March 13th, 2020, A Friday
“Well, we may not see each other for a while.” He remarked as I wrote out the paid receipt for him. I nodded. “We saw this coming last year. You know it was already hitting people I knew in December. We were just unaware of what to call it.” I remarked. He nodded.
He then led me out the glassed-in room protecting us from the cold. I followed him, as I carried my therapy gear to my car. We ambled our way down a flight and half of stairs and then through his garage. We chatted in the cool, damp air as I loaded up my car. Then I parted, I prayed and whispered in my car. “Tell me which way to go.” I stated into the visually empty car, yet I knew the spirit that had always been with me was ever present.
As I drove, there was an eerie essence. Doctors had warned ahead, and I watched eye fully and listened to clients who’s business travels had been cancelled two months prior. Many medical offices were slowing their foot traffic as well. So much so, our dentist told us not to come in for check-ups/cleaning—to hold off for now. “Too risky.” He stated.
Worse yet just nine weeks prior I’d dreamt about it. Disease was coming and I saw it come from over the ridge I’d ran near. Shortages were everywhere, yes it was a real nightmare. I woke up in cold sweat drenched from head to toe. I thought I’d screamed out loud. But my husband who was terminal and napping on the couch a floor below our bedroom heard nothing. I’d passed out from exhaustion in the middle of that January workday. It was the triple worry-whammy knocking me for a loop. And thank God a couple people cancelled that day. Between hubby dying, the kids, not only had a pandemic began, yet also there was another form of candida on the rise and there was no cure for it either.
Funny enough, the one thing I feared many years earlier in my business and contemplated was this: What if a client thought something was just a cold or only had a fever for three hours, or a rash that I’d not seen and they’d not revealed it—purposely or not.
Yes, in my business I’d ran into people not telling me they had shingles, not telling me when they were going through chemo—even though all those questions were on two of my seven forms you’d fill out before even entering one of my treatment rooms. As well, I asked questions before each session began.
Sometimes they’d come in for session with their child who’d been home from school with—unbelievably so—with oh, I don’t know—conjunctivitis—or perhaps mononucleosis, or something highly contagious. That just showed me how people could be. It was one of my worries.
I reflected back to the time in June 2002, I had my first Badwater135 race coming up in just two weeks and a client of mine put testosterone gel all over his body within four hours of seeing me. I found out forty minutes into the session. But he was told by the Black-Market doctor he’d gotten the gel from that he shouldn’t touch his wife with it within four hours. Basically, I fired him with a return receipt registered letter. Then prayed to God there would be no ill effects on me. That did not help my performance two weeks later—talk about anxiety.
I had enough clientele who had no regard for my safety and health. Out of the 4,000 clients I had, between twenty to thirty of them had never thought about the danger they might be bringing into my office. That could effect not just me, but the other pained, injured, and ill clientele—not to mention, athletes professional and otherwise that I’d treated—too my part-time secretaries.
All this funneled through my mind that Friday March 13, 2020 as I drove home; then decided to go to the food store for fresh produce and some frozen vegetables. Low and behold when I’d arrived at one of the big local supermarkets, it was a mad house. The beauty was, it seemed as though no one thought or bought the way I did. The things I knew I needed were available. I decided frozen vegetables were not so important, because this wasn’t the store of my usual place to shop.
The produce, people didn’t touch apples, bagged kale, big, bagged carrots, bags of onions. I was in a euphoric state. Those were the items I could do a ton with. And they were healthy. I had enough pre-cooked chicken carcasses in my freezer, salt, pepper, and bouillon to last us a couple weeks at minimum. I’d worry later. I purchased things most people didn’t value. I sought out nutrient dense foods. I got home with some goods, knowing no funds from my business would be coming in. I breathed and looked at my husband as he rested on the couch. I said, “God will provide. It’ll be fine.”
That late morning, I figured out what we could survive with, even with my husband being terminal. It would all work out okay. To boot, the pandemic was our blessing. Our high school aged children and I were forced to spend almost the entire day with their dad who would have been left alone a little bit more if not for the shut-down. The house would’ve become too quiet for hours on end when he could still enjoy us for a few more months.
Due to the pandemic and the need for fresh air. He and our youngest would take long walks together until the last month and a half of his life. If I ventured out to a scenic route via foot; I would bring my phone and take pictures and share them with my husband who couldn’t run all that far due to illness. Most times I would stick close by on my running. I found new routes nearby. The streets appeared to be so vacated. The air was fresher. I wouldn’t see anyone at times, no cars for five miles. It was delightful. Also, it was the only way I’d get out, except for my once-a-week early morning foraging for food for us.
I discovered new ways to cook. I ordered organic almonds in bulk and make milk, flour, cream, crackers and the like out of almonds and water. I used almond crumbs and vegetables crushed to make pie crusts for our dinners. I was reinventing my cooking style. I usually have done that. But for five years prior I’d fallen into a habit and gotten a bit mentally stale in that department. No one complained, but I knew I had to push the envelope with my creativity in the kitchen. The pandemic was the remedy.
My writing skills took off. I read more. I took a ton of online classes for cheap and I learned more. I shared my time with my husband. I kept him involved. I’d get some excited “Wows!” out of him. He knew we had nature around our home. Yet, he’d never seen it as much as he did then. We kept our living blinds open most the day then, as it was something for him to look at and enjoy.
The quirky busy mom with two careers and other gigs on the side here and there, I now could cater more to our children who were doing online school. I served one espresso in bed most mornings before classes. Yes, I spoiled her. But this was crunch time for our family. We had to squeeze the time we had left with my husband their father, leaving nothing undone to arrive at giving him a peaceful ending. The pandemic did that.
The pandemic was the remedy for incredible discipline. Relearning what we didn’t need. What really mattered. Who we were and who we’d become would be forced upon us. And it would either make us bitter or make us better. Ingrates or Grateful. That is what it would do.---Jody-Lynn Reicher