CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – 2020

I read something  recently suggesting a good idea would be to write about this event now.   It happened so fast it could be difficult to keep a perspective on this world-wide pandemic.

March 11, 2020, the Jeffery and Hernandez families were at the Sawgrass Beach Club having a celebration of Jose’s 50th birthday party.  The Club was filled, much more so than on a usual Wednesday night, as this was the eve of The Players golf championship played each year at nearby TPC course in Ponte Vedra Beach.   Members were there entertaining guests who had arrived to attend the tournament.  In addition there was a huge TPC party with all the executives and employees in town for the  tournament, which proudly and rightfully claims the deepest field of any golf tournament.  Jeannie and Lisle were, as they have been for many years, tournament volunteers.  In summary, it was a great evening with only good things ahead.

There was news about a coronavirus out-of-contol in China and there were a few cases appearing in Europe and in the US in California and New York.  We were concerned, but I certainly did not comprehend  it coming so fast and so completely taking over our lives, our health, our economy.

The next day, Thursday, March 12, The Players tournament began as scheduled for the first of four days.  Jeannie was scheduled for Friday, but at 10 pm that evening she was advised that The Players was canceled completely and that players were returning home.  Meanwhile, my granddaughter Jennifer was in the Dominican Republic waiting by a tennis court to play in the quarter finals of an international tournament when a tournament official walked on the court and announced the tournament was canceled.  She and her coach scrambled to get on a plane to Boston. It seems already European and Asian players in both these tournaments were dropping out and leaving for home.

Friday, March 13, everything seemed to crumble.  All  future sports activities one by one were canceled  until further notice.  Schools, on all levels, began to close.  People were advised to stay home, especially those over 65 and with an underlying health problem.  This certainly applied to me at age 93 and with a genetic propensity for pneumonia.  It urgently applied to my daughter, Patty Hernandez, who a few years ago had a kidney transplant.  She found two face masks and dropped one off at my door before we both went into lockdown.  Essentially everything that was deemed non-essential was closed.   It was like standing in a room and doors, one after another, slammed shut not to be opened in the foreseeable future.

Tomorrow will mark seven weeks since these events began!   Much of this time has gone by in a blur and I am not sure I have remembered all facts correctly.  Rapidly activities all over the world seemed to stop.     No access to my MD except by Mayo Portal messages or video consultation.  All medical and dental appointments unless life threatening were canceled,.  Sawgrass, beach, tennis and fitness activities shut down.  Social distancing became the norm.  This is also true with my family in Canada and my grandson in Paris.

By now my hair is almost down to my shoulders.  Fortunately I can do my own manicure. My attempts at a pedicure are funny I guess. And, woe is me, the cleaning lady is no longer coming.  I am not above cleaning.  In fact it is good for me to move around more, but my attempts at cleaning at my advanced age have been both dangerous and funny. Last Thursday I fell off my rolling desk chair trying to lean over and clean a lower bookcase.  Cut my arm reaching in a tight spot which resulted in no serious damage but lots of blood, reminding me that I need a new supply of all sizes of band aids.  The final blow was when a very heavy paper weight fell on the top of my left foot.  Did not hurt at the time, but a few hours later, I was in bed with ice packs.  A friend wrote me when I missed Zoom book club meeting, “Pat, Leave the cleaning.  Just read a book. Much safer.”

There has been a lot of rethinking, adjusting, etc., these past seven weeks.  I first thought it would not be too bad.  With the fitness center closed, all social activities not available, I would  have all this free time to finally get to cleaning out photo albums, saving some to computer and sharing or destroying the photos.  But I have found myself feeling  depressed as all the bad and conflicting news rolls in. I decided to just read a backlog of books, and it turns out reading books can also be dangerous, at least to me. Feel free to laugh;  I do.   I tried to read in bed holding my heavy iPad, where I have my Kindle books.  In just three days I had badly and painfully torn a neck muscle.  After hot pads, a neck brace, lots of sleep and lots of pain pills I am almost normal.  Thanks to suggestion by daughter Barbara I found a book holder at Amazon for reading in bed.  This works well with something else under it and thanks to my bed which I can adjust to have my head and back up in reading position.

Since The Players was to take place when this all began, I had made a huge market the week before.  I no longer venture out to Publix or any place on AIA during the heavy influx of tourists for the tournament which makes  traffic in this small town too heavy, too fast and too exciting for this old lady.   I now depend on Amazon. thank goodness for Prime, or by delivery service from Publix, which is a bit costly but necessary and they do a remarkably  good job selecting produce.

Additionally, thank goodness for WhatsApp, Face Time, and Zoom.  These have allowed me every Thursday night to chat with my Book Club ladies; watch frequent my beautiful funny great grandsons; and chat with video with good friends in Colombia .  I am very grateful to my late husband, and to my children and grandchildren  for pushing me forward into technology which I would have never done otherwise.

I decided I should do something about exercise so two days in a row took a small walk.  thinking I would increase the length each day.  I have long heard a quote something like “use it or loose it.”  Well I had not been doing any exercise for some days and Yep!! True!!.  After two days of walking I had a sore knee and leg.  More rest, ice packs, and words I am glad no one was around  to hear.  Now knee and leg is mended, and I am carefully exercising inside my apartment  a little bit everyday, using exercises I used when working with my excellent trainer, Ashley Uhl, at the Sawgrass fitness center.  I have had more injuries since this lockdown to keep me safe ? than I have had over a period of years.

I have enjoyed cooking in the kitchen using all the things I have had stuffed away in corners in the refrigerator, pantry and freezer.  Made a pecan pie using a very old jar of corn syrup,  a frozen Gluten Free pie crust and any nuts I found in small packages in the freezer.  Worked well!  Since anything very  sweet is not allowed on my OAB (over active bladder) diet this is probably my last such pie. (OAB one of those delightful results from the Golden Years!?)

Also had various packages of white fresh cheese, feta cheese and Mexican crumbly cheese,  which I had bought some time ago to make pan de bono, (a Colombian bread) with a mix  I also had bought in past month or two.  The problem is that the cheese must be grated or crumbled. I tried in the blender and after many tries, lots of time, with small amounts and using the pulse button I finally got all 24 ounces crumbled without turning it into a paste.  The rest is easy.  Combine pan de bono mix with cheese and a cup of milk, much as making biscuits.  I remember the cook in Colombia used her hands to mix, so I thoroughly washed hands, (Dr. Oz style taught on TV as necessary)  and combined all ingredients until dough was consistency to mold by hand and bake on cookie sheet. The results was delicious !!  Sat down and ate the entire first batch.  Not the healthiest dinner but oh so satisfying.  I did drink a  large glass of apple cider and water so at least I had some fruit. Also I remembered I had had this bread in Toronto frozen so I made more rolls which I placed on a tray in freezer.  Next day I baked a few and hurray! they were delicious.  However, crumbling  the cheese was such an ordeal I did not plan to make any more.

I raved about this to Patty, Jeannie and Barbara.  Jeannie found she had a box of mix and white cheese  and made some and they were delicious.  Barbara and Jennifer face timed with me when  they were making  pan de bono in order to compare what I had done.    They had a  small food processor and this crumbled the cheese rapidly.  We had fun chatting as they made the bread.  This type of white cheese is called by various names in Colombia.  Queso cuajado, queso costeno are all I remember.  At any rate, the Jeffery children loved this cheese  and Barbara kept eating it as she cooked, saying “I remember this cheese from Cali.  It was always so good!!  When the first batch of bread was cooked they said it lacked something. Turned out it was cheese.  Barbara has eaten too much before adding to bread mix.   They got out another package which was added and problem solved.  Lots of fun and laughs.  Two days later, Amazon is so fast,  I found a package at the door which was a small food processor from the Riester’s   I was very surprised, very pleased, very grateful.    Back to making pan de bono.  So – this lock down has not been all bad.

Isolation, however,  has been a problem for me. I will not deny it. I obviously need more structure in my life.  I find myself sleeping too much.  Hate to get up in the morning.   At any rate I am working on it. Each day it seems I have a  new plan.  One I am sticking with which I started this week is that I am doing my daily exercise.  Today, high on my list was to write this blog.  It took until noon to get to it, but here I am writing as I planned.  Will not be able to finish and send today,, but each day a small victory is better than none.  I am also trying each night to make a plan for the next day which I print out and try to get at least some of the things done the next day.  Emphasis on the word trying.

In Cali I knew a very special lady, Dorothy (Dottie) Uribe She embodied so many traits I admire in people.  Her children should write a book about her!  I learned much from her, especially in my early days in Cali.  She once said to me that her daily motto was to each day do something for someone else and something for herself.  She died several years ago but she is still teaching me today.  I am working very hard to follow this practice  of hers. I particularly need to do so during this strange pandemic time.

Well. I know this is more information about my life, ups and downs, in lockdown.  To everyone who reads this and who are probably also on some form of lockdown, I send my love and sympathies.  God Bless and Keep. Stay strong, stay careful, stay healthy !

2 thoughts on “CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – 2020

  1. What a beautiful blog!! We, too, have been in lockdown for 2 months, since coming back from a trip to Cali in February. Paul Garcés and his wife, and Sally Pearman and her husband, also were there for about 10 days. It was so wonderful reminiscing about our lives in Cali back when! We had a wonderful life there, and incredible memories. So very touched that you mentioned my mother in your blog. I think of her often and miss her advice so much, even at 72! My partner is 75, very frugal and a wonderful caring man. My mother would have loved everything about him (reusing plastic baggies) and he would have loved her. She was really amazing, and her greatest legacy is that each and every descendant loves her without reservations. It has been almost ten years, and as I mention to carla and Anne, so much has happened in those ten years! I thank her all the time for teaching us about food and how to use it wisely, about having a freezer full of good things (just in case of a revolution) and living without judging. So glad you have family near (and living with you!) Sarah lives across the street, and does our shopping for eggs, milk, fresh fruits and veggies. I don’t think we could survive on beans and rice, although we do eat a lot of them! Stay well, and give everyone my love, Lucy

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