What do you see?
“See it,” she asked in an excited voice, bubbling with glee!
“See what?” I asked, quickly scanning the small screen on my phone for clues.
I noticed her silver cup in the blue, cleverly designed swivel device.
Years ago when she first moved into this new facility she was too shy to ask for a drink. Days went by. Her kidneys began to fail.
Had it not been for a timely visit from a her sister, who lived nearby, who noticed how ill she was Vickie would have died.
She rallied after several days in the hospital and numerous rounds of IV fluids. But I have to believe the visits from friends and family were just as therapeutic as the needed medical care. Community mattered.
That was nearly 10 years ago. That cup holder, securely situated to her left, provides her with life-giving water!
I knew she wasn’t asking me to see the cup!
“See! See it,” she squealed!!
I saw her mask, a clue she had been out of her room visiting her garden in the early hours of the morning. After all, it was only 9 in the morning. I could tell she had already had her shower. She’s a morning owl, up by seven, and would be up earlier if she could.
The bright green mask over her mouth was unable to mask the glee in her voice. She was so excited to share some news. As she chatted the mask slowly slipped below her nose. Unable to reposition the mask herself, I said nothing.
The care home was again in various stages of isolation due to another outbreak of Covid. Vickie called one morning in tears and frustration to report the news.
She caught her breath.
Her pain tore through the screen into my living room.
She was more than perturbed to be once again quarantined in her small room. The impact on her emotional well-being was evident and I was more than concerned.
Months before, during the first rounds of Covid isolation, I had purchased a portable DVD player and numerous DVDs I thought she’d enjoy. She needed a break from the numbing programs on TV – what with the commercials droning on and on about loneliness, depression, and the vast array of pharmaceuticals promised to cure ailments of the aged!
But, there’s only so much screen-time one can endure to stave off boredom.
The Time of Covid
Yes, this is the time of Covid.
After Covid is long forgotten – we will likely entertain ourselves with movies and literary works, just as we did after the time of Cholera and in the times of Typhoid.
We will remind ourselves and the world of the horrors of the barbaric practice of isolating loved ones in hospital rooms, with the eerie glow and shrill beeping of green, red, and blue the only light and sounds their only company.
We will hope and pray that future generations learn from our mistakes.
But right now, in the thick of Covid, we advocate, we medicate, we negotiate, and we strive to provide the best environment for those who live in communal settings.
In this current round of Covid quarantine at the manor, as usual, the residents were required to eat their meals alone rather than together in the dining room with others.
That’s three meals alone – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – over seven to ten days! In previous outbreaks it was 14 days.
That’s twenty-one to thirty solo-meals alone, depending on the length of isolation. That doesn’t include snack times alone.
That’s 168-240 hours of confinement, a cocktail of despair for certain. Without regular check-ups by care-providers and contact via FB portals with family members it would be easy to give up in hopelessness.
“Go see God!”
“Life is good and you are blessed! You are healthy and whole!”
Community matters and we’re right here with you!
Fortunately, after a few phone calls, concessions were made in her favor.
If she wore a mask in the hallways she could scoot outside to spend time in her garden. Soak in the sun. Breathe in fresh air. Praise God for life!
Yes, this is the time of Covid. But Covid shouldn’t get the final say!
Like Vickie, I was mad, too! And her caretakers were frustrated as well!
Yes, it’s been a long, hard haul, and many are suffering the secondary effects of Covid, and we must be diligent.
This is not a time for resignation, but a time for creativity! For ways to be together to foster wholeness and spiritual well-being.
Covid only wins when community retreats!
Once warmer weather came Vickie escaped the confines of her small room to sit out of doors. Putting her faithful wheelchair into gear she high-tails it outside whenever she can to soak up the healing properties of Nature – napping in the sun, planting in the garden, digging in the dirt, listening to the birds, watching the clouds float by.
One morning she reported, “Bugs!”
“Why are you telling me about bugs? Of course there are bugs. Do you need some bug spray?”
“No! Bugs, make noise! Hot gone soon!”
“Oh, I see. Are you hearing cicadas?”
“Yes! Hot gone soon!”
I was surprised I guessed correctly. It usually takes me several times!
“I hear you! Are you thinking we’ll have an early fall?”
I haven’t pulled out the Farmer’s Almanac to check her predictions, but this has been a strange year.
What do you see?
But, wait, what did Vickie want me to see?
“See it” she said, glancing towards something large and round resting on her legs.
I took a sip of coffee, and looked closer, squinting at the screen on my phone.
She was sitting back from the FB portal, so I asked her to move closer. That’s when I saw it!
Do you see it?
A lovely, perfectly shaped watermelon! Picked fresh from her garden that morning!
“What,” I squealed?
“Vickie, you’ve already picked a watermelon!! I’m jealous!”
“Brenda,” she laughed in delight as she reprimanded me! She knew jealousy was wrong!
I redeemed myself, ” My watermelons are the size of peas!! Yours is wonderful! You should be proud!”
Someone came to the door. I recognized Michelle, Vickie’s gardening partner.
I heard her ask, “Vickie, are you ready to come to the dining room? We can cut up the watermelon to share so everyone can have a slice.”
I watched Vickie turn her chair, drive out the doorway, carrying the precious cargo of that juicy watermelon in her lap to share with her community.
YES!! YES!!! Community matters!
COVID doesn’t stand a chance when we’re surrounded by those we love!