Coping with Covid ~ second four months

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It’s hard to imagine the first Covid case in  Alberta was reported March 5, 2020, over eight months ago. While November is quickly becoming a nightmare, my task at hand is to summarize July – October.

“Abundance of caution” became the norm for many Albertans as even the slightest symptoms were considered reasons for self-isolation and testing.  “Waiting for testing” became a common summer ritual as the health system struggled to manage numbers.  Even non-symptomatic citizens were initially encouraged to be tested as we learned more about the virus and its spread.

The scene on the right is from South Edmonton assessment centre one day in early August.  We arrived for a scheduled appointment 45 minutes early “just in case” only to be issued a new mask and told to line up outside.  The queue extended all the way around a drainage basin and lasted over an hour.  As well, I was one of the rumored few who never did receive my promised phone call.  Luckily my doctor’s office was cooperative and eventually confirmed that a negative result had been posted.  For me, it was also reassuring that my chronic sniffles and fatigue were thankfully pre-existing conditions.

Since then Alberta Health Services has allowed Albertans access to their own electronic records, a significant step forward in my humble opinion.

July was a month of serious study.  First, as mentioned in a previous blog, I participated in a Super Conference from the UK on Trauma, Mind and Body. This was followed by a Global Summit with the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation: 10 Days, 100 Speakers, 10,000 Abolitionists. It was exciting and encouraging to to hear from so many like-minded people from around the world! I am grateful for all of the information and inspiration received and look forward to sharing more when I have more time. Thirdly, I signed up for 12 modules on Indigenous Canada offered through Coursera, affiliated with the University of Alberta.  That wealth of material took me through September.

The annual August 14 CEASE memorial was held virtually and has already been discussed. 

August 19 was our 25th wedding anniversary.  For years we had planned a memorable celebration and still held hope as we began to scale down.

However, my husband’s conscientious children decided they did not want to risk putting our senior friends at increased exposure so they hosted an outdoor party for immediate family. 

That left us free to host an even smaller party for our “senior” cohort of four other couples.  As per protocol, we intended to gather on the deck but moved inside when the weather turned chilly.

Hopefully there will be many more occasions to celebrate!

My September 1st reflection of “Cara found” reached a record of over 3300 people and I’m very grateful to all who shared my post.  Thank you! Thank you!

Daughters Day happened later as already reported.  Thanks to friends for the lovely flowers.

Autumn wasn’t totally isolated. We hosted an outdoor firepit gathering, went to friends for a first ever “Stanley Cup” party complete with individual servings of game treats, and travelled for outdoor visits with my mother. 

We enjoyed two small Thanksgiving suppers with single family units, but declined a third invitation because of concerns about overlapping cohorts.  We ventured out for two birthday celebrations as restaurants were still considered safer than indoors.  

The last weekend of October was unseasonably warm.  We planned one last bar-b-q for immediate family and 22 planned to attend.  However, before it could happen, Alberta Health Services asked that all gatherings be limited to 15.  We cancelled in lieu of short-listing our guests. Sigh. 

I’m happy to report volunteer work continued with a Casino and STOP: Sex Trade Offender Program.  I spent Orange Shirt Day with my friend Juanita and we visited the Project Change exhibit on Whyte Ave.  

A very disappointing decision was made by Edmonton City Council on Sept 30.  The question was whether to consider a 5-year phase out of licensed “body-rub” centres, aka brothels, in an attempt to reduce commercial sexual exploitation.  General consensus seemed to be that activities within licensed facilities were “consensual” rather than exploitive and that practitioners felt safe with the existing guidelines. 

No matter that federal legislation was being ignored. There was also no recognition or acknowledgement that protecting consumer behavior might contribute to increased trafficking.  Arguments for status quo became very polarized, as if advocates of the Equality model were against women’s safety.  Sigh again. So the cause of saving millions of women from sexual slavery by reducing demand was considered irrelevant to Council decision.  We wait for other opportunities.

Many more thoughts also wait for another time.  November is Family Violence Prevention month.  Unfortunately, increased isolation for some also results in increased incidents of violence.