Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.
In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:
This week I was scheduled to receive a Donor Leukocyte Infusion as I continue my post-Stem Cell Transplant fight against blood cancer. Both my donor and I had to be infection and COVID-free in order for this to happen, and the past few weeks have been harrowing - worrying about getting a break-through infection and having to delay this much-needed treatment, which I had been waiting nearly 2 months to receive. The hospital is suffering from staffing shortages, along with holiday breaks, etc., and this treatment took longer to get scheduled than we had initially been told.
We both were tested upon admission, and thankfully we were both COVID negative and could go ahead with the collection and infusion. No visitors or companions were allowed to accompany either of us, which made it more stressful. I am just thankful to be able to finally get it done. Now we wait and see if it will be successful.
Omicron has made non-COVID medical procedures and cancer treatment much more difficult for too many. So many people are seeing treatment delayed, postponed or re-scheduled - all while doing everything to stay as isolated as possible to avoid infections ourselves. The thought of a missed opportunity for cancer care because of COVID is very hard to swallow.
So, I had one of those "BIG" birthdays this past week, one of the milestone ones that end in a "0." Nearly two years ago when we were just beginning to understand what "social distancing" would require of us, I told my family "...well, in two years when I have my 60th... we will have a huge party and make up for all of this isolation..." Never would I have thought that we would not be able to celebrate in a "normal" way now. Before we heard of Omicron or knew how this newest variant would once again turn our lives upside down, we started planning two celebrations: one with my extended family several hours from here, and another -- a birthday lunch -- with my girlfriends here in town. We're all triple vaxxed and leading cautious lives, but I couldn't see holding an inside event with my dad (88) and mother in law (96) and other older relatives as well as young people who work outside the home, and my friends here were also dubious about meeting and eating inside, so we decided it just made sense to postpone. Initially, I thought maybe if we all did rapid at home tests first, we could go ahead, but more and more the limits of those tests are becoming apparent (too many false negatives). So, we've rescheduled both parties for March. And if that is not possible, we'll do it next January! I mean who says you can't celebrate big birthdays in "off" years. This state of pandemic cautiousness can't last forever.
Despite the need to cancel the planned events, I had an absolutely lovely birthday and that is is most important thing. I felt enveloped in love and friendship. People called, texted, sent cards and flowers. In the morning, several friends and I took a long walk along the river. We joked about how covid had taught us gratitude --- I was grateful that my birthday was the warmest day in a stretch of 10 very cold days...where it would have been uncomfortable to walk for so long. And my husband and I even found a restaurant with a very well heated patio for a delicious dinner. All in all, it was a wonderful birthday.
Yes, progressives and BIPOC groups working to dismantle systemic racism and destructive environmental policies. I really feel my privilege needs to be used to support others & the Earth! 🌍
The group I feel a real sense of solidarity with now is actually my family. I have 3 siblings and we all live in different states. Since the pandemic, we have stayed in closer contact than we ever have before. We are all in our 60s and 70s so it has been a long time since we have been this close. We have a zoom meeting every Sunday evening so we see each other as well as chat. I hope we continue this after the pandemic is no longer such a big issue in our lives. It's been wonderful!
This is a picture of the fire in my wood stove. I see a canine figure, like the head of a wolf looking to the right, the eye glowing the teeth glowing and flames arising from the forehead and snout. My sister who has made a living as an artist could not see it. My dad would have seen it had he been alive. I spend a lot of time looking at the fire these days. I love the fire because it keeps me warm and I'm home a lot, which I like. What I see in this picture shows me that other people don't see what I see, or feel how I feel, being home in the pandemic.
Even at that, I am really tired of this pandemic. I'm tired of wearing a mask which I always do. I'm tired of not being able to go anywhere. And I can't find my dogs prescription food.
While I enjoyed being home in the beginning, like everyone else I'm just really tired now.
Durante mucho tiempo mi círculo social se ha visto librado del coronavirus, pero eso ha cambiado en las últimas semanas. Mis dos hermanas mayores y mi mejor amigo dieron positivo. Cuando lo supe me estresé muchísimo. No quería siquiera pensar en lo rápido que podía escalar la situación y convertirse en algo grave.
Ahora estoy un poco más relajada porque sé que ellos están bien y mejorando, pero por supuesto que no me tranquiliza del todo.
Yo estuve aislada por ser contacto estrecho con una de mis hermanas, pero afortunadamente no tengo covid.
Espero que pronto pueda volver a ver a mi familia. Extraño tanto a mi amigo y por supuesto, a mis hermanas.
The last time I cried was during a recent health setback. Autoimmune disorders are a royal pain and layering on being afraid of getting long covid, which sounds similar to my autoimmune symptoms in a flare, it’s stressful!
My husband is back at work. We got him some n95 masks which will hopefully keep him safer than the cloth masks he's been wearing up to now.
I have decided that it's OK to share the car with my elderly father even though there is some risk that I might infect him. We're both vaccinated and it's more important right now to be able to help him get to appointments and so on.
I just heard from a friend that her husband has Covid and so she also has to isolate.
I'm a bit worried about her as I know she's suffered from anxiety and she's not responding to messages etc as much as she used to.
Had an interesting conversation with my daughter a few days ago about the vaccines and the booster. She vehemently disagrees with getting either of them because she doesn't trust that the CDC and the government is saying about them and if she got them and something happened to her, what would happen to me. I said that I probably would be homeless, and she said that's true, and if I got real sick she could afford to pay all the bills during that time (and have probably over $1000 left, I did figure that out I just didn't know what she pays for groceries and gas). She could do that right now, yet she won't help me in getting food since I only get regularly $20 a month in food stamps I have been getting the covid increase in fs but that will end then I will be back to $20. I only get SSDI, one check a month, a little over $1110, my expenses are a little over $1000, so that leaves about $100 for the rest of the month for gas for the car and food. I used the last of my gas money I saved for the month today. I don't get paid until 2/3/22 about 2 weeks until then and I still have 4 trips of 26 miles each way, or 52 miles each then I have 1 trip of over 60 miles away (one way) so about 120 miles so in those 5 visits (all health care providers) it is 328 miles. If I used my last $20 cash for gas where will I get the cash for more gas? What I got in my tank probably will get me to 2 of my visits of 52 miles.
I'm beginning to feel a lot better, but on December 23rd I started feeling ill and on the 26th I was able to obtain an at-home COVID text. You know, they say on the test that your results can take about 15 minutes. I had mine in about 3 seconds after squishing the sample into the test strip. I was oh, so positive. Long story short, the obvious symptoms made their way through my system fairly rapidly -- head congestion, sore throat, coughing, foggy brain. No fever. No aches and pains. But the sore throat is what I describe as strep throat ramped up about three times in severity. As of today the "frog" in my throat is all but gone and I'm feeling pretty good, but my cough is still with me -- as it was prior to Omicron due to my asthma -- so I think I probably should check in with my primary care doctor to see if the efficacy of my asthma meds need to be addressed. Anyway, I feel so blessed and fortunate to have been double vaxxed and boostered because there is no telling how I might have fared otherwise.
I'm a staff member in a University Physics and Astronomy department
Lately the buzz has been about the landmark, long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope
This international effort will give rise to amazing discoveries and images
In a world of astounding technological developments, the successful launch and deployment of this space telescope is a outstanding feat
The space telescope literally rose above and despite a global pandemic
This project makes me proud to be a human
To answer directly-- government policies have not had a direct effect on my life. But indirect, hoo boy. Yesterday the Supreme Court struck down Biden's OSHA rule about vaccination/testing requirements. This will endanger a lot of people.
Home is safe harbor even when alone which I am more often than not. Presently I am self isolating because of the infectiousness of Omicron. I feel fortunate to live in an apartment where I feel safe but I feel like I have to come up with a daily plan to give my life some meaning during this time out of time. Home is safe haven and the comfort of a good meal. The past Covid years I have focused on cooking meals for myself and my son and his family. At least once a week I provide a meal they enjoy. My son comes by my apartment and picks up the tote bag which contains their evening dinner. Even if just for a moment, my heart eases and I smile. I am grateful to see him and I know he and the children appreciate my food.
Planning a meal consists of not just cooking but time spent ordering what is needed and hoping it is available. Sometimes you have everything needed in your freezer and cupboard or refrigerator. At times, you may not and have to modify the dinner plan. I enjoy looking at recipes, figuring out what I want to make, placing an order from the grocery store and keeping my fingers crossed all items are available. I repeat, I am fortunate. Many people do not have the luxury of time, funds or the safety of remaining in the home.
Home is where I can take the time to analyze what is happening out there. This is where I write my weekly entries for the Pandemic Journal and my own Family Journal. This is where I can put “pencil to paper,” so to speak and share information, concerns, hopes, wishes and fears. My safe harbor has allowed me express and share. Perhaps even enabled me to learn to express myself in better ways. I feel proud that in some other time in history, others may read these written words and learn that from my safe haven called home, I did make a contribution. Whether it be a meal or a record of time in the life of Corona.
Voltei a praticar Yoga com frequência e isso me ajudou muito a aliviar o stress e as angústias. É meu único momento de contato particular comigo mesma e que tenho esse tempo respeitado por todos os que me cercam. Isso me dá muita força, fisicamente para seguir disposta e conseguir ter força muscular mesmo, e também força emocional, porque me reconecto e me aceito. E também me dá forças de seguir acreditando que a evolução espiritual é o único caminho para acreditar que toda essa situação horrível é um karma coletivo e que tenho que seguir firme nos meus propósitos e ações.
I went to see my mom in the nursing home yesterday. All the patients are eating in their rooms again because there is community spread. Every day we get a letter from the facility..." 2 residents tested positive today, 5 residents tested positive today, 3 staff members tested positive today..." Etc.
It's nothing like two years ago, not nearly as scary, and so far I think most residents have been okay because they are all boosted.
But I feel like it's just a matter of time before my mom gets it again. She won't wear a mask and most of the other residents won't either. This is partly because most of them don't hear well and they need to be able to read lips.
Anyway, yesterday was so sad. I couldn't eat with her because I didn't want to take off my mask. Then the aide came in and pulled the wheelchairs apart and said "Six feet! Distance." So then they couldn't really talk because at that distance it's hard to read lips. Two women got in a fight then about who was the "big mouth" of the group.
I said to my mom, "see, you don't even need TV. Lots of drama right here."
At least that made her laugh. Because I had no other good news. Only that the Webb telescope did everything right--unfolded its mirrors and solar panels without a hitch--and the mission was successful. A friend of mine worked on that so I've very happy for her. And all the NASA scientists.
Secretly, hope that aliens come across the telescope in deep space and come to earth and rescue us from ourselves. Because we don't seem to be doing a very good job of it!
Feeling lonelier than I have for much of the pandemic. I don't know how to converse anymore and normally I prefer being alone, but I miss the sights and sounds of people lately. It doesn't help that I live in a rural area with no local friends and it's winter.
I can't say I do feel any sense of solidarity with any particular group at this point in the pandemic. I wish I did feel solidarity with more groups... I wish we all did... especially with groups that overlap or have shared interests...perhaps that would help heal the many divides in this country. I feel solidarity with the same groups as always, and these groups predate the pandemic. I feel attached to my friends and family, to neighbors, and volunteer groups in the community and synagogue, and to my grassroots progressive political groups (all supporting Democratic candidates and policies).
The news story that has been the focus of my attention in the past week has been the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. I’m worried for friends and family and myself. Even though we are váyanse boostered, I am anxious about the very real possibility of contracting the virus, together with the possibility of enduring an aftermath of Long Covid.
I've been isolating since testing positive. It hasn't been nearly as hard for me as it would be for most people. I'm retired. Only a dentist appointment was on my calendar that had to be canceled. I am fully vaxxed so my symptoms were not extreme. Kind of a cross between a moderate cold & a light flu.
More than anything else, I've been worried about my husband contracting it. He's tested negative a couple of times but has cold-like symptoms. He's older than I and has some heart issues that could complicate things. Despite knowing how lucky we are in so many ways, there is still so much anxiety. You try to feel grateful. But the seeming endlessness can really get you down.
Covid is running amok in the office.
One guy in my department came into work with Covid symptoms and succeeded in taking out the entire department with the exception of myself. I was "lucky" enough to have been home, in isolation, due to another possible exposure. I tested negative on that day and was in work the next day.
My department team lead, after testing positive, called the senior partner of our company and begged him to instigate a testing requirement, a vax mandate, or at the very least, a mask mandate.
Now, I have never seen a mask on any of the partners. In fact, I'm sure that only one or two of them are even vaccinated. (This is Utah, after all.) So, as you can imagine, they didn't instigate any kind of mandate. What they did do was send out an email to the company requesting us all to be respectful to those who wish to wear masks in the office.
I am so frustrated right now! I'm alone in my department, doing the work of seven and getting flak from leadership because I'm falling behind.
I don't know what to do, maybe I wasn't so "lucky" after all.
This past week has been extremely difficult for me. I have several chronic illnesses, and the whole pandemic has been intense, terrifying, depressing. But, this past week more than others. As if Omicron weren't bad enough on its own, we were treated to some extremely questionable remarks from CD director Walensky about how encouraging the data on death rates is, because it showed that people who were already "unwell" are dying at the greatest rate. While there has been a huge effort to insist her remarks were edited and taken out of context, looking at the context the statement is in does nothing to make it sound better. The sentences ""The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 per cent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities," and "So really these are people who were unwell to begin with and yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron,"do not do anything to encourage me, contextualized or no. While Walensky has taken to Twitter to reassure rightfully angry disabled and chronically ill people that our lives matter, too, it comes much too late and does too little.
Looking out at the wider situation, her remarks aren't the catalyst for governmental, institutional decisions around how to handle Omicron, they are basically the usually-unspoken crystallization of the attitude that guides those decisions.
And I sit here, fighting my employer to continue working remotely due to my status as one of those "unwell" and it feels like absolutely no one cares. Like we are being abandoned. No twitter hastaging, no #NoBodyIsDsposable or #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy is going to make one damn bit of difference. Because, atthis point, everyone is sick of having to accommodate us, to think about us, to acknowledge that we exist. Our deaths, it seems, would be a blessing. Then life can just get on like normal. Hint:normal was never normal, and especially not for us, we unwell, who have always been here and will always be here until we manage to kill the planet through this same systematic, structural refusal to look.
I'm like a ghost haunting my own life at this point. An image seen briefly in zoom calls and then forgotten as though I wasn't really there. A memory in the minds of friends who have slowly stopped texting, calling, emailing. What's the point when I'll just say I can't do the thing they're inviting me to because I'm afraid I'll die? I just try to make it day to day. And it gets harder every surge, every callous, offhand remark, everytime a colleague talks about how they or a friend or family member just had or have covid, or were exposed to covid. I listen, and know more surely all the time that I will never have anything resembling a "normal" life again. And absolutely no one cares. My life isn't valued under this capitalist system, my labor isn't enough to make it have value because that labor needs accommodations. Accomodations that cost money, apparently, or so the story goes. More like effort and we are not worth the effort. People can't even out a piece of melt-blown fabric over the lower half of their face for us, so what else can I expect but this endless, forever isolation.
I'm just so tired. I have no hope anymore. None. When will it end?
Después de una semana de convivencia familiar en mi pueblo natal, el regreso a la ciudad donde vivo, el cambio ha sido drástico. La ciudad ha sido declarada en semáforo rojo y nuevamente han cerrado comercio, disminuido la capacidad de restaurantes, sin embargo, la gente sale más que en la primera y segunda oleada, todos con mascarillas. El que haya contagios pero no muertes creo que da confianza, también nos sentimos un poco tranquilos porque dicen que la vacuna ayuda a proteger o que no sea tan fuerte la enfermedad.
En mi casa todos estamos libres de coronavirus. Pero estoy preocupada por mi ciudad. Las personas no están tomando los recaudos necesarios: he visto a muchas personas sin mascarillas en las calles y acercándose innecesariamente a otros. Además, se ha informado que hay cuatro casos sospechosos de coronavirus Omicron en mi ciudad. Eso, sumado a la nueva ola de contagios me tiene bastante preocupada.
Esto parece una pesadilla de nunca acabar.
I don't feel like vaccine distribution has been equitable or well managed in my area. It's catch-as-catch-can to get an appointment for a shot (1st, 2nd, or 3rd). Eligibility has been expanded and they say that there are enough shots to go around. However, seniors and at risk people are having trouble finding appointments and a lot of the younger folks don't even have their first shot yet. We're going back to in-person learning next week. The health unit has abandoned contact tracing because they just can't keep up. The school boards have stopped communicating when there has been exposure in a school. This is going to get worse before it gets better.
First, thank you, whoever you are, for creating the journaling project. I am not sure what you plan to do with all the entries but for me the questions you ask, the checklist about my state of well-being and, my opinions are appreciated.
I have been writing a weekly journal on my own for almost 2 years now. It focuses primarily on the pandemic but also includes comments on many other aspects of my life. There is a great deal of overlap between the entries in the journaling project and my own personal journal. I think the biggest thing for me is that it continually allows me to reflect on what I am thinking, doing and planning.
The past two years have been difficult for every one of us. By writing something every week I am often in a much better place when I finish than when I start. If nothing else it is good therapy. It helps me find the small rays of sunshine on days that are often dark and cloudy.
Thanks for listening.