I should have written a long post last night, but I was feeling a bit down. It was Tommy‘s birthday (he would be 55 today were he still here) and of course that took me back to memories of his last birthday that we spent together. He was in the CCU recovering from a line infection so he could have cardiac stents placed in what would ultimately be a fruitless attempt to preserve his cardiac function, and by extension his life. Tommy hated what he called Hallmark holidays and didn’t like his birthday commemorated (and heaven forbid if I should give him a birthday present – he eagerly accepted presents on all non-holidays however – part of his contrarian nature). I did ask him that day if he would like anything for his birthday, and he surprised my by saying yes. He really wanted some carrot cake from Continental Bakery (Carole Griffin – he worked for you there at some point in the 90s). So off I went for a small one for dessert that night. I don’t think the nurses were terribly happy as it wasn’t on his diet plan but he had let them know early on that he was going to eat as he pleased, diet be damned. Last year on his birthday, I decided to keep up the tradition and went and got myself a carrot cake. This year, with my trying to minimize community contact, I didn’t go. I did do my once every three week grocery run and while my local Piggly Wiggly didn’t have carrot cake, they had a package of carrot cake Oreos so I bought that instead. I don’t think Tommy would mind, he’d probably find it funny.
This week in April is always a bit hard. Steve’s birthday is this coming Monday. What is it about me and Aires men? I suppose to continue the pattern, if I have a third husband, his birthday will have to be April 7th (and he’ll have to have a first name he doesn’t use and alliterative middle and last names he does. Jon Steven Spivey, Louie Tommy Thompson Jr. ) That may be a tall order. Steve, in contrast, loved birthday presents, the more the better. He also loved parties, especially if he was the center of attention. Tommy loved parties because he loved to see everyone at once and he loved to feed people. Cooking was an innate part of his nurturing instincts. It certainly rubbed off on me, especially about thirty pounds of excess avoirdupois I put on during our time together, which I have been slowly taking off now that I can go back to eating like a thin person.
Enough of my maudlin moment. Time to get back to the accidental plague diaries. Another work week has ended. UAB and the Birmingham VA continue to handle Corona Virus cases without too much difficulty but I am concerned about a few weeks from now when small town Alabama that has not been embracing social distancing starts to manifest infections. A few people of my acquaintance have been infected and recovered. One has died. Most of us have remained healthy to date due to the Birmingham area’s early embracing of shut downs. It helps when the major economic engine of the community is a major research university with a huge medical school. I’ve got the new work patterns down pretty well and we’re holding the geriatrics program together through telephonic work, home health agencies, and creative problem solving.
I checked my official counter – today we surpassed 500,000 cases in the USA (almost certainly a huge undercount as testing remains spotty), 3,000 cases in Alabama and we’re creeping up on 1,000 cases in Metro Birmingham. Despite indifferent political leadership, the medical community has rallied, pooled information, pooled resources and, even in the greater New York area, seems to be plowing forward with what must be done. Of course the pundit class, that thrives on the 24 hour news cycle, has grown weary of social distancing, quarantine and isolation and wants this all to be over so they can move on to the next sensation which will distract us all and make their advertisers happy. Unfortunately, viruses have no interest in human concerns, their only concern being viral propagation and cannot be reasoned with, bribed, or otherwise made to do human bidding. There is a well known series of steps necessary to bring pandemic illness under control but, from what I can see, no one’s that interested in following those stages as it’s difficult to sensationalize or monetize. But, until we start accepting this biologic reality, we’re going to have trouble.
No big plans for the weekend. Nowhere to go. My usual distractions of rehearsal and performance are on indefinite hiatus. It does look like the condo sale will close next week as scheduled and I will have possession by the end of next week. I still haven’t figured out how I’m supposed to move while we’re shut down and in isolation. In the meantime, I am slowly dejunking the house, finding some rather surprising things tucked away in corners. As I’ve only been here four years, there hasn’t been too much time for accumulation but there’s still moments of ‘what the hell is this and why do I own it’. I think a lot of the odder things are the result of Tommy’s late night on line shopping addiction. He would order the oddest things at 3 AM. There were a lot of times when he would show me his latest gadget when all I could think was ‘garage sale in five years’. But it kept him happy… Wherever he is now, I hope he’s just as happy.