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Rib, Crash and Being Proud of a Bad Time

Last Saturday I did get that lower end of the usual amount for myself after all, so I should be able to save a bit more than planned, since the concerns I mentioned at the end of the previous personal post had made me assume a very restricted budget when I planned my purchases. On the other hand, still on the matter of expenses, dad was again infuriating when he got one of the medicines he had told me he wanted to get, and for which I had given him links with lower prices, for two thirds more than that amount, since one of the pharmacies didn’t have it and he didn’t wait for me to order one from the other, at the same price, just grabbing it from another one that was on his way. Wonder if he even asked about it at that second place, since he didn’t say, only saying that he asked about the FFP2 masks there and, as I had assumed, the price listed on the site was just for orders, and at least that time he did listen, not buying them at the higher price just to get them right away and letting me order them, since from that pharmacy you can order and then pick up the products once they’re ready for no additional charge.
Still on the topic of dad being infuriating last Saturday, that evening he made himself some more soup before napping for a while, and when I went to the kitchen I found something sticky all over the faucet, and on one of the things we use to clean dishes, and on some of the things in the sink, and water all over, so instead of just rushing there to grab something to eat and then get back to my room, I spent over an hour struggling to clean and get the crap off my hands. I still wasn’t done when he woke up, and when I asked what that was he said he had tried to clean the stove a bit… And couldn’t understand how the crap got on the faucet since he had supposedly never touched it… Right… Either way, that night I actually started eating dinner at 2:55 AM, which was good, because starting at 3 AM would have meant starting at 4 AM, seeing as the clock went forward that night.

Last Sunday I wanted to watch ski jumping, so the alarm was set to ring at 10 AM, but after first waking up at 9:20 AM, I managed to nap a little more, woke up again at 9:55 AM and turned off the alarm, getting back under the blanket and staying there during the team competition. Had gas and my stomach was hurting, the peppers eaten in the evening possibly having something to do with that, but worse was that my left thumb and index finger were stinging and red and I even saw a bit of blistering, so I guess I burned myself while rushing to get the food out of the microwave the previous evening, after dad woke up, and holding those peppers, and all the rubbing to get rid of that sticky stuff, might have made it worse. Had felt it a bit at night, didn’t think it was anything serious, but by the time I woke up it was… And that tooth on the right side has been hurting again as well, and apparently something on the bottom too, also on that side, though staying with the window open in the kitchen at night might have something to do with that.
Either way, with no message from the pharmacy, not that I expected it on a Sunday, when I left at 1:25 PM I headed to Obor. Was considering going to Unirii, but dad asked for caraway before I left, and while I told him I’ll grab some of the cheap kind from Kaufland Monday or Tuesday, I decided to go there and also check that off the list, finding a shorter route between that mall and Kaufland and also getting some pepper and basil, a couple of other things for dad and apples and oranges for myself, seeing a really good price for oranges and a fair one for apples of that kind and not caring to pass through that farmers’ market to see whether I’d find some for a bit less. And yes, I mentioned that shorter route before the purchases because I first went in that mall, having a quick look in a bookstore and then checking that Carrefour. Was mainly looking for that bread that I get from there, but while they didn’t seem to have any, they had another kind that I also thought I could get, at the same price, so I got one of those. Could have also gotten eggs, since they were very cheap again, but now we have a whole lot, dad only yesterday touching those he had me order… And he’s yet to touch the frozen peas or one of the two overpriced bags of frozen spinach.
To get back on topic, also grabbed a pretzel from that place that’s also where that Kaufland is, then left everything in a cabinet and searched for the Penny from that area, getting one of the two lettuces that were left, since it seemed good enough at that price, and the few onions that still seemed more or less all right. Then I went to the Shop & Go I had spotted nearby and grabbed a bag of the raw sugar that was on sale those days, after which I retrieved my stuff from Kaufland. Felt quite embarrassed when, after thinking that one might tear, I took a moment to rearrange the bags and a woman who was working at one of the stores that’s also there offered to help, so I hastened away after refusing and was back here just before 5:10 PM, after at times needing to find the best ways to push against the wind, and choose between holding the bags properly and holding on to my cap. And, to finish with that day, I’ll also mention here that I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM that night, after only having some popcorn earlier, during the second half of the match, but it wasn’t even 5:10 AM when I got in bed.

Monday I finally ran again, after two weeks, so the alarm was set to ring at 2 PM but my internal clock worked well again and I got up at 1:58 PM, had the usual stuff, considering the raisins in dark chocolate mixed with the yogurt and cereals as the sweet thing, put on the full running gear, with an undershirt underneath, and went out at 4:15 PM, when the reported temperature was about 15°C, maybe dropping just a bit by the time I’ll finish. It was rather windy though.
The time was 1:19:58, with sector times of 4:13.90, 5:14 (5:13.44), 6:02.41, 4:35 (4:34.29), 5:14.07, 6:04 (6:03.92), 4:33.45, 5:12.30, 6:07.10, 4:42, 5:22, 6:12, 4:43, 5:27 and 6:18, making for lap times of 15:29.75, 15:53 (15:52.28), 15:52.85, 16:16 and 16:28. Have the exact times for the first three laps since I wasn’t quite sure of the distance I was going to cover, the idea indeed being 16 km, to prepare for the half marathon distance normally planned for this week, but stopping after ten kilometers also being an option if necessary. So I was just hoping for a first lap in less than 16 minutes, aiming for 1:22, but when I stayed under 15:30 I briefly wondered whether I’ll manage ten kilometers in less than 49 minutes, and if so perhaps aim only for that not because I’d be too exhausted, but actually because I’d be fast enough under those circumstances. But that was just a thought, the actual next goal being a second lap in less than 16 minutes, which I also managed. Then I realized that ten kilometers in less than 49 minutes won’t be possible anyway, but the thought of 16 in 1:20 was starting to enter my mind, so I hoped to at least average less than 16 minutes on laps two and three, less than 16 minutes on lap three being a stretch goal, yet I achieved even that, actually obtaining nearly identical times on laps two and three. Then I hoped for 16:15 on lap four, to allow for 16:30 on lap five, really pushing when I saw myself falling behind, and even so I was just a second short of the goal. That meant I didn’t believe I’ll manage it in the end, but I just gave it everything on lap five and it somehow just worked out. By then the thought of continuing to the half marathon distance then and there had also crossed my mind, but I didn’t exactly want to keep pushing right away like that, and also knew it’d be a struggle to even match the previous time, which didn’t seem a goal worth aiming for.
As I already mentioned, it was quite windy, and there were places where I had to fight it, including straights, mainly those on sector two. But much more of a concern, since then as well, was that, just before starting to run, I tried to pop my back, probably in order to dislodge that bone spur again, while being gentler with my spine, which means getting my arms under my ribs and pushing up… And something gave, hurting quite badly at first. The pain subsided after a moment and I could start running, and after I warmed up it bothered me less than I initially feared, but something definitely wasn’t right. Other than that, there were plenty of people, yet I was lucky to just avoid actual roadblocks, so I just needed to weave and go the long way around quite a lot, slow a little a few times, just take a step on the grass once or twice, and run on wet grass for some meters on sector two of lap five, because of a large crowd gathered in front of a stall. It is possible that the other runner who showed up ahead of me shortly before the last straight, and the one who came down the stairs and fell in behind her a little before what for me was the finish line, helped me just manage to squeeze under 1:20, but at the same time maybe they almost caused me to fail to do so, because at first I aimed to catch at least one of them and got a bit disheartened when I realized I had no chance to do so before finishing, possibly slowing a little before recovering to sprint on those last few meters.

Went out again that evening, a bit before 6:50 PM. Had that order to pick up from the pharmacy, so I went there, but first had a look through that larger Mega Image, then had to search for the pharmacy for a bit, not realizing I had passed it. Either way, it seemed deserted, the cashiers being in the back, but one came up after I entered, so I said I was there for an order and handed the money over some ads that I guess were there to act as a barrier in the space between the screens, as I hadn’t noticed the space at the bottom of the screens, so the cashier asked if it wasn’t easier to hand her the money through that space instead of “breaking bones” to do it over those ads. She also asked for 26.20 RON when the price was 26.16 RON and I had given her 56.16 RON, to get exactly 30 RON back, but she gave me the 0.01 RON coin back, saying that’s not enough, and as I dug through my pockets for another 0.05 RON one and couldn’t find it, later remembering that I didn’t even have one, having prepared just enough to give her the exact amount in coins, she grabbed a few coins stacked on the counter and I guess made up for the difference that way, though there shouldn’t have been a difference in the first place.
Then I went to Kaufland, dad asking for some oats while I was looking for the carrots that were on sale. Well, I saw that those carrots were from Turkey and looked all over and couldn’t find their brand of oats, just a couple of other more expensive ones, so I didn’t get either, but was there after 8 PM, so evening discounts were being applied. Oddly, there didn’t seem to be any for vegetables, but most of the bakery products left were half off, and there were quite a lot of them, so after the employee replaced the labels I took a glove, grabbed four of those breads I get from there, then joined a few other people in taking turns to mostly clear much of the other things left, getting four pretzels, two chocolate and butter croissants, the last cheese and spinach roll, after a guy who was just a step ahead of me in getting to that spot, since I had gotten other things first, grabbed the other two, and after thinking it over for a while decided to get one more thing, a variety of doughnut with chocolate, this being the most expensive item. Put together, all of these, except the bread, were less than the typical price of a cake from a confectionery, and I had meant to ask dad whether I could buy myself one, as in not considering it as being purchased from “my” money, and I guess I got all of that for the price of it, thinking I’ll save him that amount on the oats and whatever he’ll ask for next.
There were problems with the self-checkout, however, since those things need to be entered manually, so I entered the croissants, placed them on the scales, it seemed to accept them, but after a couple of seconds it asked me to scan the product before placing it. Removed and put them back down a couple of times and it finally worked, but then the same thing happened for the doughnut variety, an employee came to help but the machine again seemed to fix itself after a bit and I said I could handle it when she asked what I had and whether I could enter everything properly, so she told me to ask for her if I’ll need her, moved to help others… And I had to ask for her seconds later, because the machine did the same thing with the pretzels and didn’t seem to care to fix itself anymore, so I selected “Help” and at that point an employee had to log on, so she came and did so, asking what I had, saying that the machine didn’t seem to have registered the pretzels, though they had showed up on the screen after I had entered them, and then she entered the roll and bread while logged on, to override any more errors.
After finally being done, also got dad a bottle of kefir from another store that’s there, just as the employees were getting ready to close. It also seemed to be the last bottle, the guy at first telling a coworker that he was out, until I pointed it to him. He didn’t give me a receipt though, and I couldn’t get myself to ask for one, but he put the bottle in a bag even though I told him I didn’t want one, so I took it out and left the bag there… And then read the label and realized that, while at first I had thought that the price was fair enough, only the label was different and gave the impression of a smaller producer, when in fact it was produced by a firm that sells very cheap dairy products, and when I later checked I saw their own large bottles of kefir for about a third less in Auchan! But what was done was done, so I then also looked for the place to throw away masks, found it, threw away the two I had, went back to the other side to also properly throw away the paper bag they had been in… And then panicked for a moment, unable to recall exactly what cabinet I had placed the masks in and not seeing them in any from that area. But I eventually found them, and was back a bit after 9:20 PM.
Weighed myself after getting back, getting quite worried when I saw less than 45 kg… And that, on top of running that day, made me want to stuff myself that night, so I asked dad, who was obviously still working from home, whether I could have the kitchen to make mamaliga, and then did so. Speaking of dad, he did another quick test, a cheaper one, that day and said it was negative, going out and meeting people right away as a result, though a negative result at such a test doesn’t have to actually mean anything. But I guess that’s his, and their, problem, so I’ll get back to what I did that evening, when I spent three and a half hours in the kitchen and even so the salad I made was small and I didn’t wash everything, seeing how I need to be even more careful to keep clean and safe, and also lost some time with Micky’s food, and a lot more with taking care of half the bread I had bought and finally placing the fruits purchased the day before in the fridge as well. Started eating at 3:30 AM, getting to the kitchen around 5:10 AM to scrape and finish the last bits left in the pot, so without a mask, meaning that it was 5:15 AM when I really finished eating, and I got in bed at 5:35 AM. As for that rib, once I cooled off it started hurting a fair bit…

To quickly go through the next two days, Tuesday I woke up to pee a bit after 9:30 AM and, between my rib hurting, my mind racing and the effects of having finished dinner just before getting in bed, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so at 10:30 AM I got up and on the computer for a while, then just wasted time in bed in the afternoon, still unable to sleep. At least I had a fair lunch in the evening, but then I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM and only got in bed again at 5:20 AM. As for Wednesday, after admittedly taking some time to go through part of a newspaper while in the kitchen, started eating dinner at 3:10 AM, the salad being quite large, and got in bed at 5:15 AM.

Thursday started with a bit of a mess, literally, my body deciding to clean the plumbing around 9:30 AM, which made it not just a bad day for this to happen, but also a bad time, as I had to wait several minutes before being able to clean up, dad getting ready to leave just then. But at least I could get back to sleep, and got up at 1:15 PM, when I woke up and checked the time, the alarm being set to ring at 1:30 PM. Then I had the usual stuff plus raisins in dark chocolate and a pretzel with added honey, put on the full running gear and left at 3:55 PM, when the reported temperature was 16°C, supposed to pretty much hold steady until I’ll finish. It sure seemed chilly on the way to the park though, the lack of an undershirt probably having a fair bit to do with that, allowing the wind to get under my t-shirt and right to my skin, but it was obviously fine while I ran.
The time was a bad 1:50:47, with sector times of 4:27, 5:17, 6:20, 4:47, 5:19, 6:13, 4:50, 5:25, 6:16, 4:52, 5:25, 6:22, 5:09, 5:35, 6:29, 5:09, 5:44, 6:47, 1:57, 6:24 and 2:00, making for lap times of 16:04, 16:19, 16:31, 16:39, 17:13 and 17:40, plus 10:21 for the final portion. So, even if I’m to just take the time into account, it’d have been much better to just continue Monday’s run, covering this distance then and not running again this week. And I realized from the beginning that I was going to have to fight to just have a chance to stay under 1:50, the times I was estimating adding up to 1:51, which led me to consider leaving it for another time and even just running ten kilometers. Pushed past that point, but kept thinking that what I was doing was terribly unwise and I should at least stop after 16 km… And then everything changed and, though it was obviously even more unwise to do so, I became determined to get to the end even if I needed to simply walk and bite my lips to stop myself from screaming in pain. It fortunately didn’t come to that, and I probably only lost about a minute over those last eight kilometers or so, but it obviously came at a cost…
The rib was a problem from the beginning, mainly keeping me from breathing in quite as deeply and as quickly as I’d have wanted, meaning that sprinting on straights was pretty much out of the question and I probably also tired more quickly. Still, by the time I pushed past the first three laps and decided to at least go for five, it seemed to hurt less… Until the crash on sector one of lap five. I had a few near misses in the past, but now it finally happened: I crashed into a cyclist. Was weaving through the crowd, trying to go faster at the start of that long straight, and couldn’t move in front of the people I had just passed before he reached that spot, coming from the opposite direction, pain in my rib likely stopping me from going left fast enough. So I froze for an instant, by which point trying to jump right wasn’t an option either, since I was unlikely to make it and that’d have meant him hitting my left side, so just where that rib is. Fortunately, with him doing his best to stop, I just had enough time to get my right arm in front of my chest and turn my body just a bit to the left, taking the hit mostly on the right side. We both fell, picked ourselves off the pavement, he asked whether I was fine, said I had jumped in his way, I agreed, saying he had been on the lane and it had been my fault, apologized, picked my cap up off the grass, put it back on and kept going, only later realizing that I should have also at least asked whether he and his bike were also fine.
I know that there was some wind to deal with while I ran, and obviously people as well, but the situation was otherwise manageable, and while I think there were a couple of issues earlier as well, I just recall needing to go around behind that stall where people often gather at the end, the details of what happened before the crash rather fading from my mind as I first focused on finishing that lap at all costs and then, when I saw that I wasn’t screaming in pain after all, on getting to the end. There was more pain to deal with, but not as much as I feared, and while I was calculating how far I had to get before being able to first jog and then even walk and still finish in less than two hours, it never came to that at all and, as I already mentioned, I probably only lost about a minute because of that crash, including the 15 seconds or so lost on the spot, before I started running again, so the chance of 1:50 was obviously gone, but I could at least stay under 1:51. That’s obviously an awful time in itself, the slowest since the 2018 half marathon with the exception of that absolutely terrible time from July, but under those circumstances I feel quite proud of it, and in fact of having finished at all… Even if it was unwise to attempt it in the first place and now there’s quite a price to pay.

That wasn’t the end of it that day, however, since I again went back out around 6:50 PM or so, taking those things I drop off at Kaufland and the paper, dad having really filled that bin. The problem was that I wanted to drop off the paper in the bin that’s in front of that mall Carrefour’s in, but it was full to begin with, the light flashing red, so I squeezed in all I could, during which time another guy pushed some of his in as well. Forced it closed a few times, wondering if it’ll press or push it down at least a little, but while it sounded as if it was trying and the light flashed green for a little while at one point, it didn’t actually do anything and I eventually had to give up and drop the rest off in the proper section of the first bin I found inside that mall. Then I stuffed the other things in a cabinet and had a look inside that Carrefour, finding an expiring bio (organic) yogurt and a bag with a few apples of a different kind that were also discounted because they were starting to go bad and hiding them before leaving to go to Kaufland, not having the time to stand in line twice.
After a few steps I realized I had forgotten those things in the cabinet, so I turned back to retrieve them, then dropped them off after getting to Kaufland, got what I had to get from there and also cabbage, which seemed to have an unannounced discount, plus some more apples that were deeply discounted. The large majority looked really bad, but even if I was in a hurry I could pick some that seemed quite all right, and they actually added up to a bit over 1.6 kg. There were lines, however, and a single self-checkout that also accepts cash was working, so I went to a regular checkout, though there were obviously lines there as well, and I guess I increased the waiting time for those behind me a little bit because the display didn’t seem to work and I was waiting for it to confirm that I had calculated the total correctly, so I didn’t react to put the products back in the bag as the cashier was scanning them, which caused her to ask for the bag after she was done and bag them herself, saying that I hadn’t done it by then when I said I meant to do that myself, and that she’ll be there until 10:30 PM, so she’s not hurrying for her own benefit.
And I did have to hurry if I was to catch Carrefour still open, so I jogged back to that mall, stuffed the purchases in a cabinet and rushed back in to retrieve the yogurt and apples from where I had hidden them, though I only kept the yogurt, returning the apples to their proper place, since I no longer needed them. Also got the last three bags of oats for dad, which included the one I had also hidden the first time around, albeit only behind the otherwise nearly empty boxes that were in that spot on the shelf, and some lemons, getting to the checkouts some ten minutes before closing time. There were lines again, however, and the one that was supposedly for those with few products didn’t seem to be moving at all, and those who were in it didn’t have few products anyway, so I moved to the one next to it, but even so my turn came seconds after the announcement that the store had closed. But, since I was there and not at the Carrefour from the park, that wasn’t a problem, as the cabinets aren’t in an area that gets closed off when the store closes, so I could retrieve everything, though I then rushed out and only stopped to even out the weight after exiting that mall.
I was back here just after 9:30 PM and, after having just one of those croissants and an apple during the evening, only started eating dinner at 3:15 AM, though I at least was in bed just after 5:10 AM… Couldn’t shower, however, as there was no hot water since Tuesday and, while the problem was first supposed to be fixed Wednesday afternoon and then that afternoon, that obviously hadn’t happened. So I had to assess the “damage” while just standing in front of the mirror in this small bathroom I’m using, finding a pretty noticeable scrape around my right elbow and one of a similar size but fainter on my back. Strangely enough, it was also only then that I noticed the pretty large bruise on my right hand, and there were plenty of other small scrapes and scratches on that hand and arm as well. And that rib has obviously been hurting worse, and there’s a bit of pain in the right side of my chest as well, though that doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about and there’s no bruising to be seen. In addition, there’s a bit of pain in my left leg, mostly around the ankle and knee, but that also doesn’t seem concerning. Also noticed that my right thumb was rather numb at one point, but I can’t remember whether it was like that from the beginning or that was a result of carrying the stuff I purchased the next day, and either way it pretty much recovered by now. On the other hand, after the pain and stinging caused by that burn went away, I realized that I had reduced feeling in my left thumb and index finger, so I hope those will also recover soon enough…

Since I mentioned the next day’s purchases, yes, I did go out again on Friday, Liza being just about out of food and dad wanting more kefir as well. The thing is that, while it’s mostly fine otherwise, if I’m a little careful, that rib is a serious issue if I’m trying to sleep. It’s an even worse one when it comes to getting up, but that’s something I can deal with, while sleeping under these circumstances is much more of a problem. So I was rather surprised I slept at all that morning, and was awake at 9:25 AM, going to pee and then staying up, on the computer, waiting for dad to leave… Since the hot water had returned, I quickly washed my underarms while leaning over the side of the bathtub and eventually left as well, at 2:15 PM, also taking the plastic and metal and ending up carrying them quite a long way, since I crossed to the other side of the road here and therefore didn’t get to the bins that are on this street, and it was quite a while before I spotted another.
Kept wondering whether I should first go to Auchan or to that Penny, and I guess that was one of the reasons why, after deciding to first go to Penny after all, I ended up missing the turn… And then made it worse by trying to use another route to cut through that area and realizing that it wasn’t possible, so I lost some more time before finally getting to that Penny and just getting the canned herring I had gone there for. Then I went to Auchan and got the cat food and kefir, having gone there specifically for the one produced by the same firm that produced the one I had purchased Monday evening from that other store for that much higher price.
Was hoping to be able to get some more change from the machine, but ended up just getting back what I put in, which should have been obvious, considering the amount I had, but I guess I wasn’t thinking straight. That left me short on change and I wanted the exact amount for what I still had to purchase from Carrefour on my way back, so I meant to actively search for more after leaving the checkout area, but first wanted to count what I had, just to be sure… And ended up dropping the coins… And probably failing to retrieve a 0.05 RON one. It’s also possible that I missed my pocket with one of those I found later, but that seems much less likely. Either way, that meant that I actually found what should have been enough, but then realized I was still short, and by then I was on my way out. Still, I was just missing 0.02 RON and found a 0.01 RON coin before leaving that parking area, which I knew could actually be enough. But I wanted to be sure, so I also entered a Mega Image on the way and, while I had a quick look, I was mainly wondering whether I’ll find another coin on the way out, ending up just grabbing their catalogs and magazine when I didn’t.
Well, when I got to Carrefour I spotted a 0.01 RON coin right there, as I was going to put my stuff in a cabinet… But ended up not needing it anyway, since I was also considering getting a bundle of green onions, for 0.99 RON, on top of the frozen peas and vinegar, and did spot one that was nice and large enough. Then I spent some time calculating weights, in order to properly balance the bags… And realized on my way back that, after having hurt a fair bit earlier, that rib had pretty much stopped hurting, though I felt it again when I tried to take a few breaths the way I would while running.
I was back just before 5:35 PM… And when I eventually showered I just caught the end of the hot water. It had been fine until then, but as I started showering I felt it getting noticeably colder by the moment, so I rushed, changed the order in which I wash my body parts, and just made it, though it wasn’t comfortable towards the end. And my rib also started hurting again, as I started doing stuff and moving in ways I shouldn’t. Meant to change my sheets as well, after having slept without washing the previous night, but eventually decided against it. Even so, after having admittedly had a fair bit to eat earlier, after showering, and then also a late nap, I only started eating dinner at 3:40 AM and only got in bed again at 5:45 AM!

As for yesterday, I woke up laughing at one point, after a dream. That might just be a first, but that rib really didn’t like it. Still, it was mostly fine after getting up, with a bit of care, and the same holds true today, the main problems still being when I try to sleep or get up. But, to return to yesterday, I again had lunch in the evening, but also again took time to read in the kitchen and only started eating dinner at 3:15 AM. Still, I again managed to at least get back in bed a bit after 5:10 AM.

Written by Cavalary on April 4, 2021 at 10:00 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Measures, Missing Measures and Maybe a Call to Action

Last week I was saying that I was putting off a post about the new measures being taken here, and the idea was to post it once the infection rate in Bucharest will exceed the new highest threshold, 7.5, and the measures which currently apply Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as it happens when the infection rate is between 4 and 7.5, will apply all the time. While Timisoara’s situation was also a trigger, the central authorities needing to step in and enforce a temporary quarantine when the local ones rejected it, which made the lack of clear regulations even more obvious, Bucharest seemed to be the main reason why these specific values were chosen, so the new restrictions would apply temporarily at first, the previous ones returning for a few days before the new ones would start applying every day. And, with Bucharest’s infection rate starting the week just above 7, that certainly seemed to be how things were going to go, but it somehow varied only by mere hundredths of a point all week, not even reaching 7.1, and actually reaching the lowest level since March 27, 7.01, today. I’m not sure how that works out, but those are the reported values…
I’d have been tempted to say that, if there is any, shall we say, creative reporting involved, one has to ask what the price for it will turn out to be, calculated in suffering and death. However, seeing as the difference is that stores, except pharmacies and gas stations, need to close at 6 PM and the curfew is 8 PM every day if the infection rate exceeds 7.5 while between 4 and 7.5 that only applies Friday, Saturday and Sunday, otherwise the closing time being 9 PM and the curfew 10 PM, I’m not sure how much of a difference there could be in terms of infections, while the negative impact on stress levels and discontent is obvious. There have been some more significant protests even so, but while at the moment they can and largely should be dismissed as led by those who reject pretty much any measures and attended by plenty who don’t believe the virus exists at all, or at least that it doesn’t pose a real threat, plus some of the usual crowd of troublemakers that were just waiting for an opportunity for violence, the fact remains that it doesn’t seem that such restrictions will help, and in fact they may even harm, the reduced hours increasing crowding. There are disagreements even inside the ruling coalition over this obligation for stores to close at 6 PM, the opposition is challenging it in court and it keeps being questioned by the media as well, including the sources that generally support the parties that are currently in charge, but they claim that “experts” support it and give the example of other countries that have taken similar measures, while at the same time pointing out that they haven’t taken others that said other countries took, and which would be even more restrictive.
Well, some of those more restrictive measures might actually have positive effects… Assuming they’d actually apply, of course, because for example most of the places around Bucharest, and around other major cities as well, are quarantined, but since many people who live there work here, which situation is perhaps even more true for the other major cities, and they’re allowed to travel for work, it doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of mobility, only adding to stress, frustration and discontent. And, either way, such quarantines are hardly the only more restrictive measures that could and, I’d say, should apply.
But what’s probably the first measure that should be taken is one that our authorities still refuse, and that’s widespread testing. I now even have personal experience to confirm that they simply don’t want to know the actual number of infections, not even testing people that are very likely to be infected if they don’t have obvious symptoms, and dad’s situation also showing that they don’t retest people who have symptoms but treat themselves at home, so after two weeks those can also go out again and possibly infect others if they’re still positive. There are some announced changes now, the authorities starting to supply fast antigen tests to pharmacies, which will use them to test people who ask for it, but that still means that people must ask to be tested in such a manner, and most likely pay for it as well, the pharmacies being allowed to charge for this testing despite the fact that the tests will be provided to them for free! It does mean that such tests will be done properly, while people buying such fast tests and doing them at home carries a higher risk of false negative results, and gives another option to those who would want to be tested but would be wary of going to a clinic for it, or live in areas with poor access to actual clinics or hospitals, but those still won’t be PCR tests and, even if we’re to set the accuracy aside, such a project won’t help identify those who don’t care to be tested because they don’t know they’re infected, or because they don’t want to know, or want to avoid having the infection reported and needing to isolate. And, seeing as it most likely won’t be free, the authorities will cover the costs of those tests, the people will still need to pay at least some amount, which definitely shouldn’t happen, and the pharmacies will earn even more, as if they haven’t been pretty much swimming in money for this past year…
At least vaccinations are going well enough, considering what can actually be achieved and comparing with other countries, even though many like to criticize this aspect as well. But it will take a long time for this to truly be a solution even in theory, and since we’re seeing mutations that limit the efficiency already, by the time enough of the population will be vaccinated, new vaccines will be needed anyway. As such, while this does obviously help a great deal when it comes to severe cases and those at risk, and does also limit the spread and the stress on the health system to some extent, it’s not a silver bullet.
Not that anything is likely to be a silver bullet, of course, since it’s highly unlikely that this virus will ever go away, so I’m pretty much sticking to what I was saying just over a year ago: We need a cure! And widespread testing until we have one that is readily available for everyone, everywhere. But the cure should be the real goal, and that’s something I’m still yet to see, and pharmaceutical companies don’t seem to be working on it either. Not that I really expected them to, since if said cure should be readily available and affordable for everyone, everywhere, and it should just be taken for a short time by those with obvious symptoms, they won’t stand to earn much from it, while vaccines that everyone is at least strongly encouraged to have and which will also need to be repeated after a while mean certain profits…
Of course, illness, or even preserving health, should be one of the first things it should be forbidden to make profits from in general, but at least it seems that there are ever more powerful voices demanding a change when it comes to this particular situation, and also petitions, campaigns, a European Citizens’ Initiative, even a statement from the WHO… It remains to be seen whether these initiatives will have any success, and even if they will, it’s quite clear that any suspension of patents will only apply to this particular situation, and possibly for a limited time even in this case, but even the threat of it, if perceived as real and significant, might make those companies be less certain about their future profits if they simply continue down the current path and put more resources into developing an actual cure… Not that the world should rely on the private sector for this, or for any other important service, in the first place, but that’s another discussion which I won’t get into now. This was just meant to be a quick first post of the week, after all, and it grew into something rather different, and even a call to action here at the end.

Written by Cavalary on April 3, 2021 at 7:37 PM in Society | 0 Comments

Smashing the Squats Record and Getting Through Two Weeks in Isolation with Dad

One more messed up thing I didn’t mention in the previous personal post is that at one point dad apparently called someone else over and gave him his cards and PINs and asked him to withdraw money and bring it over, when my cousin had already brought some before we legally had to isolate and we’d have nothing to do with cash during this time anyway. And he had apparently also asked that guy to get him some other things from the pharmacy and take whatever he’ll spend out of what he’ll withdraw, and the fact that he sounded surprised when he gave me what that guy brought and I told him the amount indicated that he had no idea what had been withdrawn and what had been spent. That seems like a pretty crazy risk to me, with potential consequences even further down the line, and for no benefit whatsoever…

To get to what I did mean to leave for this post, last Wednesday started oddly, with a message letting me know I had received a gift offering me unlimited calls and messages in the operator’s network for 15 days, and postponing the deadline to reactivate my credit with that time. Asked dad about it and he said he didn’t ask anybody to do that, so if I’m to believe him, I have no idea what that’s about, but what’s clear is that instead of needing to use that recharge code I rushed to get before entering isolation that day, I didn’t actually need to buy it then at all. Not that I could have known that this was going to happen, of course…
Either way, when I got up and asked dad, I found him making pancakes, saying he craved some even though his smell and taste were obviously affected and he wouldn’t admit it, so he kept saying that just about everything was going bad and throwing a lot away. Well, since they were being made, I suddenly craved some as well and told him that, but not if he made them and they stayed there in that air, so I wasn’t sure how to go about it and changed my mind a few times, first telling him that he should at least cover them well, then that I should perhaps make the rest, or that he should just make what he’s certain to eat and I’ll make my own after that. So he took what was already made, with just a napkin thrown on them, so they had probably been completely uncovered until then, and left me to make the rest, but also left a jar of jam in the kitchen, though I had told him to just take what he’ll eat and then put it back.
As I was about to have my turn in the kitchen, he told me he threw away three eggs, because he didn’t like them… And I snapped, swore at him for throwing things away, hit some things, he went to the bedroom without saying anything else, I hit some more things, but eventually calmed down enough to clean up after him, make a few pancakes for myself and get something else to eat as well. That was just the beginning, however, as I later threw away some other things he took and left there for days… And at night, when he went to bed, I saw he had taken another jar of jam to the living room and kept it there in front of him on the desk, and those pancakes he had taken were still there as well, having been there all day. So I asked if the pancakes shouldn’t be placed in the fridge and he said he didn’t know because he used too much oil or something, didn’t like them, and will likely throw them away as well. Told him I’ll “tax” him for everything he’s throwing away like this, which at the time he seemed to accept, and also told him to at least finish that jar of jam, to which he said it had been closed… Yes, closed, but inches from his face as he kept coughing, so I didn’t want it back next to other things. Not that other things weren’t, since I also saw that he had placed a chocolate in the fridge after having had it in the living room, completely in the open, on top of the packaging, for probably over a week…

Another surprise was waiting for me when I woke up the next day, in the form of a note stuck to the door of this bathroom I’m using, with a list of things to order, dad saying he’ll disconnect to let me stay on-line and deal with it, since he doesn’t know where to order from. So I got on it, starting to search the major stores and delivery services, eventually picking one… And doing something wrong. Not knowing how it worked, I picked to choose the delivery time and the order didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, so after wondering what might be wrong, starting to panic, even sending a message and then making a new order, I realized that an order won’t move to the next stage if you choose the delivery time until that time approaches, which meant that the new order, for which that option was no longer available since it was getting late, was assigned to someone first and then the initial one also was, so I quickly wrote a comment to ask for that initial one to be canceled and it was… Only for the reply to the message I had sent to arrive moments later, stating that the order showed up as canceled and asking if I hadn’t been contacted at all, so I had to explain that it had been my fault, for not knowing how it worked, being my first order through that platform.
That wasn’t the end of the issues, however, since the guy the order was assigned to couldn’t find the cheap frozen spinach I had selected and I couldn’t hear him when he called to ask what to do. He could hear me, however, and after two attempts sent a message to say so and explain why he was calling, asking whether it was all right to replace it with the one he did find, which was twice the price. So, since dad wanted his frozen spinach and I couldn’t remove it from the order, I looked it up, but was panicking even more and misunderstood what the guy meant, so when he called yet again I told him I agreed if it was the one I thought it was, not hearing anything he might have been saying, and also sent a message on-line to repeat that same thing… Only to see that the order information was listing that bag as having been replaced not with the 1 kg bag from the brand he mentioned, but with a single 450 g bag, which was even more expensive for the same weight and, of course, was less than half the quantity. Still, I when I reread his message I noticed a word which should have told me that he couldn’t find that 1 kg bag either, and by then it was late anyway, the store being close to closing, so I just sent another message to say that it was too late to change anything, but he should have at least replaced it with two of those… And got another reply, in which he told me he had done so, the platform’s software apparently just assuming that replacements are one on one.
Seeing as my credit was active and he obviously, and frustratingly, just wanted to use phones and not the platform’s messaging system, I replied to apologize for the trouble… And sure was relieved that it was all sorted out that evening, and also without actually needing to talk on the phone, because by that point I was just a mess, shaking, cracking because I had to deal with this, even more angry with dad for behaving as he was, constantly moving around, making a complete mess in the kitchen again and also keeping the window closed as he cooked, adding to the food to be thrown away but making me deal with this to order even more… I was going in and out of my room to update him on how it was going and at one point I just cracked, screamed, ran back here, hyperventilated for a bit, then somehow forced myself to snap back to be able to receive the order when the guy arrived. I was rather in a daze at that point, however, so I didn’t immediately notice that the bio (organic) yogurt and bag of snacks the site stated should be free with every order made those days weren’t included, and doubt I’d have said anything even if I would have noticed on the spot, but once I did notice I sent another message to the person who had replied to that support request, also repeating that it had been my first order and asking whether it had been my fault again, whether I should have done something to take advantage of that offer. She didn’t reply to it, however, so I just added that to how frustrating the whole thing was, since I was planning to munch on those snacks just then. This, of course, coming on top of the fact that, between needing to pick everything from one store, that spinach being replaced with that much more expensive one, the large bag that you’re also charged for and, most of all, the delivery fee, it all ended up costing double the amount I’d have normally been able to get those things for.
Dad wasn’t done, however, and after the delivery he told me to put two jackets somewhere, but then told me to leave them so I won’t struggle with them when I said it’ll be hard to make room. Well, I did struggle with them, angrily, after having hardly done anything that day, barely having anything to eat, not even taking a shit, and knowing I’ll again have to spend a long time cleaning the kitchen before I’ll even be able to start making anything for myself at night. Also said I had meant to cook something for myself the next day but assumed I won’t be able to, since he’ll want to do something with what he had me order, and he started saying he’ll do this or that or change plans, but I just snapped again, screamed at him to just stay the fuck in his bedroom… No chance of that, of course. He was coughing his lungs out, moving awkwardly, complaining of pain in his lower back and some other place on his back, quite clearly having some mind fog as well, but wouldn’t be still for five minutes and firmly refused even that evaluation that confirmed cases should have.

Things changed the next day, however, dad surprising me when I woke up by saying he recalled me saying I wanted to cook that day, so he’ll mostly stay away from the kitchen and let me do that. I had changed that plan, thinking he’ll want to, but after he said that I eventually did cook, and he mostly stayed in the living room, even closed the door, later left the kitchen window open… He also said he was feeling better, and while I didn’t believe him at first, he did seem to be moving and thinking a little bit better, and significant improvements, including those bad and long coughing fits going away, came as of that weekend, and since then he got back to eating pretty normally as well, though spicy stuff continues to bother him. The only obvious symptom left now are the coughing fits he keeps having pretty much whenever he speaks, eats or lies down without being facedown, though those are also much shorter and milder than they used to be.
Back to last Friday, there was a lot of blood when I wiped after going to the toilet, and I thought it might have been caused by scratching myself with the toilet paper, but after not taking a shit the following day, Sunday there seemed to be plenty of it in the toilet, but just on the bottom, and none as I wiped, making it seem as if the first piece had been full of clotted blood. And Wednesday I actually had a good look and definitely saw red areas in the crap, but there was nothing on the paper or dripping in the water and the red areas were scattered all over, not a streak on one side as the hemorrhoids used to cause, and it wasn’t dark to indicate blood coming from higher up, and I had also had a beet two nights before and a bit of red cabbage the previous night, so that might have had something to do with it as well. And, after again skipping a day, yesterday it seemed fine, so I’m hoping that whatever it was fixed itself.
To once again return to last Friday, however, that was when I also called to find out my status, being told that I should stay in for two weeks starting on the day dad was swabbed for the test, meaning that the period ends today. Without any testing, I fail to see the logic of it, since I could have gone through the illness before that, have antibodies and be safe, while at the same time, staying here with him, I could be positive at the end of the period, but if I don’t have obvious symptoms the authorities don’t want to test me at all, so I won’t appear in the statistics if I was infected and won’t know whether I have any immunity or may still be contagious unless I pay to get tested at a private clinic…
Still, to finally finish with last Friday, I did cheat a little bit late that night, sneaking outside to throw out the garbage. That doesn’t imply going out of the building or even leaving the floor, but I didn’t want it to be the first week in all the years since I decided to go out at least once per week when I didn’t, so I also used the opportunity to sneak down and use the building’s back door to just take a step outside, staying there for just a few seconds, with my hand still on the door, and then getting right back in. This was a first, but I did just go out through the building’s front door and then get right back in before, also just to be able to say I went out that week, and while I’m quite sure there were fewer steps and seconds this time around, it should be enough to count, considering the circumstances, while at the same time little enough to not be a problem.

Moving on, knowing that I could be even faster, I timed my squats two more times, seeing 1:58 on Sunday! As always when I push for such speed, I didn’t do them too correctly, especially the first half or so, but that was clearly a new record, assuming the time was correct. However, I did them while watching a handball match and when I saw I had done 50 in well under a minute I wondered whether the time had been stopped for a few seconds. But seeing as I know I did the following ones, or at least the last 30 or so, more slowly and I still completed those next 50 in a little over a minute, it seems that the time was the correct one after all.
It doesn’t matter that much, however, since I tried again the next day, timing properly, looking at the computer’s clock, and the time was a shocking 1:51! I really went for it, realizing that there had been something in the way I had done the first 50 or so the day before that allowed me to be faster and more efficient without actually making the way I did them incorrect, or at least that’s how I see it, so I used that method for all of them and that was the result. I was just crushed towards the end, the last ten or so being slower as I was gasping for breath and feeling various body parts going numb, but I just made it, with 54 seconds for the first 50 and 57 for the next 50. A headache hit me just after I was done and I was shaking all over, but I recovered quickly enough. This is not exactly something I care to try again, however, so I’ll just state here, for future reference, that this happened on March 22 and leave it at that.

Sunday’s squats were actually done after sleeping very poorly, and just grabbing a bit to eat, and actually right after eating that breakfast. The lack of sleep probably also had something to do with feeling a bit odd again later that day, but the blood I probably left in the toilet likely did as well, and maybe tiring myself with those squats added to it. And putting all of that together and also adding the fact that I spent over three hours in bed that evening and hardly napped at all likely explained the headache I eventually got out of bed with.
There were few other such issues to make a note of this week, though what certainly got my attention was the panic attack I had to fight off while slicing bread Tuesday night, when it suddenly seemed as if I couldn’t breathe very well, and later there also seemed to be a bit of crap in my chest, and knowing I had showered that evening, spending all that time without a mask and in the bathroom dad uses, made me worry, which likely led to a vicious circle. Then again, also spent the last few minutes before getting everything I needed to eat in my room the following night without a mask, and took another shower last night, after doing some more of dad’s laundry and hanging it to dry, including more of the sheets he had slept in while his symptoms were the worst. Hung the laundry on the balcony, where the window has been open all this time, and even used a new mask while doing so, but all of these things remain reasons for concern, so I hope they won’t come back and bite me.

Otherwise, started eating dinner at 3:15 AM Sunday night, 3:05 AM Tuesday night, again after only having a little during the day, and 3:15 AM again Wednesday night. Monday night I could have started before 3 AM, but decided to do a couple of other things first and then also wanted to listen to make sure I could hear dad breathing and couldn’t because Micky was very insistently trying to get my attention for some reason I couldn’t figure out, so after a while I closed her in the kitchen, listened, then let her out again and ended up taking the first bite right at 3 AM. Ate earlier these past two nights, however, getting to the kitchen earlier to cook Thursday evening, then taking everything to my room and actually finishing a little after 2:30 AM, while last night dad went to bed earlier and I was in the kitchen just after midnight, and finished eating in my room some time before 4 AM, though I was also reading some things and writing a bit and took it slowly. And Friday morning, so after I could finish eating so much earlier, I also went to bed a bit before 5:10 AM, while this morning it was a bit after 5:10 AM and Tuesday morning it was 5:15 AM, those being the three times when it was before 5:20 AM.

The last things I’ll add here happened Thursday, one being that I finally started that sudoku magazine bought last summer, but at the moment it’s still that old one, from 2018, that I keep in front of me on my desk, to put my headphones and occasionally also other things on. More importantly, however, dad told me that day that he called again and confirmed that we can both go out on Saturday. That struck me as particularly strange in his case, seeing as he’s still coughing and nobody tested him again, so having a negative test isn’t even a possibility, yet he again simply dismissed my concerns, even again saying that his cough can be caused by other issues, shrugging me off when I reminded him that he had said that the first time around as well. Also, while at first he at least said he planned to wait until Monday before going out himself, since then he changed his mind and he’s out right now, saying it’s mainly to go to the pharmacy to get some more things another doctor told him to take in order to continue the treatment, and possibly also a couple of FFP2 masks.
On the other hand, a bit later on Thursday I reminded him that I’ll “tax” him for everything he threw away during this period and, after seeming to agree when I had first told him that, just over a week earlier, that time he said that’d mean he’ll pay for those things twice, and when I said that throwing them away meant he could afford it he said it meant he could afford it then, but can’t do so again, so it seems likely that my plans to get a few nicer things went out the window. Then again, how much I’ll get at all is a good question, seeing as I drained everything I had set aside to get what he wanted before entering isolation and when I told him he has more to give back than he has available at the moment anyway, he said we’ll see what he can give me, so I don’t have high hopes for even the lower end of the usual amount for myself…

Written by Cavalary on March 27, 2021 at 11:53 AM in Personal | 0 Comments

Worldview in a Paragraph for Avaaz…

Throwing this here to have a quick first post of the week, to free the slot for the personal one that’s coming, so I won’t have to actually write something about the new measures being enacted here as the health system is again being crushed by the increase in cases, and mainly in severe cases, which measures again miss those that’d actually make more of a difference, the handling of dad’s situation and mine adding even personal experience to the evidence. But I said I won’t write about that, so I’ll stop there and say that, at the end of the member poll sent by Avaaz, there was a page asking to complete the sentence starting with “I dream of a world where”. So here’s my submission, not in a sentence but in a paragraph:

I dream of a world where… population is being gradually brought back down to at least somewhat sustainable levels through a decades-long moratorium on births, starting with the better off people and regions, obviously without any increase in mortality and in fact most preferably with a sharp increase in healthy life expectancy. A world where the gap between the good humanity’s level of knowledge and development would make us capable of and the good that’s actually done constantly shrinks. A world with enough of the right kind of technology, policies and mindset so people will take on and adequately accomplish their role of stewards, protecting and caring for the other species and the ecosystem as a whole instead of exploiting it, while also having a decent standard of living for all as a fundamental right, no longer requiring people to “earn a living” and maximizing each individual’s freedom to live as they please as long as they don’t cause unjustified harm to others or the environment. A world that buried capitalism in the garbage heap of history along with the other failed systems of the past, did away with finances, profits and with rewarding acting for personal gain, exploiting, competing, consuming and taking advantage of crises and moved on to a new and different system that only demands doing no unjustified harm in exchange for a decent standard of living and much freedom and rewards acting selflessly, helping others, collaborating, being economical and preventing and solving crises.

The message was still there when I checked after some hours, and after that it’d become impossible to find due to how many others were submitted after it, but that first sentence obviously means it’ll never be highlighted and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got deleted once some moderation team noticed it. Sure, I probably should have put everything else first and ended with that part, saying that said world would also require people realizing that such a reduction is a prerequisite for any of the other things and act accordingly, seeing as that might have at least made a few people consider the matter while this all but ensures that just about nobody who happened to see that post kept reading past that sentence, but that wouldn’t have been me.

Written by Cavalary on March 26, 2021 at 4:46 AM in Society | 0 Comments

Dad Testing Positive and Being Even More Infuriating While We’re Stuck in Isolation

Not that it was still needed except for bureaucratic reasons, but Monday dad was finally notified of his positive PCR test result. This was just about two weeks after I became aware that he was coughing again, on March 2, and started looking for any symptoms I may have, as I already mentioned, and a week after he stopped making excuses about his stomach making him cough and the “cold” being from his kidneys, which happened last Monday, albeit only to switch to thinking that he had the flu, even though he had the flu shot this year. As his symptoms had worsened the day before, so after five days, and considering that he had been in hospitals and wandering around the city because of the surgery his mother had, and just wearing a cloth mask given by his sister, at that point I was already certain he had COVID-19, but he continued to firmly reject the idea, just taking more cold and flu medicines, teas and other remedies. But at least he changed his mind about going to my mother and grandmother that day, which was a huge relief. No idea how much I had to do with that, after telling him the previous evening to be very careful, because at 99 and a half and with other respiratory problems, my grandmother quite clearly won’t make it if exposed to this, adding that she shouldn’t be exposed to the flu or even a “regular” cold either when he snapped to say that it’s so easy to be a doctor now, saying that everybody has this, as if no other viruses exist, but something worked and I can only be glad it did.

To continue with last week, Tuesday I told him that without a negative test result, I won’t believe he doesn’t have it and would ask him to act accordingly, picking a room to stay in and making sure it’s not one I’d want to go to. I was obviously referring to the result of the “official” PCR test, after reporting his symptoms, but while he flatly rejected that idea, he did get a fast antigen test from a pharmacy, leaving it on the kitchen table, with a note saying he didn’t understand anything from the instructions and asking me to tell him how to use it… Which I didn’t do that night, at first because I considered the risks outweighing the benefits, thinking that a negative result would almost certainly be a false negative, maybe even a result of him not swabbing correctly on purpose, but he’d take it as proof that he doesn’t have it and endanger himself as well as others even more. So we exchanged some words, during which he again refused to let the authorities know, stressing how much he distrusts the health system and that he’d just want to know for himself, that regardless of the test’s accuracy a negative result would be very useful for his peace of mind, that he wants to make sure he learns the result at home so he won’t be held in a hospital, and also that he won’t have them come and take him away “at [his] age”… Which is 61 and a half, but he won’t accept what it implies in any way, which also goes for the fact that he’s at the threshold of obesity and has some chronic respiratory issues.

With nothing changing the next day, and him not even using that test, I had resolved to go out the following day, get what I could to more or less last me two weeks and then call myself, trying to prepare myself for the fight that would follow. This also means that the fact that I seemed to feel sort of strange again that day, maybe also having a bit of a headache again, was quite likely just a result of anxiety, though I’m not sure what caused my right eye to get swollen after eating at night, not even fully recovering by the time I got up the next day and only doing so gradually over the following hours.

Well, we didn’t get to that fight I was preparing for, because a coworker tested positive, unsurprisingly, dad’s boss called him last Thursday morning and told him to test himself and he couldn’t blow her off too. So he used that test, it was positive, and when I got up to pee at one point he stopped me to let me know, at which point I kicked into motion, not getting back to bed but starting to get ready to leave. He gave me the list of things to get from the pharmacy, insisting on them after I told him that cheaper alternatives with the same composition exist, and told me a few more things he wanted if we were to be in isolation for two weeks, so I took all the money I still had and the handful of small bills he still had in his wallet and went out at 1:45 PM, hoping to get back in time for him to be able to call the official line that evening, to report the symptoms and request the PCR test. Actually, I was hoping he’ll call either way, but wasn’t certain what the best way to go about it was, so I left it for him to decide when he asked again just before I went out the door.
First went to the pharmacy, seeing lines but not having that long to wait, so I bought what the doctor had told him to take for both of us, but replaced two things with those cheaper alternatives for myself, the cashier even pointing out that they had the same composition, at which point I said I knew that and said so but the person I’m buying the others for insisted. Then I had a quick look in that Mega Image, seeing a great price for some kefir for him and keeping it in mind for later, then I had a quick look through the farmers’ market as well, then the Mega Image next to it, but the next purchases came only when I got to that Carrefour.
After that, I was a bit uncertain about the next destination, so I lost a bit of time because I was changing my mind on the way, but eventually got to that Kaufland… And again ended up cracking a yogurt. That time it was one I had already purchased, however, from Carrefour, so I couldn’t put it back. And to think that I had first placed it in my backpack, then moved it to the bag I had the bread in, thinking it risked being squeezed in my backpack and cracking as a result… Well, when I was placing the purchases in one of the cabinets at Kaufland, that yogurt fell out of the bag, which wouldn’t have happened if it’d have been in the closed backpack, and it was one of the top cabinets, so it cracked when it hit the floor… And I shouldn’t have even used that cabinet, because after getting everything in I realized that the door wouldn’t lock, so I had to move my stuff to one of the bottom ones anyway, and if I’d have used that one from the beginning I’d have avoided the problem as well. Still, it didn’t really break, and while some of it spilled on the floor through the crack, I placed it in a bag and kept it, being careful with it after retrieving it later, moving it in something else after getting back, just not scraping what was left on the cup, and eventually eating it, albeit not directly, but after using half of it when I boiled something and the other half when I microwaved something else.
Either way, I had a look in Kaufland, made mental notes of what I was going to get from there, then left my things in that cabinet and went to Auchan, getting a few things from there, including enough of Liza’s food to get her through this period. Then I got back to Kaufland, got what I wanted from there, retrieved my things from the cabinets, since I had placed my purchases from Auchan in another one, and saw that if I didn’t waste much I still had enough time to get back to the farmers’ market by 7 PM, which was when I recalled it closed on weekdays. I was disheartened for a moment when I reached it and saw the listed schedule stating 6 PM, but while most others had left, a few, including most of those selling apples, were still there. The first one I picked no longer seemed to be, even though the apples were still there and not even covered, and when I asked whether anybody was still selling those someone else pointed me to another person selling the same kind of apples, but those were 50% more expensive, so I looked for another one who had them at that same price and got some from there.
Since I had so many things and the cabinets at Mega Image are small and few, and also out of the way at that one that’s next to the farmers’ market, where the guard had also clearly noticed me the first time around, since the coin was getting stuck and he helped shove it in, I wondered what to do next for a moment, then decided to first go back to Carrefour, stuffing everything in a cabinet, getting a couple more things, adding those in the cabinet as well and then rushing back to that Mega Image to get the kefir and a bagel. Then I returned to Carrefour, retrieved my things… And had the coin get stuck again, this time around an employee from that area noticing that I was struggling with it and giving me a coin, then struggling with the mechanism herself for a bit, while I was arranging my stuff, so I don’t know if she was able to retrieve that coin or not.
I know it was 7:30 PM when I left that Mega Image, and dad had to call to report the positive antigen test result, ask for the proper testing and follow the procedure, and that call center should take calls until 8 PM, so the additional wasted time definitely didn’t help and I rushed as much as I could, considering all I was carrying, though the backpack and sturdy bags did help a lot. It’s a pity I didn’t weigh the stuff that time, but I think I had over 20 kg on me, adding everything together, and I just got in a minute before 8 PM. It was a few more minutes until he called, but someone still answered, which was a relief.
There was a lot of smoke in here at that point and dad was saying he hadn’t burned anything, so it took me a bit to figure out he had fried himself some chicken, likely burned it to some extent, and hadn’t aired the place at all, but he still dismissed it even when I pointed that out. And there were some other exchanges between the two of us, before and after the call, including him again saying he still couldn’t understand why I called the ambulance that time, that his only symptom was the cough, ignoring anything else he should have been looking for, that I must not talk over him when they’ll come to ask whether he had been out or met anyone since the symptoms began, so if he’ll say he didn’t go anywhere and didn’t meet anyone that’s how it must remain, but then that I was apparently supposed to talk over him while he was on the phone and told we could go somewhere and get tested right away instead of waiting for them to come, since I wanted to go but he refused for both of us… Not that I could even know what he was refusing, since I only heard his side of the conversation, of course. And when I reminded him that this virus can cause symptoms to drastically worsen from one moment to the next and he must be very careful, he just put his headphones back on and turned on music, loudly. But at least he called that day, which was a step…

I obviously continued to carefully monitor any symptoms I may have, and there has been a bit of a strange feeling in my chest ever since, possibly becoming a bit more noticeable last Friday, when for a little while I also felt a bit strange in general again, after I cleaned my room and then spent quite some time out of it, to hang the laundry to dry, while dad kept going back and forth all day and jumping at any chance to do something instead of even trying to isolate. That feeling in my chest has perhaps been again a bit more noticeable over the last couple of days, without being associated with anything else, but this started being quite normal in 2019, possibly being something I was left with after that flu that resulted in that nasty cough, and I was worried about it back then, so it probably shouldn’t in itself be notable, and at least part of it may be caused by my back, which also acted up this Thursday morning, when I woke up in quite a lot of pain, and last Saturday night and this Monday evening, when after moving a chair with something on it and, respectively, while getting the clothes out of the washing machine I felt something wrong with my lower back and, while the pain went away quickly the first time, the second time it was a day or so until it stopped hurting when I moved in certain ways. As such, at this point I’d still say that, if I didn’t somehow escape infection all this time, which seems next to impossible, I went through it during the first week of March, while dad’s symptoms were milder, when I had those two or three nights with headaches and a strange general feeling. But, of course, I won’t know without an antibody test, and the authorities aren’t offering that for free, and without obvious symptoms they refused to test me for the virus either, so I’m left in the dark.

But the part about the testing came last Saturday, and it was the day before that, after I woke up, when I found dad rather receptive when I told him what I had noticed while being stuck with that nasty cough, yet when I moved on to the fact that he keeps disliking pretty much any food and throwing it away, which is driving me crazy and even more depressed, so it seems clear that his taste and smell are also affected in some way and that doesn’t need to mean losing them completely, as some have them altered even in ways that make them think that everything is spoiled and they need to learn to ignore that, he again cut me off, angrily saying he won’t plan for such things and walking away. And that has been his general attitude, just admitting what he can’t hide, which is the bad cough, and otherwise saying he’s fine, refusing that medical assessment or even any discussion about other symptoms, and for quite a while seeming just baffled by the fact that this could happen to him and that, if it somehow did, he wasn’t strong enough to just get through it with very mild or even no symptoms and his belief in the power of his mind and the idea that if he won’t think of illness he won’t get sick, or that if he does get sick he can mostly will himself back to health with perhaps only some minor aids to help with the immediate symptoms, didn’t hold up.
There were some gradual changes, however, and probably just in time, because since Friday he does seem to be getting a bit better. But I think the first sign was last Sunday evening, when I asked how he was, he again said he was fine, I pointed out that he clearly wasn’t and told him to stop lying and give details, and while he went quiet and wouldn’t tell me anything else, he did call the emergency service, after learning that they also offered medical advice, the person he talked to completely changed the treatment our family doctor had given him, which apparently finally made him agree with me when I say that she’s not good for anything and only pushes stuff from the brands she has deals with, and someone brought him those things the next day. Not that he was taking the treatment prescribed by her properly anyway, as during those first days he kept telling me different times when he had to wake up to take some medicine and cheerily said no when I asked whether he ever remembered to take it on time, but he claimed to be more careful with this new one, and it seems to have made a difference.
We still clashed over him always wandering around, doing things, not isolating, leaving things everywhere, including stuff I may also want to eat or use and can’t exactly clean. Monday night he told me that I should answer if the gendarmes will come and check whether we’re isolating, and when I said they’d be more interested in him, as the one who tested positive, he said he didn’t want them to see that he’s wandering all over the place instead of staying in one room, then brushed me off when I said they’ll want to know he doesn’t go out, while isolating in one room would be in order to protect me to some extent. But Wednesday and Thursday were particularly notable from this point of view, since I really snapped, and Thursday cracked as well. Friday, however, when as I already mentioned he also actually started to seem to be improving a bit, he seemed to have had quite a change of mind. Definitely not to the extent which would be necessary, but it was nevertheless a significant change for him. I’ll get to the details in another post, but at this point it’s a relief to see this change. Just wondering if it’ll last, at least long enough for him to get cured, since I highly doubt he’ll learn anything from this and not snap right back to his usual behavior after that happens…

To finally get to last Saturday, I switched to using the other bathroom then, since dad kept coughing and spitting crap in the main one, even if that means being right next to the cats’ litter box when I’m on the toilet and the place’s full of dust and I didn’t dare open the window after I tried it the first time and saw all the spiderwebs and the dirt that got blown in, seeing as the place hasn’t been used as a bathroom since my mother moved out except in case of an emergency when the main one is occupied.
But the day’s main event has to do with him getting tested, after he called again in the morning and was apparently told that in their records it showed that somebody had already been here to swab him for the test. That obviously just fed his distrust of the medical system, and in the evening he was saying that somebody was supposed to come over and bring him the treatment he was given when he thought he had it, including stuff against blood clotting since, according to dad, those aren’t prescribed just so more people will die, because those from hospitals are paid according to the number of those who die from the virus, so they must make sure to meet the quota. I didn’t even deign that with any sort of reply, because while conspiracy theories aren’t known for making that much sense, that one’s wild even among those, but I did later point out that they are prescribed when needed and there may be reasons to avoid them, even giving a specific example, and in the end that guy didn’t come to bring him those things anymore, since I bought one that evening and then he made that other call the next evening and asked that guy to bring the treatment he was prescribed then instead.
Getting back to the test, I guess they put a rush on it then, since two guys came in the afternoon, and after dad was told on the phone that they won’t test me if I don’t have symptoms, one of them also explained it to me when I tried to press the matter, saying that I could be negative then but positive later, or get symptoms later, and then there will be questions about having tested me at that point, since you apparently have the right to be tested in this manner once in three months. And they also said that the test from the pharmacy is only informative, it doesn’t make dad a confirmed case and therefore at that point I’m not considered a contact of a confirmed case either, so the law doesn’t prevent me from wandering all over the city. He also said that, while it’d obviously be morally wrong, putting others at risk, the law doesn’t prevent dad from doing so either, even if he has symptoms, until and unless their test will confirm him as being infected.

Well, since they said that and we still needed some things, at 6:55 PM I went out again, rushing to at least catch the Dristor location of that cheaper pharmacy still open, the other location closing earlier on Saturday. Got a couple of the things dad wanted from there, then I went to the pet store that’s next to that Kaufland, at first just checking prices and then getting what I had to get from Kaufland before returning there for the cat food we were about to run out of, after dad had told me to get relatively little when it was on that great sale at Mega Image and had even taken half of that to my mother since then. But I still needed the celery he had also asked for, since I even asked an employee at Kaufland and was told that they no longer had any that evening, so I also rushed to Carrefour, getting that from there, plus a few other things. Finished retrieving everything from the cabinet and arranging the purchases in my bags just as the announcement came that it was 9 PM and the store closed, and was back a bit before 9:25 PM, having carried some 19 kg, including clothes and everything.

That night I had an “excuse” for only starting to eat dinner at 3:45 AM and finishing at 5 AM, since I had to deal with all the mess dad had left after making chorba… Which, following the pattern, he of course didn’t like and eventually turned into something else, after throwing away the vegetables, so the carrots and celery he had asked me to get. But, to return to eating dinner so late, this has been my pattern lately, and I actually kept track of when I took the first bite, the time being 3:15 AM both last and this Friday, 3:35 AM last Sunday, 3:25 AM Tuesday, 3:30 AM Wednesday and Thursday, and again 3:25 AM tonight, so it was only Monday that I managed to do that before 3 AM. I do take everything to my room and eat here, so at least I’m on-line while eating, and not breathing that air even longer, though at the same time I keep the window open while I’m in the kitchen, even if it’s cold, plus obviously a mask on. This has a fair bit to do with the fact that I also keep getting in bed around 5:25 AM, I think the only times when it was before 5:20 AM being last Thursday morning and this Wednesday morning.
On the other hand, before finishing this post, with last Sunday covered in the previous personal post and leaving the details about Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for another one, to make sure I have it posted tonight and don’t have to worry about getting on-line during the day, I’ll also mention that Thursday I guess I channeled some of that anger into doing 300 squats, which would be a first, but it was Tuesday when I decided to time myself again while doing the usual 100 and yet again managed to tie the record, 2:06, the annoying thing being that I would have managed to be a bit faster if I’d have checked the time sooner and set my mind on it there at the end. And I also tested holding my breath several times, starting with getting to 1:45 while using the computer, then 1:55 while still clicking a few times. There was a time when I just got to 1:40, but that was after pretty much only quickly taking a large breath and it was in between two times when I hyperventilated a bit and then stood still, getting to 2:15 and, respectively, 2:20. Then I just counted and thought I got somewhere around 2:30 while lying in bed, but that was obviously not an accurate time, so just now I took a break from writing this to try again, sitting at the computer but quite still and with my eyes closed until I was approaching two minutes and it started getting more difficult, and now I know I got to 2:30. Not that it says that much, but it should at least mean that my lungs aren’t significantly affected.

Written by Cavalary on March 21, 2021 at 3:40 AM in Personal | 0 Comments