How are YOU doing? by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

When this article is delivered to your inbox on May 1st, we will have reached our 46th day of lockdown in Ontario. Somehow, it seems longer. Some have settled into a routine based on what is being called “the new normal”. Others are finding it more difficult to adapt.

I confess to being in the former group. I am lucky enough to live in the wide-open spaces of rural Ottawa. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I can get outside, clean up my flower gardens, and start preparing to plant the vegetable garden. If its raining … well, there are several hobbies and activities that keep me busy in the house. Having embraced social media several years ago, I am not experiencing the same degree of isolation as some may be feeling. I have joined a couple of Facebook groups (For the Love of Crows, Ancient Stones of Britain and Ireland) that are amusing and interesting. And there is my all-time favourite: The Lucky Ron Facebook Live Show ( every Saturday night at 5 PM. I’ve been able to work around most of the new rules, which seem to change every day. If its not available, we do without and put it on next week’s list. I was even able to visit my doctor to get a tick bite checked out for Lyme disease. Most essential services are there but everything takes longer. I’ve become a master at organizing my grocery list by aisle to reduce the time spent in the store.

Kudos to all the health care workers, truckers, grocery store workers, and all those essential workers, and yes, the politicians too, who are living and working under the stress of the pandemic.  Their courage and perseverance is phenomenal. For the most part, Premier Ford seems to be doing a pretty good job. Where he has failed, and he has more or less acknowledged this, is in long term care homes. A true leader, he hasn’t passed the buck or blamed anyone else for the deplorable conditions in seniors’ homes … he just got busy fixing the problem. This won’t be easy; these homes have been neglected for years, and hopefully they won’t be forgotten after the pandemic is over.

I have been hoping that governments and agencies would work together and make sure farmers’ markets open on time, as well as community markets. Good news: community gardens have been deemed an essential service and it looks like Farmers’ Markets will open this year.

There is a lot of blame and shame going on … the negative side of social media. Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, has come under fire for her handling of the pandemic. She lost my respect when she defended Prime Minister Trudeau’s shipment of 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China in February.  That was a political position and the optics are very bad especially now that Canada is experiencing shortages and, if we can believe the news, China is sending our planes back empty without supplies and when they do arrive, they are defective.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the City is being lobbied to increase urban intensification with even greater densities in the downtown core. I am wondering if we want to rethink this given the strict physical distancing rules we are currently under. Certainly, viruses have an easier time of spreading in dense populations. No one knows when the next pandemic will come along and of course, we do have the flu season each year. Infection, even for flu, can be greatly reduced by physical distancing so is intensification really where we want to go? Wash your hand … don’t touch your face. That’s will be the mantra for some time to come yet, I fear. Somehow or other, I have not been able to train myself to not touch my face.

Keep well and hang in there. I know there are many who are suffering greatly through this pandemic.