*Update – We just heard there is a draft decree that will lock the country down further. Flights are suspended to Spain. Leaving the house will not be allowed unless for pre-prescribed reasons as outlined in the decree. Going for a walk will no longer be allowed. This will go into effect on Monday. All work that can be done at home must be. We are going to into Italian-mode. The Interior Ministry will control all police forces – National to local – and all freeway closures. The Spanish government isn’t screwing around.
On this episode of ‘Spanish Pandemic’ we’ll cover being sick in a country not your own, and what I like to call I’m-already-fed-up-with-this-pandemicitis. It’s a little know scientific term. We are inside looking out the windows at the world like gold fish in a bowl. Sure, it’s clean in here now, but soon algae will grow and we’ll go stir crazy. I just didn’t think it would happen so fast. Looking through the glass there is nothing to see out there. No one on the street. Barely any cars. The cafe across the road is closed and they’re always open – even on Christmas Day.
I’ve got nothing but wonderful things to say about Spanish health care and the excellent treatment I’ve received in the last two weeks. Lots of scrips, etc. But when you’re sick you want to gravitate towards the known. You want your favorite jammies, and blankie, and all your favorite foods. When I was a kid my Mom always made me cottage cheese with pears, and Spaghetti O’s, and Welsh’s grape juice. None of those things are available here in Spain. It turns out wine isn’t a substitute for grape juice. But on our last trip back to the States over Christmas I went to Costco and stocked up on my old standbys – NyQuil, Benedryl and Alka-selzter Plus. In 10,000 count bottles and blister packs. That should last us through this crisis. These three medicines cure nearly anything that the winter flu season will throw at you. OK – perhaps ‘cure’ is too strong a word. But in my experience it will shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms to an almost bearable level of nearly anything, including malaria.
So I made my way into the bathroom just now and cracked open the medicine cabinet with the secret drawer. And I learned something disturbing. I’ve gone blind. And not just a little blind. Super blind. Under normal circumstances I would just take this stuff without looking and call it good. A concoction of colored pills – confident they would do the trick. But I’m on other meds now. Stuff I’m not as familiar with and might interact with my usual US witches brew. So I need to read the labels to find out. Google translate helped with the Spanish on the boxes from the farmacia here. But it won’t help with the back of the NyQuil box because they have intentionally printed it in negative 20 point font. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t read that with the vision I had in Kindergarten.
Did my reading glasses help? NO – not one bit. Meanwhile, my nose is dripping and I had to use my precious stash of party napkins stolen from the grasp an old lady at the Mercadona yesterday. Jeff saw me struggle and stepped in.
‘Do what I do.’ he advised ‘Take a picture of it with your phone and zoom in.’
Ah, that’s where we are now. The 19th century had monocles and magnifying glasses for the elderly. Its clear that soon I’ll be listening to people through my ear horn. Say What!?! Begrudgingly, I took a photo of the package and zoomed in. A few Google searches later and WebMD articles that scared the hell out of me – and I’m popping my usual concoction and hoping for the best.
It’s only day one and we’re already getting on each other’s nerves. Too many homemade cafe con leches and too much time on our hands. This morning we tried to do a puzzle together but swiftly learned – after 20 years – we approach problem solving from two different angles. I like to find and lay out the edges first. Turns out Jeff likes to separate pieces by common colors or patterns. Conflicting strategies are incompatible with the limited space on the dining room table, as we purchased a very large puzzle to get us through the initial 2 week duration of this lock down. After heavy sighs and some decidedly harsh words, we decided we’d step away and leave it for another time after he got his hand slapped for taking my straight edged pieces for his unruly, illogical piles.
I’ll be sorting my underwear soon and cataloging Tupperware. It’s only been 11 hours – 6 of them awake – and this is where we’ve devolved. I can hear our neighbor singing opera but Jeff gave me the look, so I won’t be singing along with him in my croaking frog impression. Like our daughter, Emilie, I’ve decided this pandemic is ‘Totally Boring.’ All the good shows on Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Showtime don’t start until next week. We tried ‘Devs’ on Hulu but it was like watching paint dry, and I’m not sure Jeff and I will make it without killing each other during full-combat puzzling.
Time to fill the tub, select a book from the shelf, and let the bubbles take me away!