“To a place in the past
We’ve been cast out of? oh oh oh oh
Now we’re back in the fight
We’re back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang…
A circumstance beyond our control, oh oh oh oh
The phone, the tv and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh oh oh oh
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies
Put us back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang….”
6/10/20: My first encounter with the outside world in nearly 3 months happened today, a blood draw for CMP and CBC. I was fine going in, masked and sanitized. Coming out, I felt inexplicably sad, not even sure why. I went to the nearer White Marsh lab instead of my usual Express Testing lab at East Baltimore Hopkins. I missed the busy but friendly staff. I don’t know if it was location or masks or Covid-19 but today seemed very cold and impersonal, only two staff members and 3 other patients, no friendly exchanges. With the temperature in the 90s, I gained new sympathy for people who object to wearing masks for extended periods. It was very uncomfortable even though I wholeheartedly support the directives to continue wearing them until we all can feel more reassured about not catching the virus or perhaps worse, unknowingly transmitting it to others.
I am filled with compassion for everyone who has suffered illness, social isolation, financial disaster, or any of the myriad of other life changes that came so abruptly and unexpectedly upon us. However, although initially racked with crippling anxiety over the potential of not being able to get any needed medical attention due to the pandemic, the past couple of months, I settled into a new reality where my life felt very safe and normal, not plagued by waiting for results from my next scan or blood work, not wondering if I’ve relapsed or have developed some new scary condition. Just enjoying my “boring” pre-cancer life, sleeping when tired, waking when I want, eating on my own schedule, working on my photo journaling, enjoying the kitties and wildlife, daily walks, just BEING. We’re extremely fortunate that, so far, we haven’t been impacted in any major negative way medically, financially, socially, or otherwise. Too many others have not been so lucky.
So misfit that I am, while the rest of the world rejoices at re-entering society, I was in tears (figuratively since I can’t produce real tears anymore) by the time I emerged from the lab. I longed for my pre-cancer life from 11 years ago that I ironically glimpsed again due to the quarantine, possibly even better now because I’m retired and have Michael, now happily retired, to share it. And the newer normal post-pandemic reality seems harsher and scarier than my prior new normal that I thought I’d adapted to reasonably well. This, too, shall pass…right?
I’m resilient and a late blooming optimist so soon cheered by the simple act of stopping at a nursery and heading back home with the car overflowing with flowers as well as fresh tomatoes and strawberries. I’m back in my comfy recliner eating fudge brownie Ben and Jerry’s, watching our groundhog contentedly crunching dog food. Our cats are purring. Michael is playing on his iPad while munching a sandwich. We have no appointments until next Tuesday.
Life is good.