the beginning of isolation-light in the darkness

Another post from The Now.

On Tuesday our provincial government dropped the other boot I’d been waiting for for what seems like weeks, but really only been seven to ten days.

That boot was word of a new isolation order, which I can’t help but feel should actually be called isolation-light as we’re not in the full lock down mode we entered into during the first wave of the pandemic, but something more refined and selective than the wholesale closures that occurred the last time. I’m not going to debate the merits, as it is what it is (remember I said not so very long ago that one of my survival skills has been to accept things I cannot change and move on? Well this is one of those scenarios), and why would I consider allowing any more angst into my life in a what is already a very stressful time? Additionally, my employment requires that I consider all perspectives of the parties who come to the table, to seek to understand their version of the truth, and how that might motivate their behaviour, even when I don’t necessarily agree with their actions or conduct. It has become an inescapable reality for me, because of my work, I have been learned to keep an open mind in order to be respectful of differing perspectives, regardless of any of my personal biases (an occasional annoyance to be explored in a post for another time).

hoping isolation-light isn’t going to feel this way

What I can openly agree to, as it is undeniable, is that the first wave’s isolation left our economy beaten, bloodied, and on life support, like much of the world’s economies.  A second full on lock down requiring the complete closure of restaurants, bars, salons and gyms would result in more business closures, especially if it’s duration was anywhere near as long as the first one.

Life leading into isolation-light has really brought with it an feeling of déjà vu, however the approach of this isolation was anticipated, and no where near as sudden and shocking as the when the first wave’s isolation order was issued locally.  The approach of wave two’s isolation was plainly obvious based upon what we’d learned from the approach of wave one’s isolation, and were once again seeing occur around the world, my own country, and specifically in my home province, as I watched as our new daily cases grew to levels near those of provinces with populations that are three times those of our own.

My anxiety kept elevating as I awaited the inevitable.  My neck and shoulders were tighter than they’ve been in months as my stress manifesting itself physically.

Then the unexpected.

It could have been stress related, it could have been a result of the colder weather and time I had spent outdoors doing yard clean up and garage cleaning, or it might have been a cold passed on to me by a couple we have cohorted with at a dinner nearly two weeks previous, but when my partner woke up late last week experiencing new symptoms of an illness herself, we looked at the COVID-19 symptoms list, checked off too many boxes for comfort, and elected to get ourselves tested for ‘the vid‘ (so much better than ‘the rona’ thanks to Kevin Hart – Zero F**ks Given – on Netflix now). After managing to avoid having to be tested since the pandemic introduced itself into our lives as an unwanted guest eight months earlier, the streak was over.

apparently I have a gag reflex, another COVID lesson,
gee thanks 2020

Fortunately we didn’t agonize or suffer much waiting for the results over the weekend.  We used delivery services to have what essentials we needed restocked (for day to day use, not to build up a horde of supplies to last us through into the new year – seriously, people, toilet paper hording, again?), and we stayed isolated, watching movies, listening to music, napping and resting to recover from a week that had already made long enough by work.

We self-medicated; anti inflammatory for my neck and shoulders, and a tasty cocktail or two in the evenings, and there may or may not have been some THC to help ease the passage of the weekend (not a horrible way to approximate vacation level relaxation on a weekend – note to self, if sun and sand isn’t in the mix this winter, perhaps THC and booze will help comprise an isolated winter vacation, oh joy (sarcasm intended).  We awoke to our tests results on Monday morning: both negative. We weren’t surprised by the results, as a seasonal bug usually hits me this time of year, but we wanted to do our due diligence to ensure we hadn’t become a risk to others.  I only wish that when the results came in as negative that our symptoms went away as easily as our worries about what the effects of COVID might have been on us if we had become infected; ten days on, the pain in my neck and shoulders is still reminding me to listen to my body and to take it easy.

The news Tuesday evening of isolation-light resulted in my shoulders dropping and relaxing (the inevitable finally happened) but the tightness has returned, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree than before.

There can be no stronger example of my change to a healthier perspective on medicine during The Pause than my finally accepting eastern medicine as a potential source of care for what occasionally ails me. The fact I actually agreed to make an appointment to see the acupuncturist my partner recommended, when I have time and time again refused to even consider seeing a chiropractor, is somewhat of a minor miracle. No doubt my partner had had enough of my complaining of the pain and my appearance of walking around as though a stick had been placed up a delicate orifice, for her to even consider making the suggestion to me. Here’s hoping I’ll actually get a chance to follow through on the consult and treatment, as I need to confirm if they’re remaining open to clients during isolation-light.

um wait, didn’t I have a fear of needles at some point?
I agreed to what now?

The other evening, as I contemplated the new provincial direction on isolation, I was stunned to realize that I had blocked much from my memory, or at the very least had not dedicated much time to thinking about what the experience of transitioning from The Boil to the mandated isolation life style The Pause brought. Much of the three months before our economy partially reopened is a blur, but I do recall when reopening was ordered that the number of new daily cases was being reported provincially was in the range of about thirty a day, versus the record breaking 1100 to 1500 cases we’ve seen in the last ten days or so. 

It is now just under one month to Christmas, and there is very little reason to believe we’ll be seeing a return to those low numbers that allowed us to emerge from the first isolation into a more open, but still very much limited freedom.   I have no illusions of spending the holidays with family, the three weeks between now and reviewing isolation-light for extension or new restrictions provide little hope of reprieve.  The numbers we see today are going to translate to more hospitalizations and more ICU beds being dedicated to the care of those experiencing the worst of COVID-19s interactions due to comorbidities (another word I likely would have never used if not for COVID. ‘how COVID improved my vocabulary’ seems a far duller theme to have adopted for my blogging efforts, however).

I am not a man who finds his spirituality in religion, so Christmas for me has always been more about being with family than about the birth of Christ.  It will be particularly odd to isolate this year, but I want to be able to enjoy a return to normalcy and comfort of safely being with family and friends post-vaccine, so I will adapt this season’s festivities as necessary. For me, the joy of Christmas has been directly linked to knowing that the daylight hours were slowly starting to get longer with each passing day, that the corner had turned on the darkness of winter.  Until then, and to assist our moods and hopefully those of pedestrians who pass by the house daily, we’ll be bringing some light into our lives this weekend when my partner and I will put up our Christmas tree and start fighting both the gloom of shortening days and the prospects of an isolation-light Christmas and New Year (with no respect at all intended, fuck you 2020).

a suitable approximation of my christmas decoration toleration capacity

Happy Thanksgiving to my American neighbours and readers! I hope you find some joy in the day, however you choose to spend it in this very unique and trying time. I hope you make good memories that will last you a lifetime.

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