As a geezer I have been especially careful about social distancing and staying sterile if at all possible in this chaotic time. Although I am mostly in good health, I do have some underlying conditions that would really complicate my recovery from a Covid-19 infection. I have vivid memories of my 22 year old self fighting the flue infection that I suffered in the 1957-58 pandemic that killed an estimated 116,000 Americans and perhaps over a million world wide. I was a graduate student at Cornell University in the Fall of 1957 when one afternoon during the completion of a Materials Engineering lab I was struck with a raging headache, fever and bone crushing weariness. I managed to get to my car and my apartment only by gritting my teeth and toughing it out. I don't remember much about the next week or so except I was bed ridden only to get to the bathroom. I think the only treatment was aspirin. The health clinic at Cornell was overwhelmed as was the infirmary. Care centers were set up in the dormitory lounges for the overflows. Needless to say I did recover, but as I write this, I still sense the pain of that illness.
Fast forward to 2020 63 years later and another even more tragic pandemic has struck in my lifetime. As all skiers know, our season came to an abrupt halt in March! I was immediately mourning the loss of the remaining days of spring skiing. From then on the days became filled with finding ways to cope with the disruption of our normal life and seeking safe diversions.
On keeping safe, I was an immediate user of a mask. My engineering senses informed me that if aerosols could be the source of infection my mitigation would be a regimen of physical distancing from the infectious agent and when possibly in the presence of the agent, I would have a physical barrier in place. Fortunately my protocol seems to be working. However, I have continued to avoid enclosed spaces with many people. And if there is a necessity to be in the enclosed spaces, I severely limit my time of exposure.
Given my dedication to keeping safe, one might ask how to I make social contacts and find appropriate diversions? ZOOM and Facetime have been regular applications for interaction with family and friends and also professional contacts at Cornell. Our Tough Old Geezer Skiers group has had a monthly virtual lunch meeting on Zoom a couple of times.
As I reflect on the pandemic disruption, I am reminded that some doors to our activities have been closed and we miss many things that we took for granted. However, as an optimist we can look to find doors that we can open to new activities and routines. Each person has to find their own opportunities. This should bring out a our creative side to enrich our lives. Here are a few things I found useful over that last few months.
1. I have stepped up my volunteer work with the Red Cross as a Transport Specialist hauling blood from the blood drives the processing center.
2. Reading a lot more books and newspapers.
3. Going on a disciplined weight loss program coupled with a daily exercise routine.
4. Going a bit overboard on solving crossword puzzles.
5. Riding my e-bike on country roads in the ares to explore sights I have rushed by in my car.
6. Hiking in local and other parks in the area.
7. Engaging in a photographic history of the defunct tower silos in Cortland County.
I am really excited about Number 7. It is a fascinating bit of history how the number of dairy farms in Cortland County New York have declined over that last100 years. Literally hundred of silos remain standing as monuments to the past glory of dairying in the county. With the expansion of cow numbers on dairies, the tower silos have become obsolete and have been replaced by bunker silos.
|A Lonely Silo from a Long Past Dairy Farm|
Yes, our lives have been seriously disrupted by the 2020 pandemic. We hope and pray that a vaccine and other treatment protocols will be developed soon and we will be ready for a new normal. Let's hope we can make the new normal better the past. Meanwhile geezer skiers, as we move towards another ski season, keep well, stay fit and hope that we can continue to enjoying skiing with the same passion of the past.