Monthly Musings: A New Normal

Some people think the Covid restrictions protections haven’t bothered me as much because I’m an introvert. The truth is, of course I’m bothered. I want to see family beyond my household. I want to go fun places with my kids, and let them hang out with friends. I want to go on a girls’ weekend and get a new tattoo.

So it’s not that I’m not bothered. It’s more like I’m…resigned? accepting? somewhere in between?

Everyone is so desperate for life to go back to how it was in 2019, but my life will never be like that again. And the same can be said for the tens of thousands of people who’ve developed Long Covid (which actually bears a lot of similarities to fibromyalgia).

For instance: my pain started in my hands and wrists, making precise movements (like the ones needed to decorate cakes) somewhere in the range of painful to impossible. So I had to accept that I won’t be able to decorate fancy cakes easily, if at all (depending on my pain levels).

Over time my left leg has become unreliable enough that I can’t really leave my house without my cane (well, I could, but I’d risk falling over) and lately, there are a number of days I can’t walk around inside without one either. And so I’ve had to accept that it’s unlikely I’ll ever dance again.

And most recently, as if to add insult to injury, I’ve become lactose intolerant, and had to accept that pizza may not be worth the pain. (Although, let’s face it, it’s losing ice cream that’s killing me.)

Some people think this is a quitter’s attitude, and that believing I’ll never do those things again is giving up and “letting the illness win.” But that’s not how any of this works. A can-do attitude isn’t going to fix my body, and “pushing through the pain” will only result in more damage.

That’s not to say it’s been easy. Each realization has brought a period of grieving. Dance was maybe the hardest. I met my husband dancing. Wanted to be a dancer, growing up. Heck, I even auditioned to be one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ spirit club dancers/cheerleaders, back in the day. And now? Can’t manage more than a few steps without my leg giving out and/or intense pain.

For that matter, even just accepting I needed a cane was hard. I was in so much denial. I thought using a cane would mean I was weak. I thought I could just avoid walking on days when my leg was bad. But then I got the cane and suddenly I could go out without worrying about falling over, and it was like a new world was open to me.

Honestly, after accepting all that, something like the possibility of masks as a long-term protection doesn’t seem like much of a hardship.

And it’s why I’m so angry right now.

I just don’t have patience for whiny cry-babies who think a mask will ruin their experience of a movie, even if it means it’ll save someone else’s life.

Covid isn’t going away. I know the government keeps announcing it’s over, but we haven’t actually done anything to make that happen. If they really want it to end, we need to be proactive. We “learned to live with Cholera” by cleaning the water*, we need to “learn to live with Covid” by cleaning the air. But until we actually get around to doing that, masking is our best protection. And no amount of horn honking is going to change that.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, right. Grieving the loss of our past to get on with our lives.

The truth is, the best thing we could collectively do right now is mourn our pre-2019 lives lives and move on to a new normal – one that could even be better in some ways than life before 2019 was (imagine if cleaning the air + adequate sick days = not catching the flu every winter? Aside from convenience on a personal level, do you know how many lives that would save?)

Instead, we’re all stuck in denial, pretending that every worse mutation of this virus is going to be the last one, resulting in this Groundhog Day-style loop of never-ending infection.

It’s time to move on. And not in an ignore-it-and-it’ll-go-away kind of way. It’s time to accept that Covid is something that’s going to be around for a while and that we need to adapt our behaviour to its existence in a long-term way.

Trust me, accepting that would be easier than accepting the life-limiting disabilities that 10-30% of people who had Covid have to accept as Long Covid permanently disables them.

None of this is easy. Trust me, I know. But the sooner we start accepting these hard truths, the sooner we’ll be able to move on.

* Chicago went as far as raising the city 14 feet and reversing the flow of their river to fight cholera, you’d think we could handle installing some HEPA filters and CO2 monitors

February Check-In

Normally I’m surprised at how quickly the month has passed by. But not this month. January 2022 has felt like it lasted at least 12 weeks.

Not that I managed to get much work done on my WiP. Partly because I didn’t spend much time on it. A lot of my writing time has gone to my new blog. And, of course, it didn’t help that I lost a whole week’s worth of revising my WiP to computer gremlins. (Back-up your work, folks. I mean it. Right now. GO! Save it to the Cloud or send yourself a copy. Anything. I’ll wait…)

We good? Good.

So, I lost a week’s worth of work to computer gremlins. But it took me two weeks to re-do the work, because I’ve had my kids home in this weird remote asynchronous / homeschool hybrid thing that’s resulted from the school board/Education Ministry basically refusing to keep kids safe from Covid, and telling parents to just keep their kids home if they’re worried about their kids catching a virus that leaves up to a third of the infected with longer term health effects.

Not that I’m bitter.

And the even worse part is, that it’s going to end up being for nothing because we have to send them back eventually, and NOTHING has changed except more kids are getting sick. But apparently we’re just supposed to be cool with getting Covid now, and if you’re disabled or chronically ill already, well, sucks to be you (or me, as the case might be).

And I know this is supposed to be my writing update page, but I’m just so frustrated and angry. If we have to “learn to live with Covid” then let’s do it. Let’s set ventilation and air exchange standards, measured by CO2 levels posted for everyone to see. Let’s send out N95 masks to everyone to be used when virus levels are high. Let’s provide surveillance testing to see when/where the virus is hiding. Let’s reinstate PCR testing and isolating classes/households for the full infectious period. Let’s “Live with Covid” the way we live with Cholera.

Instead our governments have selected the eyes-closed-hands-over-ears-LA-LA-LA approach where we just pretend Covid doesn’t exist and go back to a normal that’s going to kill and disable thousands of people and possibly spell the end of our healthcare system.

Anyway, maybe I’m just extra salty because of the protests in my city (we’re safe & far from the chaos, but still angry at the hate and racism on display), but I just don’t know how I’m supposed to sit down and write when everyone has decided it’s fine if elderly or disabled people die because ‘movies just aren’t meant to be watched on a small screen.’

But, hey, at least if you die, you can have a big funeral.

January Reading Stats

  • MG Fantasy (2)
  • YA Fantasy (1)
  • A Fantasy (3)
  • A Urban Fantasy (1)

Did Not Finish (DNF) (1)

January Total: 7

Not exactly a strong start, but did I mention it was a rough month?