This week, I could write a blog on the psychosocial ramifications of long term isolation, or the effects of fear of contracting coronavirus on people with anxiety disorder, or tips on how to ride this pandemic out. I could do any and all of that, but to be honest, I’m over it. I’m burned out, people. So, this week, the goal for this blog is not to educate you, not to give you tips about taking care of yourself during these trying times, not to regurgitate stuff you’ve heard before. Nay, people. The goal of this week’s blog is a simple one…to make you laugh. That’s it. I just want to make you laugh. But first, I want to say that I mean no disrespect by making light of a very heavy situation, a virus that has claimed many lives.
Coronavirus itself is no joke, it is serious and even deadly business. What is funny however, is some of the madness going on in the world because of the coronavirus: the toilet paper hoarding, the stockpiling of groceries, and don’t forget the new “Coronavirus Challenge,” where people lick toilet seats. Ewww!! Anyway, I combed the internet and social media for funnies, and even made up some jokes that are all my own. So this week, it’s all about…
We’re more than three weeks into the corona isolation, the coronalation. Some folks are under quarantine, the coronatine. Coronalation, coronatine, potato, patato…whatever you want to call it, clearly Mother Nature has put us all on restriction and sent us to our rooms for being buttheads and always destroying her fine work.
Four weeks ago, the most misspelled Google search was “corn and teen.” It was then that I started to slowly lose faith in humanity. Who knew it was that hard to spell Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E? Well, apparently it is. Although covid-19 is nothing to joke about, I can’t help but chuckle at some of the hilarious mishaps and behaviors we’re seeing during the country’s “quarantine.” I use that term lightly because some Americans are just not having it. They refuse to bow down to the coronavirus, to allow it to change their lives or make them modify their behaviors, so I call them ‘The Covid Cowboys,’ because these people are pretty reckless. For the rest that do quarantine or isolate, it’s pretty evident that spending a majority of the day indoors can make them do some crazy-funny stuff. Right now, it’s good to laugh on the rare occasions that things tickle your funny bone. For eons, people have used laughter to help deal with bad situations, and it’s really a healthy response, especially in the situation we find ourselves in now.
Remember that different places around the globe had/ have different ways of dealing with this virus…I’m talking about marshall law here people. A lot of countries weren’t quite so polite as our good ole US of A. Our leaders merely “strongly suggested” that we shelter in place or isolate. In some countries, you were locked into your home or apartment building, not permitted to leave for any reason, not even to walk your dog. In all of China, but especially in Wuhan Province where this pandemic started, it was total lockdown. There was no running down to the corner store to get food; if you didn’t have food, you went hungry. People who disobeyed the lockdown order were forcefully dragged off, literally kicking and screaming, and some of them haven’t been seen since. But no matter what patch of green on the globe that you call home, isolation + stress + lack of sleep = temporary insanity!
Evidently, Spain also had very stringent lockdowns to help flatten the curve. A stir-crazy man from Spain disguised himself as a dog in an attempt to leave his apartment. People in the neighborhood were peering out their windows, freaking out, thinking that they were seeing some sort of corona-crazed bigfoot-bear hybrid monster. The man wasn’t arrested for leaving his home during lockdown, he was arrested for inciting panic. Well, at least he got to a new space with a different view, albeit through bars.
A 19-year-old woman in Britain was using her newfound free time wisely(?) Don’t quote me on that last qualification. Anyway, she went through her contacts and made a list of all of her exes. She then called each and every one to ask them what went wrong in their relationship, and then shared this new information with her followers on social media. What went wrong? Umm, maybe you lost your mind? Just a guess.
Even though Americans haven’t been forced to stay home, that doesn’t keep them from doing some ridiculous things. I’ve read about and seen videos of people fighting over cases of water, hand sanitizer, and you guessed it…toilet paper. I’m talking about knock down, drag out fights. And who do you figure would punch somebody in the face over 16 ounces of hand sanitizer or 12 rolls of TP? Big biker guys, right? They fight over everything. Well, guess again! Not big burly biker guys, but housewives! Hair-pulling, nose-punching, nail-scratching, pugilistic housewives. And these fights always seem to happen at WalMart. Things that make you go hmm…
File under ‘Silly Social Media’
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; all the rest have thirty-one. Except for March, which hath 9,000.
The perfect quarantine schedule, afternoon to evening:
4:00 – Wallow in self pity
4:30 – Stare into the abyss
5:00 – Solve world hunger (tell no one)
5:30 – Jazzercise
6:30 – Dinner w/ me (can’t cancel again)
7:00 – Wrestle with my self loathing
I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to change my Netflix password so my ex-boyfriend can’t watch it anymore, and it really doesn’t get any more perfect than during a national lockdown.
In Australia, we had fires, then floods, and then this virus. On January 1, 2020, my husband said he knew that the day was going to be the start of something awesome. Next time he says anything like that, I’ll make some PSA’s so we can all prepare.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, in nine months, some parents name their newborn kid Covid if it’s a boy and Corona if it’s a girl.
Thursday: Creamed Corn
Friday: Roadkill du Jour
Saturday: Dried Grass & Clover
Day 1 of quarantine: I will use this time as an opportunity to take better care of myself.
Day 2 of quarantine: For personal reasons, I am eating a lasagna in my shower.
A doctor, a nurse, and an epidemiologist walk into a bar, and they said “GET OUT! GO HOME!”
A man and his 15-year-old son are having a talk in 2035:
Son: Hey dad, why did you name my sister Paris?
Father: Well, because we conceived her in Paris France.
Son: Oh, okay…thanks, dad.
Father: No problem, Quarantine.
Side effect of quarantine: it’s really hard to get off the phone. Twice today I said, “okay, I have to run” but then I remembered there’s nowhere to run to.
Due to the quarantine, I’ll only be telling inside jokes.
Me: Can I have fun?
Costco priced an 82 inch Samsung TV for $1,200. I don’t think that was a coincidence.
I know a great joke about coronavirus…you probably won’t get it though.
A man walks into a bar and goes up to the bartender and says “I’ll have a Corona please, hold the virus”
If I get quarantined for two weeks with my wife, and I die, I can assure you it was not the virus that killed me.
*Breaking News!* Apparently the first person in Boca Raton has died due to the coronavirus. In his house they found 1,000 cans of soup, 90 pounds of pasta, 80 pounds of rice, 300 rolls of toilet paper, and 50 gallons of hand sanitizer, all of which he had panic purchased from the supermarket to stockpile “just in case.” The “just in case” stockpile collapsed and buried him.
Day 3 without sports. Discovered a lady sitting on my couch yesterday. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice enough.
Since everybody has now started washing their hands, the peanuts at the bar have lost their taste.
The news said that a mask and gloves were good enough to go to the supermarket. They lied, everyone else had clothes on.
Before coronavirus, I used to cough to cover a fart, now I fart to cover a cough.
Definition of Irony – When the Year of the Rat starts with a plague.
People with a cold: “I just want to stay in bed and do nothing, I feel terrible.”
People with coronavirus: “I feel terrible, I think I will go skiing in Austria, visit the Eiffel Tower, and maybe do some white water rafting in Camino de Santiago.”
My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately, that now when I pee, I clean the toilet.
2020 is a unique leap year. It has 29 days in February, 300 days in March, and 10 years in April.
Back in the day, the only time we started panic buying was when the bartender yelled “last call!”
I think it’s really great that people are finally starting to drink water, wipe their asses, and wash their hands.
Ok, so if the coronavirus isn’t about beer, why do I keep hearing about cases of it?
To the people who bought 20 bottles of soap, leaving none on the shelves for others, you do realize that to stop the spread of coronavirus, you need other people washing their hands too. Duh!
Chinese doctors have confirmed the name of the first person to contract coronavirus. His name is Ah-Chu.
Don’t worry, the coronavirus won’t last long…it was made in China.
To those who are complaining about the quarantine period and curfews, just remember that your grandparents were called to war… you are being called to the couch to Netflix and chill. You can do this.
How come the liquor stores don’t have empty shelves? Don’t people understand that they’ll be quarantined with their spouses and kids?
Mexico is asking Trump to hurry up and build the wall NOW!
Having trouble staying at home? Shave your eyebrows off.
Pet thoughts during isolation:
Dogs: “Oh my gosh, you’re here all day! This is the best: I can love you, see you, be with you, and follow you all day long! I am so excited because you are the greatest person, my person, and I love you so much!”
Cats: “What the hell are you still doing here?”
I don’t know why my fishing buddy is worried about coronavirus, he never catches anything.
Social distancing rule: “If you can smell their fart, move further apart.”
The coronavirus has achieved what no female has ever been able to achieve… It has cancelled sports, closed every bar, and kept all the guys at home!
The science community has figured out that the spread of coronavirus is based solely on two things.
1. How dense the population is
2. How dense the population is
I hope I made you laugh at least a few times. Be well, people. Don’t go corona crazy during your coronalation! Or your coronatine!
You’re in Isolation… Now What?
I regret that I even have to make this blog. The situation we find ourselves in is so surreal, but here we are, so we have to rock and roll with it. Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, a particularly nasty one. In recent years, scientists have tried to prepare for a long-feared hypothetical pathogenic disaster they called Disease X, and defined it as: any unknown disease that springs suddenly into our species and races ruinously through it. Covid-19 is the first Disease X to arise since the terminology was coined, but it certainly won’t be the last. The climate is warming, we’re hacking down forests, our population is expanding faster than the earth can keep up with, and our skills at waging biological warfare are expanding and improving. The odds that we’ll keep encountering more and more Disease X’s are increasing. We will need all the vaccines we can make for this, and future, Disease X’s. Right now, there are at least 40 research groups around the globe working on Covid-19, and there are 43 Covid-19 vaccines in various stages of development around the world. One potential vaccine has just started a small human trial. While it sounds promising, with Covid-19, both the viral contagion itself and the vaccine type (using novel DNA/ RNA tech) are so new that there’s no telling what human trials will reveal, or how long they will take. Most of the scientists researching Covid-19 say that we’ll be lucky to have a vaccine for human use within 12 – 18 months.
Yes, we’re in a pretty precarious state, but there are ways to make it less uncomfortable, less disturbing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best defense is a good offense. These cliches were not popularized by accident, they’re true. In the case of Covid-19, the best preventative measure and the best offense is…stay home! It may not be fun and it may not be easy, but if there’s any possible way to stay home, do so. The only thing worse than isolating to prevent contracting the virus is to be quarantined withthe virus! I want to talk about some things you can and should do to maintain your sanity while waiting Covid-19 out. For general information, I’ve found that Unicef has great intel broken down into manageable units. They detail handwashing, using hand sanitizer, and behavioral ways to help stop the spread of Covid-19. You can navigate through the entire site from:
After talking with so many patients about Covid-19, listening to their fears and anxiety, I’ve come up with 10 things you should pay attention to while you’re isolating or you’re in quarantine.
1. Consider anyone who is living with you in isolation, under quarantine, or simply in your shelter, as family. Everyone must function as a family, ie as a group, a “covid family” if you will. A few weeks ago, our world changed forever, and you must work together and be in it for the long haul, because we don’t know how long this is going to last. Make a decision to be good to each other, to respect each other. You must get along, because now we have an enemy that is far greater than us. It is a virus, not a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood, tornado, or fire, nothing that we are accustomed to dealing with. It is not a war, but make no mistake…we are under attack. So you need to treat the people in your “covid family” the way that you want to be treated. Talk to each other (no yelling or demeaning language) in a positive manner; this won’t always be easy, because the uncertainties linked to this pandemic will cause stress, which generally leads to shorter fuses. Decisions have to be made in a thoughtful way; if you have several people in your “covid family,” that may mean voting on important issues. Whatever you do, make every effort to keep the peace in your “covid family.”
2. Hygeine is everything when it comes to transmissible disease, andeveryone living in the house must participate in it. Wash your hands often, and just as important, wash them properly! I’ll discuss ‘the how’ below. First, let’s talk about ‘the when’. Your mama taught you to wash after using the toilet, before and after eating, after changing diapers or helping children use the toilet, after touching animals and pets, after touching garbage, and whenever they are obviously dirty. Those rules still apply of course, but with Covid-19, we’ve stepped it up a bit to include a few more “after’s”:
– After coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose
– After visiting public spaces/ places: public transportation, markets, banks, drive-thrus, and places of worship
– After touching any of the surfaces outside of the home, including money, ATM machines, credit/debit checkout machines and stylus pens
– Before, during and after caring for a sick person, regardless of their Covid-19status
Those are minimum hand washing requirements. I suggest you wash at least every 1 – 2 hours, even if you haven’t done any of the above things. Ritualize your hand washing, especially if anyone in your “covid family” is high risk and/ or still venturing out of the home. If you touch the doorknob, wash your hands. If you touch a faucet, wash your hands, stove, wash. You get the idea. In this situation, there’s really no such thing as washing too much; you cannot be too careful, because this virus does live on surfaces for an extended period of time. FYI, that includes Amazon boxes. One of my very high risk patients actually “quarantines” her deliveries for five days and then opens the boxes with gloves on. Overkill? Hard to say. We all have to gauge our personal risk level and then behave accordingly.
As promised, here is ‘the how’ of proper handwashing. There are five simple steps to proper handwashing:
1: Wet hands with running water (water temperature doesn’t matter)
2: Apply soap liberally- don’t skimp- use enough to thoroughly cover your hands.
3: Scrub all over the hands for 20 – 30 seconds with lots of sudsy lather: every surface, back and front of hands, between all fingers and under fingernails. Pretend you’re a surgeon. We’ve all seen surgeon’s scrubbing in. Do that vigorous, thorough scrubbing for 20 – 30 seconds. And yes, sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice to ensure you wash for 20 seconds minimum…it’s so easy to stop early if you don’t sing, because 20 seconds is a fair chunk of time. Don’t short yourself!
4: Rinse well under running water
5: Dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.
IF YOU’RE OUT OR WHERE THERE’S NO SOAP OR RUNNING WATER, USE HAND SANITIZER. Use it basically the way you would soap. Put a generous amount into the palm of one hand and rub briskly but thoroughly all over both hands: front, back, between fingers, and under nails. If necessary, use another dose of it to act as a sort of rinse, especially if your hands have contacted multiple surfaces.
Some other hygeine tips:
– Do not touch your face.
– Make hand sanitizer and tissues like the American Express card…don’t leave home without it.
– Sneeze into a tissue. Some say it’s okay to sneeze into the crook of your elbow, but only as a last resort if you don’t have a tissue; your best bet is to keep a tissue handy.
– If you must leave your home, limit outings to once a day.
– If you do leave your house, when you come back home, go straight to the bathroom and bathe before you interact with the house. Then use pre-moistened antibacterial cleansing cloths or a bleach solution to clean everything you touched on the way in.
3. Do everything you can to boost your immune system, especially if you are higher risk. Take vitamins, 50 mg Zinc Gluconate per day, 1000 international units of Vitamin D3 per day, and 1000mg Vitamin C each day. If Vitamin C upsets your stomach, look for liposomal Vitamin C, because it is better digested.
4. Take care of yourself. I’m embarassed to say that I have a friend from Pennsylvania who found ridiculously cheap plane tickets to Florida, $28 round trip, for he and his wife to take a quick trip about a month ago, just before travel was prohibited. Guess who got sick with coronavirus? Both of them! Guess where they are now? Quarantine! I mean, duh! File that under “Don’t be a moron!” I can’t believe I’m friends with someone that stupid. Anyway, back to taking care of yourself. This isn’t rocket science.
– Eat healthy, limit bad things. You’re likely to have more time on your hands; don’t spend it drinking more alcohol, smoking more cigarettes or more weed, or eating your way through the pandemic. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best, but you may not have access to them, so frozen fruit and veg are better than no fruit and veg. Every restaurant has delivery now, but try to not give in and order carb, fat, sugar crap delivery. Eating healthy also helps boost your immune system. Google “foods that boost the immune system” and see what you like and what you can get your hands on. Blueberries, raspberries, nuts, eggs, leafy vegetables, lean meat, fish.
– You must exercise every day. Obviously you should not visit a gym or use community gym equipment, but it’s fine if you own it and it’s inside your home. If you share gym equipment with your “covid family” be sure to clean it between uses and wash your hands thoroughly after using it. If you don’t use equipment, go for a walk or bike ride. Look On-Demand or YouTube for workout videos to do at home. Move your body everyday.
– Keep to your regular work day sleep-wake schedule. Go to bed at a certain time, get up at certain time. Sleep deprivation and/ or exhaustion compromises your immune system, so it compromises you.
– Get dressed. If you dress like a bum, you’re more likely to feel like a bum. Try for the sake of the people that may be in your “covid family”. Don’t wear your pajamas all day, get dressed and look a human being please. Shower, shave, brush your teeth, wash your face, yada yada. Fine, if you’re working from home and want to wear sweats for a day or two, that’s fine, but doing it every day for a long period of time tends to undermine the sense of self-esteem and degrade the community around you, aka your “covid family”
– Learn to relax. These are trying times. Do things to help deal with anxiety. Try aromatherapy, music, gardening, yoga, meditation. Google meditation videos, and look on YouTube as well and give it a try. For some people, a pet is the best anxiolytic in the world; think about getting a fish or a little mammal. If that’s not for you, try getting a little plant to take care of, just something you can nurture. It helps a great deal psychologically.
– Meals become a bigger deal now, because it will probably be the most face to face interaction you’ll have, assuming you’re not going out. I suggest you schedule one big meal a day- usually dinner- and everyone pitches in. Some people prep, some cook, and some clean up. Working together is good for the mind and the soul, because it gives everyone a sense of belonging.
5. Be frugal. If that is foreign to you, learn to stop spending. Figure it out. You must conserve all resources and manage the resources you have in the most efficient way, so you are not wasting food, goods, or money. You don’t know how long this is going to last, or the effect on the economy once it’s gone, so think before you spend a penny.
6. Limit news exposure. You’ll go crazy watching it all day. Don’t leave the news station on as white noise either. Remember that some people, like politicians (ahem), have a secondary agenda that you can’t even begin to imagine, so you can’t really believe everything you’re hearing. Take everything with a grain of salt until you hear the same news from multiple sources who have conflicting interests. Then you can put more stock into what you’re being told.
7. How to entertain yourself or others in your “covid family”? The key here is to keep changing it up. Movies, binge watching tv shows, virtual reality systems, Gameboys, puzzles, board games, cards, reading, art. Try some hobbies you’ve never had the time to try before: planting a garden, sewing, knitting, painting, drawing, writing, tie-dye, whatever rocks your boat. You’re not going to be able to do the same thing day after day, because you’ll be bored out of your skull; remember that we’re probably looking at months before it’ll be safe to return to life, but likely a year minimum before things even start to get back to normal. Months to a year is a long time to be bored.
8. You must maintain a high level of socialization. Use Facetime rather than just phone calls. Email or text, however you can stay in touch with people. Anyone who’s read my book, Tales from the Couch, available on Amazon (shameless plug) or reads/ watches my blogs/ vlogs, will laugh at this next bit. I suggest that you use social media, Facebook, Instagram, etc to facilitate interactions with people and get ideas from the outside world and really stay in tune with what’s going on. Normally I harp on the evils of social media, but it’s a brand new world people! Try very hard to stay in touch with friends and family during this isolated state.
9. Have structure, especially if there are kids in the house. You must establish special rules for the special circumstances we are in. If you have school-aged kids, are they “out of school?” This isn’t summer, and most schools have a curriculum for students during this time at home. So, the kids must wake up in the morning, shower, have breakfast, brush the teeth, and boom…school is in session! Make a schedule for them for every day, Monday to Friday, and stickto it religiously. I ran a school for 10 years, and I know how important this is. This isn’t punishing or being mean to the kids; kids are happier on a schedule, because they know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. The key here is to break the day up into separate topics/ sessions: reading time (or lecture, depending on age), discussion/ questions on the reading or lecture, outside activity, snack time, art, creative play time, lunch time, nap time (if applicable), puzzle time, special project time. The key to success is tailoring the subjects, activities, and the length of each session to the age of the kids. Young kids have a short attention span, so spend no more than 20 minutes on each session. Older children can usually handle 45 minutes, but adjust the time according to your child. Special projects could include maybe making homemade kites and racing them, or having a cookie day, where you make cookies and talk about the origin of ingredients and/ or their purpose in the recipe. For instance, when you add the chocolate chips, explain that chocolate actually starts as a big pod grown on a tree, called cacao (pronounced ka-kow), and google a picture of it along with how the process goes, from the pod to the chocolate chips in the cookies. As for lecture subjects, you can google lectures or ‘educational topics for ____ graders’ and find cirriculum and lesson plans. And it really is worth it for you to order stuff online to keep them entertained and learning and productive. You can even get topic or lecture ideas from everyone sitting around the dinner table. Understand that kids feel the stress of this situation too, so engaging them in positive and productive activities will take their minds off the fear and uncertainty while improving their skills and expanding their education. The bottom line is that if you don’t engage the kids, they’ll be idle and bored, a perfect prescription for the house to descend into chaotic madness.
10. Think! Think really hard before doing anything. Ask yourself, ‘Is it worth my money?’ and ‘Do I need it?’ Stop with the panic buying! Really, how much toilet paper do you actually need? Buy the things you need, but think before you do in order to conserve your resources. Think wisely about what your family will eat, and what items will last for a long time: rice, pasta, jarred sauces, frozen fruit and veg, granola, protein bars, shelf stable milk, etc. Don’t do anything stupid like my friend in Pennsylvania did, taking a quick vacay to Florida…now he and his wife are on a Covid-19 quarantine vacay, a bummer place to be. And think how idiotic they’ll look when they have to answer friends and family’s questions on how and where they got the virus! Also, don’t panic. There’s really nothing to panic about. Prepare the best you can, take good care of yourself, be smart, and wait it out. Always keep your wits about you.
Do you know the answer to the question ‘How long can you do this?’ I’ll tell you. The answer is… as long as we need to. Look, this will surely pass, but probably a lot like a kidney stone. That is to say, it’s going to be a long, rough ride that will involve some pain. But we’ll get through it, because we are nothing if not resilient. One day, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll have a treatment and even a vaccine for Covid-19, and eventually this virus will only exist in the perpetually frozen and hermetically sealed specimen libraries of the CDC, WHO, NIH, and whatever other acronym’d organizations keep stuff like that, filed under V– not for Virus- but for Vanquished.Learn More