Carmen Abner

Waiting is the hardest part

Tom Petty wrote those lyrics the year I graduated High School.  He wasn’t wrong then and he still isn’t wrong.

Albert Einstein once said that time is relative.  He explained it like this, "An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour."

He also wasn’t wrong then and still isn’t wrong.

I don’t know that any year has more accurately proved their points than the year 2020 and, for most of us, that wait continues.

The wait intensifies when you learn that you may have been exposed to Covid 19, as happened to the Boy and I over the weekend. Our risk was minimal and contact minimal.  The local health department doesn’t think we even need to quarantine so our office is open for business as usual and the days go on as the days go on. But the mind is another matter. The mind waits and the mind worries and the mind wonders.  The mind counts the days since possible exposure and jumps a little with every sneeze or the tickling of the throat from dry winter air. Of course, that’s been pretty much the case since March. It’s just feels bigger and scarier now. I know a lot of people out there have experienced the same thing and some are experiencing it now.

We’re both fine. No symptoms. And we’ll probably stay fine.  We really have been super careful.  That’s no guarantee, of course. For now, all we can do is wait. At the time I’m writing this it is still too early to even get tested and have any degree of certainty that the results are accurate. So, we wait and we take our Vitamin D and drink our herbal tea and consume extra Vitamin C and whatever else might help our immune systems.  We’ve also been doing that since March but we’re being even more careful to make sure we do everything possible. We are caregivers for the Boy’s brother, Tommie, who has been receiving long term care at home for a stroke 20 years ago.  His immune system can’t be very strong as he is seldom outside the house, except for doctor’s visits. As essential worker we have had to be extra careful in caring for him since we have more outside exposure than those who have been working from home.  I’ve bought extra supplies to limit the number of stops we have to make and the potential exposures to other people.  We always wear our masks in public and wash our hands and you won’t see me in a store without an alcohol wipe in my hand for carts and door handles and anything else I might touch. We also follow these practices at home when caring for Tommie.  It is the only way we have to protect him until he is eligible for a vaccine. Hopefully that will happen soon and hopefully this most recent possible exposure will come to nothing.

But for now, there’s the waiting and it really is the hardest part.

I know people right now who have it much worse than us.  Some of them are waiting to see if a loved one is going to make it home from the hospital or waiting to see if their own infection will get better or worse or if they themselves might have possibly infected someone they love. It’s all very hard and my heart goes out to all of them.

The coming months may well bring relief for all these past and present months of waiting.  The vaccines are promising and the Boy and I will be right up front to get ours when the time comes. I know a lot of people are just plumb exhausted from all the waiting.  We’ve held up with it all pretty well on the surface but that underlying current of worry has been there all along.

So many of us are waiting to exhale.  We may not even realize we’ve been holding our breaths until the chance to exhale finally comes.  My wish for the New Year for one and all is that, when waiting is filled, we can all breathe easier again.  Stay safe. Stay well. Take care of one another. 

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