What I Did During my Covid Isolation

Does anyone remember going back to school in September and writing the first essay, “What I did during my summer Vacation”? I can’t consider Covid lockdown or self isolating a vacation, but I did keep busy. Unfortunately, not by writing my blog! As always when I’m absent for awhile, I’m sorry.

Like many people, DHH worked from home, which he had been doing most of the time before Covid anyway. But with everyone else also working at home. he had many online business meetings, mostly through Zoom. It’s funny how that can change the tone and atmosphere of a meeting. Sometimes someone’s dog or child would come into camera range, someone would open the door not realizing their family member was in a meeting and be seen in the background, and occasionally you could see the person wasn’t wearing the full suit because he or she didn’t think anyone could see below upper body. The peek at sweatpants, jeans, shorts, or even in a few cases, lack of pants added a certain levity to the meetings in spite of the reason everyone met that way.

Like many people, I found myself wanting to enjoy my home since it was my whole world most of the time. We rarely used our living room before – that was for company – so sometimes I’d go sit in there for a change of scenery. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s no longer ‘for company’. It’s a living room. We’re going to live in it! I spent most of the warm weather outside either gardening in my front yard or just enjoying the good weather days in the back.

I still can’t say I cooked much – I’m afraid no matter how I try I’m just not going to like doing it for very long – but I kept very busy doing many things. I wrote a 10 minute play, I wrote a long short story, I did a lot of drawing, painting, and epoxy resin art work, and even some work with clay. I knitted several items, I reorganized rooms, I got things put away, I’ve been ruthlessly de-cluttering, and was able to drop off some substantial donations to places supporting the Kidney Foundation and Diabetes Research.

One of the really fun and exciting things (to us) DHH and I started doing about a month ago, is re-taking an American Sign Language course put out by the Bob Rumball Canadian Center of Excellence for the Deaf. We took ASL there many, many years ago (in person) but as time went by, we forgot a lot of it. With masks still being a problem for me, we decided to study it again so DHH can sign to me and help me understand what’s being said. The only difference now is that we’re taking it online through Zoom, which is quite interesting compared to the previous actual classroom experience we had.

Another thing I did, though this was not by choice, was have major emergency surgery, which is another reason I haven’t written in so long. I had been having back and leg pain for quite some time before Covid. I even had some physical therapy for it, which didn’t help at all. Shortly after I wrote my last blog, the pain intensified drastically. In January, I actually collapsed and couldn’t walk. It got worse and worse until the end of January, when I needed to be in a wheelchair and an MRI showed that my disks were pressing on my spinal cord so badly, it was literally being crushed. I needed surgery ASAP or my spinal cord could be severed.

The doctors did everything they could to help me while trying to find a surgeon for me. There aren’t many in Toronto who can do this and they’re really busy with very long waits. Thank heavens one of my doctors had a friend who’s one of the top surgeons in this field and he talked to him. I was so lucky to get an appointment to meet him the very next day. He said I was so bad he was clearing his schedule for the following Tuesday, and he operated less than a week later. I was in the hospital almost a week with no visitors (due to Covid), not even DHH. The first few days, I could barely text him, but by the end of my stay we were able to FaceTime a little. But I was still there alone, deaf, and heavily medicated, struggling to manage while everyone was in masks. I’m not ashamed to say it was one of the scariest times of my life.

The nurses, bless them, mostly wrote everything down for me. (I couldn’t handle my phone yet for the most part.). I brought a couple of pads and pens with me and they were so kind and patient with me. At least writing things down let me know what was happening. It was a new level of being deaf for me because it was the first time I wasn’t able to read lips at all. But I did it! I got through it and I managed. And I’m happy to say that with a lot of physical therapy and hard work, I am able to walk. Not like before, but I can walk. I’m grateful.

I’m also grateful to everyone, everywhere, who is patient with me knowing I can’t hear and the masks we need so much actually impair me in my ability to communicate. The kindness and patience most people have and still show me, have helped me get through the hardest times, and now, if I can inspire or help even one person, I’ll be even more blessed.

Until next time, stay safe, stay well, and be kind. So many people need and appreciate the smallest acts of kindness now. I’m definitely one of them.