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Tag Archives: Pandemic

BREAKING NEWS: I’M SUFFERING FROM PTSE—’Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience!’

Cartoon used by permission: 249454_RGB_1290.jpg Breaking News by Rick McKee CagleCartoons com

The other day I posted on my Facebook page that I thought I had PTSD from living under the reign of Trump and Covid-19. But that is not accurate. Come to find out, I may have something called “pandemic trauma and stress experience (PTSE),” according to Dr. Gail Saltz, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, as was reported to Nicole Karlis of Salon.com in the article: It’s not just you: Why everyone is super exhausted right now.”

For me the exhaustion started with the hope of getting the vaccine as a high-risk human. Stress, thy name is trying to hunt down a Covid-19 vaccine, especially as a senior citizen. I don’t know about your area, but my vaccine hunt was a “Where’s Waldo-like,” frustrating trip through pharmacy/hospital hell.  When the vaccine first came out, I was told by our local press (and my doctor) that I’d qualify for the top second group to be given the shot (1B) because I have several comorbidities—one of them being old age, another being gloriously chunky, and the rest of them being none of your business.

Cartoon used by permission: 249263_RGB_1290.jpg Light at the end of the tunnel by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

When the time came for my group, I signed up everywhere there was a whisper of getting a vaccine appointment. Rumor had it that my doctor’s office might have 300 slots if I got there fast enough and kept calling and nagging them. (“Nope. Nada. No can do,” they said.) Two hospitals were rumored to have the shots but none that were affiliated with my doctors. (I was beginning to think this was a race thing because no Black person I knew had been able to procure a shot in my area.) I signed up on my county health website. (Eleanor, who?—don’t call us, ‘cause we ain’t gonna call you!) I heard about an obscure pharmacy in my town that uses the cutesy old English spelling of double p’s to describe its establishment—all I had to do was send a text to get on their list for a vaccine appointment, but apparently, they ran out of shots the day before I signed up. (They ghosted me like a Dickens specter, but never bothered to tell me that I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting vaccinated).  National news said one of the largest pharmacies in the land would offer millions of shots, and all I had to do was go online and sign up, but every time I logged on (day after day after day after day) every single appointment was booked.  (“W of the T of the F,” I thought, “I escaped the ghetto, certainly I can outsmart a stupid pharmacy website!”)

Cartoon used by permission: 249092_RGB_1290.png Losing It by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune MN

With my laptop in hand and my phone by my side, I stayed up through the night one evening mainlining caffeine, pinching myself to stay awake, and watching the sequel to the Gilmore Girls. (The revisit with the girls left something to be desired, BTW.)  At exactly two minutes after midnight, I logged onto the big pharmacy website, and Eureka! There were open appointments…although it took me a lifetime jumping through all the pages of questions they demanded like, “of these gazillion addresses listed, which one do you remember as a place you might have lived thirty years ago?” (Are you shittin’ me, giant pharmacy store? I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last week!)  By the time I finally escaped their Indiana Jones death traps and clicked on “submit,” and received two dates (one for each 2-shot vaccine), I thought I had won the lottery.  (Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!)

I bragged to everyone I knew that I had done the impossible and had gotten an appointment on the giant pharmacy website. I had done what other mere mortals could not do. My friends were so jealous.  I gave tutorials on how to go fishing for a vaccine appointment at two minutes after midnight when the pharmacy uploaded the new slots.  I was flying high!  (Note to self: pride goeth before the fall.)  Until…until the nation-wide pharmacy sent me an email three weeks later that my first appointment had been rescheduled.  (Same time—different date.)  Okay, okay…just keep breathing, I told myself—stay calm.  You’ve got your foot in the door.  They can’t abandon you now.  (Oy, I am so naive!)  Two days before my first shot, I got an email which announced that my rescheduled appointment had been cancelled and they had no idea when it would be rescheduled.  (“We’ll call you and reschedule promise.” Liars! They never did.) 

I finally did get my first vaccine (still waiting on the booster), but not through any of the multitudinous sites where I’m waitlisted.  I had to go through a backdoor channel because the sites that were supposed to do their job never got their shit together in my town.  (What a fuster cluck!)  I’m absolutely exhausted over this hunt to keep me alive.  I felt as if I were an addict trying to get a hookup.  I don’t want to hear any more news reports about Black people being reluctant to get the vaccine, because this is one Black person who had to move Heaven and Earth to get a needle shoved into my arm, and I’m still waiting for the repeat.

Covid-19 Vaccine ET: Photo Credit E. Tomczyk

Now I’m contemplating a world where I have more freedom.  I’m trying to wrap my head around reentering that world.  Apparently, that concept causes extreme anxiety too when a pandemic is winding down, if Dr. Gail Saltz is to be believed.  Where do I go first?  How far afield should I go?  Should I trust airplanes?  Should I go by car? How do I proceed?  Where will I be safe?  What should I wear?  Will any of my dress-up clothes still fit?  Should I wear one mask or two?  Will I be safe around the unvaccinated? Apparently, 50% of Trump supporters are anti-vaxxers and won’t wear masks—what do I do if I run into these Neanderthals other than beat the crap out of them for being so selfish?  What if I get sick from the booster shot?  What if…? It hurts my head.

I think I’m going to pull a Scarlett O’Hara and deal with it tomorrow—maybe sleep for a few more months.  Maybe catch up on the old Gossip Girl series while munching on a box of chocolates and Chinese take-out. YA literature pablum at 72 years old, wrapped in chocolate, accompanied by baby steps to reenter the world is all I can handle right now.  Just trying to get vaccinated wore me out for at least another year.

Cartoon used by permission: 249634_RGB_1290.jpg Post Pandemic Stress by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer.  In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!).  Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival: “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.”  Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker.  If you don’t believe me, just ask her!

Cartoon used by permission: 248908_RGB_1290.jpg Tomb of the Unknown by David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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SNAPSHOTS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS EDGE

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger.  But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”– Fintan O’Toole/Irish Times

Cartoon used by permission: 238269 Quack Prez by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star, Tribune MN

I haven’t blogged in weeks.  I can’t.  I’m in a state of shock!  I’ve been frozen in place like Lot’s wife ever since I heard Trump announce that I could blast my insides with ultra-violet light and drench my innards with bleach, Lysol, and the likes of 409 Multi-surface cleaner to cure myself of COVID-19 should I unfortunately come down with the virus.  I can’t say my response to Trump’s inane declaration loudly enough that has been careening through my head for days on end:  WHAT THE FUCK!?!

Cartoon used by permission: 238543 Trump Wacky Package by Dave Whamond, Canada PoliticalCartoons.com

It is clear that a madman dwells in the White House, and not only is he trying to kill me, but his ineptitude in handling this pandemic is making me disoriented and possibly mentally ill.  I noticed it just the other day.  A series of unfortunate events happened last week that make me wonder if President Trump, along with polluting TV Land, has released a “mental virus” in the water and the air that will slowly drive us all crazy as we self-isolate, scurrying to and fro behind our masks, so he can dismantle our government brick by brick without much resistance. 

PHOTO CREDIT: E. Tomczyk/Coronavirus Times

PANDEMIC POOPS

Something has happened to my bowels.  I can’t stop shitting my pants when I hear Trump’s voice, read what idiotic things Trump says, or think/talk about Trump.  It’s like clockwork.  Trump opens his mouth, I feel the need to poop.

According to Kate Bratskeir of Huffington Post:

 “If you’ve noticed changes in your bowel movements over the past month or so, you might be wondering why this biological function—that often comes like clockwork—has decided to get weird.”

She says I “might be experiencing what we can call nothing else besides a ‘pandemic poop.’”

(Shit!)

Cartoon used by permission: 238263 Quack in chief by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

I AM SLOWLY GOING CRAZY, ONE TWO THREE FOUR GOING CRAZY…

It’s been eight weeks since the shutdown, and I noticed that I have what some doctors are calling quarantine fatigue accompanied by coronavirus anxiety.  It is affecting me in all manner of ways—especially my memory.  I never know what day it is from sunup to sundown except for Friday.  That’s when the garbage man comes.  If it’s garbage day, it must be Friday.  If my garbage man should go on strike in the future, I’ll be screwed.  A psychologist friend thinks it is because I no longer do anything to bookend my days or break up my week.  I am in a constant loop of the same ol’ same ol’…

It keeps getting worse.

Ten days ago I did some cleaning and gardening. I took off my wedding rings so that they wouldn’t get damaged. Yesterday I realized I never put my rings back on.  When I went to do so, I couldn’t remember which hand wedding rings are worn on.  I had to resort to the best solution I knew to find the answer:  “GOOGLE: WHAT HAND IS THE CORRECT ONE TO WEAR WEDDING RINGS?” 

OMG!!  (You know the first thought that crossed my mind, right?)

A sympathetic friend told me that what I was experiencing was not Alzheimer’s—it was just coronavirus anxiety.  She said, if I was coming down with Alzheimer’s, I wouldn’t have remembered what the rings were for in the first place or that I was even married.  That was a good thing because shortly after speaking with her my husband walked into the room and wondered why my wedding rings were sitting on the counter and not on my finger.  Oy.

I blame it all on Trump.  I had just watched the morning news and watched him push three conspiracy theories and underscore four of his hate tweets against anyone who spoke truth. If he had not failed at his job from the very beginning (too much golf, watching the news, and rage tweeting), I would have been playing canasta with my gal pals (if it’s canasta it must be Monday) and known what finger my rings should be on because I could have simply glanced at my canasta partner’s hand.

Cartoon used by permission: 238383 Normal longing by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson, AZ

I MISS MY BABIES AND MY BABY’S BABY

We are supposed to have a family reunion July 4th weekend in Seattle. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I know it isn’t. One coronavirus model shows a leap to 200,000 infections/3,000 deaths a day by June. I haven’t cancelled the plane flights yet, but it is inevitable we won’t go. It will be too risky to travel on a plane that far—especially as a vulnerable COVID-19 individual (this monster is disproportionately eating up Black lives as if we were a lion’s afternoon snack). I “Zoom” with my children and grandson most every week, and I know I should be grateful. I find myself clinging to their every word and sad when the Zooming ends. If we miss a week, I seem to slip into a mild depression. Their effervescent laughter makes my heart percolate and rejuvenates me. Normally, I am really grateful for the technology that can put us face-to-face, but as Mother’s Day approaches I guess I am painfully aware that I haven’t hugged my babies and they haven’t hugged me since last year. It hurts—it really hurts. (Who ever thought hugs would become one of the most precious and sacred gifts in the world.) What is even worse is that I haven’t kissed and hugged my grandson since Christmas. In our “new normal,” how long will it be before we can all be together as a family? What if one of us gets struck down by COVID-19 between our Zoom sessions? My heart breaks in missing and longing for my family—to sit with them, to hold them, to snuggle with them, to kiss their precious faces, to stroke their hair.

But then my God reminds me…

The hearts of the mothers of the nurses and doctors who have died fighting the good fight on the front lines of the coronavirus on our behalf would give anything to “Zoom” with their kids just one more time.  Of the 70,000+ Americans who have passed from this horrid pandemic, if their mothers are still alive, I know their hearts are breaking beyond belief this Mother’s Day.  The “new normal” for these mothers is something that I can’t even begin to fathom.

So I will stop whining and wait patiently for the kids to Zoom me this weekend.  (Oh yeah, if the kids are Zooming me, it must be Sunday—it must be Mother’s Day.)

Cartoon used by permission: 238635 Mother s Day 2020 by Dave Whamond, Canada PoliticalCartoons.com

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer.  In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!).  Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival:  “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.”  Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker.  If you don’t believe me, just ask her!

Cartoon used by permission: 238389 Patron St. of Hopeless Presidents by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson, AZ

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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