Plunge, Check, Rinse & Repeat (Week 1, Lockdown #2)
Back in the groove, home on the range, living la vida loca. Yup, it’s all happening right here in our exciting little 1km radius.
I guess the advantage of having this done this before is that repetition is easier. Kind of like a play that you’ve rehearsed for months then laid aside, and now need to simply dust off and perform again. The second time around the lines come to you much faster, the show already pre-run in your mind, the cadence of it familiar from before. You don’t need to figure it all out from scratch. You basically just pick it back up and do exactly what you did before.
So yeah, that’s where we’re at right now.
I call it confinement 2.0 the redux edition, an almost exact repetition of March & April, 2020. We’re back to walking the little 1km radius around our neighborhood, never going further except for grocery shopping or essential needs, trying to stick to a daily schedule of exercise, food, and mental health (for sanity’s sake).
For Polly of course, it’s all perfectly wonderful. She’s happy when “the pack” is together no matter where or what we’re doing. And she loves all this time at home. Who needs to go anywhere, when all you could ever want to sniff is right in your back yard? For the rest of us, it’s a familiar place, even if it’s all rather enclosed and repetitive. Wake, eat, exercise, nap and repeat…
For me personally, it’s been quite a rollercoaster. And my emotions around it this week have been….well….difficult.
Ah yes, week 1 of confinement #2, here we go….
Plunging Into The Depths
I started off this second lockdown pretty well-balanced, or so I thought. I had prepped, I knew what was coming and I had done this before. I had this, right? But despite all that I was surprised.
Almost immediately after confinement started I plunged into a deep state of despondence and angst, so much so that I became literally, physically ill.
It washed over me in an emotional vortex that hit a few days after the lockdown started, and honestly I didn’t expect it at all. I guess it was the sudden (albeit expected) realization that I was back and locked in this small space without the ability to move around freely, combined with worry about the virus numbers raging out of control all around us, concern & stress about the upcoming US election, and the fact that the future is still so darn uncertain and grey. Either way all of it came together in one grand explosion and I ended up in bed exhausted, ill, aching and barely able to move.
I was not in a good place…
Thankfully I guess, I’ve been here before. That whole self-realization thing, or just repetition and all such. I do know what I need to do, even though it’s always just as hard.
Slowly, but surely, I started to inch my way out…
Checks One, Two And Three
I started by going to see our wonderful local doctor who, in her usual assuring and sensitive manner, worked with me through all my concerns.
We had several meetings, the first online via téléconsultation (video call, now quite commonplace here in France) the second in-person for some tests, all within the space of a few days. We made a plan, switched up some things and my body started to respond again. I’m so incredibly thankful to have a doctor like this who has my back, as well as the ability to get easy care.
Check number one.
Then the US election finally got called, a stress that has been weighing on all our minds for a long time. I’m not going to talk to the politics of the matter (please, no politics in the comments either), but I do want to say this.
I’ve spent several months working to get the vote out, to help Americans abroad make their voice heard, and although I’m but a teeny blip in a massive grassroots effort, it was incredibly satisfying to see the historic number of people that voted this election. The projected final turnout rate of ~69-72% will be the highest voter turnout since 1900, with more Americans casting their vote than ever before in history. No matter who you voted for, that is a significant result. The people spoke, and now it is done.
Check number two.
Finally the sun came out again, and we saw real people, even if it was just in passing. On our morning walks we soaked in the brilliant, crisp fall weather, the leaves in the valley layered in hues of yellow and orange. And we saw the neighbors and stopped to chat; the don, always happy and engaged, going about his business on the farm; the hippie, relaxed and carefree; and our local Maire (Mayor), who just happens to be the one of the most upbeat and do-it-all guys I’ve ever known. Inspiring folks all around us, showing how its done.
Check number three.
I can honestly say that I’m in a much better place today than a mere week ago, much of it thanks to our little community.
Now, I just need to make it another 3-8 weeks…..
The Virus Numbers Ain’t Good
With all this said, the coronavirus numbers in France still ain’t looking good.
Cases are roaring all over the country. Another record 86,852 infections were announced yesterday, together with the inevitable increase in both hospitalizations and (most critically) ICU. Neither of those statistics have turned the corner, unfortunately, and they’re still not looking good.
Hospitalizations jumped 43% this week, to the rate of 1 new patient intake every 30 seconds, with 2% of those expected to end up in intensive care. That may not sound like much, but if you project that rate out mathematically, that means full ICU beds by the end of the month, unless things ease up.
Yeah, it could happen that fast….
Everyone is hoping confinement flattens the curve and prevents this, the same way it did back in Spring, but the question is, will we see results fast enough?
This 2nd infection wave got ahead of us in an exponential way, and now we’re like the tortoise trying to catch the hare. Scrambling along and doing our best, but oh-so-far behind. Plus kids are still in school and (oddly?) EU borders are still open, even if travel is limited to “motif impérieux” (compelling reasons). So although we’re technically under confinement, folks are still able to mingle and move around.
Plus I’ve got my own, additional theory on the lag….
COVID fatigue is everywhere and it’s real. People are just darn tired of worrying about the virus, staying isolated, taking precautions, being separated from loved ones. So they’re not nearly as careful as they were before.
I’ve heard this from townsfolk, and so many others. “I haven’t seen my kids/grandkids/friends in xxx months, so we decided we’d get together, even if we’re not supposed to”. It’s totally understandable, from a human point of view. But it’s also the perfect virus-spreader, as it’s the exact environment where all guards (social distancing, masks etc.) are the most relaxed. It shows in the numbers too. For a while, infections were restricted to the younger crowd, students and parties and such. But over the past months it’s spread slowly, but surely to every age group, including into retirement homes.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, we’re seeing deaths in the village next to our little rural community. That really brings it close to home.
All This Too Shall Pass
None of this is forever, I know that….and I will keep telling myself that.
We will flatten the curve again, even if it takes 2 months (which it likely will). And we will get better treatments (and eventually a vaccine), so that in the future we can manage a recurrence of this virus more or less like we manage the yearly flu. SARS-CoV-2 will come back, it will mutate (as it has already done, most recently in Denmark!) and it could even become seasonal. But eventually, it will be managed to the point that it does not overload our healthcare systems and force us to implement repetitive, crippling shutdowns. This, I do believe.
In the meantime I will plunge back into the day-to-day; baking, exercising, being present in our community and living in this moment. This is what I have control of right now, so it’s what I need to focus on. Plunge, Check, Rinse & Repeat.
Onwards and forwards, week #2 here we come….
How are you this week, my dear readers? I know this was a darker post, but hopefully it helps those of you who may (at times) feel the same way as I did this week. We can all get through this, we will all get through this. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts below.SPONSORED LINK:
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