Currently Reading: Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch | Victor Steffensen – Fire Country
We are now four weeks into lockdown here in Tassie – a similar timeline to that being experienced by people all over the world. The curve appears to be flattening in Australia, so we’re feeling cautiously optimistic that there may be the possibility of a wander through a National Park soon.
My ma and I have been in quarantine thus far for 30 days. Mum has had the virus and has come out the other side with a (thankfully) very mild case. Although I tested negative for the virus, I have had to remain in quarantine for a further 14 days beyond Mum’s medical clearance in order to ensure that there has been no ongoing transmission. Just as I opted to stay with Mum when she had to self-isolate upon return from her holiday in New Zealand, she has chosen to stay with me until my quarantine period is up.
[PSA: Mild rant to come, followed by some soothing pictures of the ocean from the time before Corona – feel free to skip the rant and move straight to the soothing pictures]
People (including myself) are going a little stir crazy about having to spend so much time in their homes. For me, the main frustration has been the inconsistent dissemination of information and a distinct lack of communication, both internally, within the Public Health department, and in their dealings with those directly affected by the quarantine orders here in Tas. I’ve had a few minor meltdowns, particularly through the period when I didn’t know when my quarantine would be over. 48 hours before my proposed end date, for example, Public Health advised me that my strict lockdown period had been extended by a further two days, making it their third alteration within the space of a week. In addition, they’ve addressed me by the wrong name, they’ve confused my case with that of a 9 year old child, they’ve mistaken me for the one in the household with symptoms, they took an additional week beyond Mum’s all-clear from her GP to write her clearance letter, thereby inadvertently extending her own period of quarantine for a further week, and they have thus far been unable to provide me with a letter, in writing, advising that Thursday really will be the last day before I can leave my house for the sake of exercise.
I think Australia, as a nation, is doing very well, and I am only too happy to do my bit to help control the spread, but on a personal level, in terms of the phone calls Public Health make every day to check on those in quarantine, the lack of adequate training, the absence of empathy and the general sense of ineptitude has been demoralising. Speaking to people with compassion, thereby treating them with dignity and respect, should be absolutely essential skills before they put people on the phone. End rant.
Putting things in perspective, I have so much respect and appreciation for the work that health workers are doing all over the world to combat this thing. I am also grateful that I have my health and that there is an end in sight. Needless to say, my situation is non life-threatening and there are literally millions of people going through far worse.
Aside from my growing sense of disdain for the team of people phoning me each day, we’ve coped pretty well. Mum’s had her knitting and I’ve been drawing. And we’ve kept up with exercise within the limits of the house and yard.
We are stupidly excited about the possibility of getting to go for a walk that takes us beyond our daily regimen of 50 laps of the house. We now have 3 days remaining until we can go for said walk.
This time last month I was swimming in the ocean on Maria Island and at Falmouth on Tasmania’s east coast, where I spent a week climbing mountains, meditating on the waves and walking free. Here are some more pics from that week:
The day I drove back from Falmouth, I picked Mum up from the airport and this strange state of affairs has been the status quo ever since …
Looking forward to a future in which I can resume van life, explore wilderness, serve beer & pick fruit for a living and hug the people I love.
Books Completed: Alice Bishop – A Constant Hum