Tuesday, 24 March 2020

COVID-19 Can Bring Us Together

I see SO MUCH panic and fear around me about COVID-19. I am staying home, self-isolating. I am doing so because, although I feel reasonably strong, I might come into contact with this dreaded virus and not even know if it I decide to go out (I've been isolated and not left my yard since the evening of Saturday, March 14, 2020). In doing so, in going out, if I make that bad choice, I might pass the virus on to someone else who won't survive getting sick with it. Instead, I choose to stay isolated.

I live near some older people.
I live near some kids.
I work with vulnerable populations. (off work about 10 days now)
Nobody needs me to be around them SO BADLY right now that I should go out and possibly pick up, carry, and pass a deadly sickness on.
I don't need any resources SO BADLY that it's worth me going out, picking up, possibly carrying and passing along a virus to anyone.

I'm staying home, making sure not to panic. I'm fielding calls from scared friends, helping them calm down so they don't go out and try to panic shop...

And, strangely, I've heard from a few people that I haven't heard from IN AGES... who checked-in because... heck, they have time now. They're off work for a while, like so many thousands of other Albertans and Calgarians.

I've chatted with a few people recently who used to be practically enemies of mine - for whatever reasons - and we've apologized, dismissed old issues, and started catching up and rebuilding a relationship.

This, mostly due to the onset of threat and the self isolation protocol processes that COVID-19 presents.

We can no longer hold grudges or stay separated entirely by choice. We all need each other in ways we never stopped to think about enough before...


In a weird and hopeful way, the people who have stopped panicking are coming together - even old, long time enemies. Many people are calming down, reflecting, starting to look after themselves better, and are reaching out via the internet and phone lines to check on people they care about; sometimes, people they used to care about, fought with and separated from.

Things are coming together for many of us.

Self-Isolation doesn't mean ultimate separation. Nobody came to my house to resolve old issues - they used technology that most of us have right in all our pockets - cell phones (they're little mini-computers in our pockets - HELLO!????). Laptops. Tablets.


Remember in the 80s before our schools had computers in almost every room? People in tech fields were telling us that by the 2000s, people wouldn't have to work out of the home anymore and voila... that didn't happen (insert "because Capitalism").

Remember in the 80s when tech people told us computers would help us be home more with our families and have less stress from work commutes and work out of the home? Well that didn't happen yet, either (insert "because Capitalism").

Guess what?

NOW is our chance to make these things happen. Well, for the people who are okay for now, settling in at home for self-isolation/self-distancing.

I do realize many people are NOT OKAY - vulnerable populations aren't okay and a LOT of people have been asked to leave their workplaces and those workplaces aren't suited to have employees work from home... For these people, much of life is terrible right now...

For those who are housed and have enough food, we are poised to be able to do things and come together via technology in some pretty darn big and special ways... Make what was promised in the 80s become truth... let us find ways to work from home, help others from home, be more mindful, more grateful for what's in front of us. Mend broken bridges and heal messed up relationships.

Perhaps no other issue/thing would ever FORCE US to try and get truly creative with how we stay connected or re-connect with each other... but we have to do this now. COVID-19 isn't negotiating with us...

Alberta has great volunteer spirit and Calgarians have a lot of heart...

We can come together - in spirit, that is - while COVID-19 Safety Protocols keep us apart. We have to.

This is what is.

For now.


Sunday, 22 March 2020

COVID-19 Isn't About You

COVID-19 largely isn't about YOU - it's about all of us, so PLEASE enact proper social distancing, be careful, be kind, help those around you in safe ways - at a distance! PHONE ALL PLACES you think you need to go and find out if there are protocols for doing so or if you even need to go out...

Example: there are no more emergency/doctor walk-in scenarios/opportunities anymore at this time while hospitals, doctors and health workers are over capacity and over worked.

Also, this means you need to look after yourself better than you ever have before and be more careful than ever (no little, silly accidents 'cos you're tired or not paying attention) 'cos you can't get SICK or drastically hurt anymore... there is little to no help for you from the health system... THIS PART IS ABOUT YOU looking after yourself properly. And this part about you involves RESPONSIBILITY.

The part that is about all of us is the human rights angle... we all have the right to exist.

If you threaten other peoples' right to exist by refusing to social distance, by trying to continue on as if this pandemic doesn't interest you... you are failing as a basic and understanding human.

Yes, it's hard to be contained, drastically change habits, etc., but look online - there are TONS of people engaging on social media, sharing tips on how to be connected from a distance, how to mentally cope with this world wide pandemic.


It's not about just YOU.

Friday, 20 March 2020

COVID-19 Got Serious - Fast!

On March 10, 2020, Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi started talking about "Clean Hands, Clear Head, Open Heart," in response to pandemic concerns

On March 12, 2020 at 1:45pm, City Of Calgary enacted a municipal emergency plan.

On March 15, 2020, Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared a "State Of Emergency" in the city of Calgary, related strictly to Corona Virus Pandemic.

With earlier city-wide announcements happening to restrict large gatherings of people and such, panic buying of certain essential items began well before Nenshi's declaration on March 15th.

Since the week before Nenshi announced the state of emergency, I was trying to set myself up to live as close to home and make as few trips out of the house as possible. I felt this would be necessary for me since I usually work with a lot of people in my roles as learning guide at a small university and as a peer advocate at a food centre which regularly serves 170-200 meals per community meal event. I didn't plan on self isolating completely and I didn't plan for it because I'clean m afraid of getting sick, either. I planned on this because if I am in large groups of people often. Even if I don't get sick, I might carry sickness around and give it to someone else.

I work with people who are vulnerable and who don't have access to sanitizer, who have compromised immune systems and who live communally in shelters. If these people aren't already dealing with colds and coughs, they can still get sick very easily, are perfect carriers who are in large throngs of people daily, and they will easily make other people in vulnerable populations sick by proximity. Let me point out - OF NO FAULT OF THEIRS... they're already some of our city's most vulnerable and overlooked people.

I knew a couple of weeks ago that I would have to ease up on travel, pick who I visited with carefully, and drastically reduce outings while resting more, drinking more water, and looking after myself better than I have been in recent weeks. I didn't expect a declaration of a "State of Emergency."

There's no more reason to be too busy to blog regularly now since all my workplaces are shut down. People are trying to creatively invent how to proceed and get university classes up and running electronically. The food centre is trying to sort itself out and maybe have peer advocates do some response work by phone. The food centre is working on how to make food for possible delivery to vulnerable populations - but how that might work is anyone's guess right now.

This is how life is right now... UNCERTAIN, messy, LONE...

It's March 20, 2020... I'm re-reading a graphic novel about a zombie pandemic that reads like a found journal...

Do we all need to keep a journal?