Message from Spain
by Paloma Martinez, Mataelpino, Spain
It’s been kind of crazy over here trying to decide how to isolate the ones who are at higher risk (my mom and my niece who has Crohn’s). My sister was out of town and my bother was working in Northern Spain, so it’s been a challenge to get everything ready for my mom’s isolation. Also, the information and government measures were changing so rapidly that we needed to rush to get meds, food, firewood, toilet paper. Now police and army are enforcing the mandatory confinement. They are driving around making announcements through speakers, flying drones. There are police controls in roads and highways.
Here at my place, my contact is mainly with my tenant/friend who lives downstairs. If she/I got the virus, the other will have it as well, since we have spent a lot of time together helping each other. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
Hospitals and clinics are collapsed but they are still testing people with obvious symptoms. Spain is a country with a large elderly population who are increasingly getting infected and that hampers the task of getting other people tested or taken care of.
We read about the States and how things are rapidly changing over there. Also, we hear with disbelief and sad astonishment Trump’s announcements. We, on this side of the pond, feel for you and your concern under these difficult circumstances.
This is my advice from what we are experiencing over here: Don’t take the mandatory isolation and confinement instructions lightly. Here, people were going for walks in parks, riding their bikes, hiking, driving the car to do that one very important thing (and that is not really). . . and that has been the one of the main causes of the disease spreading.
“Lockdown” in Bellevue
by Andy P, Seattle
My mom’s place is on “lockdown.” They want residents to stay in their apartments, food is being delivered, no outside entertainment being brought in, only one family member can visit at a time. She told me not to come. But she ran out of an asthma med so I went to Bellevue to pick it and bring it to her. As it turned out, my brother tried to order some groceries for her but they’re so overloaded they couldn’t deliver for four days. So I got her groceries too and visited for a bit.
I colored my hair and folded laundry. It’s the most productive day I’ve had.
Update: That was Saturday. As of today, things have changed. No visitors. If I can’t bring her groceries, I don’t know how that will work. Grocery delivery is being scheduled a week out in Bellevue. Having a conference call with siblings tonight.
by Claire Gray, Seattle
Several days ago, as I was preparing to go to Trader Joe’s, I asked a friend if I could get anything for her. She needed organic sweet and russet potatoes, and onions. Since they are only available in 2- or 3-pound bags, we decided to split them. After shopping, as I was walking with another friend, my first friend texted to ask if I could also pick up fresh organic blueberries. My walking partner said she had extra fresh blueberries, but she needed potatoes and onions. Voila! Problem solved for everyone.
While at Trader Joe’s, I bought several small bunches of daffodils. Gave one to my shopping friend, one to my walking friend, and one to a young woman who lives down the hall and works in a large daycare center. I left them outside her door and sent her a text. All of them have since let me know how especially meaningful it is to have fresh flowers blooming in their homes now.
Yesterday, my neighbor in the apartment above texted me. He takes his two small children out for a walk each day and wondered if he or his wife could get anything for me. What a kind and thoughtful family!
I’m trying to make sure I make eye contact and smile at others I pass walking around Green Lake. You never know how that simple acknowledgment of another person will affect them. I know what it does for me when my smiles are reciprocated.