Showing posts from March, 2020

Post #29 Telehealthing

My blood pressure hit 180 today for the second time. When it happened yesterday, I knew it was time to call the doctor. I've also been sick with something the last few days, although I was pretty convinced we've got our defenses well set up against corona. I called the Nuvance healthline, and they took me through a series of questions and at the end said I didn't qualify for testing (I wasn't asking for one) but suggested I call my PCP. I did and they set up an appointment for 10:15 this morning. I then got an email with instructions, saying I should click the link ten minutes before the appointment, so at 10:05 it clicked. I got a link for installing the telehealth software. It detected I was on a Mac. Installation was a snap, but when I clicked launch, it stalled. I thought I was merely waiting for the doctor to appear but no, so after a couple of minutes. I closed the software, relaunched, and this time got a message that said I was next in line to see my doctor. Abo

Post # 28 One Little Victory

Our daughter's quarantine ends.

Post #27 Dispatch from Queens — The Perils of Venturing Outside

Sal Nunziato writes from Queens: I made a plan on Sunday afternoon. I would make one trip outside a week. I'd do it all in one safe and carefully orchestrated hour. Groceries, post office, liquor store, pharmacy and then home for a scrubbing. Today was that day. While Ditmars Blvd., a usually very busy strip was desolate, 31st Street seemed uncomfortbaly normal. I saw a man and his young son jogging, neither wearing masks. I saw a woman with a mask and her young child without. As I stood seven or possibly eight feet behind a woman, while we waited to get into the bank, some 70 year old lunk, walked right in front of us, no gloves, no mask, and just opened the door, used the ATM and walked out.  A woman at the supermarket shopped with no mask or gloves and made no bones about pushing her cart right next to mine. Four construction workers stood, maskless and gloveless, smoking cigarettes as if they were standing around an office water cooler. I'm following rules, why isn't an

Post # 26 Dispatch From New York City: A Hospital Grows in Central Park

Glynnis O'Connor reports from Manhattan:  We live next to Mt Sinai. These tents went up yesterday afternoon to help with over flow of Covid patients. There are often ambulance sirens here, but now it seems like there are many more. Could be because the streets are so quiet that the sirens stand out. [Ed.] The field hospital is being set up by Samaritan's Purse , an evangelical organization based in NC. It will provide 68 beds.

Post # 25 Trumpspeak Unlocked and a Big Day in our House

 I think our mountain is social distancing: I woke up around 3 am this morning from a dream that actually made me laugh. In my dream, I had a major epiphany. I had unlocked the secret to Trumpspeak! It was like figuring out the Hammurabi Code. It's really simple and as a public service I am laying it out immediately instead of putting it through rigorous academic testing which could take a year or more. Here it is: Any time Trump says, "I love the....... people" or "I love the people of......" That is the surest sign that he has, is about to, or is, screwing them. Try it, and you'll see it works every time, beginning with "I love the American people." It works with all the subsets too: "I love the people of Michigan" "I love our first responders." "I love the Asian people." Think about it, he says he loves Republicans, and then he says he wants to open up counties in Nebraska, Iowa, place that D

Post #24 — A Rant From Saugerties

There's a mountain behind that fog: I went to bed last night not feeling well and I woke up the morning not much better. I have a dripping head, chest pains and a bit of a cough. Most likely it's allergies but the shortness of breath and chest pains, given my history of heart troubles (I had four coronary stent put in last year and during one procedure had a heart attack on the table) are frightening. So is it allergies or heart stuff? I try to treat the allergies and see what happens. Could it be a cold or worse, Covid-19? Since we're totally isolating, I'm not sure how I would catch a cold, and over and over in my head, I run through our perimeter defense against the virus, where could it get in? I just don't see it. We're not complacent for a second, so that leaves heart or allergies. But I can't go to the cardiologist for fear of being exposed. So I sit, write, take the right meds, maybe take it easier and think about the people who are facing much m

Post #23 Dispatch From North Minnesota

Virginia LeBlanc writes from Northern Minnesota:   We were at our house in Florida with the plan that I would remain there while my husband flew back to Minnesota to complete his two weeks on duty.   He is an MD at a small town hospital – the hospital where he began his practice 36 years ago and recently returned to on a semi - retired status.     By the time he was looking to confirm his flight , the recommendation was made that anyone over 60 should not fly.   He knew if he did fly, he would have to self - quarantine and not be able to return to work at a ll for two weeks.   We were becoming increasingly concerned about me being stranded in Florida while he w as in Minnesota.   We decided our best course was to drive back to Minnesota. We took the trip with great haste, much to the regret of my back and hip now.   We stayed in two hotel rooms, which we disinfected thoroughly before settling in for the night.   The first morning

Post #22 — Dispatch From Florida

From Lee Weiner in Florida: Things in Florida seem like they're soon going to get more openly and loudly worse - some small signs we're teetering on some sort of edge: the first efforts to give seniors an opportunity to shop supermarkets early resulted in jammed parking lots, more shoppers than there were carts, still empty shelves anyway, and teems of people most at risk of bad outcomes crowded together for way too long a time; the newly imposed curfew in my area means that now the police have the authority to stop and confront anyone/any cars about anything after curfew kicks in, and they're promising to do that this weekend - this in a place where lots and lots of seemingly ordinary people are armed - I do not expect good things to happen; Prime deliveries from Whole Foods are essentially impossible to schedule - getting a date/time is like having someone randomly handing you a winning lottery ticket; some people I know in my apartment complex are beginning to pack up

Post #21 — Dispatch from Queens: Music to Our Ears

Sal Nunziato reports from Astoria: I remember the first time I attempted to listen to music after 9/11. It had been 72 hours of non-stop television and heartbreak and I told myself, I had had enough. I turned on the stereo and I put on a Black Crowes CD. I had tickets to see them at the Beacon Theatre in NYC on 9/21 and so I decided to get in the mood. About two minutes into the first song, my body changed, like the first drop on the Cyclone. It wasn't time. I wasn't ready. I don't recall how many days passed before I felt "ready," but I do know the concert was not cancelled. We attended and it was euphoric. After the third or fourth song, singer Chris Robinson addressed the crowd. "This finally feels like a Friday night!" The crowd exploded and remained on their feet, dancing for the entire two hours. We needed it. Boy, how we needed it. I see people on social media offering up ways of coping through this pandemic, everything from baking to meditating,

Post #20 - Dreading the Undreads.

Our mountain this morning Something weird happened last night and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I went to sleep around 1:30 without the usual desperate dread that has surrounded me like my own personal black cloud for much of the past month. Is that good or bad? I'm not sure. When I really dive into the dread, to figure out what is at the core of it, the answers are clear — my fears (not in order): *Sue or Lizzie suffering in any way; *my own death and it be a painful, drawn out, fearful one; *Sue's sadness at my demise. (although our joke is she'd be on in six months and barely remember my name after eight). She has gone to such lengths to protect me, and I can't tolerate when my dear wife suffers even the slightest pain or worry.; * Lizzie catching anything when she does go out in the world; * the health of people we love, friends and family; *that our great president won't stay the course (just testing to see if

Post #19 — Dispatches From New Jersey and New York

Mary Ann Giordano writes from New Jersey: My son is an intern in a hospital in a big US city, assigned exclusively to diagnose and treat patients with Covid. Everyone -- from janitors to admissions people -- in the hospital is using surgical masks all day, and his team is switching to the N95s when they see patients. Even with reusing those masks, they have one week's supply left. They still don't have enough tests and when they do test people, it can take as many as eight days to get results. They have an emergency room doctor in their care, gravely ill. He said he's hearing rumors from other hospitals that they are pulling elderly, very sick people off ventilators and closing the door -- which essentially means they will suffocate slowly, and usually alone, as family members are not allowed in. I am so proud of my son, but also, of course, worried. I'm noticing that I am short of breath and I'm not sick at all. It's just anxiety. Luckily my son&#

Post #18 - The First Loss and a Friend on the Frontlines of Research (thank you, Lorne Michaels)

In 1926, I was a 26-year-old writer in New York when there was a call for a Second Writer's Congress. Because of my work on the Hiss case, I recognized a lot of the progressive face who showed up. One of them was Howard A. Rodman who also worked in my office of the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. At one session, Howard invited me to sit next to him and he  introduced me to his companion who was a very smart, funny and gracious guy. That was Michael Sorkin, one of the top architectural critics in the country. He was then writing for The Village Voice. Years later, when he was writing for The Nation, I was doing its educational program, sending the magazine to schools around the country. Whenever I would see a Sorkin article, I would jump for joy, because it was always so smart, edgy and provocatively written. Last night came word that this funny, gracious guy died in a crowded  hospital room. I only met him a couple of times, but I still see him in my mind; he's

Post #17 — Dispatches From Florida

Lee writes from Florida: I just saw these parrots on my morning walk. First time I've ever seen them here. Maybe they're scouting the territory for when all of us loud and disturbing people finally move on? At least my town (bordered on one side by the Gulf and the other three by the much larger town of Clearwater has finally imposed meaningful close-down rules - which has resulted in a noticeable increase in the cars still parked around the apartment complex. Might people be beginning to pay attention? I surely hope so. And just now, I heard the county is imposing a 10 pm curfew - don't quite understand what good that will do, other than perhaps help more people pay attention I suppose. The bars are already closed. I sent my cleaning person her money anyway (thank you Zelle) after telling her I thought we should pass on this week's appointment - she told me "everyone is cancelling" and she's really frightened. Wonder whether she'll be eligible fo

Post #16 March 26 — a special day for our family

 In the midst of all the sorrow, it's comforting to see the first signs of spring and the buds on the tree outside my office window. On a March 26, fifteen or 16 years ago, Lizzie and I were home alone at our house in New Paltz while Sue was out at an evening class. Lizzie, who was five or six years old, was then mourning the loss of her second beta fish, appropriately named Sparkly 2. She was so bereft that I desperately had to come up with something, not only to cheer her up but also to somehow move her off the fright over death that I knew troubled me so deeply, even as a child. "I know what we can do," I suggested, "let's create a religion where everyone and everything that dies is reincarnated." She brightened up immediately. "What should we call our religion?" I asked her. Immediate, she responded, "Dellalah." We then worked out a set of, well, commandments, for our new religion, and these were its tenets: * The reli

Post # 15 The Dark Side

It''s late at night, when I typically go into the dark place. I'm not proud of it, but it is what is. Today was not a great day. All three of us had scratchy sore throats and headaches. Most likely, we are suffering from seasonal allergies but any symptom is terrifying. For the first time, I chose not to watch Trump on TV. I know my limit, and I needed a break.I see the numbers and I just get so sad. Even watching Nicolle Wallace causes me to shake.  Tomorrow I'll call the doctor and get a prescription for medication to calm my nerves. We all have our limits. I'm approaching mine.  I don't want to turn the lights off and go to sleep. Today, I looked out the front door and saw Sue emptying a box after carefully cleaning the outside of it with Lysol and a paper towel The doctors and experts say, as long as she doesn't touch her face, she is not taking a risk. Still, I watch her do it and see it for the enormous act of love it is and my heart breaks. The

Post # 14 Dispatch from Missouri: A Blue Dot in a Red State

Susan in Missouri Reports: “How’s everybody enjoying their Socialism test run?” “That is my awesome President!! He truly loves this country and wants what’s best for us all, even the haters! TRUMP2020” “you are sick to buy into this coronavirus has anything to do with him!! typical liberal shit”   “Make America a Shithole, vote Democrat”   “Trump 2020 fuck your feelings, we’re going to re-elect the motherfucker”     “He won Missouri, so Democrats can stfu lol” There is a tiny spot of optimism in my heart that sees these social media posts or memes and thinks, “That’s a bot, of course.” But the rest of my brain, the part that has developed after more than twenty years living where I do, knows better. These are my neighbors. These are the people who chat me up at the grocery store, share a pew with me at church, and avoid PTO meetings just like I do. But they don’t think like I do. I’m a little blue dot in a bright red state. All of those quotes? They’r

Post #13 - Dispatch From Queens

Sal reports:   My plan was to venture outdoors twice a week. My business is mail order, so I implemented new COVID shipping policies, which is now Tuesday and Friday, as opposed to daily. I requested a pick-up through the USPS website, which entailed filling out a questionnaire--how many boxes, approximate weight, do you own a dog, should we ring the bell---hit send and received confirmation. This made me feel terrific. No trips to the post office. Just one trip for groceries and the pharmacy and one trip for the Sunday Times. I woke up this morning. The post office never picked up, but I did receive an e-mail calling their pickup "a success." So much for that. So I went out. I had to. First stop, the post office. Three tellers, two in masks, two customers. The streets seemed more like an early Sunday morning than a weekday. Some people with masks, some without. People walking dogs, doing laundry, dragging shopping carts. I was relieved to find a supermarket restocked, for th

Post #12 The Heavens Help An Atheist

Some days, most days, really, you just need a break. When I found myself having what felt a bit like what a panic attack would be, I looked out at the sky and saw it was clear, so last night I took out the telescope to stare out at the stars and maybe get a decent picture or two. As it turned out, the sky was beautiful, and I could see the few constellations I recognize clearly but as the sky great even darker and stars even brighter and unsettling feeling came over me. In darkness, thoughts turn the same color, and this was a dark sky. I tried to concentrate on the work at hand. For months, I have a goal, of using my DSLR camera and telescope to capture a nebula, those gorgeous red and blue gas clouds that form magnificent shapes light years away from us. So last night, using my map of the sky and what skill I have to triangulate the stars, I methodically napped picture after picture with long exposures, methodically shifting the camera that was affixed to the end of the telescope

Post #11 The New Pledge of Allegiance

I (state your name), pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Trump, and to the Corporations for which it stands, one nation, under Boeing, indivisible for capitalism and death for the rest.

Post #10 - The morning rant, I can't help it

Last night's press conference was infuriating, and the news from around the country and indeed around the world is equally distressing. But first, a good thought: so far we're healthy, relatively safe and have food and goods to last. Lizzie, now in day eight of quarantine, continues to show no indication that she has the Trumpvirus. We are the lucky ones. The mountain was beautiful this morning. These days, nature provides our greatest comfort. The snow in late March is surely a metaphor. What it's a metaphor for I have no idea, but metaphorically speaking, I'm sure it's a metaphor. Ok, back to our regularly scheduled rant. My late wonderful friend Eliot Asinof was once called "the last angry man." That, of course, made Eliot furious. I can really identify with Eliot today. I miss him. Wonderful friends write out of concern for my health, saying I need to stop watching TV and reading the news. Sue also thinks we need to give it a