Good Riddance 2020

So far, 2020 is like looking both ways before you cross the street then getting hit by an airplane.” —Unknown

The year started out so promising. We started with our 2020 vision glasses on New Year’s Eve, looking forward to what appeared to be a very good year. We were going to Hawaii in two weeks, visiting our Chicago children and Washington DC in February and many more plans in the coming months. That all came crashing down on March 1, when we returned from Washington only to find out that we were probably exposed to the Novel Corona Virus, as it was called then. We were advised to self-quarantine for the next few weeks.

And then, on my birthday, a few weeks later, the entire country was told to lock down and quarantine for the next 2 weeks. And then it was 3 weeks, then 4 and no end in sight. The numbers kept going up and we were scrambling to deal with the isolation. What were we to do with all of this free time at home? And with each other? Then all of our trips were cancelled, along with the symphony, theater, concerts, movies and sports.

New catch phrases summed up our collective existence: Pandemic. Social Distancing. What day is it? Nighttime pajamas. Daytime pajamas. You are on mute, Unmute yourself, Zooming, lock-down, and more. Classes proliferated on Zoom and other conferencing platforms. So did virtual get-togethers with friends for Cocktails, Games, Weddings and Funerals. Oh how our lives have changed.

First time in history we can save the human race by laying in front of the TV and doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up. —Unknown

We binge watched TV series, finding some new gems on recommendations from friends. We watched sports on TV, starting with Baseball, where stadiums were empty except for cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats. Recordings of cheering fans were piped in to make it sound like a real game. Eventually small numbers of real people were allowed in the stadiums. For the first time in years, because we were stuck at home, we saw every Dodger game in the playoffs, watching some of the best baseball games we have seen in a long time. Many other sports changed their rules because of the virus, with shortened or delayed seasons. Watching Tennis at the French Open in the fall was just not the same as springtime in Paris.

And then there was the election.

Coronavirus has turned us all into dogs: We roam the house looking for food, we’re told ‘no’ if we get too close to strangers, and we get really excited about car rides and walks. —Unknown

Now in December, 9 months after the quarantine began, the virus has reared its ugly head again with a surge upon a surge. Here in California, numbers have skyrocketed since Thanksgiving. Hospitals have the highest number of COVID-19 cases they have had this year. COVID-19 fatigue has set in, people are restless and can’t wait to get their lives back.

Silver Linings

As we went deeper and deeper into the year, some good things happened.

Zoom showed us that there is much that we can do while stuck at home. Telemedicine, a concept that has been waiting for the right moment, took off with Zoom. I think it is great for some doctor’s appointments, but not all of them. In January, I will see my Movement Disorders Specialist for the fourth time with Telemedicine and I am not sure she can adequately assess everything in a video call. I think at least 1 in- person visit a year is important. However, I have heard from my providers that they get to see me in my own environment, which provides a lot of information for them.

Starting in March, I took my Parkinson’s Women’s group on line, and now reach an international audience, which is pretty amazing. All of the Parkinson’s organizations starting offering all kinds of things online, from doctors lectures, support groups, exercise sessions and more. In fact, we learned about so many wonderful options for classes and types if exercise online, that it was hard to choose what to do first. If you missed something, don’t worry because everything is recorded and you can watch whenever you want to. The world became so much smaller.

Mr. Twitchy and I took numerous cooking classes together on-line, attended our book clubs, watched special screenings of movies and even attended some interactive theater online. We started some projects that had been on our to-do list for quite a while and actually finished several of them. Others languished because we just lost the motivation to do much besides watch TV. Finally, Mr. T got me out on the golf course with him more in the last 6 months that in the previous 35 years since we joined our golf club. I may become a golfer yet according to him.

The best news of all, several of the vaccines for COVID-19 have been approved and our frontline healthcare workers are starting to receive them. It may not get to us until February, but hopefully, this will finally bring us back to a sense of normalcy, whatever that may be. And a lot less time spent in front of a tv or computer screen.

Happy New Year!