I am so grateful to not have a roommate right now.
Yes, I miss human contact almost every moment of every day of this current health emergency, but both the individuals that I have lived with in my two previous years of medical school would have driven me up the fucking wall by now.
As of today, I’ve (mostly) been in my cozy one-bedroom apartment for seventeen days. Yes, I am counting.
Though I have no one physically in my space, my current irritation comes from an upstairs neighbor who has decided social distancing and self-isolation means they will exercise twice a day doing something that causes dull banging noises to emanate from my ceiling. I understand, but I also hate them.
To keep myself from not going mad, I have reverted back to my soothing hobbies. I started crocheting a scarf, but then remembered that crocheting is quick and efficient, so I’ve switched to knitting, which is much MUCH slower, but calming. I purchased one of those discount memberships to Starz, so I’m semi caught up on Outlander. Actually, it was a costume piece on the show that is the inspiration for the large scarf/shawl I’m working on. I’ve binged many a Netflix offering. (Holy shit, Tiger King.)
I’ve been re-reading the Kushiel series. I bought the six books secondhand at the beginning of the semester on a lark (and because they were so cheap; $5 apiece for each book). I’m quite happy past me was so hopeful. Present me is appreciative of the distraction. I’ve laid out blankets and pillows on the floor, curled up, and enjoyed diving into that world again.
I cook almost every meal, wasting time and giving me another distraction. Grocery shopping ten days ago was an excellent decision.
I absolutely love my Keurig Mini. My daily warm beverage habit includes one cup of coffee each “morning”, then two cups of tea sometime during the rest of my day. And I’ve been hydrating because I’m trying to hold off turning on the air conditioner. My insanely low electric bills have been joyous and I don’t want to lose that just yet.
Speaking of “morning”, I’ve kept to no set schedule except I am up when the Sun is up and I go to sleep as some point after the Sun has set. My alarms now are to remind me to journal once a day, (handwritten so don’t expect any daily updates here), and for timing of how long I must boil my pasta.
In academic updates, my Surgery Clinical Shelf Exam was this past Friday. It’s this big test that is given nationally to every third-year medical student (just not at the same time). My Surgery rotation was twelve weeks long, all building up to this, yet another, high stakes exam. Studying for it during my first two weeks of social distancing gave me a goal, a purpose. After I completed the exam, which I did, surprisingly, feel pretty good about, instead of a release there was an overwhelming sense of dejection. I couldn’t stand around and talk with my classmates, asking them how they felt. We couldn’t bitch about how difficult the rotation had been, couldn’t hug each other. I didn’t see any of my classmates after the test. However, we were screened for our temperature before we started our exam. This was mildly comforting.
I was taking two extra classes, on top of my clinical rotation, before the pandemic started. One is completely online, and the other was in a classroom. Our in-class experience has since transitioned to online, though it will end in about three weeks. I am grateful for these distractions.
I need distractions. I am not one to sit idle for more than a day or two. It doesn’t suit me. I need things to do, projects to complete, a goal to work towards. Yes, I am that person on a vacation that appreciates scheduled fun, even if it is only one thing each day to grasp onto.
So, because I am me, I signed up for a one day online educational event and I applied for an all weekend one as well. The cynical part of me keeps reminding myself to list these things on my CV for when I have to apply for residency. The soothing part of me points out that having things to do helps me stay grounded, stay sane.
I try to talk to at least one person every other day over the phone or via Zoom. I’ve talked to my Mom the most (obs), but also best friend in Vermont, and work best friend back home. Twitter messenger has kept me close with my Petty family. And my classmates, who are still in the apartment building, text almost daily.
From my work best friend, I learned some production gig workers have committed suicide. Anxiety and depression are assholes.
This experience keeps us all so far apart, and puts undue pressure on our sanity, but for us to endure this we must find ways of staying connected.
Yes, I am touch starved, but I was that before all of this started. I miss hugs hello and hugs goodbye from my friends back home. I miss random back rubs from Community Boyfriend. And random knee rubs or hair scritches from all my friends.
Yes, I am constantly horny, but jacking off every day would only make me sore and lonelier. Sticking with a no more than twice per week ration of orgasm sessions. So far, it’s keeping the painful desire at bay.
At the end of this, I will likely have been (mostly) in my apartment for almost eight weeks. But, at the end of this, I still want to be here.
So we sacrifice, and stay connected however we can, reminding ourselves that we do this to help others and help ourselves. Because no one wants to get sick. And no one wants to die, either from this virus or by other means.
GO WASH YOUR HANDS, please.