Let’s get together virtually!

I left for Algonquin Park on Tuesday morning and came back to Toronto on Thursday afternoon to a different world!  The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a pandemic, and pandemonium had ensued – the grocery store shelves were empty and people were hoarding food and toilet paper.  WOW!

My doctor cancelled my annual physical because it wasn’t considered a health emergency, and she added that schools were going to close for three weeks!   WOW!

That’s how fast things had changed in just a bit over two days.  WOW!

Much more changed the following day – libraries, museums, art galleries, and my beloved community centre swimming pool closed, and on and on… WOW!

Authorities are recommending “social distancing”, and recommending against non-essential travel.  Events that I was to speak or volunteer at were cancelled.  WOW!

Because the virus is passed from person to person by droplets (coughing, spitting, sneezing directly on someone), “social distancing” is essential to avoid getting someone‘s droplets on us. 

The most important thing right now is to slow the spread of the disease, to flatten the curve, as the experts say.  Fewer infections should reduce the chances of our health system being overwhelmed.  If in the next three weeks only 100 people get infected instead of 1000, there’s a better chance that our hospitals can provide the necessary care and resources for those who need them, instead of having to choose who’s going to get help and who won’t because the resources, staff, and equipment are limited.

The virus can survive for up to three days on some surfaces, so if you bring it home on your hands you can deposit it—on a doorknob, light switch, or remote control, for example—where it lies in wait to infect you later in your own home!  That’s why you should wash your hands as soon as you come home, and regularly even when at home, not touch your face even at home, and wipe down frequently-touched surfaces with soapy water.

My son told me last week that the rest of the world has finally caught to me – I’m a “germophobe”.  I don’t touch handrails and other surfaces that other people touch, I open doors with my elbows and close them with my feet, and I wash my hands very often.

For example, this is my routine when I come home:

  • Get keys, open door, get shoes off.
  • Wash hands and keys, hang keys, take jacket off, hang jacket, wash hands.
  • Put away groceries, wash hands
  • Wash fridge and cupboard handles, wash hands.
  • Change into house clothes, wash hands.
  • Then I wipe my phone clean, my wallet, my reading glasses, my travel mug – everything I handled while outside the house and brought in with me.  What cannot be washed I wipe down with a soapy cloth.
  • And then I wash my hands again.

You get the idea.

Yes, my hands are very dry, but it is a cheap price to pay to avoid getting sick with a virus, corona or otherwise.  I keep a hand cream moisturizer on my kitchen counter to apply after each hand washing.

I understand the need for social distancing, it is vital right now to slow the spread of the disease.  I’m a pharmacist and I lived and worked through the 2003 SARS scare.  But it still feels frightening, uncertain, alarming, dreadful, strange, and isolating.

Therefore, to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness—which are unhealthy in a different way—I want to bring women together to connect and support each other, to chat and mingle, in these extraordinary times.  Technology allows us to get together ONLINE, remaining in the safety of our own homes. Let’s get together virtually!

So I’m going to host a Zoom meeting on two Wednesday evenings, March 18th and 25th, at, 7:30 PM.  It’s FREE and you’re invited to attend.

If you’re wondering what a Zoom meeting is, it is like a virtual room where we can see and hear each other.  All you need to participate is an internet connection and a smart device, PC, or laptop.  At 7:30 PM click on this link and join in!  Contact me here and I’ll send you the link to join this virtual Zoom meeting.

The agenda for the first meeting on Wednesday, March 18th is open.  Think of topics you would like to talk about or share.

Because I’m a scientist I don’t like misinformation and I love to bust myths.  So I may talk about

  • Coronavirus, COVID-19, and the latest news and recommendations from reliable and science-based sources.
  • Women’s health
  • Sharing with each other the best moment we had this month
  • What each of us can do in the spirit of women supporting women.  We can ask for something we need and we can offer something we have to give.

And here are a few more tips:

  • Make sure you have a thermometer and acetaminophen at home.  I’ll give you a longer list of things I think you should have at home in this uncertain and unpredictable time.
  • If you do feel sick with a cough and/or a sudden fever, you should stay home, take acetaminophen for the fever, drinks lots of water, eat healthy food, and rest.
  • Do NOT go to the hospital UNLESS you are short of breath or too ill to move. Call your family doctor, Telehealth at 1 866-797-0000, or your local Public Health office (in Toronto at 416-338-7600) for more information.  Going to the hospital doesn’t guarantee you will get tested (not everyone is getting tested anymore), it will not improve your health, and if you’re sick with something else you put yourself at risk of getting COVID-19 in the hospital.  Remember, the majority of people recover from this disease.
  • This is the information available to health care providers from Public Health Ontario at the timing of writing.  Because things change very quickly, the information I have now may be different from when you are reading this newsletter, so please check reliable sources of information such as your local Public Health office, The World Health Organization, or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Refrain from visiting retirement homes.
  • And please don’t travel outside Canada. I cancelled my April vacation, it sucks, I know, but we must take care of each other and avoid spreading this disease.
Let’s get together virtually

Let’s get together virtually

See you Wednesday.    Contact me here and I’ll send you the link to join this virtual Zoom meeting.

Let’s have some fun, social distancing shouldn’t be isolating. Let’s get together virtually!

Will you be joining with a drink?  I think I’ll be sipping a wine spritzer (1/3 white wine and 2/3 sparkling water plus a slice of lemon and two ice cubes).  If you prefer a calming (sleep-inducing) tea I highly recommend “Organic Verbena Lemon Tea” (Lucia Lima).

Let’s get together and take care of each other.  Let’s get together virtually!

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