Mother’s Day in a lock-down requiring social distancing was bound to be different than the norm, but for me it actually wasn’t. As in most years, I received phone calls and promises of future calls and maybe a future zoom meeting.
My children and grandchildren are busy people. I know they are stuck in their houses and they continue with school and music lessons. In time for Mother’s Day, I received a video of two granddaughters playing piano. The video showed them individually and I could see their hands hit the keys. They were socially distanced from everyone when the video was made. Nobody heard me, but I applauded loudly for each of them, just like a grandmother should.
I received delivered gifts: a box of candy and a bottle of dessert wine from my daughter and her family; a box of candy and flowers from my son and his family. I did not have direct contact with the delivery man, just as in previous years, but this time I practiced social distancing.
Since Mother’s Day was still “locked down”, the florist called to say he’d be delayed. The good flowers weren’t yet available. Since I wasn’t going anywhere, I thanked him for the call and the information. The flowers arrived two days later and were worth the wait. Here is a picture (including the box of candy):
Mother’s Day Roses and Lilies
The roses opened to about six inches in diameter, and a week later, the lilies were still open and wonderful to look at. But they didn’t compare to my outdoor Russian iris:
Russian Iris: No Social Distancing
Social Distancing: the New Normal?
We’ve had a warm and wet May and the birds and flowers are loving it. They have no thoughts of masks and barriers and social distancing. Whenever I go out on the porch there is a jumble of tweets and loud sounds from a mass of small birds. I’m sure many of them are a lot closer to me than six feet.
We have been advised by the local authorities and some local businesses that we should get ready to go back to work, shop and live in the world again. This will be different from before, if everyone takes these rules seriously. For a haircut, there will be no shampoo; I will have to arrive with my hair already shampooed. There will be no children or pets allowed in the place. I will have to wash my hands before being issued into wherever the hairdresser will be located.
Social Distancing and Health Care
The Cleveland Clinic sent me their directive on their “new normal.” They are ready to resume in person healthcare services, but they encourage patients to use “virtual” visits. The notice states that with a virtual visit the patient can see a provider right away, or schedule an appointment for routine care using the smartphone.
I’ve already had one virtual appointment with my doctor and it was hardly a medical exam. There were no tests, and because I couldn’t figure out how to turn on my camera, the doctor could only speak to me. He saw nothing. We both agreed to schedule a regular in-person visit in September. Likewise, my dentist will see me in October. Maybe over the years I’ve been overdoing it with annual doctor’s visits and semi-annual dentist visits. Routine care doesn’t have to be constant care.
As with my hairdresser, the Cleveland Clinic will not permit patients to bring anyone with them for an appointment. On the other hand, children, elderly patients, those with special needs and those having surgery requiring an overnight stay may bring a guest. That probably accounts for a large percentage of the non-routine procedures done at the clinic. The notice states that the clinic is among the safest places in healthcare.
A few years ago, after I was released from a hospital stay, I was taken by a nurse to the entrance of the hospital in a wheel chair. As I got out of the wheel chair, the nurse said to me, “Take care, and don’t come back.” We both knew that hospitals are unsafe places.
Do the masks protect everyone? People now own them and wear them, but if you can’t see someone’s face, how can you trust him or her?
Insecure? It’s Happened Before.
I remember a Woody Allen story. Feeling insecure, Woody moved to an apartment building in the city because it employed a doorman for protection. On his second night, when he returned to the building, Woody was mugged by the doorman.
Let me end this with a Henny Youngman story about doctors:
A guy says to a doctor, “I’m having trouble with my love life.”
The doctor says, “Take off twenty pounds and run ten miles a day for two weeks.” Two weeks later, the guy calls the doctor, “Doctor, I took off twenty pounds and I’ve been running ten miles a day.”
“How’s your love life now?”
“I don’t know. I’m 140 miles away!”
The current corona virus pandemic, which now requires all of us to keep a safe social distance, comes with the march of technology. For me, a member of the old and vulnerable class, the last few weeks have provided some major learning experiences.
Several years ago my son and daughter-in-law decided my husband and I should have smart phones and we received them as gifts for Christmas. My husband keeps his in a nice box that he doesn’t open, except when he takes business trips. At least he knows where it is. My phone migrates to a comfortable place in my bag, but almost never rings. I usually have difficulty finding it. The phones come into play when we are traveling. We use them to make hotel reservations, to figure out where we are, and to call our children when we’re on the road.
During this pandemic my husband and I spend our days at home, with a few short trips to the grocery store. Though we know about the corona virus, we don’t think about technology. We haven’t used our cell phones. My son had other ideas.
Using the Cell Phone
We were advised to get our cell phones ready, and I used mine for the experiment. On an evening last week, using the smart phone, my son connected my daughter-in-law (at home in suburban Cleveland), my granddaughter (at home in Chicago), himself (in a town house in downtown Cleveland), to my husband and me in Williamsburg, VA. My husband and I used the smart phone speaker apparatus so we could both hear and speak to everyone. All of us were able to speak and listen, and in general, communicate. The experience was a bright spot in a dull boring week of too much television.
We’ve done this kind of call twice so far, and I don’t know how my son arranges it, but I’m amazed at the clarity and immediacy of the sound. When you enjoy it, technology is wonderful.
Understanding the Computer
I managed to get onto the system. I saw and heard the doctor, and he heard but couldn’t see me. The glitch was due to the fact that I had no idea where my computer camera was located or how to turn it on. Nevertheless, my doctor was happy with my answers to a few questions, renewed my normal prescription and said “see you in six months.” The examination lasted five minutes, the normal amount of time I spend with my doctor in a routine examination. When it was over, his office immediately called to set up real appointments for the next visit.
Following the doctor’s exam, I contacted my IT specialist, via the internet, about the picture problem. He sent me a photo of my computer indicating the location of the camera. It was attached to the back of my monitor and I was required to pull it up into position. I was now ready for my first “Zoom” meeting with my writers’ critique group which took place two days later.
“Zoom” allows groups of people to have meetings. They can see and hear each other on electronic devices and computers, if everyone’s equipment is working and turned on. I managed to enter the Zoom meeting without a problem, but I had trouble turning on the sound. I could see people, but I could not hear them, nor could they hear me. Eventually I found the Zoom audio switch and now I’m an expert.
My family is planning a Zoom meeting connecting all of us in a week or so. My daughter already cooks an evening meal together with a sister-in-law; she is in Chicago while the sister-in-law is in Massachusetts. Over a dozen people are in attendance at those communal meals. I don’t know if it improves the food, but it’s a fun way to spend time in an epidemic.
Corona Virus, Technology, and Old Jokes
The technology accompanying corona virus appears to come with old jokes. Over these last two weeks, I’ve received, over the internet, samples of stuff that apparently keep people from going crazy with boredom. The jokes fall into several categories, all somehow related to coping with the corona virus. Here are some examples:
“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
“Jewish irony: Passover canceled because of a plague.
“We’re about two weeks away from seeing everyone’s true hair color.
‘You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
“Many parents are about to discover the teacher is not the problem.”
All this and videos too. I now have a long one about two cows. Without the corona virus and technology, I wouldn’t know so much about two cows.
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