The Lockdown Tag

I don’t think anyone specifically tagged me for this tag, but I saw it on a number of other blogs. The idea is to answer a number of questions about life in lockdown. We just went into “partial lockdown” again, or really are going tonight, but the prime minister delivered the news yesterday evening. I think it’s about time I write about life in lockdown again.

1. Overall, how are you handling the quarantine?
I’m hanging in there. Now that at least some restrictions have been going on for over half a year, I’m coping less well than at the beginning of the lockdown.

2. Have you violated any of the restrictions? If yes, what rule(s) did you break?
Honestly, yes. When the no-visitors policy in care homes was lifted last May, we were expected to still keep our distance from visitors and avoid physical contact. Well, I did at first try, but I just couldn’t resist hugging my husband.

3. What viral recipes have you tried during the lockdown?
I didn’t even know that this is a thing. I haven’t really tried any new recipes, honestly.

4. What activities have you missed the most during quarantine?
At first, of course, I missed seeing my husband altogether, as it wasn’t allowed at all. Now that we’re allowed visitors again, I miss going places, like restaurants, with my husband. Restaurants are closed again for two weeks at least from tonight on, but even when they were still open, I wouldn’t take the risk.

5. Do you wear a mask when you leave the house?
Uhm, no. I don’t travel by public transportation at all or go to public places much. Until yesterday’s press conference, the government didn’t want to mandate mask-wearing except on public transportation, but only “strongly advised” it in public places like stores. As of tonight, a mask will be required in all public places and also outside of classes in secondary and tertiary education. It’s not required when going for walks outdoors. I do think that, when my mother-in-law visits tomorrow, I’m going to wear a mask to protect her, as she’s generally very careful and I’m not.

6. Are you an essential worker? If yes, what is your job title?
No. I don’t work. Thankfully, my staff are classed as essential workers and we didn’t get holiday or weekend staffing levels so far, which I was worried about at first.

7. How do you exercise during the lockdown?
I go for walks, go on the elliptical, do weight training and yoga. Basically, all my usual exercise activities. I was on the waiting list to go swimming before lockdown and had considerd going to a gym too. Swimming was canceled here at the facility and, though gyms are still open, I don’t want to take the risk.

8. Have you subscribed to any new subscription services since the lockdown started?
No. I did briefly restart my Netflix subscription, but canceled it again after a month. I much prefer reading to watching.

9. What did/does your daily schedule look like before the pandemic started?
I’m assuming the question is meant to ask how our schedules differ now that we’re in lockdown, because of course the pandemic is raging so there’s no present tense “does” before the pandemic. Anyway, before the pandemic I would go to the day center at around 9:30AM and stay there until 4PM. Now that we’re provided day activities in the home, I usually don’t start them until 10AM at least. I also take more breaks than I used to. I much prefer the current arrangement.

10. Do you think that the pandemic is getting better or worse?
Worse. It’s all pretty awful. I really hope they’ll find a vaccine soon.

11. What have you learnt/became grateful for during the lockdown?
I’ve become more appreciative in general. For example, I’m grateful for my health, my ability to still go outside for walks, being able to see my husband… lots of things!

12. How do you think the world should learn from this pandemic so that things are better in the future?
I think in general people have learned to be more health conscious. Other than that, I don’t think the pandemic taught us any big lesson or whatever. Of course, I could get all fluffy about people possibly being kinder and more grateful towards each other and the planet, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

I’m not tagging anyone, but if you want to do this tag, feel free to.

Pandemic Positives

Today, Fandango asks in his weekly provocative question wehther the need to quarantine as a result of COVID-19 has made you a better person.

Lockdown here started in the middle of March with restaurants acutely closing their doors, school closures and, a week later, a no-visitors policy in nursing homes and care facilities. I couldn’t see my husband for nearly three months. Then we could see each other, but we had to keep our distance as much as possible.

Life more or less returned to some sembleance of normal at the end of June. Still, people are scared. I, not so much, though I do take COVID-19 seriously. There are still certain restrictions, most of which don’t affect me too much.

The main thing affecting me was not being able to see my husband. This certainly made me appreciate our very special relationship even more than I appreciated it already. I mean, I chose to go into long-term care last year, of course not knowing that this would mean not seeing my husband for a few months. However, I doubt most marriages would survive even that decision, let alone the consequences. I attribute the success of our marriage mostly to my husband’s everlasting love, but I do deserve some credit for it too.

In general, too, the pandemic has made me more appreciative of what I do have. I am physically healthy and so are my loved ones. In April, a man at the home below me died of coronavirus. Though he was in his 70s, this shocked me a little. My father is in his 70s too, so I’m all the more grateful to still have him.

Other than gratitude, I think the pandemic taught me some level of creativity. Before the lockdown, I found it hard to connect to my husband when I didn’t see him. Now we call each other multiple times a week and text multiple times a day. Of course, I could’ve done that before too, but out of need grew the solution.

I also read somewhere that some people are particularly happier now than they were before the pandemic. I have to say so am I. The reasons may not be related to the pandemic at all, as I’ve also finally settled into the care facility and such.

In general though, I think the pandemic has had and continues to have negative effects on the world, of course. However, if it affected me personally at all, it’s positively. By this I don’t mean my economic, social or health status, of course. Though I’m still financially secure and healthy, no-one knows whether this will remain this way given the huge economic costs of the pandemic. I’ve just become a more positive (or should I say less negative?) person.

COVID-19 Reality Check: It’s Still Not Over

So like I said earlier today, I had a low-grade fever yesterday. I didn’t think much of it. I guess the reality that COVID-19 is far from over yet, hasn’t hit home yet. My husband was immediately worried. I may’ve worried him too much by my wording. I mean, there’s a word for a low-grade fever that I should have used, but I said I had a slight fever instead.

I asked my husband whether he could come tomorrow, now that I no longer have a fever. He said no way and got a little annoyed with me for even raising the issue again. He said if I do have COVID-19 and infect him and then his father, my father-in-law could die. Or if I do develop symptoms again when at my husband’s and my house in Lobith, I won’t be allowed to come back to the care facility. I understand, but it’s hard.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic having hit the Netherlands, I was somewhat optimistic about its progress. I mean, I predicted that, by September 2020, vacations would still be discouraged but the virus would pretty much have left anyway. It hasn’t.

Then in mid-May, life more or less went back to normal within the care facility for me. At the end of June, the restrictions on visitors were practically lifted altogether. I mean, I’m supposed to call the facility after having been in Lobith to make sure I’m still symptom-free and so is the care home, but I don’t.

In early August, my mother-in-law came by and we went to sit outside of a restaurant for a cup of coffee. No-one asked for our contact details or checked that we met the 1.5m distance requirement. I later heard the rules were made stricter again at the end of that week, but I still am not seeing much of a difference.

My care facility went mostly back to normal over the summer. I mean, the home a floor below me got infected with COVID-19 in late March. After that, staff were not allowed to work on multiple units and the night staff were to keep their distance as much as possible. After all other homes stayed clear, staff are now allowed to work on multiple units again, even in the same day. Staff, except for the night staff, never stopped hugging clients or holding their hand. Some staff wear face masks some of the time. Most don’t.

My husband commented earlier this evening on terraces being packed full of people in Elten, Lobith’s neighboring town across the German border. He sarcasttically wondered whether they had the vaccine already. They don’t.

My husband is scared. He may be more cautious than most, or at least than me. That’s a good thing though. He wants to protect himself and his loved ones. I understand.

Meanwhile, I want to go back to normal – the old normal. I saw a writing prompts book on coronavirus today in Apple books and decided to get it, even though in my mind, COVID-19 was in March, not September. Yet it is.

Mama’s Losin’ It

PoCoLo

My Daily Routine (Or Lack Thereof)

And still it’s incredibly hot here! It did start to rain last night, but it’s not cooled down much in my room. It’s already past 9PM here and I don’t feel like writing. Or doing anything else. But I bet I cannot sleep either. Therefore, I blog.

Today’s #FDDA prompt is “your daily routine”. My daily what, I ask?

Unlike many other autistics, I am not one for clear routines. In the mental hospital, I would just lie around and do whatever, just like I see many people do now during the COVID-19 lockdown. I didn’t have a set time I’d go to bed or get up. I didn’t have a daily personal hygiene routine, as I hated most personal care tasks and there was no-one to say I needed to do them. Well, there was the staff, of course, but it was their view that I was responsible enough to decide these things for myself.

Once I lived with my husband, I did go to a day center each weekday morning. This meant I did have to get up at the same time each day. I did have an okay morning routine back then, as my husband had instilled the importance of personal care into me.

Then I went into long-term care. Pre-COVID, I still had somewhat of a routine, as I was expected to go to the day center each weekday (except for every other Friday). I tried to maintain such a routine when the day center closed, but I cannot seem to really.

Still, I have some set activities I do each day. I go for a walk in the morning and one in the afternoon too. We also have coffee, lunch and dinner at the same time each day. Now that it’s hot though, I don’t go for walks and often skip coffee break too.

These last few weeks, the days have truly been merging into each other like time didn’t really matter. I do still try to blog most days, usually around the same time.

Sometimes, I wish I had more of a strict daily routine. That’s not really possible though and I’m not sure it’s really what would be best for me.

What about you? Do you thrive on routine?

Five Things I Enjoyed During Lockdown #5Things

Today I’m joining in with the Five Things Challenge, for which the topic this week is things we enjoyed during lockdown.

Now I must say we had an “intelligent” lockddown here. Most businesses were closed, as were schools and restaurants. Many people still weren’t taking it seriously. After a week of school and business closures, on March 23, the prime minister announced stricter enforcement of the stay-at-home order. That’s when he invented the term “intelligent lockdown”. The care facility implemented a no-visitors policy after this. Still, there were no curfews or rigid restrictions on where or when you could be outside. As such, my list may be a little different from that of those who experienced a complete lockdown. Here goes.

1. Walking. Like I said, we didn’t have a curfew. Still, according to Fitbit, in the Netherlands too steps taken dropped significantly during lockdown. I, however, was able to increase my steps a lot.

2. Blogging. It’s great that the #AtoZChallenge was in April, in the midst of lockdown. I truly enjoyed blogging almost everyday during the strictest stay-at-home orders.

3. Reading. Similarly, suddenly I had time to read. Not only did I not go visit my husband or need to fulfill other obligations, but the day center was (and still is) closed. At the day center, I occasionally tried to read, but the noise was just too much. As a result, I had much more time to read. I don’t think I finished any of the books on my lockdown TBR list, but that’s probably because I’m a mood reader.

4. Saving money. Okay, that’s not something I did, but it did happen. I didn’t go out to dinner or have to buy transportation tickets to go to my husband. I didn’t get my hair done, which was really okay as I hate getting it done. In the end, I ended up saving some money. Then I bought my iPhone, of course.

5. Snacking. In the early weeks of lockdown, I was using the added stressor as an excuse to snack on candy and cookies and basically anything. Magically, I more or less maintained my weight throughout the lockdown. I’m due to get weighed in tomorrow again.

What were the positives of the lockdown for you?

Gratitude List (June 20, 2020) #TToT

Hi everyone! How are you all doing? I’m a bit tired, but not ready to go to bed yet. Instead, I’m going to write a gratitude list again. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. Sunshine. The weather was really good over the past week. We had some light rain some days, but most days were sunny and warm.

2. An anti-allergy medication. I have bad eczema that itched like hell for some weeks. I finally went to the doctor on Wednesday and got an antihistamine called desloratadine. It didn’t help at all the first few days, or maybe without the medication the itch would’ve been even worse. In any case, now it does seem to help.

3. An antibiotic ointment. One spot, which the doctor initially thought was the result of an insect sting, got inflamed. Thankfully, with some Fucidin applied topically, the inflammation is a lot less now.

4. The night staff. A few nights ago, the itch was so bad and the inflamed spot so painful that I got really scared. I called for the night staff to apply some oily cream to the eczema. She did this, but I remained very scared. Somehow, I had gotten it in my head that I’d get sepsis from this. I pressed the call button again at around 2:30AM. The night staff was so kind and reassuring.

5. Alternatives to bread. I don’t really care for bread for lunch, at least not when topped with the ordinary kind of things you normally put on bread, such as cheese, peanut butter, etc. Thankfully, we had some lettuce left over from making burritos last week, so I had a salad for lunch one day. Another day, I had noodles.

6. Pancakes. Today, two staff came to our home on a voluntary basis just to bake us pancakes. They were so delicious!

7. Reaching my step goal. I reached over 12K steps (my goal being 10K) on three days this week. Today, I didn’t do so well, so I will still need to get some 5K steps tomorrow to break my weekly record of just under 65K steps.

8. The visiting rules at my care facility likely being relaxed as of next week Friday. The announcement will go onto the facility’s COVID-19 page on Monday.

9. My parents offering to visit me. I called my Mom last Sunday and, as we were discussing the visiting rules, my father asked if they could come too. I initially was a bit hesitant and I’m very nervous, but also excited. They will be visiting me next Friday.

Oh, and now I can’t think of a number 10, but whatever. I’m grateful for being able to express my gratitude. Consider that my tenth thankful. Besides, the number is just a suggestion.

What are you grateful for?

It’s Been Three Months

Today, it’s been three months since the day center closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown. A few days earlier, we’d already been advised not to get visitors at the care facility, but the no-visiting rule didn’t take effect till March 25. Over at Mama’s Losin’ It, Kat asks us in one of her writing prompts this week how we’re doing three months into lockdown.

Of course, the restrictions are slowly being lifted. As of May 21, we’re allowed two visitors, ideally from the same household. They still need to maintain distancing, can’t have physical contact with us and can’t enter the care homes.

I found out yesterday that more restrictions may be lifted as of June 26. I already arranged for my parents to come visit me on the 26th, as my staff said this was okay even though my mother-in-law will be visiting me on the 25th and my husband on the 27th. I guess they’re being less strict as it’s my birthday on the 27th.

The new rules, if they take effect on the 26th, would allow limited outside activities, such as visits with family. Then again, a lot is still uncertain and is left up to the specific homes’ staff and management. Regardless, the day center won’t fully reopen till October.

I’m doing pretty well amidst the lessening restrictions. I mean, I’m really excited but also a bit anxious about possibly being allowed to go home to Lobith again. It’d be cool if I could have a real birthday celebration even if it isn’t right on the 27th.

With respecct to the day center, I’m happy it won’t reopen fully till October. I feel a lot more comfortable getting day activities in my own home, where I can retreat into my room. I also think I get more support now. I really hope a way will be found for me to retain a similar level of support once we return to the day center.

It’s interesting that, with quarantine having lasted for three months and still a lot of restrictions remaining, I hardly ever think of COVID-19 or the lockdown. Last week, another writing prompt I came across was about quarantine and I couldn’t think of what to write for it. Several people I know were tested for coronavirus recently, but I readily assumed they would be negative (and they were).

Other than that, we don’t shake hands and keep our distance whenever possible. That will likely continue for a long time still. generally though, I’m going with the flow, as they say.

Of course, I’m happy I can see my husband and family again. I’m also still very happy that this thing didn’t happen last year, because then I’d have to stay at home alone for so many months. Remember, the day center won’t reopen till October. Now this feels comforting. Last year, this definitely wouldn’t have been the case.

Mama’s Losin’ It

What’s Up (May 2020)

Today, I discovered What’s Up Wednesday and thought I’d join in. What’s Up Wednesday is a monthly linky in which bloggers recap their past month. Here goes.

What I Ate

I don’t meal plan, as here at the care facility, we get meals delivered. I didn’t have the greatest meals this past week. Last week Wednesday, I had a fish curry that had fish bones in it. I ate part of it nonetheless, but eventually got annoyed and left the rest. My husband told me that this was unacceptable indeed. My staff sent out a complaint.

Then on Friday, I had vegetable rice only. Vegetable rice is just rice with a tiny bit of veg in it. I had no meat or meat substitute in my meal at all.

Thankfully though, over the past few days, the food was okay.

Then yesterday, my day activities staff and I put hamburgers on some type of grill for lunch. It was delicious!

What I’m Reminiscing About

I haven’t had the best month with respect to my mood. For this reason, a lot of memories have come up. I have been discussing some in my sessions with my community psychiatric nurse and also writing about them on here.

What I’m Loving

Being able to see my husband again! Due to the coronavirus lockdown, my care facility had a no-visitors policy for the past two months. Thankfully though, the policy was lifted last week. My husband and I still can’t have physical contact or even be within a five-feet distance, but it’s okay. I’m just so glad to meet my husband in real life again.

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve been doing a lot of walking over this past month. The weather is really good. We had one rainy day, last Sunday, but overall it’s been really sunny and warm outside.

I’ve also been blogging a lot over the past month. I’m so glad to keep up the productive spirit!

What I’m Dreading

Nothing really. I did have a rough few weeks and was dreading a crisis happening again. Today is a pretty good day though. The tech guys installed the door sensor that will alert the night staff if I elope again today.

What I’m Excited About

Seeing my husband again this Saturday!

I’m also excited about getting Italian takeaway this Sunday. I’m probably going to get a tuna pizza.

What We’re Doing This Weekend

It’s a holiday weekend here in the Netherlands because of Pentecost. For this reason, we’re getting lots of extra treats at the care facility. Other than that and seeing my husband, I don’t have much planned.

What I’m Watching

Nothing to be honest. I’ve been thinking about getting a Netflix subscription again, but haven’t gotten down to it.

What I’m Reading

Nothing at the moment, but I did finish two books this past month: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Wink by Rob Harrell. I reviewed that last one earlier this month.

What I’m Listening To

I’m mostly listening to the Pop Warm-UP 130 BPM playlist on Spotify. I actually love the upbeat, fast-paced tunes to “dance” to.

I also got myself a ScribD subscription, though I unsubscribed again after a few weeks. I listened to Anne of Green Gables as an audiobook on there. I must say I don’t think I see the benefit of audiobooks.

What I’m Working On

My birthday wishlist! I asked my husband to help me install a new iPhone that I’m goign to buy. I haven’t bought it yet, but am looking forward to doing so in a few weeks.

I’ve been looking at a sensory supplies store again for birthday gifts to ask my in-laws, parents and sister. I think I want a Jinglin’ ball. This is a soft ball that makes a sound when rolled. The adaptive supplies store for the blind also sells ringing balls, but these are too hard for safe playing with my fellow clients.

What I’m Wearing

Orange Dress

I have had this orange dress for a few years already, but hardly ever wore it before going into the care facility, because I can’t fasten the ribbon. I am loving it though. I also asked my staff to do my hair for this picture.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

My birthday, obviously! It isn’t till the 27th of June, so we’ll have another What’s Up Wednesday before that, but oh well.

What Else Is Up

I think that about covered it.

Choosing Love #SoCS

Choosing love is important. Choosing that one person you would want to be with. Or choosing more than one if that’s your thing. Many lovers value their partner above themself. I’m not sure I do and that often makes me feel bad about myself.

I mean, I always say that Jeroen is the most cherished, best, loveliest person in the world. Then he replies that it’s me. Sometimes we go on to joke that it’s our cat Barry.

Yet, whenever I say I love Jeroen more than myself, I think: “So why did I choose to go into the care facility?”

I was fully expecting my husband to say the same when he visited me for the first time in over two months, since visiting had been prohibited until now due to coronavirus lockdown. I fully expected him to come and tell me he didn’t want to be my husband anymore. And yet he didn’t! I’m so happy that, even though I chose my own happiness over his, he chose love!

Written for this week’s Stream of Consciousness or #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “ch”. Also writing this using the new block editor.

Looking Forward To…

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “forward”. Let me share what I look forward to.

I look forward to seeing my husband tomorrow. The visiting rules for nursing homes were relaxed in prime minister Rutte’s latest speech on Tuesday. The new regulations wouldn’t take effect till next Monday, but my care facility decided to allow visitors from this Thursday, the day of Christ’s ascension and hence a bank holiday, on.

There are still strict guidelines. Visitors cannot touch clients or even be within five feet distance. We’re not allowed to travel in the car with our visitors or go to public places such as shops or snack vendors.

My husband was a little disappointed at the strict guidelines, and I wholeheartedly agree. Of course, I want to hug him too. After all, we haven’t seen each other in real life in over two months. Too bad we can’t at this point. However, it’s better than nothing.

I look forward to hopefully spending some good time with him. Hopefully, of course, the rules will be relaxed even more soon. That’s still unknown though. As far as I know, our care facility is already less strict than what Rutte said, as he said only one person per client can visit. Our facility allows two at a time. Not that I need that, as my parents or in-laws are a long way from visiting me, but oh well.

Wow, I actually finished writing this in five minutes flat. Thanks so much for reading.