Shelter-In-Place: Week 3

I live in San Francisco with my husband, two kids and dog. As I sit to write this, I’m reflecting on the past three weeks of our shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines as mandated by our public officials, Mayor London Breed and Gov. Gavin Newsom because of COVID-19.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2015. Normally, I spend my days managing my family. Waking up, getting the kids fed and to school on time. A win every time that is accomplished because all parents know getting up and out of the house can be challenging. I exercise (something that is very important to me because of my MS) and then spend the rest of my day running errands (Target, grocery shopping, getting snacks and dinner ready, etc.), attending meetings for my volunteer projects, walking the dog, being a landlord and trying to spend time with my 93-year-old grandma.
I never slow down.
Everything that needs to get done for the day must be completed by 3 p.m. when I get in the car for school pick up, sports practices and other extracurricular activities. I don’t get home with the kids until at least 7:30 p.m. Then it is dinner, bed and time to do it all over again.
But not anymore. Or at least, for the past three weeks. We’ve all been required to find a new routine and a new way to live together in our home and as a bigger community.
There is no longer the rush to get out of the house because school is at home. Both my kids are distance learning. Neither of them likes it that much. They are in their rooms starting at 8 a.m. attending online classes and meetings via Zoom and Google, but miss the physical contact and socializing with their teachers and friends. My husband, who used to leave the house before breakfast and take public transportation to the office, is working at home from the kitchen island. 
I am trying to figure out how to get all the things I normally do get done without leaving the house. I’ve been exercising via Zoom classes. We are permitted to go do essential things like grocery shopping, but I’ve only been to the store once in the past three weeks (a dramatic change for me since I usually go to some sort of store every day). We were running out of fresh vegetables, so I had some delivered to us from a local grocery store and did go to the Sunday farmer’s market (which is deemed essential, so still open), which normally is a crowded neighborhood event, but was empty.
It is not just me who has needed to make all these changes and establish new routines. It is all of San Francisco, the Greater Bay Area and California. In order to comply with the rules of social distancing, our parks have closed. The playgrounds aren’t open. Sports practices and games have been indefinitely cancelled. With kids that need to get out and exercise and play social distancing has been challenging. What have we done? Puzzles, board games, cards, baking, cooking together and neighborhood walks. We have a group of 10 families competing in a weekly Pictionary tournament virtually through FaceTime and Zoom. It is a nice way to socialize, see your friends and laugh while all being in our own homes. We’ve also done virtual happy hours and playdates with friends. So, we are socializing, just not in the traditional sense.  The World Health Organization has encouraged the use of the term “physical distancing,” since we are all finding new ways to socialize. I like that term.
Our community is coming together by not going out, “physical” distancing and living our lives virtually to prevent the spread of the virus. We cannot thank the doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, farmers who are out there on the front lines enough for their courage and selflessness to help our community. There are people in all the neighborhoods around the city offering to go grocery shopping or run errands for the elderly, people with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses who can’t do it for themselves. A chef who is currently not working because of COVID-19 is using Nextdoor to help people come up with recipes and uses for the food they have in their house, so it does not get wasted. These acts of kindness and caring brings us all together. In this time of uncertainty, it is these things that remind us that we are all in this together. Everyone has to do their part to ensure the virus does not spread.

We will beat this and will come out stronger. It just may take a while and a whole lot of patience.

Editor’s Note: The Society continues to be there for people affected by MS. For the latest information and resources related to COVID-19, please visit the Society’s Coronavirus Resources Page. 

Read about 5 activities
you can do at home during this time.
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Beth Klugman

Beth is from San Francisco, CA. She was diagnosed with MS in 2015, but doesn't let it prevent her from doing all the things she loves to do with her family and friends.