Category Archives: coronavirus

Complacency


Are we satisfied with the actions of our leaders that we feel we don’t need to try harder to contain the virus?  

Sadly, the opportunity to prepare for and stop the spread of the virus came and went months ago.  The world watched as China’s nurses and doctor’s pleaded for their lives and the lives of their colleagues. We watched as they were building hospitals in ten days and dragging people out of their apartments who were infectious. Once the first case was diagnosed in Washington, the USA’S complacent reaction was an indication of things to come. 

Complacency said this is no worse than the flu.

Complacency says I’m still going shopping.

The complacent are disregarding the highly contagious nature of the virus.

Being complacent has put a horrible strain on our medical system.  It is causing our doctors and nurses to sleep in RV’S in their driveways.  It has caused the death of nearly 7,000 people in the USA; 16 of those deaths by March 29 and more than doubling to 38 by April 3 in Oklahoma. 

Complacency has led to women making masks for health care professionals as quickly as they can. They are being mailed and given to doctors and nurses across the USA because they don’t have enough PPE.

“Heroes Work Here” signs are being seen at hospitals.

Complacency has led to loved ones dying alone in hospitals. Supermarket shelves being emptied. People losing their jobs.  School closings. 

People losing millions from plunging share prices.

Please don’t let complacency continue to burden our health care system, our livelihood, and the health and welfare of our friends and family.

 I have a suitcase sitting in my living room reminding me not to become complacent. I walk around it everyday, not that I need a reminder that my son’s health and that of so many of our medical professionals and first responders are in jeopardy.  I think of that everyday. 

It reminds me to think forward and to remind people to disinfect their front door handles, washing machine/dryer handles, glasses, etc. It reminds me to be prayerful. It reminds me that I have to return to Beijing to fulfill my employment contract, and it reminds me that I need to live life to its fullest inside my home!

The suitcase is packed and ready for a 14 day Chinese quarantine at a government facility upon return to Beijing. It is filled with Clorox Wipes, a roll of TP, snacks, just add water soups, bowl, spoon, etc. ( I’ve seen pictures of the food other teachers have been served in quarantine upon their arrival) I still need to add sheets, a pillow, towel, and flip-flops so I won’t have to touch anything, wherever it is they decide to quarantine us.

What I don’t understand about some people’s complacent actions is why is all the toilet paper gone? If people are happy with the lack of enforced lockdowns and continue to go on as normal, why are beer and potato chips selling out and being restocked as if we could never find them in the stores again? Some must not be that convinced.

Complacency is not going to stop the spread of the virus or its economic impact.  

Staying home is going to help, but the spread is quite significant now. 

Be vigilant in your actions so we can enjoy our family and friends sooner, than later… and we won’t be subjected to binge watching Tiger King!

 


Rattled to the Core!


I wrote in a previous blog post “Will their Smiles Still be Seen?” about all of the sulphur being released into the air during the peak of the virus in China, presumably due to all of the crematoriums burning so many bodies everyday. This is what I was reminded of today as I was tending to essential business at the Post Office (mailing masks to my son and his colleagues at the hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma). 

I saw something so disturbing to ME and had it not been for the masks in my hand that just might be needed due to the shortage of REAL MASKS, I may have gone running out the door from that post office lobby. 

Which by the way, when I am at the grocery store, or gas station I don’t see people wearing masks at all.  I know there seems to be some debate over whether they help or not, but if you have stockpiled these masks and you aren’t going to use them, why keep them?  Please send them on to our healthcare workers.  I have an address of a hospital or two if you need willing recipients of all the masks that are sitting in your cabinet or on your shelf. You can even go to mask-match.com and find someone who needs masks more than you need them  collecting dust on a shelf.

Sorry, Back to the Post Office Lobby.  I honestly felt as though I might be sick. I just stood there for a minute trying to take in the visual I had in my head. I saw Italy and the military trucks transporting bodies, I saw friends dying alone, I saw myself getting out of the sulphur filled skies of China, I saw my son. 

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Behind the counter, at the post office was a roll of stickers, which read

“Cremated Remains.”

Perhaps they always have these stickers, however I have been using this particular post office several times a week for years, (except of course when I am in China) and I have never seen them sitting out on the counter.  I guess mailing cremains is more common than I thought.  Actually, I’ve never thought about it. 

 

I proceeded to the counter and wanted to ask about the stickers, but I couldn’t get any words to come out of my mouth. I was barely able to insert my card into the reader and I wasn’t about to use my un-gloved hand to touch the machine.  I finally got the card in the slot. I had mentioned to a friend a day earlier that “I don’t easily break, but I am about at my breaking point.” I guess I’m really there!  Seeing these stickers caused so many flashbacks, flash forwards and questions in just the few seconds I was standing there. 

I thought: 

1. Are we already to this point or close to it where we will, or already are mailing cremains because family members can’t go and pick them up? 

2. Will we be enlisting the services of the National Guard to carry bodies from Expo Square to the crematorium?  

3. Will people die alone? 

4. Will family members be wracked with guilt not being able to be with their loved ones when they pass away?

The answer to the last two questions above, is YES. It is already happening. I’ve seen on the news nurses holding the hand of a dying patient while trying to FaceTime with the patient’s loved ones from their homes sending their final goodbyes.

What about the first two questions listed above? Wait to be seen, I guess.

But, so many people think the “limited” guidelines that have finally been put in place, don’t apply to them. I rode my bike the other day along the river trail.  It is great to see so many people getting exercise, running or riding their bikes. But, there were SO MANY PEOPLE gathering in large groups. Children were climbing on the benches along side the trails and then putting cookies in their mouths. It didn’t appear that the adult was washing down the bench or the child’s hands before they were seen putting something in their mouths.  

If you are going to use the trails, keep it moving. Please don’t stop and gather in large groups. Maybe bring your own blanket to sit on rather than a bench that everyone else sits on. If we can’t follow the established guidelines, or use our common sense, we are only subjecting more healthcare workers and first responders to unnecessary risks. 

I stayed inside for 7 weeks, 4 weeks in China and 3 weeks in the states upon my return. Here, I didn’t even have to totally stay inside, I could have gone on a bike ride or walk around the neighborhood according to the Health Department. I chose not to do so. I took my trash can to the curb at night when no one was outside. I wore a mask to do that. I stayed inside an additional week just to be sure.  I did it for you.  Can you do it for others? 

It seems these days when we are presented with an easier and faster way to do something, we are going to take that route, regardless of the circumstances.   This is the society we have created.

This crisis isn’t one of those circumstances.  There is nothing fast, easy or convenient in dealing with this virus.  We must be patient!  We must follow the guidelines.

We are a nation in crisis. Do your part so you don’t receive a box in the mail that reads ”Cremated Remains.”


6PM Phone Call


While I was writing my post last night and got the SKYPE call, my heart started racing, I grabbed the phone, shaking, dropped it, tried to open it, FACE ID wouldn’t work, finally typed in the code and had a connection with the Health Department.  I was clearly rattled as my conversations with the health department had ended. 

During this short time of just trying to answer the phone, I started thinking back to my post from April 2011, “4AM Phone Calls are Never Good.”  I hope there will never be another phone call like that one.  Nothing compares.

How Eric survived this accident is beyond me.

Though, there was another call about 12 years ago when Eric called from a stranger’s phone and said, “I’m ok, but I had an accident on the highway. The state troopers, fire, ambulance and life flight are here, and they say I’m lucky to be alive, but I’m ok.”

Well if Life Flight is there, then you’re in good hands!  I won’t worry! GEEZ! (sarcasm)  I sped down the highway,  couldn’t even get pulled over for speeding. Emergency personnel were all at the scene of the accident as I noticed when I arrived.

 

Ok, Just answer the SKYPE call. Say something. You know it’s not the kids.  The Health Department wouldn’t be calling about the kids.

“Hello?”

Hello had a BIG QUESTION MARK at the end. I was finished with my quarantine.  I had no symptoms. Why were they calling?

Was somebody symptomatic whom I had been near?

Was someone ill on the plane ?

All these questions and thoughts swirling around in my head for what seemed like forever, but in reality, was only a few seconds.

The health official was just calling to tell me they were going to be in the area for dinner and asked if I wanted them to bring my official, signed “You’ve completed quarantine and you’re free” paper to my home, rather than mailing it!  

WHEW!!!!!!! YES PLEASE!

I laid back on the couch with a sigh of relief.

I’m still good to go, physically.  

Leaving my house, when I do choose to do so, I kind of see like taking a first, backward step off a mountain with my repelling gear. That first step is the hardest, but after that it is an amazing experience, soaring to the next landing as you push yourself away from the wall with your feet. I need to push myself away from the front door and out into the sunshine today.

I will carry my “release” paper with me for a while, especially if I need to go to the doctor or dentist while I am here. I hope I won’t have to as I don’t have insurance while in America.  I would have to go travel to another country for medical treatment for anything to be covered.  But then there is the risk for infection again and so the story repeats. 

Thank you everyone!  I’m going to get ready for the day and go sit in the sunshine in my magic chair!

I love you all!


Quarantine


I arrived in Tulsa on Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day.  Not a valentine in sight!  But that’s ok, I wouldn’t expect a kiss on this Valentine’s Day anyway. I have to wear a mask so it would be awkward.

The CDC said they would contact me immediately if there was a problem.  By Sunday, the Health Department contacted my daughter as I listed her as my emergency contact.  I don’t have a working phone in the USA. 

The Tulsa Health Department needed to reach me.  They needed to interview, ask me questions, and monitor my temperature readings.   Ok!  This doesn’t sound like too  much of an emergency. I had expected this. My friends who are from Mississippi and who left Beijing a week before me said the Health Department is monitoring them, as well. I’ve had a couple more friends return to the USA and the procedure appears to be the same. 

It sounds routine. Ok, That’s fine.  

I told my daughter, Amy to call them and tell them they could come anytime. I wasn’t going anywhere!  

I feel a bit like ET and think of the famous line, “I’ll be right here.” However, I don’t have the long glowing finger. I consider that a good thing!

The Health Department officials arranged to meet me on Sunday after 10am in my home.

I notified my neighbors and told them not to become alarmed if they see a vehicle from the Health Department arrive in my driveway. 

Luckily, they arrived in an unmarked vehicle. They asked questions at the door, asked to see my temperature readings, then proceeded to come inside.  I of course, kept my mask on the whole time.  They gave me a few more masks to have for later.

I answered their questions:

Where have you been?

Why were you there?

How long have you been there?

Have you had a fever?

Have you been in contact with anyone from Wuhan?

What flight were you on?

What seat were you in?

There were others, but I don’t remember them.

They monitored my temperature reading and it was normal.  They explained they would expect a temperature reading twice a day, once by email and the other would be monitored in my home.

They asked if I had questions.  I asked how many people do they see a day in relation to the coronavirus?  They could not answer that question as it was confidential.

I asked if there had been quite a few people return to Oklahoma from China.  They could not answer that question as it was confidential.

I asked why they didn’t wear a mask when they entered my home?  They said they knew from my temperature recordings over the past two days and how cautious I appear that they weren’t in danger.  I kept my mask on my face. 

I told them I was impressed that they didn’t arrive in a marked car. They said they arrive in unmarked vehicles so as not to cause alarm.   Makes sense.  How many houses do these people visit?  And, it’s not just for CoronaVirus.  They visit all homes of people who the CDC tag as a “potential threat to the public.”  What a job to have, eh?

So if you are feeling scared of being infected by this virus or any other, consider how these people must feel. They are the first to be in contact with them,   er …uh…us, I mean. 

Wow, that’s crazy! I guess we never know when we might become one of “them.” Whoever “them” are.  I just feel we need to be more kind and less judgmental toward everyone, you just never know what lurks around the next bend.

They were very considerate and offered to help in anyway they could if I needed anything. 

I was left with a hand out about the Virus. 

“What you need to know about 2019 Novel Coronavirus” 

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

fever, cough, shortness of breath.

I have not had any of these nor do I know anyone who has had these symptoms.

 I had a few papers to complete and sign. There is a “Symptom Monitoring Form for Returning Travelers” which includes two weeks of recording the following:

check of temperature twice daily 

documenting the presence or absence of the following:

 muscle aches, headache, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea. 

So far, the answer is no to all of these questions.

As far as the temperature readings, I email my temperature each day at the same time to the Health Department.  The second temperature reading is monitored.

One of the Health Department employees came for two days afterward to monitor me taking my temperature.

Now, the second temperature reading is a Skype monitoring.  They are very considerate of my time and always call before my online classes begin at 5:30pm.

There were actually three ways I could have been monitored:

  1. I take my on temperature and watch for symptoms on my own and just report to them by telephone
  2. Take temperature and record absence or presence of symptoms on my own and once by health department officials
  3. A Tulsa Health Department official will conduct TWO in person visits each day and document all recordings.

I was #2 simply because I had been in China within the past 14 days, not because I had any symptoms. Had I arrived from another country besides China, I would have been a #1. Glad I’m not #3!

During my quarantine period I have to exclude myself from travel outside Tulsa County unless I have permission, but it could only be in my personal vehicle.

I must exclude myself from public places; shopping centers, movie theaters, and group gatherings.

Exclude myself from workplaces 🙂

The best one was I could go jog outside, walk a pet, ride a bike as long as a maintain a 3-6 feet distance from others.

I have no intention of going outside for a jog or bike ride until after the 29th.  Then it will only be limited for a while.  I am being considerate of the feelings of others during this trying time. 

If I have a medical emergency and must contact 911, (if I can dial it from my China carrier) I must identify myself as a recent traveler from a novel coronavirus outbreak country.  After 14 days, I am good to go!

I must say being quarantined in my own home isn’t that bad!  I have the most wonderful friends who keep me supplied with groceries, lunches and dinners!  Some are running my errands and cleaning my yard. Others stand out in the cold and visit with me while I am inside where it is warm.   I am just amazed at the incredible “homecoming.” 

I may just extend my quarantine if I can keep receiving all of these wonderful treats and visitors at my door everyday!  : )

Not knowing what to expect when I decided to leave China, I decided it was best if very few people knew I was coming home. It was a rush job to get internet, transportation and some groceries in my house before I arrived. I didn’t know if I would get through the screenings at the airport, or quarantined somewhere besides my home since I stayed a considerably longer time in China. We (teachers) had no idea what was really going on due to so many conflicting news reports. I didn’t know what the reception would be like.  But the man at the airport was my first realization that “It was ok that I came home.” Thank you man at DFW airport!

 Since I was able to pass all the screenings and health checks,  I chose to announce my arrival since people kept asking when I was coming home and I was already here.  I couldn’t lie and say I wasn’t home.  

Plus when I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be #4 on the list of “People under investigation for Coronavirus” and becoming “Breaking News”  on the local tv stations, I thought it would be ok to share my whereabouts. I just wanted to be as transparent as possible as I sensed the concern over the spread of the virus. Understandably. But, I also began to realize there was a genuine concern for my health and safety. I am absolutely in awe of all of the well wishing and friendship I’ve encountered over the past week. 

This experience is far from over.  We (teachers at our school) received an interesting email, just yesterday, from our school principal.

How will this end?


The Journey Home …part 2 (this is to correct the link that wouldn’t work)


As if the face masks, goggles, gloves and such weren’t enough of an ID that we had arrived from China, the unbleached lanyard was then around my neck. We just followed the “From China” signs.

It led us right along and next to the people who were arriving on other flights, not from China. The only thing separating us was a retractable queue rope set on two posts to organize the lines.

We just plodded along in the line walking up to the counter where they took our temperature again. They took the forms, asked where I was going and said, “ok.”

I didn’t have my boarding pass as Air China could not issue American Airlines boarding passes so I had to go to the counter to retrieve that first.

I was excited when they told me I had the whole row to myself! Yea! No one to cough on me, I can lay down and get some rest!

After my brief moment of excitement, I just walked along with the rest of the population scurrying from gate to gate or just sitting and eating dinner waiting on their flights.

There were some people in the airport with masks and some without. I was surprised to see the ones without. I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands, which are so dry now from my continued use of bleach wipes.

I just sat by myself, as I didn’t want to be by anyone who might cough or sneeze and I didn’t want anyone to be by me, just in case! I sat down next to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels to wait for my flight. I wasn’t going to be last call this time!

The smell of Auntie Anne’s is so fresh and delicious that I just couldn’t sit there. I decided to have a lemonade and a pretzel. I went back to my seat. I book off a piece of my pretzel to take a bite. Well, it hit the outside of my mask. I forgot to take my mask off!

I threw that piece in the trash. I didn’t know what kind of germ might be on the outside of that mask. I started to take a drink instead. ARRGGH! You guessed it, I didn’t take my mask off again.

I threw the straw in the bin, (that’s my new word) I learned it from the New Zealander’s I work with in China. Finally, I lifted the mask, took a bite and put the mask back down. I never touched the pretzel with my hand. Finished both the pretzel and the drink and headed to the gate. The line was long. It seemed like it was going to be a full flight. I was concerned about my empty row.

Envying the people i first class as I walked by with my 75 pound carry on and 15 pound personal item in the tight and narrow aisle, only hitting a few people along the way with my bags, I made it to 26A. The window seat. Ho Hum. The two seats beside me were taken. It was ok, the guy redeemed himself when he asked if I needed help with my carry on. He lifted to the overhead compartment. It just so happened the Kansas family from the previous flight were right behind me on the flight. The Kansas husband saw my seat mate take my bag and said, “So you found another person to help you with your bag!” “Yes,” I replied, if I walk around with a sad and pathetic look on my face someone will usually help me!” Though, I guess it was difficult to tell if I was sad and pathetic with my mask covering my face.

Truly, he was just a nice guy offering to help!

He was a young guy traveling with his girlfriend who also had just left Beijing. We had been on the same Air China flight previously. He was from New York but living in Columbia. She was from Columbia. Their stories were much for dramatic than mine. They lost their income due to the virus and couldn’t afford their housing anymore. Their city was in total lockdown only allowing one person in the family to leave the apartment at a time to go to the store.

It was a long flight from Seoul to Dallas, one of the designated airports to allow US citizens entry who had been in China. Bu the conversation was good, yet unbelievable at times.

Upon landing at DFW, the nice New Yorker lifted my bag down from the overhead and even continued to carry it down the aisle. SO HAPPY I WAS! He commented on what must be in the bag as it was so heavy. “How do you carry this?” A girl’s gotta’ do what a girls gotta’ do! I had packed like I wasn’t returning to China! Though, I know I will return as school has to open eventually, I would imagine, and I have to finish my contract. But even if it doesn’t open, I would still have to get final paperwork sorted and such so I could get paid.

Eh. Who knows at this point? No need to speculate. We will all find out in due time.

The New Yorker turned out to be quite the kind soul and gentleman. He carried my bag all the way to immigration where he and his girlfriend were stopped. I guess because she was from Columbia. I thanked him profusely and carried the bag thru the line.

We stop at kiosks now to complete our entry information rather than filling out a card on the flight. GO GREEN! I knew once I entered my information and it spit my “receipt” out, I was in trouble. I had a BIG BLACK X on my receipt.

I guess this was a better way to ID China travelers over the used lanyard in Seoul. I proceeded thru the line, waved to the Kansan’s and continued on. It was my turn at the counter. I took my passport and receipt out of my bag and handed it to the kind man behind the counter. I asked him why he was not wearing a mask. He started off with some story about a vacation and then got sidetracked. I guess he realized the BIG BLACK X meant something more. I had to lower my mask for the photo op. Also, by the way, the mask had to come off at each security check point as well. The “Body handlers” had to inspect the mask. They didn’t touch it, just had to look inside the mask.

The nice agent told me to follow him. I was his first BIG BLACK X. He took me to room and told me to sit down. I waited. He came back out and said come on back. A lady jumped up quickly and said, “NO! She can not come in here.”

Ok! I decided to stay where I was until they hashed it out. He took me back out and around the corner to another counter. He told me to wait until they called me . The man next to the counter waved me over. I am not really sure of his job, other than to wave me over. The guy behind the counter took my temperature and I filled out another form. I didn’t have my passport or my receipt with the BIG BLACK X anymore. I wasn’t too worried since I was in the USA. I didn’t need a passport to travel any longer.

I was beginning to sweat. So I pulled my mask away from my face a couple of times to get some airflow to my face. The guy behind the counter, who works for the CDC apologized and said he would be finished soon. He was. I went and sat and waited to be called again.

Next, a nice young lady called my name. She even pronounced it correctly. Most people do not. I walked to her counter. I dropped my big heavy bag on the floor. I just couldn’t carry it one minute longer. She had my passport.

She asked me some questions. She already knew my emergency contact persons name. I must have written on one of the previous forms, I didn’t remember, or they are THAT good!. She asked and verified my address, asked where I had been and why? Had I traveled to WuHan? and all those questions. She was very friendly! She asked if I had any questions: My first one was, “Why are you not wearing a mask?” She said as long as I had one, she was ok. Hmmm. Ok.

I asked, “What will the next step be?” We will contact your daughter since she is your emergency contact to relay any information that is important regarding your status.

“Like what?” If anyone is contagious on this flight we will notify you immediately.

“How immediately?” Oh it will be really quick. Within a day or so.

“So, if I hear from anybody it won’t be good news?” Well, not necessarily, it just means you were on a flight with someone who was contagious.

“That doesn’t sound like good news to me.” I thanked her, took my passport grabbed that dang bag and headed to security, again.

Unpack, bin everything, repack. Move on. Each airport is different as far as screening goes. I carefully packed all electronics and such in my 15 pound bag. But this time something was of concern in the 75 pound bag. Unpack. They didn’t find anything. Repack. Drop the bag to the floor and just drag it behind me. There were no wheels on this bag, and the handle was just long enough that I didn’t have to bend over too far to drag it along. Remember!!! I DO NOT PUT THINGS ON THE FLOOR! Disgusting!

I didn’t care anymore. I dragged that bag all over looking for the sign that would show me my gate. I walked forever looking for it. Where was the sign? No clue. Finally I found an open counter and they looked up Flight 2400 to Tulsa. It was in terminal B, gate 12. I walked to the sky train, dragging that bag along behind me, mask on face, sweat pouring down my forehead, armpits beginning to smell a bit, but kept plugging along.

I got a few stares, but this time there was no Kansan or New Yorker to help me. I found my way up the escalator and onto the train headed to B terminal.

Oh dang it, what number was it? 24? Yes, I thought it was 24. So I got off the sky train at gates 21-30. I walked down to try and find another board with the gate number. I’m not sure why they are so difficult to find at DFW, but again. No board in sight. No counters open. I walked left then turned and walked right. Closed counter. No board. Closed counter.

Oh my word! Did I really need what was in that bag? I stopped and had a rest. When I was ready, I traded arms with the bags, and carried both of them again. I finally found an open counter. I asked if she could look up FLIGHT 2400 to Tulsa. She said, (well you, the reader already know which gate as I mentioned it above) “B12.” I was at 22. “It’s just right down there,” she said.

Oh no, it wasn’t just right down there.

I dropped the bag and continued to drag it through the airport. Finally I saw B12. I couldn’t get there fast enough. I found a seat and sat down where I wouldn’t be next to anyone. I was so thirsty because I hadn’t had anything to drink on the flight. I didn’t want to use the plane’s toilet, just in case. Crazy, but that’s me. I don’t like germs. I don’t even use the exposed part of the toilet paper that hands from the dispenser. I tear it off and pull down a clean hidden piece.

I debated going to get something to drink but that meant I would have to drag that dang bag with me especially considering they had just announced “Do not leave bags unattended…..”

Should I get a drink? Should I not get a drink? Do I take my bag? Do I leave my bag and take my chances? The counter to the burger place was so close. I could still SEE the bag if I left it. But at this point, they can have the bag!

The battle was going on in my head again. Just make a decision. I got up and walked to the counter leaving the bag behind. I got my expensive drink and returned to my seat. Thank goodness. No problems.

I sat there alone with my cold drink and messaged my friend to tell her I had just dragged my bag all the way across the DFW airport. She was surprised I would do something like that. I would always get onto her when she would put something on the dirty floor or ground.

Uh oh! A man just sat beside me. What do I do? I have a mask. He does not have a mask. He probably hasn’t been in China. I have been in China. I think I should tell him.
I would want to know if I were the man.

I took a deep breath and said, “Excuse me sir, I have just returned from China and am wearing this mask for both of our protection, I just wanted you to know that. Feel free to get up and move if you would like. I won’t be offended.”

He looked at me.

In The Journey Home, Part 3 you will see what his response was to me.


The Journey Home


 

“I’m going to go home,” said with more certainty than the previous couple of hundred times as Heather and I discussed staying in China or going home.  Heather is my friend upstairs on 18.  I’m on the 15th floor of the apartment building.  She is the one with the little boy who rides the little truck who comes to my door with his music playing from the steering wheel mentioned in a previous post

I had decided to stay in China and help her as long as she stayed.  She couldn’t take the baby outside and go to the store, walk the dogs, etc.  So when she did those things, I watched the baby.  So, this certainty in her voice this time sounded like it was a done deal.  I replied, “Ok, if you are definitely going, then I will get my ticket, too.  We can go together and I can help you on the plane.”

We had talked about flights. I found one to leave on Friday, February 14.  I finally, after much indecisiveness and turmoil, hit the submit payment button and selected my seats.  Done! No more debate.

I messaged Heather the next morning and told her I had my ticket.  Did she have hers?  No.  The baby had developed a fever.  And a rash.  Of course, it was a terrible situation. It was frightening to think where she would go, what would she do, and most importantly what did he have?

Once she got him to a hospital, one that did not accept virus patients, she learned he had roseola.  Much better than the virus!  He was covered in a rash by now. She wasn’t going to be on a flight anytime soon. I felt so bad for them.

The day I left, it began to rain. I love the rain and it so rarely rains in Beijing.  I wasn’t excited about hauling my luggage in the rain, though.  I kept gathering my things and putting it all by the door trying to debate when I should call a taxi.  I looked back out the window and it had begun to snow.  And snow. And snow. 

Ugh. Will flights be delayed? or even cancelled?

I finally head downstairs having packed like I wasn’t going to return to China, though I still have quite a few things there. I had two 50 pound suitcases, a 75 pound carry on, and a 15 pound personal item.  I got them all on the elevator, down the elevator and out the door.  To get to the street, we must walk up a car ramp. It is the only way out right now as all other gates are locked.  By now, the rain had frozen and the snow was coming down in a very wet snow.  

From the parking garage I was able to push one suitcase up the ramp along with the carry on. 125 lbs.  I was slipping all over the place.  I left them sitting at the top of the ramp and walked back for the rest.  I pushed the next one up the ramp along with my bag that had two laptops and an iPad, chargers, a book, passport and everything else I could get inside the bag.  The wet snow was filling my bag with the laptops inside.  I stuffed a blanket over the top to keep them dry.

At the top of the ramp is a gate.  It is just short enough that my bags won’t go underneath it.  I can’t take them around it, either. Arrgghh… 

If I let go of the larger suitcase, it will fall over. Everything else is getting soaked. By now I was sweating and breathing heavily.  If someone comes and takes my temperature now, I’m doomed. 

Finally I was able to tilt the luggage under the gate, one by one and get it to the other side. But now, I had to lift them over a little one foot wall, or walk thru water that was quite high.  I chose to lift them. I got them to the other side. One 75 pound carry on is on one shoulder, my 15 pound bag is on the other and I’m lugging to suitcases behind me. There is now so much snow on the ground that as I pull the luggage along, the snow builds up under the wheels and I am pulling all the snow with me until I can not pull them any further.  

I have to stop and put my bags down. Anyone who knows me, knows I DO NOT put things on the ground or floor.  NO WAY!  So this was painful for me.

I kicked the snow off the wheels and move the luggages to a new path, pick up the other bags and start again.  Ten steps more. Repeat.  Ten steps more. Repeat.  I’m nowhere close yet. 

Finally, I stop and take one piece at a time, pulling the luggage with two hands while kicking the snow away.  I got it to the curb and walked back.  

I needed to call the taxi.  So I did that and it would arrive in 6 minutes.  Hopefully I could get the rest to the curb by then.  

Next piece of luggage wasn’t much easier. It  was still picking up snow. Finally a guard came over and pulled it to the curb making a new path. I was thankful. I Went back for number 3 and 4.  Finally, all were at the curb.

I mentioned it was a wet snow?  I’m drenched. My hair is soaked. My shirt is soaked and my jeans are well on their way to being soaked, too.

I hope the driver doesn’t turn into the McDonalds parking lot because if he does we won’t meet at the right spot, which would mean I would have to haul everything across the parking lot.  He turned into the McDonalds parking lot.By now,

I could not even think about pulling all of those bags over there.  I left all my things there and walked over and pointed to my luggage which had fallen over, so it was hard to see and gestured for him to drive around to the luggage.  Luckily, he gets my game of Charades and pulled around.  Finally, we got everything in his car. 

By now, I am at wits end and I’ve only just left the apartment. I got out my phone and messaged my friend, Shack who is dropping my car off at the airport upon my arrival.  “I’m about to lose my shit!”  And of course, Shack being Shack says, “Keep breathing, Cath. You got this. Think about your grandkids and Amy and Eric and all your friends. It’s worth it, keep your head up and keep moving toward Tulsa.”  Always a breath of fresh air. OK.  I can do this.

It was really snowing then.  The roads were so slick and we didn’t slow down.  There was accident after accident on the highway.  We were all over the place.  We finally made it in one piece. I went to get a cart for my luggage, but first wiped it down with bleach wipes and pushed it back to the taxi. I gathered my things and headed to the airport entry.  

Going inside they stopped me to take my temperature.  I’m wet and cold so I thought I would be ok.  I was.

Now the entry is a downhill ramp.  The cart and I were rolling quickly.  My feet just slid all the way down to the bottom.  The girl at the bottom of the ramp looked a bit nervous as I rolled toward her.  She was motioning me to go left.  I finally got the cart to slow down and turn.  I stopped for another temperature check. It was ok!

Ok, to the gate. I made it and got my boarding pass, unloaded two pieces of luggage and headed to security.  This was such a hassle this go round, as I had two laptops, an ipad, camera, phone, chargers, etc.  All of which need to be unpacked and placed into individual bins.  At least there was no one there, so I wasn’t rushed.  

Unpack, scan, repack. Lug that 75 pound carry on and 15 pound bag to the gate. I looked for my friend, Craig who was supposed to be at the gate near mine.  I could not find him. I called him and he said he had been kicked out.  Now he is a prankster, so I thought he was kidding, but…he wasn’t.  He had booked a flight to New Zealand where he is from by way of Australia.  Australia would not let him transfer through there because of the virus.   So he could not travel.  

I went and sat down to charge my phone.  I wandered around a bit after that. Then went back to my gate.  I sat down. There were quite a few people at the gate. waiting.  I heard “Flight CA 125 last call to Seoul.”   “What?”  Last call ! I never heard the first call.  I never saw anyone move.  Oh My Goodness!

I ran to the gate just in time.  Though it was not far to run as I was right there! How did that even happen?  Oh well, I’m on.  

I’m soaked, I can’t breathe in my mask, but I’m on.  A couple from Kansas and their two kids came on just after me.  They didn’t hear anything either until “Last Call.”  So bizarre.

We are given so many forms to fill out, all health related.  My pen didn’t  work. I tested it before I left, but nothing.  The Kansan gave me a pen from her bag.  I had to wipe it with bleach first.  She understood.  She had some interesting stories to tell, too.  Every region, it seemed had different scenarios playing out.  

An hour and a half later, Air China flight CA125, was about to land in Seoul, South Korea.  We made it out of China. What awaits us out there?  How will we be treated? We are all arriving from China, after all. The rest of the world isn’t accepting many passengers from China.  The nice Kansan husband helped me with my 75 pound carry on. He got it down from the overhead.  We disembarked.

We walk up the jetway and saw a person who could easily be headed toward Mars with his/her white space suit and helmet.  As we arrived to the top of the jetway, we were given a lanyard to wear around our necks identifying us as arrivals from China.  

Wait, who else wore this on their neck?  Ugh, too late, it was now on my neck.  I didn’t get to bleach it. We followed the arrow that read, “From China.”  Where would it take us?

The Journey Home, to be continued. 

I can barely keep my eyes open.


Dark Circles Go Away


 My friend Buster is teaching a class on the “Legal Aspects of Terrorism and Disaster Response” and looking at the legal issues that may arise relating to the Coronavirus outbreak. He has asked me to write about my feelings related to being right in the middle of this viral outbreak while living in Beijing.

I should begin with the first received  advisory from the US Embassy by email ,alerting US citizens of a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan China,

I didn’t really think much about it. Pneumonia didn’t sound so intimidating. After all, this advisory was about Wuhan.  I’m nearly 1000 miles from Wuhan.

Bold dates below reflect an email message from the Embassy.

 

January 7

Health Alert Update – Novel Coronavirus in China

Location: Wuhan, Hankou area

Event: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Watch Level 1 Alert (be aware and practice usual precautions) for an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, preliminarily identified to be caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.

 

January 15

Health Alert Update: Level 1 Watch regarding pneumonia

Location: Wuhan,  Hankou area

 

January 17 

Health Alert Update: Level 1 Watch regarding pneumonia

Location: Wuhan,  Hankou area

 

I wasn’t traveling to Wuhan, so I didn’t think so much about it.

Our last day of school before Chinese New Year was January 17.

Many teachers were headed away and out of China for the holiday.  I chose to stay in China to save money this holiday due to some unforeseen expenses that occurred at home.  Hindsight reveals not the best holiday to stay in place.

We (remaining teachers) didn’t really do too much outdoors, really.  We had gone to see Chairman Mao’s body, (not sure why) went bike skating on the frozen lake and ate at a very delicious dumpling place for lunch.  I went twice for lunch because it was so good.

As the days went on over the holiday, we were starting to hear word about this pneumonia.  People were now dying.

Each day, more dead. Many infected. But what was causing it?

Bats and snakes.  People are eating bats and snakes?  Now, pangolins have been linked to the  spread of the virus. Some Chinese people believe the scales of the pangolins have healing powers.

We are starting to stay inside our apartments more.  We do however, walk the park that is across the street.  There are very few people there. After the walk, we retreat back to our apartments.

The death count is over 100.  WOW!  

Repeat. 

Eat, Sleep. Take a walk.

200 dead

Eat. Sleep. Take a walk

214 dead  

We see an ambulance driving down the street with its sirens on and lights flashing.  This is unusual. We never see an ambulance here.  

Eat. Sleep. Take a walk.

230 dead, thousands infected.

We now wear masks while we are outside.

I don’t remember the exact date, but our school said teachers didn’t have to return from holiday until later in February. So, the teachers who were on vacation, just got an extended stay.  The rest of us were left wondering if we should join them.

Nah, let’s save the money and stay here, we will be safe inside and “We have each other” was our mantra.

January 22 

Health Alert Update: Level 2 – referring to travelers to Wuhan

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Watch Level 2 Alert (Practice Enhanced Precautions) for an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in Wuhan.Be aware that planned travel within China may be disrupted.

 

 

Ok, still not going go travel to Wuhan.  I’m ok!

 

January 23

Health Alert Update:

Same as January 22-see above

 

January 24

Level 4: Do not travel to Hubei province, China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China:

There is an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan.On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.

Chinese authorities have imposed strict travel restrictions in the area around Wuhan.Travelers should be aware that the Chinese government could prevent them from entering or exiting parts of Hubei province.Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Warning Level 3 Alert (Avoid Nonessential Travel) due to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.

 

Still doesn’t concern me. I’m not traveling to Wuhan and I am avoiding non-essential travel.

 

January 26

 Relocating Personnel from Wuhan:

The Department of State is making arrangements to relocate its personnel stationed at the U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan to the United States.  We anticipate that there will be limited capacity to transport private U.S. citizens on a reimbursable basis on a single flight leaving Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on January 28, 2020 and proceeding directly to San Francisco.  Interested U.S. citizens in possession of valid passports should contact BeijingACS@state.gov with the information listed below.  This capacity is extremely limited and if there is insufficient ability to transport everyone who expresses interest, priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus.

 

The Department of State is evacuating their people from the Coronavirus epicenter. Interested US citizens can jump on but you have to travel to Wuhan to get to that airport.  Travel has been restricted. Couldn’t go if I wanted!

 

January 27

Reconsider travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

 

 

Well, I’m not traveling TO China, I’m already here and I’m staying inside. I’m limiting non-essential travel as they advised. 

 

January 29 

 Level 3 traveling to China

Level 4 traveling to Wuhan

 

January 30

Event: On January 29, 2020, the Department allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of U.S. government employees.

January 30 issued a Level 3 Watch to travel to China.

 

February  2 

Level 4

Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.

 

Travel restrictions?  I’m not going anywhere.

February 3rd comes and goes. Teachers did not return but we began teaching online from numerous time zones around the world.  This means for us who stayed, we are inside all day. Focusing on our work but still taking breaks to read about the virus.

February 3-8

These days all conversations are based on what are you going to do?  Are you going to stay?  Are you going to go?

We are going to stay.  Too much money to leave. The virus will be gone soon. School will open. Let’s just stay. We’ve got each other, we will be ok.

February 4

Travel Alert from the US Embassy:

Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.

Those currently in China should attempt to depart by commercial means. U.S. citizens remaining in China should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Chinese health authorities’ guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment. We strongly urge U.S. citizens remaining in China to stay home as much as possible and limit contact with others, including large gatherings. Consider stocking up on food and other supplies to limit movement outside the home. In the event that¿the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates¿to provide assistance to U.S. nationals within China may be limited.

 

By now, I’m following the advice of staying home, limiting contact with others and stocking up on what food remained at the time. Several teachers have decided it might be safer to stay here rather than board a plane with everyone leaving right now. Who would we sit next to? Would they cough on us? Are they infected and don’t know it?  People were leaving as fast as they could. Too much of a risk!

“Limit contact with others.”  

Feb 9-10 

More than 900 dead. Many are infected on cruise ships, people have been evacuated from China and quarantined. The virus is spreading to many more countries.

Now what? Major cities are on lockdown. Travel is restricted. Flights are limited leaving from China to the USA.

February 11

So how do I feel?

Frustrated. Frustration manifests itself into so many more emotions such as sadness, anxiety, fear, exhaustion and so many more emotions. I looked in the mirror today and saw a very tired looking person, dark circles, tired eyes. It is mentally exhausting. I don’t like to wear my glasses but now I keep them on to cover the dark circles.

Frustrated with whom? Frustrated at what?

Frustrated with myself for not leaving? Frustrated with the messages and the advice to restrict travel to Wuhan? Frustrated that I (and others) were trying to do the safest thing? limit contact with others

Each day is a bad game of tennis in our heads with the back and forth of should we stay or should we go.  One of us decides we are leaving and the other says, now just wait a minute. It is going to be costly to get out of here and as long as we stay we still have each other. Plus it seems safer to stay in our apartments than it does to board a plane. The Embassy advised us to limit contact with others. Being on a plane does not follow that directive. Plus several of the other teachers were traveling with children and an infant. I don’t know how the infant would have or will keep a mask on his face during a flight. 

Recently, after weeks in the apartment, I noticed I was pacing back and forth. I must have looked like a caged lion walking back and forth looking for a way to get out. I sat down and looked at flights out of China. One Way!

Again, the next day we talked ourselves out of leaving.  Is it really worth spending the money and subjecting ourselves to what MIGHT happen on the flight? We would spend that money and might get sick, spending even more money, plus our insurance plan is good everywhere in the world EXCEPT the USA. If I get sick, THEN WHAT? I will be bankrupt! I will have spent the last two years in Beijing for nothing. I was trying to get ahead as I don’t see that ever happening as a teacher in Oklahoma, getting ahead that is.

Feb 12

This has been the worst day so far.  

Why?

Dark circles are worse!

I woke to many messages from home. What is happening? What do they know that I don’t? 

Three people have been investigated by the health department in Oklahoma due to the coronavirus.  This may be why people are contacting me since I am from Oklahoma. “Investigation” sounds kind of harsh and somewhat scary. But it is required now.

The author of the book, The Coming Plague, has stated the virus is out of control and is bigger than SARS and the HIV outbreak.

I probably shouldn’t have read that.

It is really difficult to know what to say or what to do. I tried to be safe by staying inside, not traveling and exposing myself to others on a plane, train, or vehicle. Should I have followed the first part of the directive of Feb 4 “leave by means of commercial flight” or the second part “limit contact with others?”

Wuhan was far away and I didn’t travel there. Did anyone on the flight I may have taken travel to Wuhan?  I guess they had to “sign a paper” stating they didn’t travel to Wuhan but anyone can lie. I’ve certainly learned that lesson in life. 

Will I die like so many others?  Will I not die? Either way, I have children in both places, Heaven and Earth. So I will get to see them wherever I end up.

I honestly don’t feel as though that is even remotely possible considering the precautions I have taken. These are just some of the thoughts that enter my head while being caged up inside day after day. I just wanted to share what it is like to feel so many emotions throughout a day when the unknown surrounds me.

If I fly home now, I would imagine there will be fewer people on the flights. (limit contact with others)

Friends who have left from Beijing Airport have described it as a “ghost town.” So maybe now is the time.

Did I make the right decision? 

 

(We recently received a message from our school stating that if we contract the illness and need to be treated, it would be covered under the plan.  I immediately replied, “Even in America?”  The response, “YES!”  )

Dark circles can start to go away now.


Will the Fear of the Unknown break us?


Will the 5 positive reasons for staying in Beijing that we mention every time we walk the park keep us here through the virus outbreak or will the virus eventually break us, due to the fear of the unknown? Riding this wave of the unknown is mentally exhausting.

Are we living our lives to the fullest by being locked in our apartments day after day? We do take a stroll around the park once or twice a day, but then we retreat back inside to check the death toll and watch and read what we can about the virus. Healthy?

Friends are beginning to leave Beijing now, one by one, two by two….we aren’t going to be able to have our walks in the park any more and come up with our list of 5 daily positives about being here.

This is sad, but understandable.

We walked the park today and it is becoming more active with people as many are starting to filter back into the city of Beijing, though there were very few people wearing masks.

I dont understand. Ting bu dong (that is about the extent of my Chinese)

Maybe they haven’t heard the news?

I do know there is a shortage of masks world wide so maybe they don’t have masks. So why not stay inside? Perhaps they don’t think the masks really work. 

There are different types of masks that may be more effective than others.

N95 masks vs surgical masks

There is the N95 mask which is a three dimensional mask that is supposedly ideal for protecting against the coronavirus. 

Surgical masks are two dimensional and allow for air to get through, in and around the gaps since they don’t fit securely on your face, so maybe they deem them pointless. Ok.

Is covering one’s face and nose necessary if there is good ventilation? I don’t know.

The death rate is rising daily, as of this writing more than 900 have died and the infected are 37,000 worldwide. Most are dying here in China. This death toll exceeds the SARS outbreak of 2003.  

With so many dying and infected, why is there so minimal protection? Not only no masks, but no gloves or glasses are seen on the people at the park.  Some of these people are children.

When the foreign teachers go outside, we are protected up! We have our N95 masks, gloves and I even sported a pair of goggles on top of my glasses today to avoid any cough and spittle entering my eyes with the addition of so many people now in the park. Plus it is a practice for a potential plane ride. 

I do have two pieces of luggage packed to 50 pounds each, sitting by the front door. They have been in my living room for two weeks, just in case. I’ve packed and repacked. I put things in and take things out, replacing items with something else that might be more important. I have packed all my winter things as I’m not going to need those for much longer, but then I pull out all of the winter-wear  and pack all my better clothes in case I leave and don’t come back.  All electronics are packed along with anything of value.

On the other hand, I’ve washed the sheets on my bed so when I go to bed tonight they are nice, clean and smell fresh, or did I wash them so they will be clean upon my return to China should I  leave? It’s always nice to come home to clean sheets on a bed. 

I’ve sorted the cabinets, thrown things out, given stuff away and am ready to leave China, or is it just Spring Cleaning and I’m going to stay? 

 I went to the grocery store twice this week and stocked up. With 8 million people returning to the city of Beijing this week after their extended Chinese New Year,, I thought I should get a few things before the crowds descend upon the stores. With two trips to the store, maybe I am going to stay after all and I can unpack the luggage at the front door. I certainly have enough food to last a while.

I’ve put chicken in the fridge to thaw. It is a big package and it will take several days to eat it. So I have plenty of food for the week. Or, did I get the chicken out of the freezer because I’m cleaning it out before I leave?

It is a constant battle, and a continued conversation between the remaining few foreign teachers here.  More and more people are becoming infected. The WHO director is tweeting “we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.” and they are sending their top experts to China to learn about the virus.

How many of you have masks, gloves, and alcohol wipes at your front door?

Is trying to save money a good reason to stay here with so many unknowns?  What would the flight be like on the way home? Will I be quarantined upon arrival? Is it still a self imposed quarantine of 14 days in my own home?

I have no fever, I have no cough, though I coughed several times on Saturday and panicked for a moment. But I was only cutting up a very strong, red pepper and some onions. I couldn’t help but think, “Oh no, I hope no one hears me cough!” I was doing everything I could to conceal my coughing spell.  I didn’t want the government to pound on my door again and ask, “Are you sick?”  There was no way I could hide my watery, red eyes and continued coughing spell should that happen again.  I would only be able to bring the pepper to the door and let them have a deep inhale and hope for the best. Difficult and costly decisions lie ahead. 

Stay Strong Wuhan-Stay Strong China (written on one of my student’s papers on Friday during online learning)


Should I Stay or Should I Go?


 

Stay in Beijing   VS    Fly home

Continual Debate in my head:

 

Go Home:

Expensive

No Internet

Work From 10pm-5am (online teaching 14 hour time difference)

14 day quarantine

It’s cold there

Who would I sit next to on the plane? Where have they been?

US Embassy says go home

No Medical Insurance

Stay Here:

Cheap

Can take the DK’S (daughter’s kids) on a fun trip (maybe Disney would be fun) with the money I save by not going home

Safe in the Apartment

Listen to the kid upstairs all day long

It’s cold here, but I don’t mind it

I have medical insurance

Help Heather with the baby

Daily walks in the park with friends

Risk temperature being high, becoming the first older, white female quarantined due to hot flashes and can’t explain otherwise : )

 

Back and forth everyday, it’s like a tennis match in my head.  It’s boring being cooped up all day, but is that any reason to fly home?  I chose not to go anywhere for the Chinese New Year Holiday this year to save money.  I was originally going to go home for this holiday, but those plans changed back in September, so I decided to go to Italy during this holiday, but those plans changed in December. So, here I sit.

 

It’s hard to explain the feelings and emotions of being in China right now.  Yes, it is a tragic turn of events for the thousands who have been infected and those who have died leaving their families behind. I understand the pain and suffering that goes along with being the bereaved.  Nothing compares to the anguish, desperation and sadness of losing a child, nothing!  So I wonder why I have this debate knocking around in my head?  I can do this.

I have a decent pay check each month and a gratuity at the end of my contract so I just need to keep my eye on the prize and stay put!  I only have 181,188 minutes to go!

But tomorrow when I wake up, I will be looking at flights home again, and so the debate continues. 

life sucks if you let it, but I have options so it’s not all that bad!


Shopping during a deadly virus outbreak is like shopping when it is going to snow in Oklahoma, kind of


-60 million people on lock down

-The Beijing Education Commission has postponed the start date for the spring semester for all public primary, secondary and universities to try to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus until further notice 

– The USA, France and Japan are arranging transportation home for personnel in Wuhan       

– Hong Kong is providing temporary housing for quarantined people, 

 Hong Kong and Shanghai Disney are closed

 Taiwan suspended Visa applications for Chinese applicants

–  Chinese authorities are punishing vendors for trading wild animals

–   Masks are sold out across the globe

51580037727_.pic.jpg

no vegetables at Sam’s Club

–   and Sam’s Club is out of vegetables.

My friend Jayne and I braved the elements, (the virus and the horrendous air quality) and walked to Sam’s Club to ready ourselves for our continued “quarantine.” 

41580037726_.pic.jpg

baskets are full

Baskets were full and shelves were empty. Shopper’s faces  were covered with masks.  I had already decided I wasn’t going to touch a basket with my bare hands, but it didn’t matter as there weren’t any empty baskets to use anyway.  There weren’t people distributing samples this time.

A virus in China is like saying its going to snow in Oklahoma and Oklahoman’s know what that is like!  Everyone rushes to the store and buys up all the bread, eggs and milk. In China, all the vegetables are gone.

How long will it take to get this situation under control?  How many people will become infected? Is it going to get worse before it gets better? Travelers will begin returning to China soon with the end of the holiday upon us.

11580037726_.pic.jpg

Nothing here…..

Our school requires all teachers to return to Beijing by February 2 so that a 14 day quarantine period can be initiated before the current start date of February 17 where we are scheduled to return to school. We are just watching to see how everything unfolds, I guess.

This holiday I did not travel, of all holidays, this is the one where I would have loved to get out of China.  I had planned on a trip to Italy but things transpired at home that cost more money and heartache than I was expecting, so I put the Italy trip on hold. I had considered going home for Chinese New Year but the tickets were too expensive and the tax laws are too strict.  So here I sit, right in the midst of a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Things happen for a reason, so they say. Life sucks if you let it, so maybe I should count my blessings that I am not traveling with hundreds of people coughing and sneezing on an airplane.  I know that I wouldn’t have had a mask with me and apparently they are sold out across the globe.   

21580037726_.pic

freezers are empty

So for now I will sit and watch the news wondering if it is real or fake, keep bleaching my floors, leave my shoes in the hallway, wash my clothes as soon as I walk in the door, count how many times I cough in a day, take my Vitamin C, sip on my Ther-a-Flu, watch Netflix and Hulu, and will keep looking for messages from home.

 

 

 


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