CARMICHAEL: We’re all adjusting to living in a ‘new normal’

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020

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We’ve been navigating the new norms for about six weeks now. Most of us have tried a few approaches as to how to meet our basic needs, such as grocery shopping, bill-paying, entertainment and communication with the outside world.

I try mightily to find the good in every situation, so I count my blessings rather than my inconveniences.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my health. I began a life-altering diet nearly six months ago — long before the coronavirus became a prevalent threat in our country.

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At the time I began this journey, I had several motives — the first being to reverse a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and the second to lose weight before a granddaughter’s wedding, which had been scheduled for May 9.

I’ve succeeded not only in reversing my diabetes status, but also in losing more than 40 pounds; however, because of the COVID-19 restrictions, my granddaughter’s wedding has been postponed.

I’m grateful I took the daunting leap to retire three years ago. Therefore, I had learned to budget and live solely on my Social Security check each month.

Barring the government’s ability to keep those checks coming, I know I’ll be OK for the duration of the economic crisis.

Just as this novel virus is foreign to the medical community and researchers, it has presented each of us with new challenges.

For those of us in the geriatric category, we are categorized as being of particularly high risk for contracting the virus, and have been encouraged to shelter in place.

If you live alone, that presents a challenge as to how to purchase groceries, medications and other necessities.

I have explored several options for grocery shopping, beginning with pickup, which did not meet my needs, and which I found not entirely convenient nor particularly safe.

I have compared two delivery options and have settled on the one I feel is reliable, safe, and which tends to have the items I prefer most frequently.

I was fortunate to already be on a prescription delivery service with my insurance carrier, which delivers a 90-day supply of each of my medications via mail at no cost. I encourage each of you to check with your Medicare provider for options such as these.

In lieu of this service, I would suggest you contact your pharmacy to check for options. Many are providing home delivery, and most all have drive-through service.

If you choose this option, I encourage you to ensure that all precautions are taken when you pick up your prescription at the window, such as PPEs worn by the clerk (gloves, mask, etc.), and if you must sign for your order, the device and card reader is wiped down with disinfectant before and after each customer.

One area of concern, which has not been addressed, is mail delivery. I still receive an inordinate amount of junk mail each day. I’ve sent several suggestions concerning what seems to me to be an unnecessary threat to postal workers who must sort this mail, carriers and to residents who retrieve the mail from our mailboxes, but have yet to receive any response.

You may choose to wear protective gloves when retrieving your mail from the mailbox, and unless there is something of particular interest among the many advertisements, I don’t even bring them into my home, but drop them directly into my trash container outside.

All necessary mail, such as bills and personal correspondence, are put immediately into a drawer where they remain for a day or two.

I immediately wash my hands thoroughly.

I’m sure one of the most difficult restrictions for all of us in this age group is lack of face-to-face contact with friends, neighbors and loved ones. I thank the good Lord every day for social media, the internet, television and cell phones via which we can stay in touch with the outside world in some fashion.

I recently created a private social media page accessible only to my immediate family members. I’m experimenting with video chats with each segment of the family on a weekly basis. Being able to see the faces of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren keeps me going.

I can certainly understand the devastation and mental strain on those who endured the 1918 pandemic who could not see or even speak on the telephone to their loved ones for months on end. Please take advantage of the multitude of options available to you, such as texting, phone calls, video chats and social media networking with friends.

Be sure to spend part of your time isolating outdoors in a safe environment.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have contracted the COVID-19 virus who are confined to assisted living facilities and hospitals where their loved ones cannot visit nor allowed to say final goodbyes. We must find comfort in knowing that loving health care providers are doing their utmost to provide care during those incredibly difficult times.

Again, I wish you health, peace, and comfort during these trying times.

Until next month, be safe.