It’s 3 am and here I sit looking at a blank page. A blank page I have been looking at for days now. What to share with my friends this week? An exciting adventure? A plan to go on an exciting adventure? Nope! Those are illegal these days.
In Ontario we start another 28 day stay at home order (house arrest). This is month 13 of 2 weeks to flatten the curve. The Neverending story without the fluffy dog. There seems to be no end in sight. I never would have thought that a year later we would still be here. All masked up and told to go nowhere. ( well not me I do not wear a mask). There are fines as well as people being arrested for breaking the order or not wearing a mask. It has gotten to the point of ridiculous. I keep thinking I am going to wake up and it will be just a bad dream. But no, when I awake I am still here.
This virus has totally changed my life. It has challenged me mentally and physically and I have never got it. It has showed me betrayal by the people who said they have cared for me and cruelty from people I have never met. It has given an excuse to be rude and callous. It has given people the audacity to think yelling at people and calling them names is ok as long as it is covid related. It is like living in hell and no matter which way you turn a demon is there. There is no escape.
The rules they have set out from the beginning have been outrageous, contradictive and confusing. You can get on a plane with 400 people and fly across the border but you cannot drive across in your own vehicle. You must get a covid test but even if it is negative the same rules apply if it is positive. Not sure what the point of the test is. For example, Canada now has if you fly in you must isolate at a “covid hotel” mandated by the goverment with inflated prices ($1000 per night) even if you test negative. There is a fine if you don’t but its cheaper than the hotel so that’s the way I would go. In this latest shutdown you cannot hug your mother but you can go golfing with your buddies. You cannot go to church, pasters are being arrested for holding church services, but you can attend a protest rally with 1000’s of people. The goverment has deemed who are essential (important) or non-essential (not important). Tens of thousands of small business have been shut down and a good portion of those will be closing their business for good. Thousands of peoples dreams shattered and millions out of work. Big box stores have been permitted to operate because 500 people in a big store is much safer than 5 people in a small one. Every vacation, March break last year, Easter, Christmas break they told us we were not allowed to travel but bureaucrats and health officials traveled south to get out of the cold. How does that work???? Even the premier of the province after telling everyone they could not go to their cottages went to his cottage!!! I know right!! Smh!
For me and my RVlife it has the changed the way I live enormously! It changed my job, how I live, where I can go but mostly it has taken away my independence and my pride. It has taken away people that mean a lot to me. I was finally able to see my brother last month after months of not being able to see him. He is the only family I have left. It felt good to hug him and my sister-in-law. Now we again do not know when we will be able to that. My friends that mean so much, that add magic in my life and laughter to my soul I have not seen in over year now. Touching and being touched is an important part of life. Some of those friends have passed this year and it hurts that I missed those last moments we could have shared.
Physically it’s been hard. Living in a van does not give you a lot of space to move around. With the gyms being closed and the weather, getting out and exercising is a challenge. Within the first 3 months I ended up with both of my shoulders frozen. I have never had that before and man I do not want that again! That was painful. It got to the point that by May of 2020 I could not even lift my arms without crying in pain. There was no access to any physiotherapy and you could not even see a doctor. He did what he could over the phone and I looked up exercises I could do but still even now there are certain things I can not do like push up on anything without it hurting. We will not talk about the increase of my butt size cause oh boy that’s not good. My knees are bad and was once told I would need new knees by the time I was 40. Well I am 57 and I still do not need new knees but with the added weight I can feel the difference. With non movement also came inflammation in my body. My left leg swelled to more than double its size. My joints were swollen and hard to move it was awful. With the help of cherry juice and some movement with summer I finally got it under control. Over the winter this year I had to be vigilant making sure I drank at least 1 glass of cherry juice a day or I could notice the soreness and the swelling start again.
Physically it was a struggle but mentally it was a tidal wave. I have always suffered from depression but had it under control. After losing my independence, Thank goodness for my daughter or I am not sure what I would have done, it frankly just sank me. After everything I had lost in the last 4 years that was the last straw. I fought to keep it all together until on June 23, 2020 after a meeting at work to break up our team I had a panic attack. It was all too much. The constant fear messages put out over every media avenue as well as the changing of my job (I became non important, I mean non essential), the changing of my lifestyle, having people turn on me when I thought I could trust them, the hate and anger from other people. Never in my life have I ever done anything to be spit on, yelled at, or called names. Driving to the store in my RV had become dangerous with even one man saying I “needed a good beating”. At that point I told him to bring it on. Maybe it was the crazed look in my eyes because really I have had it with being threatened and he would be the one getting a good beating if he didn’t back off, because he did. I have never felt that I could not be safe, not from a virus but from harm from people, for just going to the store for milk.
Have you ever had a panic attack? It is some scary shit! I thought I was having a heart attack which would be disastrous for me as they would take my licence. I called my doctor and he gave me the diagnosis of a panic attack and advised me to take some time off work and relax. For the first time in my life I would see a counselor and he scheduled an appointment. After 3 weeks of not getting better I had not seen a counselor yet but work was hot on my heels to get back. Not my immediate management but the service provider and insurance company. I was told that unless I could prove my illness I would have to repay everything. What??? I have a doctors note, I have never taken time off work that was not allotted to me before in 20 years I worked there. It just caused more anxiety. I had another attack. I talked to my doctor and he advised me to go somewhere I felt I could relax and he would see if he could get me into a counselor sooner. I headed north to the woods. Ahhh fresh air and quiet. No people to bash me as I was really starting to feel beat up. As the calm of the forest crept into my soul I could feel myself start to heal. Start to think about going back to work and trying to figure out how to cope with what was going on there. Then news came that my claim was rejected and was told I was not ill just “avoiding work”, I would also have to pay back $7000 in wages within 30 days or go to collections. What??? I just sold everything I owned to get out of debt and now because I fell mentally I was going to be neck deep in debt again! Again it was all to much. Where I was there was a bridge and a beautiful waterfall. I could just walk right off and make it all just stop. For the 3rd time in my life I thought of taking my own life. As I sat there and cried feeling so broken and empty I looked up and seen the pictures of my kids and my grandkids and knew I had to get somewhere safe. I was fairly close to Dunlop Lake Lodge and knew I had friends there that would hold me just for a little while. Trish with her warm hugs, Jess with his steady hand and Randy, who so reminds me of Ron White making me laugh probably saved my life that day. I knew I could not pass my pain on to those that loved me. I called the doctor and Donna, the counselor called me right back. A good conversation and I could almost breathe but I still felt as if I just had to make it all stop. I felt like I could not breathe and hence my decision to retire. Even then it was a fight with the insurance company with an independent arbitrator and finally I got a decision that yes indeed was ill and most of the claim covered but that decision did not come until January 2021.
Was it the right decision? As I sit here after having time to heal, no it was not. I miss my coworkers. Joking around with Sam and giving Everton a hard time because it’s fun. Laughing and being around some of the strongest women I know in Lisa and Sarah. Reminding Rob that 1 time I knew something that he didn’t. I know it was just a button on a keyboard but I will take it. Having Darren bug me about 1 little parcel I missed and missing Ron’s awesome cooking because of his diet. Trying to keep up with Dave as we walked, well he walked and I ran and missing all the great people that I had the privilege of working with. Oh I so cannot forget Mike’s canolis, oh they are good and the fact he likes big trucks! Haha! I do miss Bill doing the coffee run. It’s so nice when some one brings me coffee and those little stuffed tomato things he would bring and non spicy so I could eat them.
Was I in the right frame of mind to make that decision? Was it the right decision? As I sit here the answer is no. Had I been given the time I needed and my doctor recommended I would still be working although probably still owing Darren a coffee. I very much miss those people and those I did not mention here. What a fantastic team of people from all over Ontario. I was so blessed by them all. Each adding that special something to my life. The people that stood by me when I lost everything and I could not be more grateful.
The damage this virus has done to my life without ever contracting it is enormous! The pressure to take a vaccine that even after you get it you can still contact and spread the virus. You still have to wear a mask and social distance. So I am not really sure how that’s going to make anything better. BTW I really do not do prescription drugs or vaccines. No flu shot or shingles shot. Hell I am on the do not call list with my doctors office because if somethings wrong I will call you. The masks, which for me is the biggest hurdle other than being under house arrest without a house. I cannot wear one and for that the beatings of words and actions from people coming in every direction is just overwhelming. I am left to wonder if they work so well and because 1 person in the 500 that are in the store does not have one on why are we still in lockdown. Should they have not protected everyone? They put them on at the lowest numbers and now we are at the highest. So the question I ask is did they do more harm than good? I know they harmed me and I did not ever wear one.
Right now sitting here on my comfy couch (I just love my new sitting area), I have no passion for anything. Writing, envisioning any kind of future is extremely difficult. The unknown of when or if this will ever end is disheartening and depressing. I am so thankful for my kids and my grandkids who make me smile everyday and my best friends who never let me feel alone for without them my mind would be in a scarier place then it is right now.
I am sharing this because I want people to know that we all struggle. We all have moments when we fall. We are all living different lives with things that effect us differently. That all aspects of the virus needs to be taken into consideration and no one is non essential.
Hoping for a better future and maybe just maybe something exciting to write about next week.
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure.
See you next week.