about the cause of the event. My bloodwork, blood sugar, cholesterol and so on were all within range, as was my BMI.

My physiotherapist wonders if The Event was stress induced. So do I, particularly considering how much has happened in the past 12 months.

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Right now, I want to rest and heal. It feels weird to not go to work. And it is (selfishly) annoying that there’s nothing new on the telly. The books that I want to read won’t arrive in time so ebooks will have to suffice.

But I am breathing. It is enough because I am unready to leave yet. I know it’s not up to me but I pray for more time to take time for me. To let go of people and situations that do me no good. To chart new paths and learn new skills to enrich my world and make me a better, calmer person. To accept that there are lifelong medications to take and that certain activities will no longer be possible.

I am, at least, ready to make positive changes.

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RDP ~ UNREADY

Rosy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

You may have read my earlier posts about my struggles in my relationship (or non-relationship) with my mother. Nothing has changed.

Social Distancing has ironically made it easier to cope in some ways: I was not able to visit and, as bad as that might make me out to be, I found that this was a relief. Afterall, if I didn’t have to meet her, there would be no friction.

I made sure to call on my father’s birthday, and I sent bread or food hampers over the lockdown weeks since the bakeries in their neighbourhood were shut. I called to check that things were well.

Guess what? Not even my father (he goes along with my mother to get along) contacted me to say anything about receiving any hamper – just to be clear I don’t need thanks, just an acknowledgement that the food had arrived so I could follow up with the delivery folks, if necessary.

My aunt has since informed me that my mother had ranted and raged upon the receiving the first hamper. She snarked about my sending food for only my aunt and father and refused to touch any because nothing was meant for her. My aunt even had to stop her from giving the second hamper to her neighbours.

The amount of food should have made it clear it was for everyone but I had forgotten about the narcissist’s martyr complex. I had allowed myself to overlook her cruel tongue. And I had deluded myself, once again, into thinking I should care.

My aunt also informed me that my mother has prepared 3 letters to be sent to my father’s relatives, each one detailing my multitude of sins. And she has had her lawyer draw up a new will in which I would get nothing.

Like it matters. I don’t want things. What I want is some measure of civility so that my own family doesn’t have to witness this acrimony. What I want is a regular mom. What I want is a dad who can support me. What I want is a situation where sending bread shouldn’t unleash another cycle of cruel words.

So, tonight, I finally broke down.

Tonight, I accepted that I am going to have to stand on my own, and stand up for myself. I am an unwanted child who has had her reputation smeared to anyone with hearing abilities; even my father has not denied that when my mother visits relatives, she speaks ill of me.

If even sending food because I cannot visit (not that I would have wanted to visit) is a problem, then either I am truly abhorrent to my mother or I am the stupidest person alive to continue to delude myself that being filial matters, and to believe that I have parents.


RDP ~ Rosy Hues

Clap! ~ Act Of Kindness #38

At 8pm this evening, people came to their balconies, windows, driveways and front doors to cheer, clap, whistle, sing and bang on pots and pans to salute the medical personnel, cleaning crews, grocery store stockers, clear-headed decision makers and everyone fighting this unseen enemy. It was amazing.

Many of us are in lockdown and coping with our new normal. Many of us want to do something, anything, to make things better for our countrymen who are working while we’re safe at home.

My heart is heavy with sorrow for the victims, their families and the tireless fighters. My throat is thick each time the news reports an increased figure in the statistics.

So I am thankful for this moment of solidarity this evening.

It was just a small gesture that carried a huge message of support. It was something we could do.

So perhaps what happened fhis evening wasn’t exactly kindness. It is certainly not unique, having taken place all over the world. It is a small wave of gratitude and thanks, a mere drop in the sea of sacrifice, vigilance and commitment for the fierce frontliners in the Covid-19 fight.

To everyone on the frontlines – thank you.