Pandemic Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine: Quarantine and Dead Batteries

Coronavirus, appearing in interesting times
May These Be Interesting Times

So here we are on pandemic day one hundred seventy-nine of staying safer-at-home. This life in a pandemic is proving to have it’s challenges and unique demands. Winnie and I are fortunate that at least we still have adequate income, stable shelter, and food on the table. That’s more than too many people in this country currently don’t have.

All the same, I’d just as soon have this over with and life go back to some semblance of pre-pandemic times.

One interesting point of living in a pandemic is that any health issue becomes a challenge. Such as this past Monday when I woke up with a sore throat and mild sinus headache. In normal times – no big deal. But in these pandemic times I don’t know if I’m infected or have a cold.

I told Winnie I had a mild sore throat. This simple act of telling my wife activated the emergency life-threatening-contagious-illness-response plan. I immediately became quarantined inside our home.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine
Staying-Safer-At-Home Isn’t How I Once Imagined Life During a Zombie Apocalypse

Emergency Pandemic Response Plan

In-home quarantine is rather challenging because we actually don’t have a very large house. To quarantine me means I get to stay in the main floor guest room and bath, and basement den, staying away from the kitchen and dining room. Winnie gets the kitchen, dining room, and our upstairs living quarters. Except when she has to cross the basement den to get to the laundry room. Then, she wears a face mask and we play “keeping our distance by staying along opposite walls.”

Which gets me thinking back to when I was a kid and we played “So-and-So” HAS THE COOTIES!” Except now, It’s not particularly funny.

Winnie leaves meals at the top of the basement stairs where I can retrieve them and eat downstairs. Then I return the empty dishes to top of the stairs where she retrieves them and dumps into the dishwasher. At night, I get to sleep on the futon couch in our guest room while Winnie sleeps upstairs. I also get to use the shower on our main floor that we rarely use, as we normally use our upstairs bath. So I at least get to have a change of scenery when I shower, which is… something.

Staying in our basement den isn’t much of a change from my “normal” pre-pandemic life as this is where my computer, stereo, and large-screen TV is located. So I already tend to live here. I’d just rather not eat meals here alone.

Planning the Testing

The next part of the plan is deciding how long I need to stay quarantined. The natural answer is until we figure out if I have a simple head cold or the plague. After five days of sleeping on the futon couch, I decided I needed to get tested. Which is where I run headlong into the amazingly inept medical services in these United States.

First; EVERY testing center in my area appears to require an appointment. Some locations have five-day waits. Figuring in a five-day wait just for the test, then another two to three days wait for results, I could either be cured or dead by the time I know what I have. Useless in either case except for the reporting statistics.

So, here I wait for a test. I do have an appointment for tomorrow morning, which should at least put me on the path towards escaping in-house quarantine and having dinner together with Winnie.

Electronics, Cars, and Dead Batteries

Of course, getting to the appointment also presents a challenge. It turns out my 2015 Jeep Cherokee, a software-operated behemoth packed with electronics, has one flaw. All the electronics draw power from the battery when the Jeep is parked. In normal time, no big deal because the huge battery has enough keep-alive power to supply the electronics for a week or so. However, since we’ve been keeping safer-at-home I only drive once every two or three weeks.

Which means that for the past months I’m either putting the charger on the battery every few days, when I remember; or use a portable power pack to jump-start the Jeep when I don’t remember. Winnie, with her 2013 Nissan Versa, doesn’t have the same level of issues with her car’s battery. But I’ve also had to jump start her car a few times as she now drives less often than I do.

Somehow; having to jump start a car every time I drive Isn’t how I once imagined life in a zombie apocalypse.

Update September 9: Received my medical test results back today, negative for the Coronavirus. Big relief, and means I can at least give Winnie hug again.

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