Is my diarrhea a sign of coronavirus or did I eat too much baba ganoush yesteday? Can I still smell? I read that losing your sense of smell is a sign that coronavirus is attacking your central nervous system. I ran back into the bathroom and picked up my running pants for a sniff: yes I can still smell. But my head hurts too. Is that a common symptom? Or is it the stress and depression of this situation slowly sinking in? Or is it from staring at various screens without my bluelight glasses that I left at the office? Is it still possible to get sick in a period when people normally get sick without getting the dreaded contamination? I didn’t have the flu or anything this past winter – and it wasn’t because I’m a model of healthy living. Am I due for something anyway?
Hypochondria is a bad sign. So is the news that further announcements are going to be made to restrict movements. Jogging is still allowed but at a maximum of 1 kilometer from your home and for a maximum of 1 hour. Attestations have to include the date and the time that you left your home. I’m pouring over Google Maps right now to figure out how far I can go. I’m going to print off a map of the 11th, 10th, 20th, and 19th arrondissements to start creating new routes. I desperately need the running, because this exercise in confinement is pushing the limits of my physical and psychological capabilities.
Day 7 was the hardest day yet. Reinjecting work into the household with the kids felt like putting a cheap tequila margharita in the microwave. I’ve stopped caring about the Skype calls – the kids talk and blabber and pull on me and ask me for things and I converse with them while my coworkers listen. No need to try and angrily push them back into their room, that’s just adding stress for nothing.
And we don’t need more stress. Over the weekend the French government approved the law that we are officially in a health emergency for two full months. The confinement might be shorter than that, and the goverment stopped short of what is being called “total confinement” because of the need of people to have access to basic services, but whatever false hope their was that we would be out of this sooner rather than later has evaporated. When hope is gone, despair fills the void.
Aside from my headaches, there are more grey hairs in my beard. It’s getting harder and harder to sleep with coronavirus infecting my dreams. Each time I wake up during the night it’s impossible not to check the latest news for any dollop of goodness that may come out of the world. It’s a habit that I need to break because each check reveals a new level of low. More deaths, infections, economic carnage, lockdowns. Doctors dying, young people dying, no more masks, hospitals innundated. The worst is yet to come.
I thought that I would be able to do body pumps everyday, that I would really apply myself and do half an hour of guitar lessons per day too. I thought that the kids would be able to play by themselves periodically, that the trampoline would occupy the littlest one for more than 10 minutes per day. Trying to get a schedule in place and stick to it. Force myself to drink less coffee in the morning and less alcohol at night. None of these hopes have come to fruition. Insomnia is creeping up as the virus closes in around us. The only pleasure of food means that I am consuming more and more, snacking constantly, eating to keep away the thoughts, using my tastebuds as a proxy for what used to be freedom.
Work is piling up. And though there is a balance between the things that have been pushed back and the things I have to do, there is no large period of time to work on projects. There is no way to do anything other than put bandaids on problems and hope that the ship doesn’t sink. I’ve never had so many unread emails in my inbox. Each time I open my computer a new wave of stress rolls over me.
We have barely crossed off one week of confinement, and the idea of doing this for 7 more weeks makes me physically sick. But there is nothing we can do about it. I think about the young men who sailed across the ocean from the states to Europe to spend years fighting in a world war, dodging shells, mustard gas, landing on beaches to machine gun fire and knowing that a lot of them would never come home, never see anyone they love ever again. I’ve often wondered how I would hold up in combat, if I would hold up in combat. The situations are completely different, the battle of a different dimension, but I know that I need to toughen up. And like battles, that means having a plan.
It’s true that we’ve been winging it so far. That cannot last. We need a plan: activities for the kid that last longer than 5 minutes. Scheduling during the day to enable exercise and personal enrichment. So what I’m going to do tonight is brainstorm activities for my son, plan exercise for the end of the day to put off drinking, download some learning apps for the iPad, and look at this situation from a weekly level and not a day-by-day basis.
There are some positive things that I want to note too: there are no more shoes that are lying around our kitchen. There is a lot of time cuddling the littlest one. We will no longer say that they grow up too fast, they will grow up at exactly the right pace, and we won’t have missed this period of ultimate cuteness.
I’ll try to keep looking at the positives, but damn it would be nice to have some good news from the world soon.