COVID CHRONICLES 05/02/20

The Locker room, Opera Olympics, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. Image by William Goldsmith

No News is Good News

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written anything about Lisa’s condition. That’s mostly because the process of recovery is monotonous, without the up and down “excitement” of the active virus symptoms.

Lisa is completely out of danger, given what we know about the virus today. Now it’s a matter of regaining her strength and endurance. She’s taken several good walks and Thursday had a full and active day without too much in the way of rebound yesterday. These are all positive developments.

At the same time, Lisa’s fatigue continues and some days are better than others. She was having sleep issues prior to the virus, and those are still present at a time when she needs as much good sleep as possible. Plans to address this are in place, but like everything else “non-essential”, are stalled. Her clock is currently 3–4 hours off. Getting into the sun will help. Meanwhile, she sleeps as late as she needs to.

The largest challenge at the moment for both of us is actually allergy season. The pollen is the worst in recent memory. The night blooming plants — jasmine, for one — leave an almost sickly-sweet fragrance, which is wonderful until it’s not. Plus I still haven’t adjusted to the new grasses and trees in Santa Cruz after two years.The amount of yellow powder landing on our cars is breathtaking — literally!

This has caused all of us — Lisa in particular — some breathing difficulties, especially when the night-bloomers come out. Lisa has been using her inhaler as needed as directed by her doctor. I’ve also had breathing issues, and the rest of the family has been suffering as well. I just got my own inhaler prescription refilled. Having suffered from seasonal allergies most of my life, I know the difference between an allergic reaction and getting sick. This is the former. On a few days it’s simply meant everyone staying indoors with windows closed and air conditioner on despite the beautiful day outside.

I learned VERY early in my relationship with Lisa that climate control is essential for singers, even more so when one has migraines. I simply never touch the thermostat unless expressly directed by Lisa, and even then I’m hesitant. Don’t get between this woman and her thermostat!

For a moment of levity, and for those of you unfamiliar with what singers go through (and their partners), I share video below. Over the top? Or too close to home? I am silent on the matter…

Back in time B.C. (Before Covid), we had furnace/air conditioning issues. When we turned on the AC last week for the first time since resolving those issues, there was another problem. We called the folks we’d been working with. They said they couldn’t help us. Their lead technician — the only one out in the field — is in his 60’s and lives with his 90-something mother. So he is understandably being ultra-cautious.

But it’s hard to fathom that the company apparently doesn’t have anyone who ISN’T at high risk to service calls. The truth is, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, just because people in a household don’t have symptoms or haven’t tested positive doesn’t mean this gentleman won’t be at risk entering their home. In fact, we’re safer — we’ve been cleared by everyone, done a deep clean, and have people who enter wear masks and gloves. Sorry, they said. Can’t get anyone out here until May 15.

Obviously, that wasn’t going to fly. We called someone else local who responded immediately. He was immediatelyt able to diagnose the problem. Didn’t have the part but called a buddy who did. Out quickly and cleanly, wearing a mask and gloves while here. We signed an ongoing maintenance agreement the next day.

I mention this because it’s an example of the dilemma we’re facing on both sides of the equation. On one hand, we’ve been ultra-conservative and don’t blame anyone else for doing the same. And we make an effort to support local businesses, especially in these challenging times.

At the same time, we need a company to stand behind their work and the business relationship we’ve built. While we’re obviously sympathetic, we also need someone who has figured out how to work under these circumstances. These are the ones that will survive.

I am not attaching value-judgement here. I’m just pointing out the challenge for both local businesses and customers as we navigate during the pandemic and anticipate life on the other side.

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