Seniors beginning the covid-19 hard part


That’s what makes it so scary.

We have now had one staff case of covid-19.

Management sent a memo, said this staff person is not in direct contact with Residents of our retirement community, and that they had done contact tracing with whoever might have been in contact with the staff person. They were waiting for the results.

Today, at our weekly half-hour QuaranTV closed-circuit broadcast, I asked, and was told the tests on the contacts have come back negative. We have not been told how the staff person is – they were home self-isolating a week ago or so, and we have not had any more information.

And a couple in Independent Living

is under their doctor’s care, and self-isolating in their apartment.

Word is they brought the virus in from somewhere they went, which could have been anything: a doctor’s appointment, a trip to the grocery store, dinner in town during the recent reopening (now canceled), or a trip to their Lake Tahoe home for a weekend or a month.

I understand privacy laws.

We will be told only what we need to know.

Which begs one important question in a facility which also has Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Support: can the person(s) whose contacts were traced be trusted to remember everyone they came in contact with?

A major facility rehab is ongoing

Painting, new carpeting, woodwork – the whine of tools is omnipresent.

The workers are doing their best – and need the work.

But I keep seeing people – Residents, staff, workers – who seem to not realize that the mask they are wearing MUST cover the NOSE as well as the mouth. Or is basically useless.

Why so many people are incompetent at that basic task baffles me.

They don’t seem to realize. I’ve seen someone when reminded put the mask up over the nose – only to have it fall off IMMEDIATELY – and then they do nothing.

How do we protect ourselves?

I personally treat the entire world outside our apartment as contaminated with a layer of a fine dust. The dust is invisible. The dust is like the radioactive dust from Chernobyl: invisible but deadly.

“If you could SEE the virus, would you go out?” asks a Facebook post.

Of course not. And if we did, we’d take it more seriously.

But that only includes those who listen to the scientists, and understand the concept that whatever you pick up needs to be delivered, at some time, to your eyes, nose, or mouth – the mucous membranes are their target.

Even just putting on my gear – nametag, mask, phone into plastic sandwich bag into pocket, keys into other pocket, backpack – is the start of the whole ‘you might be contaminated.’ I wash my hands at least twice when I come back: once immediately, and again once I have removed my outer gear, nametag, etc., etc. – just in case.

I don’t know if those who have gotten ill here – staff and Resident – were careless

I’m assuming they were unlucky.

Since we don’t know, AND THERE ARE NO PRECAUTIONS WE AREN’T ALREADY TAKING, it doesn’t really matter.

I won’t worry – I will just continue to do EVERYTHING, because I don’t know what people are thinking out there.

Wash hands. Don’t touch face. Wear mask. Do not give the virus, which you may assume you have picked up somewhere, A RIDE TO YOUR EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH.


We in the States never defeated the First Wave.

The Reopeners are living in a fairyland.

There is no vaccine.

There is no cure.

The treatments are symptomatic – and don’t fix much.

If you end up in a hospital, you’re already in bad shape.

If you end up on a ventilator, your chances of making it out are abysmal.

An estimated 10% are NOT RECOVERING – still sick after months.

And we’ve now had several cases in our little enclave.

And Yolo County – and most of California – are finally paying attention and closing down, because there are more cases and more deaths – AGAIN.

I’d hate to be one of the unnecessary deaths.

One of the people who were refused treatment.

One who got the virus from someone acting irresponsibly.

It sounds self-centered, but the time will go by, regardless of how I use it. I’m writing. NETHERWORLD continues to get written, polished, and sent out to my lovely beta reader.

Me NOT writing will help no one.

If I’m still around, I will have made progress.

Which reminds me: I promised to leave a summary of the rest of the trilogy – so you know what happens – where it will be made available to anyone who started reading.

In case I don’t make it.

To the lovely person who bought a paperback: thank you! Hope you leave a review.

Some people prefer paper.

I set my ebook and paperback prices so I make around $5 when someone buys either; it seems about right.

Love you all. Drop by and tell me you’re okay.




25 thoughts on “Seniors beginning the covid-19 hard part

  1. joey

    I could babble on and on with my gripes and concerns. Lemme share the highlights?
    Sick people who test positive are upset when they get well and can’t leave home for a week or so, so they do anyway, and they don’t tell people. It’s no one else’s business, they claim.
    People who are asymptomatic are upset when they test positive and they don’t tell people and they don’t stay home. It’s no one else’s business, they claim.
    Some confirmed positive people who would under other circumstances, choose to isolate for the safety of others, just don’t as they can’t afford to miss work.
    Seemingly very few people understand 6 feet.
    Even fewer people participate in frequent good hygiene.
    Taking temperatures as a safety precaution only works for people who have fevers. DUH.
    I am extremely aware, personally aware, of the problems I mentioned here.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Something like half of people do NOT develop a fever!

      The ones who have to work, I understand – sort of. We’re not making it easy. And by not emphasizing masks for EVERYONE, those people who are sick and secretly working can’t hide easily – but can pass the virus on VERY easily.

      This is why I have to stay home.

      We’ve never had a situation in my lifetime that was this difficult, for so long, for so many people. The 1918 flu is a memory of my GRANDPARENTS’ time, not even my parents (who were born in 1923 and 1924). The fact that 50 million people died worldwide in 1918 isn’t even taught to most kids.

      But it would help if people were at least on the same page about believing in science and taking precautions. And it would have helped immensely to have a grownup at the helm insisting on masks the minute it was obvious (to some of us) that they needed to be universally worn.

      It IS other people’s business – and other people’s DEATHS. And NO ONE will ever be held accountable.

      And we won’t realize how many medical personnel we lost who were giving their all to keep us alive.

      I hear you. I agree. I have to stay isolated because I’m probably vulnerable – and we had this past week or so one podiatrist who tested positive after he’d interacted with a bunch of residents here, and one health aide who assisted five residents (probably old and frail, or recovering from surgery, because those are the ones who need help). We haven’t heard the last of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. marianallen

    Glad you’re taking all possible care. It’s all we can do. I’ve been occupied with horrible business, but hope to get back to writing maybe next month. Editing for the press maybe by the end of this month. ❤


  3. Jeanne

    Even though I live in a rural area where the virus hasn’t made much of an impact yet, I’ve seen no one and gone no place since March. I’m planning to go to my office today and clean out anything I need for the coming academic year, because the office is shared with students and I need to leave it for them.
    Some of my friends–people who are not quite old enough to retire–hope that we will vote the current administration out in November and there will be a vaccine in the spring. I wonder, but hang on to a little hope.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m glad your area hasn’t had too many cases yet, but I think the concern is whether there are enough specialized hospital beds for locals IF/WHEN it hits. I hope your area is well served, but many rural areas are not – because they send their serious cases to a larger city.

      The tendency seems to be for areas to get hit hard before they quite realize what’s going on – and then the medical services and personnel can get overwhelmed – because the virus is so contagious.

      Please stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      With an extreme plotter, each scene is a stepping stone that I know leads to the next one.

      But it can be a leap – of faith, of naivete – to get to the next one. I’m poised for a leap – just a little scared to go there. I don’t know if I’ll keep it when I’m finished, or try to find a way to skip that one stone, but I can’t decide that until I jump to it, can I?

      Wish me luck.

      I’m feeling lucky – my beta reader like the previous chapter. Now to get the brain to let me write this one!

      Thanks so much for the encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory

    Ugh. I hope, hope, hope that your facility gets no more cases. You’re doing everything right, and I’ll bet that everyone else will be even more careful now. Stay positive and keep writing. -massive hugs-


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Lowered risk brings foolhardiness – because, if you are vulnerable or more likely to get the deadly version, there is no vaccine, cure, or easy treatment. And that won’t change for a while.

      Too many people, many of them young, are finding out that survival doesn’t mean health.

      Hope you’re safe where you are – good to see you here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris

    May I offer an opinion which might be a bit controversial, though I’d invite everyone reading it to approach it from an objective perspective; what it teaches us, rather than what e.g. it tells about me as a person.

    I’ve had a hard time relating to your recent posts about the pandemic. In other words, they appear as something very far away from me, that is of little significance to me personally.

    This is for two obvious reasons: 1) I’m not in a risk group (either because of age or because of health issues), nor is anyone close to me; 2) I live in Finland.

    Finland not only has one of the most effective public healthcare systems in the world, but is also a very sparsely populated country. As I’m writing this, there are 7 people in the hospital and nobody in the ICU because of this virus. Moreover, adherence to constitutionality is very powerful. As a result, unlike places like Spain, France, or Italy, it was legally impossible to force people to stay indoors.

    Overall, the only tangible way this whole thing has affected me in the past few months is, on a practical level, that I missed a trip to Greece and I might miss another in the fall, and, on a theoretical level, that I’m even more appalled with humanity – both in terms of individual stupidity, but also in terms of corporate greed and an abysmal lack of governmental leadership.

    So, to return to the crux of the matter: I consider myself an educated, empathic individual, who’s aware of what’s going on in the world. And *still* I’m having a hard time relating to what you’re going through. I mean, I sympathize and I can try to imagine how difficult it must be, but I have zero experience on what it is to feel like you do.

    And that can teach us a lot about the state of the world today. It’s extremely difficult to act on something you cannot experience. To clarify, I don’t claim this necessarily justifies the behavior of people; it only explains it.

    As for what we can do to alter it, I have no answers. What I do know, however, is that the solution cannot be individual, it must be societal. To put it another way, you can’t teach people to act on something they can’t relate to. But you can structure and organize society in a way that, in the long run, it becomes a semi-evident response.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      We can learn a lot from Finland! I hope our next administration finally stops waffling. Studies show that universal health care would cost a quarter of what our horrible system costs (the 3/4 difference goes into the pockets of corporations and stockholder – and buys more legislators to maintain it).

      By ‘you’ here, I’m sure you mean the USA.

      But I’m not writing about the USA. I’m writing about my tiny life in a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) that we bought into, and which is our forever home. Many people write about the big problems our nation is facing; I write about the little ones I face here, from the insider’s point of view.

      All I can do is give you a taste.

      And point out that no amount of healthcare matters to the virus if you catch it: then you are at the mercy of how your body reacts – which is why I will do everything in my power not to give it a chance.

      I’m embarrassed – as most Americans are – by the anti-science behavior and opinions of the current administration. I hope we can walk it back – and far in the other direction.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. acflory

      I understand where you’re coming from, and it explains a lot about my own country. I live in Australia, and like Finland, we did really well…in the beginning. Now we have community spread in my state and the authorities are locking down again to save lives. Sadly, a lot of the community don’t see the virus affecting them personally either. There is no visceral horror, no fear, only inconvenience. Yet research is starting to show that even amongst those younger people who only have a mild illness, the virus can leave long term damage.

      I really wish that the media would show interviews with those who have had the virus and survived, or not had the virus but lost someone they cared about. Instead the media broadcasts endless stories about the economic hardship [younger] people are facing, the frustration, the increase in domestic violence, mental health problems. These are all real, and we should all try to decrease the collateral damage but…these things can get better. There is no getting better from dead.

      For myself, I’m in my 60s so at increased risk, but the reason I’ve only left the house a handful of times since March is that the Offspring has major health issues. Potentially fatal health issues. The Offspring is 33. Now I wonder how many other young people have undiagnosed diabetes, or asthma or Crohns or Lupus or MS or Cystic Fibrosis or any number of other health issues that could prove fatal?

      Older people with co-morbidities are the most at risk, but they’re not the only ones at risk, and no one seems to care about these younger people either. That I can’t understand. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

        Up until now, what we people with disabilities complained about was the parsimony with which the majority viewed us, when a bit more generosity would help us thrive – and contribute even economically in many cases.

        Now we have to worry about dying unnecessarily.

        Big change in consequences – we weren’t doing that well before, and now we have to face the ultimate one.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. acflory

          Yes, a huge change and all downhill. But the messaging is still ‘oh, it’s only the very old who have to worry’. And of course, the subtext to /that/ is ‘and if they die, well, that’ll free up so much money…’ Cue the jingle of coins and the ping of cash registers.


        2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          You are one of the few people who seem to acknowledge that freeing up money is a motive.

          It costs money to take care of old people – those of us who could saved for this, so we wouldn’t burden our children. Others need the State to take care of them.

          But we were all brought up to think you worked hard during your working years, and then got to relax in retirement and enjoy life and your family and friends.

          It will happen to the next generation – whatever do they think is going to happen?

          Liked by 2 people

        3. acflory

          After learning about the Swedish…[insert expletive] strategy to provide only palliative care to the elderly in care homes, any faith I had left in the neo liberal form of representative govt has died and gone to hell.

          In my book, that’s murder on a grand scale…and it didn’t even work. Sweden’s economy is no better off than that of Finland and Norway. The big difference is that Sweden got to get rid of a lot of useless mouths.
          The truly sad thing is that Sweden is simply the most ‘open’ about its strategy. Every Western government has at least flirted with the idea – the UK, Australia and of course, the US are prime examples. I just hope there’s a reckoning when this is all finally over.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I resent being called a ‘useless mouth.’

          If nothing else, the elderly supply much love. They have a lot of wisdom to share, too, and sometimes get to do that.

          They have family history, and a sense of balance.

          Even the ones with severe dementia – which could happen to any of us – provide ways for us to love, and to pay back what they did for us.

          The US doesn’t do this on purpose – it’s more of a side effect of not putting enough money into care facilities, including staff. Other countries seem to be making getting rid of people an actual deliberate strategy.

          I hope the ‘leaders’ who do this are CONSCIOUS of what’s happening – when it happens to them.

          Liked by 2 people

        5. acflory

          As another one of those ‘useless mouths’, I share your resentment. Mostly though, I’m angry. I’m angry at the callous men and women making these decision, but I’m even more angry at the societies that rewarded self-centred indifference and allowed this rampant sociopathy to flourish.
          We reap what we sow.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. acflory

          lol – I didn’t think you did. I don’t think I did either. Honesty and caring were always a part of our family ethic. But…I believe we all contributed in small ways because this is a system wide phenomenon.

          How did we get from the Age of Aquarius to the kind of consumer culture where manufacturing outsourced to 3rd world countries produces clothing sold to /us/ for next to nothing so we can wear it once and throw it away? Or what of those who queue for hours to buy a new iPhone even though their old one is only a year old? Ditto that bright shiny SUV, the biggest TV in existence, takeaway food instead of home-made?

          Bit by bit we bought into all that, and in the process, we enabled the sociopaths to climb into positions of power everywhere.

          Now, while many Asian countries enjoy a mild pandemic because they value each other and wear masks to protect each other, we…we refuse on the basis that wearing masks denies us our individual freedoms.

          I know this is not you or anyone you care about. I know I’m preaching to the choir. I know my words won’t change a single thing, but…I truly hate what the Western world has become. 😦

          Liked by 2 people

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