It was going to be a true March Madness week with a Super Full Moon and Friday the 13th. One of those combinations that make healthcare workers everywhere shudder and put in for time off.
Coronavirus had come to the USA a few people were getting nervous and buying all the toilet paper in site, some saying it was all being blown out of proportion, others were saying it was a big hoax in an election year.
I thought it was funny when I sneezed at the grocery store (Texas allergies) and cleared the aisle.
The NBA dramatically postponed their season before a game tip off when a player tested positive, putting hundreds of people out of work. The NHL followed suit, cancelling their season and all I could think of were all the people who worked in the arenas as well as all the TV production people who were now out of work.
I was happy that Don worked in a non contact sport (NASCAR), they would be racing with no fans, but he would still have a job.
On Thursday I left San Antonio to attend church retreat, it felt good to be leaving amidst all the chaos, we all went to sleep that night never guessing how much life would change in just one day.
It was Friday 13th and the superstitious day was starting to cast a very dark spell on our country. The President declared a national state of emergency, followed by schools and churches closing their doors, nursing homes going into lockdown no longer allowing family members or friends to make visits, people were being told to stay home from work, some not knowing when or if they would be going back.
A domino was in effect and no one could slow it down. The only ones who seemed to be profiting from the mess that Covid-19 was spreading were grocery stores and toilet paper manufacturers.
March Madness was coming at us like a train and then it hit home when my husband Don like everyone else in the sports industry was sent home and out of work.
I remained in the safe cocoon of our retreat from Thursday until Sunday, we kept our 6 foot distance and refrained from hugs or even hand shakes, and we washed our hands as though our lives depended on it. Each evening we would pull out our phones and share the latest insanity with one another that was happening in the world.
On Sunday we gathered for Mass one last time before leaving and our priest told us we had a privilege that no one else in San Antonio had that day, we were celebrating live Mass in person.
The drive home that day was quiet and the lack of traffic on the roads was almost eerie.
Don met me in the church parking lot and just as we got everything unpacked it started to rain. I stood in the parking lot and laughed, this was going to be a storm in every way. We ran to our cars and headed home to start navigating this new course our lives were thrown into.
In January my husband Don first started talking a about articles he had read about a new mysterious virus called Corona. He spends a lot of time on planes and in busy airports and was concerned about coming in contact with the virus. I told him to use good hand washing and do his best to avoid anyone who may be ill. Little did we know what was in store for all of us in the not so distant future.
We were in California visiting my son David and his wife Ani when the first dark clouds of the upcoming storm started moving in.
People were being told to wash their hands and they were actually listening, I remember thinking why haven’t we been doing this all along and was glad to see them finally using good hygiene. We were still thinking this was going to be a virus we could avoid by being taking normal universal precautions. Towards the end of our visit I started hearing about shortages of hand sanitizer in stores and how people were buying out toilet paper at stores. We laughed at how people seemed to be getting crazy about silly things and thought it would probably blow over in a few days.
When I returned home to San Antonio on March 6, the only thing that was different was that there was no hand sanitizer in the stores and the toilet paper aisle was looking a little depleted. I am glad now that I purchased a 24 pack just in case. The storm clouds were getting darker, but I still thought it would be just that a storm that would pass through quickly, I don’t know if anyone was ready for what was coming our way.