Fear of leaving the safe apartment


I like my new neighbors in the retirement community we’ve joined.

Most of us live in the main building, with Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Support dowstairs – which makes it easy to visit friends and partners in different levels of care.

Right now, we’re all staying physically away from each other, and the contact with the outside world is being curtailed daily.

But I’ve had the thought of realizing that we are dependent on a huge number of people doing the right thing when they leave this place and come back, say, for a doctor’s appointment, or to visit family in town.

We are isolated because OUR kids aren’t near

While we still depend on the staff being careful, it is daunting that it could be anyone who is the first person exposed to the coronavirus to come into this closed community and make the rest of us less safe.

It is easy for us – we have no small grand- or great grand-children nearby. Accidentally. So we can’t be virtuous – we’re not being presented with an occasion where we have to make a decisions that affects others.

The situation is without precedent in our lives.

My extended family in Mexico is minimizing their exposure

But it will be very difficult watching from this far away when and if something happens – and not being able to even go help. And social distancing in Mexico will be hard. People who go to work on crowded subway trains will be at great risk – and they take that risk with them into their jobs.

The current Mexican government is not widely trusted, and is doing the same thing as the States; not testing much.

Head in the sand doesn’t keep things from happening. It just undercounts the cases and provides a false sense of security.

So we’re about to take our lives in our hands

and go downstairs to have lunch with whomever is out and around.

Wish me luck.

And my own sense of safety ignores – because I can’t do anything about it – the risk that the husband takes every time he heads out to bring dinner home.

Stay safe out there!



24 thoughts on “Fear of leaving the safe apartment

  1. joey

    I totally understand. I don’t feel like my family is taking hand washing and sanitizer as seriously as I would like (after being out in public.) Meanwhile, I have sandpaper hands because I am going to work and we’re all wiping and whatnot. Sharing pens happens. Occasionally picking up the phone in another’s office. Thus, hand washing, sanitizer, and wipes. I work in a VERY small office, even smaller since we don’t have a front desk person at the moment.
    I have been given the option of coming in, taking time off, or working from home and I’m not sure I want to work from home. The Mister is doing it in the dining room, and he has to talk a lot for his work. I write a lot for mine, and I’m not sure I can focus well while he’s speaking. And I just don’t think I want to work in my bedroom. I haven’t decided. Safer, yes. Effective? I’m not certain.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Tough – on you. Especially if there are any kids left at home.

      It might reassure you that it’s possible – we lived in a 1-BR, 1-BA apartment for five months, basically without unpacking. Of course that was a year and a half ago, and we had the rest of the facility to use, if we wanted to, but there were times when it was just us, and I couldn’t take the noises made by the other when sleeping, and slept on some yoga mats at the end of the living room, and used the bathroom across from the facility’s dining room – outside, across the hall, in my jammies in the middle of the night. I look like a giant blue smurfette in them.

      If you have a two-story house, you might be able to work in a corner of a bedroom. My suggestion: take turns being ‘on’ – the person who has to respond when something is needed. Instead of you both being frazzled all the time, you can each have a certain portion of the time being ‘not it.’

      Good luck. This WILL pass, and you will probably still be married.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. joey

        Both the girls are at home doing elearning, but they tend to hibernate in bedrooms, because teens.
        He can’t choose his hours at all.
        No upstairs. Bungalow. The last house, the empty nest to be!
        If you worked in a small space together, maybe it’s worth a shot. Maybe I’ll try it.
        I’m not worried about my marriage even one tiny bit ❤ (thank heavens!) Just worried about doing good work in a home environment. When I worked at home before, I did so in utter silence, alone, while they all worked and schooled.


  2. naleta

    Still working here, so far. Two of the middle management folks went to a conference in Atlanta last week. Two days after they got back, the upper management was informed that at one of the 1000 people who attended that conference tested positive for Covid-19. At that point, our two potentially exposed persons went home and are going to continue working from home all of next week. No symptoms so far. We were told this at the start of our shift Friday. I guess day shift was told sometime during the day. It was interesting to find out that a person (who does not work at my place of employment but is connected to a person who retired from here) posted on Facebook a few hours later that our workplace had 2 confirmed cases of the virus. A perfect example of the telephone effect and how rumors and panic can start.

    I’m still fine, and being careful. I don’t want to give my husband anything. He’s 10 years older than me, and has emphysema, although he’s not on oxygen.

    {{{HUG}}} Stay safe!


  3. marianallen

    Taking care means not being isolated isolated. I mean, physically, yes, but you residents can set up a phone line like a prayer line: One person calls the next, who calls the next, who calls the next. You could put it in a database and scramble it every day, so everybody hears from a different person and calls a different person every day, or twice a day. If you all have access and ability, you can Skype or Zoom with each other. Just some thoughts.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      The biggest problem with the living part is that we moved here for the OTHER people – they’re great – and we’re not spending time WITH them, though it hasn’t been forbidden yet.

      Our biggest social even of the day was dinner (a majority have dinner in one of the three dining venues) with another person or two, sometimes a couple.

      So each of us is holed up in our own apartment (I’m fortunately to still have a husband; not all here still have a partner, and it doesn’t matter – unless you’re home vs. home alone). And it will be for MONTHS at a minimum, and with some food being plopped by our door each evening at a random hour. Not complaining, really, as it is safety and health related, but it’s a significant change in what we signed up for – and are paying for.

      I have to find the things I can do (probably a trike ride and a swim, indoors or out), and what, if anything I can do WITH others. And be safe.

      Please stay safe – a wee bit easier when it’s you and Mrs. Widds in your own snug home.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory

    Alicia? Do you have masks or anything that could work as a mask? Was just reading that back in 1918, health care workers rigged masks from 5 layers of gauze. Assuming it’s even possible to get gauze these days, perhaps your husband could wear a homemade mask? Stay safe. 😦


      1. acflory

        Whilst the virus doesn’t become aerosol – i.e. small enough to be carried /through/ the air, even a weak mask can stop infection via ‘droplets’. These are from breathing – mouth to floor about 1.5 metres. Coughing and sneezing – mouth to floor much greater. Catch the droplets /before/ they contact skin and you’ve got a better chance of not gettingsick.

        The offpspring & I change out of ‘public clothes’ as soon as we get home. Those clothes go straight into the washing machine – hot water & soap will kill any virus on cloth.

        If possible, can your husband order food ahead and just nip in to pick it up? The less time spent amongst strangers the better.


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          They’re going to be delivering dinner to our door from now on – for as long as it takes. We have stuff in the freezer and pantry, too. I’m not so sure I will survive with other people picking my food – I’m the pickiest eater on the planet.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. acflory

          lol – I just read your post. Better picky than pushing up daisies. Maybe make yourself one small, special treat a day to get you through? Mine is a small spoonful of Nutella. 🙂


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I have to laugh – I’m allergic to hazelnuts. But I had ONE chocolate chip cookie for dessert, and that was enough.

          Where are you? Are you safe? Set up for the long term? Your loved ones okay?


        4. acflory

          lmao – sorry about the Nutella. Glad you gave yourself a choc chip cookie though. This lockdown is going to be tough. Allowing ourselves a small treat is good for the soul. 🙂

          The Offspring and I are in an outer suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The Offspring has health issues and I’ve had a bout of cancer so we started preparing as soon as the first case hit Australia.

          Basically we’ve been in lockdown since early March. We’re doing okay but I wish someone in authority would start rationing essential food etc. Can’t really order online because the supermarkets have so little of the essentials. Tons of eater eggs but no tissues or toilet paper. 😦
          Hoping not to set foot outside the house this coming week.
          Stay healthy. 🙂


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