We are living in historic times.  Never in our lifetimes have we been cut off from society as we are now.  This diary is a day to day account of what is going on in our ever changing world.

Coronavirus Diaries 4/5/20 Coronavirus Impacting Addiction Recovery 

CBS News photo (In this March 27, 2020 photo, Garrett McIntyre, left, arrives to pick up medication for opioid addiction at a clinic in Olympia, Wash., that is currently meeting patients outdoors and offering longer prescriptions in hopes of reducing the number of visits and the risk of infection due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-the-coronavirus-is-hurting-drug-and-alcohol-recovery/

 

 

Eric sounds like he is forcing himself to be cheerful as I check on him on the phone.  He is a person I have talked through my website with and helped him get into Recovery a couple of years ago.  Worried about the effect the lockdown would have on him, I gave him a call.  "I'm doing alright.  Isolation breeds depression.  But, I am hanging in there.  I miss the support I get from my friends at meetings but there are some online.  It's not always the same because you can't speak as much and you don't have those little conversations on the side or before and after groups."

Eric says he has not had the temptation to use but he does know of a couple of friends who have battled the urge to relapse.  "It's tough when you are surrounded by bad news.  My friend got laid off from his job at a local restaurant.  I have talked to him some.  He thinks about relapse but tells me he has not yet.  It is tough when the future looks so iffy."

With the lockdown, some are spending more time with their families and that can cause some stress.  Eric says, "It can be hard when you feel like someone doesn't trust you or they are waiting for you to crack.  Families are a great means of support but they can add stress as well.  when you are confined with someone that you have not spent a lot of time with lately, it can be hard.  Families don't always understand the demons we battle. Boredom and the doom and gloom of the news can have negative effects as well."

LindaHurley told CBS News, "With these increased stressors, this highly confusing time with concerns about family, finance and health – those are usually triggers for folks."

CBS News did a story "How the coronavirus is hurting drug and alcohol recovery"   From the article, "Ashley Drew works as a criminal justice case manager for a recovery center in New Hampshire. The past few weeks have brought back memories of her heroin addiction." 

"I'm a little over four years clean and sober," she said. "And I feel like I'm back to my grassroots on the very early stages." Establishing a great life, routed in routines and work-life balance aided her recovery. "However, this life that we're currently living is significantly different than the one I was just living." 

"Boredom, stress, anxiety, all of those feelings" — Drew said the outlets once readily available to tackle those feelings have vanished. Luckily, online programs and support groups have helped to fill the gap. 

 

The virus is also effecting recovery through recovery houses.  Justin Ponton, a leader in Recovery in Huntington, WV and director of Newness of Life Recovery House posted on Facebook: "The fear of men and women being in a compromising situation due to Covid-19 and the effects it is having on programs such as ours, has me working up to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week at a separate job.  I have no clue how we will meet finances and to keep us running.  Many of our men and women are either laid off, fired or unable to seek employment due to the statewide order to stay at home."

Therapists and doctors are using the phone and computers to keep in contact with their patients and have a positive effect.  Federal officials have decided to allow patients to take methadone home with them.  Support groups are forming online for extra encouragement and guidance.

Eric says, "You just have to find what works to you.  If you check what is important to you everyday and your recovery is one of those things high on your list, then you can find a way to weather this storm, because this isn't going to last forever.  So if you are battling this...remember that and just stay positive...an clean."

 

 

Coronavirus Diaries 4/3/2020: "Virus Spreading Like a Slow Moving Hurricane" 

New York continues to be slammed by the coronavirus.  To date, 2468 people have died from the virus in New York.  "It's like watching a slow-moving hurricane across the country, where you know the path that it's taking. Why not deploy the national resources and just stay ahead of the hurricane?" Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

A prestigious scientific panel told the White House Wednesday night that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing.  "While the current [coronavirus] specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing," according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences.

Tests being conducted are showing that the next possible hotspots are Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Georgia, and Illinois.

“We do have two states that have 35% positives. And that’s New York and New Jersey. So that confirms very clearly that that’s a very clear and an important hot zone.” Birx told reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday evening. Louisiana’s positive test rate is 26%. “Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois -- that should tell you where the next hot sports are coming -- are at 15% test positive,” she added. “And then Colorado, D.C., Rhode Island and Massachusetts are at 13%.”

 

A big fear now is a wave of suicide.  With isolation comes frustration and depression.  There are so many people not working.  As debts mount, the depression could lead to an increase in suicides.

 

Two Louisville coronavirus patients and a family member have been ordered by circuit judges to isolate and wear tracking devices after health officials learned they'd been in public against medical advice.

 

San Antonio, Texas, officials report that 66 of 84 residents of a local nursing home are infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). On Wednesday, the total in the facility sat at 14. One elderly man died earlier this week.

 

New York state has the biggest single-day increase of death toll with 592 people dying from the coronavirus yesterday, the governor said. Governor Andrew Cuomo started his daily press briefing on Friday with the grim news about the death toll increasing in the state. The state's death toll rose to 2,935 people dying from the novel virus after posting its largest single-day increase. "Highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started," Mr Cuomo said.

 

Here in Huntington, the fifth case has been announced in Cabell County.  There are 20 new cases in West Virginia, taking the number to 237.

Businessesin New York City are boarding up because they do not know how long they will be closed.  They want to play it safe in case there is civil unrest and there is looting.

Coronavirus Diaries 4/2 Coronavirus in The City 

Coronavirus and it's effects are working through the cities.  Even if it is not the virus itself, it is psychological effects or it's threats.  For instance, looting is already happening in South Carolina, New York City, and Santa Cruz, California.  Some of the looters are even wearing protective masks.  The police are right on it, making arrests.

A 63 year-old man dropped dead on a subway train in New York.  He has not been linked to the coronavirus as of yet, but that is what everybody's first reaction is.  Subway ridership has plummeted due to the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. An estimated 80% fewer people are riding trains. In response, the MTA has announced it was reducing service. Dozens of MTA workers have tested positive for coronavirus. At least two employees have died with coronavirus.

Under a motion passed by the city council in Laredo, Texas, earlier this week, residents in the town can now face a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Half of the world is now on lockdown due to the coronavirus.  3.9 billion people worldwide are locked down.  90 countries are now calling for confinement.  Thailand is the latest country to call for a lockdown.

On a personal level to me, my home county of Cabell County has gone from 1 reported case to 4 with 2 rumored cases out there.  There is also word that it is starting to spread to healthcare workers...which I am one.

 

Coronavirus Diaries 4/1/20 Rent Day 

For millions across the country, the rent for April is due.  Many were laid off at mid-month.  Student loans.  Car payments.  Many bills are coming due.  The stimulus checks won't be here until the second half of the month.  Tough decisions are ahead for many.

Some states are not allowing evictions or utilities to be shut off.  This is just delaying the inevitable.  Many may not pay even if they can...just because they think they do not have to....only to find that when this is over they are facing impossibly high bills or owe 2 or 3 months rent and are staring eviction in the face

The shutdowns are creating problems that we may run from temporarily... but sooner or later we will have to face them.  As April has been cancelled with a 30 more day order from President Trump...those not working will eventually face mounting bills.  

Coronavirus Diaries 3/31/20 A Waiting Game 

As we tip the calendar over to April, it is a waiting game for many.  For many, it is waiting to see if the virus spreads from the hotspots like New York, California, Louisiana, or others.  For others, it is waiting to see if it all blows over and we can get back to normal.  For others, it is waiting for the stimuluscheck or unemployment benefits so they can get some of the things they need to survive.

It is now April.  High school proms and graduations will be wiped out.  Baseball seasons of all levels are in dangers.  Easter egg hunts are in jeopardy and eggs are up to $4.49 a dozen in some places.  Spring is being cancelled as parks are being closed and gatherings are broken up. We still hope Summer will play on as normal.

Already, we have accepted our weekends are gone.  We do not have the burden of worrying about what we will do the coming weekends. Worrying where will we go on our vacations has been replaced by worrying if we will have a job this Summer.

It has become a waiting game...and while we are waiting... a lot of time waiting is spent worrying.

 

Coronavirus Diaries: 3/30/20 New York in Grave Danger 

The coronavirus is ripping through New York City.  Healthcare workers are taking the hit.  Two nurses have died.  Doctors are getting sick.  Staff are passing out at work.  Medical staff are nervous about working in the conditions and some in The Bronx, have even picketed.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 30,000 people in New York City, is beginning to take a toll on those who are most needed to combat it: the doctors, nurses and other workers at hospitals and clinics. In emergency rooms and intensive care units, typically dispassionate medical professionals are feeling panicked as increasing numbers of colleagues get sick.

“I feel like we’re all just being sent to slaughter,” said Thomas Riley, a nurse a Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, who has contracted the virus, along with his husband.

Horrifying footage has emerged of dead bodies being loaded onto a refrigerated truck with a forklift outside Brooklyn Hospital in New York City where 790 people have died from coronavirus and 36,000 have been infected.   Makeshift morgues are set up all over New York City as refrigerated semi-trailers are brought in to store bodies.

 

"As of Monday, 1,218 people have died from coronavirus in New York state, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, an increase from the 965 deaths on Sunday, Cuomo said. In all, about 66,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus, over 9,500 people are currently hospitalized and 2,352 of them are being treated in the intensive care unit, he said."

In New York City, social distancing has gone from a moral responsibility to a legal requirement, as Mayor de Blasio announced Sunday that residents who violate policies will receive a summons and fines ranging from $250 to $500.

Meanwhile neighboring states are requiring that anyone coming from New York be quarantined for 14 days.  Florida is even monitoring airports while other states are checking license plates. 

Coronavirus Diaries 3/29/20 Spreading Fear and Death 

On Sunday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state has more than 59,500 cases and 965 deaths, making it by far the hardest-hit area of the United States. Those figures give it more than 40 percent of the country's cases and deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University show.

In New York City preparations are under way to open a field hospital in Central Park to treat the spteading illness.

Meanwhile other states are weary of New Yorkers that are leaving the state to hide from the virus.  

Rhode Island police began stopping cars with New York plates Friday. On Saturday, the National Guard will help them conduct house-to-house searches to find people who traveled from New York and demand 14 days of self-quarantine

In Maine,  armed vigilantes went as far as cutting down a tree to block the road to forcibily quarantine three construction workers who had been renting a house since September.  Residents had seen out of state plates and panicked.

The three men used their drone to monitor the group at the end of their road until the police arrived, officials confirmed.  The workers are said to have been living on Vinalhaven for 30 days and do not show any signs of coronavirus.   Police say the group had dispersed by the time they arrived but confirmed that they did find the tree 'cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it'.

Meanwhile in Florida, the coronavirusis spreading.  The fear is now that people from virus torn New Orleans and New York are seeking refuge in Florida.  If they find anyone who just left those areas, they face a 14 hour quarantine.

"Look, we’re either trying to fight this virus or we are not,” Governor Ron DeSantis said of his plan that includes a checkpoint on Interstate 10 at the Alabama line and National Guard members greeting travelers from the New York City area at airports"

In Illinois, an infant under the age of one died after testing positive for the coronavirus.  It is the youngest recorded death in the country from the virus.

Country music star Joe Diffie passed away at 61 after battling the coronavirus.

 

 

Coronavirus Diaries 3/28/20 Hospital Layoffs 

Who would have thought that in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that there would be hospital layoffs?  Many thought that healthcare workers would be working in this tough time.  Mountain Health Network, which includes Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary's have laid off 1000 workers within their network.

I was admitted to Cabell Huntington Hospital last Sunday.  They already several empty beds.  They are ready if the virus strikes but many offices are shut down because they cannot have face to face appointments.  I have two 'virtual' appointments this week.  I will talk to doctor over the phone and they will bill my insurance.  

These are hard, unpredictable times.  It is scary to us because we do not have any control and we do not know what is next.

 

 

 

Coronavirus Diaries 3/27/20 Hope or Fear? 

The above picture is an interesting meme circulating through Facebook.  Hope.  Hope and faith are necessaryto make it through any crisis.  We have to believe in tomorrow, don't we?  Doesn't positive help more than negative.

 

The coronavirus has finally entered where I live.  I have an apartmentthat overlooks part of Huntington, WV.  I can see people are still out.  The coronavirus had its first confirmation in Cabell County.  West Virginia has gone from 0 cases to 115 in a week.

 

Hope and positivity are great but are they making people feel comfprtable enough to be outside.  Yes, the statistics say that if you are young you can recover if you get it.  But, if you pass it on to your grandmother or an older coworker, they may not.

 

Fear keeps people inside, hope does not.  People are outside against our mayor, our governor, and our presidents wishes and orders.  Yes, we need to believe there is hope for tomorrow.  But, right now we need fear.  We need to be afraid enough to stay inside.  We need to cut off coronavirus's fuel.  Yes, the 85 degree weather gives us hope ....but we can't let hope be enough.  Right now, we need enough fear to stay inside.

 

The above picture is social distancing at Marshall University.  Hope is great but please follow rules.