Author Topic: Coronavirus  (Read 7796 times)

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #375 on: October 12, 2020, 09:19:49 AM »
[Sorry, Tupp. Here's the article... Hugs-Hops]

When President Trump got sick, I had this moment of deja vu back to when I first woke up in the hospital. I know what itís like to be humiliated by this virus. I used to call it the ďscamdemic.Ē I thought it was an overblown media hoax. I made fun of people for wearing masks. I went all the way down the rabbit hole and fell hard on my own sword, so if you want to hate me or blame me, thatís fine. Iím doing plenty of that myself.

[About this series
Voices from the Pandemic is an oral history of covid-19 and those affected.]


The party was my idea. Thatís what I canít get over. Well, I mean, it wasnít even a party ó more like a get-together. There were just six of us, okay? My parents, my partner, and my partnerís parents. Weíd been locked down for months at that point in Texas, and the governor had just come out and said small gatherings were probably okay. Weíre a close family, and we hadnít been together in forever. It was finally summer. I thought the worst was behind us. I was like: ďHell, letís get on with our lives. What are we so afraid of?Ē

Some people in my family didnít necessarily share all of my views, but I pushed it. Iíve always been out front with my opinions. Iím gay and Iím conservative, so either way Iím used to going against the grain. I stopped trusting the media for my information when it went hard against Trump in 2016. I got rid of my cable. Itís all opinion anyway, so Iíd rather come up with my own. I find a little bit of truth here and a little there, and I pile it together to see what it makes. I have about 4,000 people in my personal network, and not one of them had gotten sick. Not one. You start to hear jokes about, you know, a skydiver jumps out of a plane without a parachute and dies of covid-19. You start to think: ďSomethingís really fishy here.Ē You start dismissing and denying.

I told my family: ďCome on. Enough already. Letís get together and enjoy life for once.Ē

They all came for the weekend. We agreed not to do any of the distancing or worry much about it. I mean, I havenít seen my mother in months, and Iím not supposed to go up and hug her? Come on. We have a two-story house, so there was room for us to all stay here together. We all came on our own free will. It felt like something we needed. It had been months of doing nothing, feeling nothing, seeing no one, worrying about finances with this whole shutdown. My partner had been sent home from his work. Iíd been at the finish line of raising $3.5 million for a new project, and that all evaporated overnight. Iíd been feeling depressed and angry, and then it was like: ďOkay! I can breathe.Ē We cooked nice meals. We watched a few movies. I played a few songs on my baby grand piano. We drove to a lake about 60 miles outside of Dallas and talked and talked. It was nothing all that special. It was great. It was normal.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling a little iffy. I have a lot of issues with sleeping, and I thought thatís probably what it was. I let everyone know: ďI donít feel right, but Iím guessing it might be exhaustion.Ē I was kind of achy. There was a weird vibration inside. I had a bug-eye feeling.

A few hours later, my partner was feeling a little bad, too. Then my parents. Then my father-in-law got sick the next day, after heíd already left and gone to Austin to witness the birth of his first grandchild. I have no idea which one of us brought the virus into the house, but all six of us left with it. It kept spreading from there.

I told myself it wouldnít be that bad. ďItís the flu. Itís basically just the flu.Ē I didnít have the horrible cough you keep hearing about. My breathing never got too terrible. My fever peaked for like one day at 100.5, which is nothing ó barely worth mentioning. ďAll right. I got this. See? It was nothing.Ē But then some of the other symptoms started to get wild. I was sweating profusely. I would wake up in a pool of sweat. I had this tingling feeling all over my body, this radiating kind of pain. Do you remember those old space heaters that youíd plug in, and the red lines would light up and glow? I felt like that was happening inside my bones. I was burning from the inside out. I was buzzing. I was dizzy. I couldnít even turn my head around to look at the TV. I felt like my eyeballs were in a fishbowl, just bopping around. I rubbed Icy Hot all over my head. It was nonstop headaches and sweating for probably about a week ó and then it just went away. I got some of my energy back. I had a few really good days. I started working on projects around the house. I was thinking: ďOkay. Thatís it. Pretty bad, but not so terrible. I beat it. I managed it. Nothing worth shutting down the entire world over.Ē Then one day I was walking up the stairs, and all of the sudden, I couldnít breathe. I screamed and fell flat on my face. I blacked out. I woke up a while later in the ER, and 10 doctors were standing around me in a circle. I was lying on the table after going through a CT scan. The doctors told me the virus had attacked my nervous system. Theyíd given me some medications that stopped me from having a massive stroke. They said I was minutes away.

I stayed in the hospital for three days, trying to get my mind around it. It was guilt, embarrassment, shame. I thought: ďOkay. Maybe now Iíve paid for my mistake.Ē But it kept getting worse.

Six infections turned into nine. Nine went up to 14. It spread from one family member to the next, and it was like each person caught a different strain. My mother-in-law got it and never had any real symptoms. My father is 78, and he went to get checked out at the hospital, but for whatever reasons, he seemed to recover really fast. My father-in-law nearly died in his living room and then ended up in the same hospital as me on the exact same day. His mother was in the room right next to him because she was having trouble breathing. They were lying there on both sides of the wall, fighting the same virus, and neither of them ever knew the other one was there. She died after a few weeks. On the day of her funeral, five more family members tested positive.

My father-in-lawís probably my best friend. Itís an unconventional relationship. Heís 52, only nine years older than me, and we hit it off right away. He runs a construction company, and I would tag along on his jobs and ride with him around Dallas. Iíve been through a lot in my life ó from food stamps to Ferraris and then back again ó so I could tell a good story and make him laugh. He builds these 20,000-square-foot custom homes, but heíd been renting his whole life. We decided to go in together on 10 acres outside Dallas, and he was finally getting ready to build his own house. Weíd already done the plumbing and gotten streets built on the property. Weíd planted 50 pecans and oaks to give the property some shade. He had his blueprints all drawn up. It was all he wanted to talk about.

He was on supplemental oxygen, but the doctors kept reducing the amount he was getting. They thought he was getting better. He was still making jokes, so I wasnít all that worried. He told me: ďTheyíve got you upstairs in the Cadillac rooms because youíre White, but all of us Mexicans are still down here in the ER.Ē I got sent home, and I had a lot of guilt about leaving him there. I called him at the hospital, and I was like: ďIím going to come bust you out Mission Impossible style.Ē He said he preferred El Chapo style. We were laughing so hard. I hung up, and a few hours later I got a call from my mother-in-law. She was hysterical. She could barely speak. She said one of his lungs had collapsed and the other was filling with fluid. They put him on a ventilator, and he lay there on life support for six or seven weeks. There was never any goodbye. He was just gone. Itís like the world swallowed him up. We could only have 10 people at the funeral, and I didnít make that list.

I break down sometimes, but mostly Iím empty. Am I glad to be alive? I donít know. I donít know how to answer that.

Thereís no relief. This virus, I canít escape it. Itís torn up our family. Itís all over my Facebook. Itís the election. Itís Trump. Itís what I keep thinking about. How many people would have gotten sick if Iíd never hosted that weekend? One? Maybe two? The grief comes in waves, but that guilt just sits.
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #376 on: October 12, 2020, 09:31:46 AM »
Lawd, Hops.  I got painful chill bumps reading that....I still have them.

Lighter

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #377 on: October 12, 2020, 09:53:22 AM »
It's a wonderful series, Lighter. I'm glad I subscribe.

I think human stories like this get through to [some] people better than arguing politicians do. (At the moment I'm watching the Amy Barrett handmaid hearing. Sigh.)

hugs
Hops

PS If anybody wants to read a few more of these stories, say the word.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 10:09:53 AM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #378 on: October 12, 2020, 05:42:12 PM »
Aw, Hops, thanks for cut and pasting all of that.  I am slightly concerned that I feel no compassion?  I've noticed it a few times over the last couple of weeks.  I don't know whether I've shut down a bit just in order to cope with it all or if I'm turning into an uncaring old woman but I've noticed things that would normally make me feel sad or make me feel sorry for people are just making me shrug my shoulders and think, oh well.  I'm sorry that guy's been so ill and that other family members have died but I don't get how people don't get how bad this is?  Worldwide news with pictures of bodies piled up in streets because the morgues are full, reports of hospitals running out of body bags, emergency hospitals being built in a matter of weeks, globally.  A global media hoax?  That multiple news outlets in multiple countries are all in on, along with thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, care home staff and all the people that have had it or lost relatives to it?  But some countries didn't join in, so have few casualties, but still did lockdowns and went along with part of the hoax but didn't reveal it to anyone?  I get people being desperate to see each other and desperate for normality but I think I struggle with the difference between, "ok, it's real but I think the risk of not earning money, not seeing anyone, not going anywhere for months is doing as much harm as getting the virus might" (which is very prevalent here right now and I understand the sentiment) but thinking it's not real?  I just don't get that bit.  Well I do hope anyway that he gets a lot better and that other people might read it and have the penny drop for them (or will they think it's a hoax?  More fake news?).  Crazy times.  Thank you for posting it, it's an interesting read :)

In local news, cases have dropped by about fifty today without any deaths in the last two weeks which is good.  They've done a map of where all the cases are and almost all are in the University town.  Fewer than twenty in our immediate local area which with a population of thirty odd thousand is pretty good compared to some areas. Johnson announced a tier system for lockdowns that makes little sense, as with all his other announcements (someone on Twitter called him a 'callow twat' which just had me laughing my head off).  As our area is low there's no change here but in some areas they've closed pubs again and people aren't allowed in each other's houses and so on.  I did get a bit low today; I'm trying not to think about the winter months but it was cold today, rained constantly and the sky was grey and it got to me a bit.  Good sleep needed tonight!  No doubt will feel better in the morning.

lighter

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #379 on: October 13, 2020, 02:02:16 PM »
Denial and fear are powerful things, Tupp.


And you aren't lacking in compassion, imo.  You're a bit shell shocked, maybe. 

Lighter

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #380 on: October 13, 2020, 03:33:39 PM »
Denial and fear are powerful things, Tupp.


And you aren't lacking in compassion, imo.  You're a bit shell shocked, maybe. 

Lighter

Thanks, Lighter.  I'm hoping it's a bit shell shocked or something, I don't want to end up not caring about anyone!  That would be too grim.  Local numbers have dropped by a few more today with fewer clusters as well (the local authority put out various figures; I'm finding the weekly numbers easiest to follow and make sense of).  I'm hoping they keep going down but am wondering if we'll get numbers going up after every holiday if it is linked to schools and universities going back?  They're due a half term soon and then it's seven weeks or so until they break up for Christmas.  Will be difficult if the numbers keep jumping after each break.  There are apparently more in hospital at the moment than there were when they started the lockdown in March.  I'm really hoping not as many turn out to be fatal, especially as we'll have normal flu doing the rounds as well.  We will carry on staying in.  I've pretty much decided not to look at any possible house moves now until next Spring.  Our house here is small, but it's very convenient for town, food shopping and places to walk without lots of other people.  I'm just feeling it's better to stay in one place and wait for all of this to do whatever it needs to do.  It's an added pressure if we do a house move as well.  I'll be glad when it's over.

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #381 on: October 13, 2020, 04:16:06 PM »
Lordy, I'll be glad of it too, Tupp!

Meanwhile, I've simplified my brain-screeching by deciding that for now, there's just ONE thing I'll pay any attention to for safety: the daily case rate. Takes excavating the public health website and is way too complicated....should be broadcast in every locality every day. Boy are we caught flat-footed, because we haven't emphasized public health funding and education nearly enough.

Simplicity (even in thinking) seems to be helping me stay calm. It's always sad to me when people get caught in denial or play games with themselves about what's safe and what's stupid (like the guy in the story) but I do think education and government priorities are the problem, not the ignorance of individuals. People learn what they have opportunity to learn.

Makes it easier to feel empathy because I feel they've been terribly underserved, when it comes to education.

(And if you can't feel much at the mo', you're hardly a monster! And not alone.)

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #382 on: October 14, 2020, 08:05:36 AM »
It's a shame you have to wade through the site to work the numbers out, Hopsie, it does make it a more difficult task to do.  Our local authority have come up with a method that works really well for me.  They have a daily dashboard that shows the number of diagnosed cases in the last week for our county and then the three counties that border it (as a lot of people go back and forth for work and leisure activities).  Underneath the weekly case numbers they record the weekly death rate - very clear and easy to read.  Then you can click on other boxes that take you through all the other data; daily rates, national numbers, excess deaths, Covid deaths - really as much information as anyone might need.  They also do a map that just uses colours to show where the highest numbers of cases are (and for us at the moment it's the University town which, thankfully, we are about ninety minutes away from).  For me that works well; the weekly numbers just give me an idea of how it's going (and at the moment they are dropping a little each day) and they update daily at 4pm.  I find more detail than that a bit much for my brain to manage; at the moment our immediate area has very few cases (I think it was less than twenty at the beginning of the week) and that makes me feel reassured.

I do agree that governance has been and is a huge issue; it's a shit show here and even die hard Conservative voters are up in arms about Johnson and the way he's handled this.  I can understand why people just do their own thing.  I guess with my son's health problems I've been more aware of what could happen and more willing to take steps to keep him safe.  I think a lot of people have never been seriously ill or disabled and just don't know what it's like, or understand how little support you actually get in real life if you end up permanently unable to work.  Even those with money behind them quickly find it's all gone when their income drops to zero.  It's been a big shock to the system for everyone, I think, although in different ways depending on circumstances.  I'll be heaving a big sigh of relief once it's all gone.

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #383 on: October 14, 2020, 11:16:02 AM »
What bugs me is that the health region website initially used a nice color-coded bar graph that showed the numbers directly. For some reason they've replaced it with a squiggly graph that requires hovering over a tiny point to get the daily case count. Just weird.

"...understand how little support you actually get in real life...." (when unable to work due to disability).

I so agree. I think that applies to just about every single structure that protects the vulnerable. Or purports to. And I think people buried in structural and bureaucratic systems that are so unwieldly wind up losing part of their humanity...the empathy that would drive them to legislate more humanely.

But that's not a simple subject and I'm trying to simplify my wee brain to keep myself serene. I don't know how FT activists contain their anger, frankly. But I do know that helping the right side eases the pain.

I guess it's another example of: Ask the universe for what you want, as long as you release the outcome. Asking takes different forms for different folks: donating, persuading, voting, volunteering, marching, going to jail for your convictions. I'm on the cowardly end, lousy at direct confrontation. But I'm mostly at peace about it.

That goes back to being kind to myself and being my own friend, I think. Takes discipline and effort to deny the critical inner voice a bullhorn in my head, but I think it's gotten softer over time.

I think yours has too, Tupp.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #384 on: October 15, 2020, 01:25:44 PM »
I think simple, good quality information is so important just now.  It's all been handled so badly that every decision now will be the wrong one.  A friend and I were talking this afternoon and whatever your situation, this is going and will go badly for a lot of people.  The friend and I are in similar situations - both have disabled kids and are both able to stay indoors for the most part, so that's what we're doing.  But I spoke to someone else I know (casual acquaintance) and both she and her husband have lost their jobs due to the Covid situation.  They're alright for money for one more month but if one of them doesn't get a job in that time they're in big trouble, and long term they both need to be working in order to be able to pay their mortgage and associated costs.  Simple information at least gives you an idea of your personal risk level and what you can or can't do.  Such a shambles.

But in other news, cases have dropped in our county again today.  I'm assuming there was a big jump because of the Uni going back, but that they've all isolated and so the numbers haven't continued to grow.  The figures are weekly but updated daily so the number going down is a good thing, and still no recorded deaths.  That's heading in the right direction.  Not so in other parts of the country but for now I'm counting my blessings - we had sun today as well!  So nice.

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #385 on: October 16, 2020, 11:38:33 AM »
Big drop in local cases again today and the current ones are still mostly centred around the University town (which we aren't anywhere near).  I'd hazard a guess that our chances of catching this at the moment (providing we stay close to home and continue to take precautions) are probably no higher than the chance of some other awful disease or accident coming our way.  Not that it will make me start rushing about sans mask and many other parts of the country are in a dreadful state but I feel more comfortable at the moment.  Slight concern is that they're not testing which is why numbers are dropping but I've no way of knowing that so no point worrying about it.  Have had two people I know personally affected now though, and that does bring it closer to home.  Previously it's been friends of friends or someone's work colleagues mum or something like that but just this week one friend in contact with someone who tested positive so now isolating for two weeks (no symptoms yet but staying in just in case) and another friend had a case in the care home her dad's in - locked down fast so it was contained to one case and no-one else got ill but it's closer to home than it was and that's a worry for everyone.  But overall in our little part of the world it's looking okay xx

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #386 on: October 16, 2020, 12:18:35 PM »
For me, day-to-day changes or dribbles of news on the virus have lost meaning. Anecdotal stuff doesn't get me to conclude much. I'm just grasping that the overall, global, national trends are UP for this fall and winter. (It's true here but most individual places are just drops in an infected pond, given mobility.)

It's time to double down on all the precautions as cold weather comes, is my understanding. Hunker down again and try to contol the yearnings for "normal." It's new normal now, period. The time it changes is the time after we've all taken a well-proven effective vaccine. And Covid-19 may be with us always, like a serious disease that may rise again among the unvaccinated. (Vaccines even for the flu are not 100%. We all imagine 100% safety about many things...it's human nature.)

What I've heard that makes sense to me is that the largest incident of spreading is actually from family or friend gatherings. People are so pent up for socializing and yearning for contact that they're dropping their guard.

It's hard. It's a real test. Some will dig in and find the inner resources and patience to come through healthy. Some just won't or can't.

But life always has beauty, always has meaning, and always has happiness within it. I admire you a lot, Tupp, for finding those over and over again. I intend to too!

Hugs,
Hops

"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #387 on: October 17, 2020, 05:18:07 AM »
That's interesting, Hops, I've found that looking at the big picture makes me feel more anxious, whereas keeping an eye on my personal risk level (by seeing how many infected people are in the area) makes me feel better - although interestingly it hasn't changed my habits in terms of going out, it's still just once a week to the cinema.  I think I've become very tuned in to what increases my anxiety and what doesn't at the moment, and I think maybe it's changed from normal for me?  I did see that one of the hospitals is full and has no more capacity just now.  It's odd that what I'm watching happen everywhere at the minute is all stuff that's affected us personally for years.  Reporting, for example, is quite reckless, I feel.  The headline about that hospital being full is very alarming.  If it had said 'overflow hospital opening up to cope with demand' it's still clear that demand is increasing but it doesn't elicit the same panic because it focuses on what's being done about it.  I've had that a lot with my son over the years - "we can't meet his needs" rather than "we can't meet his needs right now, but here's what we'll do about it long term and here's how we'll support both of you in the meantime".  I've noticed in myself that the first induces panic and makes me feel very alone whilst the second makes me feel calmer and supported.  It's just interesting to me to see that happening on a much bigger scale here at the moment (and I do think I've detached myself from it a lot - self preservation I guess).  It's interesting to see how different people cope in different ways.  One friend is like me; minimal risks daily, not going out, no visitors, whilst her husband is a news junky and wants the reports on constantly (they've had to compromise; he has the news on his phone, not the TV, and he has to ring his geeky science friend to talk about it, not talk to her lol).  She calls me and we do the mum stuff of what the kids have been doing and what our most recent baking attempts have been like (hers are usually good, mine aren't).  That feels normal for both of us.

Nationally I've no idea what's going on and neither does anyone else, by the sound of it.  They've got different lockdowns in different areas for different reasons, different levels of support for different groups of people, different scientists saying different things, everyone's got a different idea of how this should all be managed.  I've gone full on mad bird feeding lady and the tree outside our house is full of birds morning and evening now, with a line of cats sitting on the wall just waiting patiently lol.  Our cat ignores all of it and just stays inside sleeping.

Hopalong

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #388 on: October 17, 2020, 12:55:48 PM »
It makes total sense to me Tupp that different focuses work best for different individuals. There's no "better" way to think about all this. Like you, I've just figured out what works best for my own mind.

BTW, I absolutely lovelovelove your comment about media.

Quote
The headline ... is very alarming.  If it had said 'overflow hospital opening up to cope with demand' it's still clear that demand is increasing but it doesn't elicit the same panic because it focuses on what's being done about it.  I've had that a lot with my son..."we can't meet his needs" rather than "we can't meet his needs right now, but here's what we'll do about it long term and here's how we'll support both of you in the meantime"....  the first induces panic and makes me feel very alone whilst the second makes me feel calmer and supported.

Even in the most mature and reliable media, I find myself writing letters expressing how frustrating it is to read casual click-bait headlines when the media could be doing SO MUCH to improve civic life.

When you tune into words and their meanings AND implications as we do, it's maddening. The Fourth Estate is so incredibly important to society rebuilding. Some of them do seem to know and try to reflect this responsibility. And I credit the best media with positive power, for sure. Good journalists are heroes to me.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Coronavirus
« Reply #389 on: October 18, 2020, 04:34:36 AM »
It makes total sense to me Tupp that different focuses work best for different individuals. There's no "better" way to think about all this. Like you, I've just figured out what works best for my own mind.

BTW, I absolutely lovelovelove your comment about media.

Quote
The headline ... is very alarming.  If it had said 'overflow hospital opening up to cope with demand' it's still clear that demand is increasing but it doesn't elicit the same panic because it focuses on what's being done about it.  I've had that a lot with my son..."we can't meet his needs" rather than "we can't meet his needs right now, but here's what we'll do about it long term and here's how we'll support both of you in the meantime"....  the first induces panic and makes me feel very alone whilst the second makes me feel calmer and supported.

Even in the most mature and reliable media, I find myself writing letters expressing how frustrating it is to read casual click-bait headlines when the media could be doing SO MUCH to improve civic life.

When you tune into words and their meanings AND implications as we do, it's maddening. The Fourth Estate is so incredibly important to society rebuilding. Some of them do seem to know and try to reflect this responsibility. And I credit the best media with positive power, for sure. Good journalists are heroes to me.

hugs
Hops

Yes, nodding, nodding and nodding some more!  Imagine the difference if reporting, in general, was fact based, with clear, contextualised opinion from people who genuinely know what they're talking about, with a good smattering of positive stories as well.  Not Pollyanna, endlessly smiling stories but just reports on all the community groups that have sprung up to help people out and other good things that do happen, but that tend to be dwarfed by all the sensational stuff that happens.  It's hard going, the media has such an influence, imagine if it were a more positive one!  It would be so helpful.

And yes, I think everyone's found their way to get through this as best they can.  Most people I'm speaking to just day to day are in 'let's get on with it' mode.  They're taking whatever precautions they can or have to, they're all fed up with the Government and their lack of reliability and I think most people feel they just need to get through this as best they can now.  Our numbers jumped again yesterday, and over a wider area.  Still not right by our door but my little bubble burst quickly when I saw that.  The only reassurance for me was that it shows they are still testing - I did have a moment of wondering if the numbers were dropping because they just weren't testing people anymore :)  I did realise I need to structure my day better and I've struggled to work out how best to do that.  Eventually I sat down and went through the TV and Radio guides and I've now got a list of shows that son and I both like to watch or listen to (together or apart, depending on what they are).  I'm going to use that as a way of creating little breaks during the day and aiming to get certain things done before a certain programme starts.  I just feel I need a little bit of an incentive or deadline to focus my mind a bit.

 I went for a walk as soon as I got up; the river is high!  I've never seen it that high before.  Another couple of feet and it will be over the wall and into town.  We're up hill from it so we'll be okay but I'm hoping that doesn't get any higher now as they've already had one flood this year.  Beautiful to look at, though.  Friendly dog ran over and wanted his belly rubbed.  They do make me laugh the way they just launch themselves at anyone that looks like they might stroke them.