The names roll into my head long before the road sign shows what town is next. The new shingles here or the added grain bins there stand out in my mind. I’ve been on this same trip literally dozens of times. But not since the pandemic and that in itself is what makes it feel a bit like a foreign world.
I felt it was important to document this first trip, both the reasons for it and how it felt. I will be submitting all of my isolation chronicle posts to the University of Saskatchewan pandemic archives project hence the “open road” story.
I set off down the highway with my second shot of vaccine well behind me and a negative rapid test (a weekly requirement for my job). This means I am physically not at risk to myself or to others. So it should not feel so odd. But it does…
ancient aging mother has been missing her youngest. Which itself is an “interesting” side story. Her two out of province daughters (one Alberta and one BC) have gone home for visits (note the plural). This was even before a vaccine was developed. I still can’t wrap my head around it truthfully. My mom is 94, has COPD, significant osteoporosis and high blood pressure. She would never survive Covid19. And yet… Well fill in those blanks yourself as I am trying to continue with the family tongue biting I’ve been doing for months.
I record it here publically for two reasons. It is pertinent to family dynamics that developed during the pandemics and I am quite certain it isn’t just our family where risks were managed differently. Secondly it’s my blog and none of my immediate family sans my husband read it. I have cousins who read it but I suspect that they are also on the let’s not take unnecessary risks side of the spectrum and will just quietly nod their heads and also hold their tongues.
So back to the story, my mom is missing me because I haven’t been home. I usually go down about once every 4 to 6 weeks and have done that for a lot of years. Sometimes it’s less and sometimes it’s a bit more depending on many factors.
We managed a 15 min visit in January when we came to pick up our locally raised beef. I wanted it to be a garage visit but -5 was too cold for her so we put on fresh surgical masks and had a short visit from the doorway but our last visit to stay was just after Christmas 2019.
This trip, theoretically, was safer. Now well over 65% of all Saskatchewan residents have had their first shot of vaccine although less than 20% are have had double shots. I wrote the start of this post the day I went down and struggled with some of it so that’s why the numbers seem out of date.
Sitting and my back don’t agree with each other so when I am driving alone I must stop around the 2 hour mark, walk and stretch. I often stop at the town where I turn of the divided highway. It has an outdoor food kiosk that we have frequented throughout the years. This was my stopping point as it was almost lunch time. It was busy but there was an orderly distanced lineup and partitions so it felt relatively safe. I ate on the grass in the shade. Did a few stretches and the next stop was my Mom’s house.
Small town rural life must have given the pandemic a different feel. Like it would not happen there. I think there were probably around 10 to 15 cases from what I heard. So I felt that the “downtown” risk was low but I was pleased to see that the locals were all still wearing masks in the grocery store. I can’t say I saw a lot of people but I did keep my distance from those I did see.
The return trip was a later start with a planned supper break at the same spot for a stretch. Except, wait for it, Covid struck there!
Due to the close contact one of our staff member with a Covid positive person, and for the safety of the rest of employees and customers we will be closed till June 27th. Sorry for inconvenience and stay safe everyone.
Jun 14, 2021
So….. it’s still out there affecting people’s lives in small town rural areas. And… potentially still affecting travellers because if I hadn’t chose to stop there I would not have known. That’s why caution is still required until the vaccination rates go higher.
It seems the world wants to move on and open up. Interestingly enough the numbers here in Canada seem to be supporting this. But then one looks are England where they had a longer lock down and higher vacinnation rates and… You guessed it, their numbers are climbing with the Delta variant.
So while I want to believe, and I think we all do, that Covid is in the rear view mirror I am not convinced. I feel that cautious optimism is called for and an ongoing assessment of risk/activity.
Picture light, word heavy. A bit out of date as it’s now 2+ weeks since I’ve been back. And yes, she’s already asking when I am coming back. I had forgotten the sandwich generation feeling during Covid.
What are your thoughts about how we resume life “post restrictions”?