Covid twilight zone
About a month into the Covid 19 pandemic I had been seeing stories on the news about stores with empty shelves specifically no toilet paper. My personal care attendant came to me and said, “I’ve been to five stores and I can’t find any toilet paper.” I gave her some. First, because she is a friend and she needed it. Second, because I believe that if the people around me do better than I will do better as well. A couple of weeks later, I went to a big department store. I was looking for a package of socks. I witnessed for myself aisles upon aisles upon aisles of empty shelves. Not only were there no socks but no product. That’s when I fully understood the impact of a worldwide pandemic. Production had simply been stopped. That’s why we couldn’t find any toilet paper or socks in one of the largest department store chains in the world. For the first time I was really scared. Although, I couldn’t say exactly what I was scared of. I felt like I was in the Covid twilight zone.
It’s about seven months into the Covid 19 pandemic. My personal care attendant told me this morning that she couldn’t come a half an hour later as agreed because the regional transit system (RT) in my town had canceled the bus due to a driver’ s illness. I looked at her with this bewildered look on my face. She’s been working for me for about 13 years. I trust her implicitly. But today, I said to her “you better be telling me the truth.” I just couldn’t believe that the RT would cancel a bus because a driver had called out ill. How many people would lose their jobs? I called to verify this information. Then I decided to try to be on the disability advisory committee for RT. I know that if you work in fast food or retail it is possible to lose your job just by showing up late once. Even if a person were allowed three late arrivals, a person cannot be expected to rely on a bus system where a bus can be canceled solely because a bus driver is ill. That can’t be helped or predicted. This is just one example of what I call “Covid crazy”.
I am so lucky to have the three personal care attendants that I do. I am in my 50s and my mother is in her upper 80s. I love to travel but it is very physically difficult for me. Keisha my attendant that I’ve had for 13 years who has traveled with me in the past and has always said that if I needed to travel unexpectedly. I have told her so repeatedly. Now with this pandemic and all the fires in California my mother is worried and wants me to come visit in North Carolina. If the Smoke gets too bad. I told my mother that I was fine. I thanked her for the offer and told her I would keep it in mind. When I told Keisha of the conversation, she said without a second thought, “I would go.” She lives with her aunt who has COPD. Which makes this offer even more special. I have a new attendant Alicia, who has worked for me only a couple of weeks who repeatedly tells me she doesn’t mind staying late no matter how long it takes. I’ve had people in the past who have wanted me to pay them for every five minutes extra that they stay. Then there’s Denise who came over at 4 o’clock in the morning when I fell out of bed. And she came over on a moment’s notice when we thought I had to go to the hospital. She made me a cushion for my new wheelchair because we couldn’t find one that was appropriate. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my neighbor Lucinda who has helped me for many years without any pay even in the middle of the night. I am repeatedly reminded of how lucky I am to have these people in my life.
Submitted by Melissa B., Sacramento County – Sacramento.