Coffee heat rising

A Strategy for the Plague?

Don’t be deceived: I have none. Neither, far as I can tell, does anyone else, other than recommending that people follow what should already be routine sanitary practices.

The coronavirus has arrived in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean-Sun. Nine cases have been reported in the state, five of them in Pinal County, which is just up the road.  One wretch spent time in two crowded nightclubs and 80 people in the state have been tested for the disease. Entertainment venues are closing, and the Democratic debate slated to take place here will have no live audience in attendance. And, always happy to share, we sent two positive cases on a plane from Phoenix to Toronto. In Massachusetts, 72 of the state’s 90 cases occurred in people who had attended a Biogen corporate meeting.

None of this would get me very exercised, except for the fact that I’ve been so sick so often in the past few months. And that I still have an infection where the orthodontist stuck that post that probably will have to be surgically removed. Honestly: I just do not want to see the inside of an ER room again! Not for a long, long while.

And at age 75, I’m smack in the middle of the group most at risk of serious outcome from this fine disease. No doubt made more so from having been weakened by the late series of epizootics and unhealing dental surgery.

Sooo…. Given my proclivity to catch every bug that comes along, I’m thinking maybe I should step out of choir (and concomitantly, church) for the duration of this epidemic. Or epic flap, whatever it really is.  One epidemiologist suggests we avoid gatherings and face-to-face meetings. There’s a limit to how practical that is. But…it would seem that if you don’t have to be at a gathering, maybe you shouldn’t be.

I will say, one year I got splendidly sick when one of my fellow singers plopped herself down behind me and spent two hours coughing at the back of my head and neck. So…yeah. Choir is potentially a sink of contagion. And this is one particular contagion I’d like not to partake of.

Tomorrow I have to go staff the church’s front desk for four hours. Cannot even begin to imagine how I can gracefully get out of that…

Fortunately, though, I scored a couple more canisters of Lysol wet kitchen counter wipes, supposedly disinfecting. My plan is to take some of those in and wipe down the desk and the phone, plus have some to wipe my hands every time I think of it. Not as perfect as putting light-years of distance between oneself and the bug. But one heckuva lot better than nothing.

In the same vein, I laid off the cleaning lady, who was supposed to come by today. I’d already scored the 80 cash dollahs needed to pay her, and offered to give it to her when she’s over in our parts at WonderAccountant’s place. She declined. So this means when she comes back I’ll have to find some gift for her, maybe a Costco or Walmart cash card. That is a figure-it-out for another day.

Cleaning Lady begone, because she now has a LOT of cleaning customers, so she’s rooting around in sheets, bathrooms, and kitchens of many unknown folk. Plus she has a middle-school-aged daughter who will enjoy the predictable exposure to every bug that comes along, and most certainly will bring this one home to Mom and Dad. Since I’m fully capable of pushing a vacuum cleaner around, that’s a risk we can forego for the nonce.

Speaking of the which, the penicillin (recently determined not to be one of my many drug allergies) the orthodontist prescribed seems to have beaten back the infection around the dental post but not completely killed it off. It still aches, and the gum still feels odd near the damaged socket. Dollars to donuts, that will have to be removed…to the tune of an expensive and sterling unpleasant procedure.

The next appointment I have with him isn’t until the 18th; but this penicillin runs out tomorrow. I can NOT get past his front office staff, because I can’t make the woman understand what the concern is — i.e., I do not want to let an infection grow for a week if the penicillin didn’t kill it all off, nor do I want to promote resistance to the penicillin by stopping for a few days and then starting up again. I don’t know whether the woman is too uneducated to understand the issue — highly likely, given the quality of Arizona’s public schools and colleges — or whether objectively there’s nothing to worry about.

But…I did just get through to my regular dentist. He’s going out of town tomorrow, so they want me to show up in his precincts in…about an hour and 45 minutes. Yeah. Schlep through the rain over streets infested by lunatic drivers who don’t know how to drive in rain, and do it right this minute.

And so…away!

Panic à Costco?

Went over to the Costco on the I-17 this morning to stock up on some products the store here in the po’ folks’ part of town doesn’t carry. Amazingly, for example, you can’t buy a chunk of blue cheese here in the low-rent district. But the store up north has a very nice Bel Gioso blue that’s wonderful. They also have a propane dispenser, the only Costco in town that does.

It’s always wise to plan one’s trips to that place propitiously. So a bit before noon on Friday morning I figured the store wouldn’t be too crowded. Hit the Albertson’s first, then hit the freeway, where a couple of those lighted message signs informed us that a construction worker had been killed. So got off the freeway to avoid a traffic jam and got to the store the back way.

Not too crowded? Hah! The Coronavirus Panic run on grocery and hardware stores has begun.

The place was jammed.

But it was weird. Normally Costco customers are exuberantly oblivious of their fellow grocery-cart pushers. And a lot of noise goes on and people are happily rolling toward whatever doodad they think they can’t live without. Not so today. Not that people weren’t talking and kids weren’t carrying on…it was that they were strangely quiet. And bizarrely polite — people would motion you ahead instead of cutting you off to get there first.

I got one of the last packages of toilet paper. People were buying a lot more TP than paper towels, but the paper towels were also going fast. And I nabbed the second-to-last package of boned chicken thighs. Drumsticks were gone. One of the butchers told us they were out of chicken and wouldn’t get more in until the first of the week.

It really was just…kind of a weird experience

Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, now may be the time to make a provisions run. If Costco is any measure, it looked like paper goods (especially TP!) and easily cooked or grilled meats were going fast. In these parts you can’t buy hand wipes, but countertop wipes by Lysol will work as well or (probably) better.

Don’t forget to keep the gas tank topped up, too.