“Is it normal to feel like you have a bag of rocks in your lungs when you cough?”

Day 104 of coronavirus in France

Day 53 of enforced confinement

Presenting with every symptom fever, cough, difficulty breathing and a “bag of rocks in his lungs” was not enough to merit him a test or a doctor’s visit. Our fellow worker in central Paris was told as long as you can avoid respiratory failure, stay home, treat the symptoms. Don’t go out, don’t leave your house, don’t spread it.

Today is a national holiday in France. Normally my hubby would be carrying the American flag in a parade and we would be invited for Hors d’oeuvres with the mayor. Instead today the town hall was open for official face mask distribution, only one member of the family was permitted to enter at a time. (source)

Hubby waited until there was no line, and walked in to receive the family’s allotment of one washable reusable face mask to each resident in preparation for loosening confinement. Experts estimate that handmade masks can be worn four hours, washed at 60°C, and reused about fifteen times.

The neighbor that was collecting supplies to make masks for nurses has now also made masks for all of the neighbors in our housing development.

And one of our cousins has managed to mail us a package of masks that miraculously made it through even though the US Postal Service has discontinued service across the French border.

At least one hi-fashion designer has started making and selling fashion masks in a variety of colors, florals, holographic, silvers. (source)

Everyone wants to talk about how this global pandemic is a shared experience for people all over the world. But some regions appear to have been skipped over.

I say bravo. If you’re in a region where the pandemic hasn’t hit. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It just means that someone is doing something right to slow it down.

Meanwhile, in France, the big scandal this week was when they found out that the president was warned about the dangers of this outbreak in December and why didn’t he warn people earlier? Why didn’t they increase purchases and production of professional grade masks then? Maybe we would have to be taking clothes out of our closets to be transformed into masks today if everyone had proper protection when the first case came to town.

And as a side note, it can’t be a hoax and a conspiracy at the same time. Either message is insulting to the doctors who are showing up day in and day out, rolling the bodies of those in a coma — a coma that saves their lives when they are in respiratory failure. Come visit I’ll introduce you to another friend of mine, Timothé, who survived the full hospital admission, the intubation, the coma, beat the virus, and physical therapy to relearn to swallow.

Downplaying the reality of the contagion is also insulting to the millions of people who are sacrificing financial security to protect their family members.

This week the list of medical conditions was revised that qualify someone as vulnerable to the acute coronavirus. It now includes more of my family members.

In France if you or anyone in your household has one of these conditions then you can get a doctor’s exemption from work or school so that your whole family can choose to remain in quarantine even after enforced confinement is lifted. (source)

Our brains are frazzled.

Remember pregnant-brain? When suddenly your brain had to juggle more than double the number of problem-solving issues, while keeping all the “don’t forget this-or-that” balls circling around, while still maintaining the everyday organizational stuff like what’s for dinner?

It is exhausting to keep up this juggling act of teaching a full school curriculum, meal planning and shopping for two weeks at a time, washing extra laundry because I have a seven year old girl who is home all day everyday – and also because we ran out of Kleenexes and we’ve been using cotton squares for Kleenexes, which incidentally are much nicer on the nose than paper, but, yes, creates more laundry, I digress… Juggling online video meetings which honestly sometimes I just don’t get to because I’m either teaching school, or orchestrating the bedtime routine, or I’m calming big emotions.

I found that I just can’t really enjoy church meetings online when she’s interrupting me every five minutes. I’ve decided this coming weekend I’m going to attempt something new. Rather than join the adult discussion and try to switch task back and forth from what she is doing and expect to follow their discussion. This week I’m going to open a separate Zoom channel for the kids where I will be 100% involved and it will be 100% about the kids and their live discussion. We’ll see how that works. I’m hoping more work will actually feel like less work if it lets me live in the present. Or it could completely bomb. We shall see.

Listen don’t ask questions.

Or at least don’t ask the questions on your clipboard. Work meetings should not be efficient during this time. Don’t conduct a meeting by filling in the fill-in-the-blank answers on the form.

Some people are hurting, some are secretly enjoying solitude, others are dying inside.

I live in a house full of extroverted people. You can’t just open your conversation with, “How are you?” The social construct is too strong. If you really want to see what a person’s going through right now I don’t believe the traditional framework breaks the surface.

  • What do you feel?
  • What do you need?
  • How can we work together to meet your need?

You might need a bigger chisel than that. Try to ask a question that you can’t answer with “fine,” “good,” or “nothing.”

  • What is the worst emotion that you felt this week?
  • When did you feel that most recently?
  • What lack of respect most infuriated you this week?
  • What lack of control/freedom do you miss most?
  • What is the biggest injustice in the world right now?
  • What do you think that people in the world need more than anything right now?
  • What has become your best soul-care / self-care tool during this time?
  • How often are you able to do that?
  • ……What questions are you finding are cracking the conversation open ?
Mask distribution with our mayor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.