Author: Ann Schiebert
For the first few weeks of being locked in our apartment, separating from everyone who might be carrying the Coronavirus Witch with them, I was fearless! My goldendoodle dog and very best pal, Fido, and I went for regular walks at his favorite place in the world – the beach. We ran, looked for shells, sat and watched the waves roar in. I worked from home. I kind of enjoyed being home with Fido; we were hidden from the evil witch, Coronavirus, who sneaks up on people and often kills them. This witch attacks people physically and disables them. In our apartment and at the beach, I felt protected from the witch. Then something happened.
I sprained my ankle. It got twisted in a piece of seaweed and down I went in the sand. I hobbled home with Fido by my side, and here we’ve been, holed up in our apartment for twelve entire days. The physician at the hospital where I drove myself after my fall, told me I had a very bad sprain. I was supposed to go home, keep my leg elevated, ice it, and call for an appointment in fourteen days. “Ahhh,” I thought. “What a great excuse to play video games, bond with Fido, and just rest.” I was so wrong.
Have you ever noticed that when you repetitively do an activity you get bored after a while? Ever heard a song on the radio that you loved so much you played it over and over? When we engage in listening or doing or watching the same thing continually, it eventually gets boring. I had a friend who loved Fifty Cent’s rap. He had one favorite that he played over and over. Now, he loathes the song and he doesn’t’ like Fifty Cent. That’s what I started to do.
I played a Star Wars video game morning, noon, and night from my sofa. I used the excuse that the sofa was the best place to elevate my leg, so I might as well entertain myself while I healed. I was lucky that my neighbor dropped by to exercise Fido – he would have been very unhappy if he was as stuck as I was. Occasionally my girlfriend came over to walk him too. Eventually, I got bored with my game. I recalled with fondness how I used to reward myself when I’d finish doing the work required by my paying job. I relished playing Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order. I could play it way into the night. I can’t believe I recently gave my game to a friend who picked it up in front of my apartment door. I grew to dislike my all-time favorite video game so much; I was grateful to get it out of my apartment! I guess repetition does that.
Ever watch daytime TV day after day? Ever watch re-runs of football, soccer, basketball, NASCAR, hockey, tennis, golf, Dr. Phil, 90 Day Fiancée, and My Six Hundred Pound Life for two weeks? I did. I used to love sports. Currently, I couldn’t be less interested. What can I say about the other programs? I’m speechless.
Then there’s work. I used to think that I loved my work and was grateful for each new project that came my way. Picture this: a bored, smelly guy, who hasn’t had a shower for twelve days, propping his Apple up on his left leg (my right one is in the air), trying to be excited about a new piece of work that requires creativity and focus. I lost much of my confidence. My ankle hurt. I itched. Fido sighed and often went to the door in hopes that either my neighbor or girlfriend would show up to take him for a walk.
Besides this, the restaurants in my area were all closed. I used to order in a lot. I detest cooking. Now, I microwave soup: Campbells soup, Progresso soup, Snow’s soup, Wolfgang Puck’s soup. I despise soup. I thought I’d change it up a bit. I had my neighbor bring me salad mixture. I forgot I didn’t have any dressing in the house. Have you ever eaten a salad of kale, cabbage, and endive with no dressing? I have. I can’t stand eating. On the other hand, I have grown to love donuts. Chocolate donuts. My mom leaves them outside my door. She can’t help me because she is at high risk for an attack from that witch, Coronavirus. She wears three masks when she takes the elevator up to the front door of my apartment. I’ve gained ten pounds. I feel all puffed up.
Right after my fall, my girlfriend decided she needed to pursue other interests – translation: “I can’t put up with your whining and all your needs, I don’t feel appreciated, you are dull, I never realized how dull, and I’m out of here!” Now I feel totally secluded and repulsive. I did note, however, that no matter how yucky I was, Fido never left my side – unless he was out on a walk.
After twelve days of being with the Coronavirus witch, who probably made me twist my ankle and who has brought me to boredom, self-pity, weight gain, anger, anxiety, fear, anhedonia, loss of social skills, low self-esteem, negative self-talk and isolation, I’ve had it! Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who killed the wicked witch by pouring water on her, I am going to become the savior of myself! I am not going to let the Coronavirus Witch run my life! I am determined! I don’t care if I only have two more days left until I go to the doctor to have my ankle checked. Blight on your soul, Coronavirus Witch!
I picked up the phone. I found a place that rented wheelchairs. I had a red one delivered to my apartment. They were happy for the business. I was thrilled to see the delivery guy – a real, live human being with a mask on. My life was looking up already! I called Fido over. I put his leash on him. “OK, boy, we are going out. Maybe it won’t be an exciting run like we used to share, but we are getting out of this place.” Fido was so excited. We opened the apartment door. I put the mask on that my neighbor had left for me when he had delivered soup. I wheeled myself out into the hall. I shut the door. I looked at the hallway I had passed through a thousand times. WOW! There was artwork on the walls that I had never noticed. It was beautiful.
I rolled my wheelchair to the elevator. With a Kleenex around my index finger, I pressed the “1” button. I would be delivered to the ground floor. Fido sat by me in the elevator. He is an extremely lovely dog. He has been so generous with all the time he has given me. He expects nothing in return, except some food and an occasional hug. When the elevator doors opened to the building lobby, I could smell the cool breeze coming through the entry. It felt like heaven!
We left the building and, albeit being a slow one, we had a walk like none other. I noticed the trees that I had ignored for years. They were all in bloom. I looked at the flowers that inhabited the window boxes in the building across the street. I relished the aroma coming from some kitchen where spaghetti sauce was being made. It was nirvana! I felt reborn. I felt the sun warm my face. I felt gratitude for getting myself out of the captivity that my ankle and the Coronavirus Witch had brought into my life.
How did I turn myself around? I studied Fido. He sat next to me throughout my boredom. His quiet presence was a gift. We were not isolated from each other. He loved me unconditionally – smelly, grumpy, focused on myself and on my misfortune, angry with my isolation, ticked off by the desertion of my ex-girlfriend. He stayed with me. He liked my company – as lousy as it was. He loved being with me. I am honored. Thank you, Fido.
I tell you this story so that no matter what your situation, bring light and joy into your life. Notice the flowers. Love your furry pet. Be grateful for your shelter, for food (not soup, though) for life, for healing, for the sun and wind, for the trees that rustle in the breeze. Don’t let the Coronavirus Witch dictate your mood, your emotions, or your thoughts. Don’t let her control you and take over your “world.” Find whatever “water” you need to boot her out of your life. Create your own freedom. It may look different than what you are accustomed to, but you are still free. Celebrate that and whatever else you bring into your life.