Feel good post for a haggard Thursday! Only read if you enjoy a long ramble!
For everyone warn out by the constant background stress of Coronavirus, I am hoping this will make you smile. I was reminded of the very small but mighty great things that have come out of Corona virus, when I got home to find a package of baking from "Bev".
Let me start by explaining that not only do I live in an apartment, (which has been extra stressful with my two kids during lock down), but I live in an apartment that is full of seniors. When I say full, picture the Golden Girls and then picture them again x every single apartment unit in the entire building (minus ONE other young family who lives at the top of the building...we are on the bottom floor).
Working during Corona as a family doctor is stressful enough, especially in the beginning when there are so many unknowns and you are worried that a) your patients might die cause you can't examine them over the phone b) you might infect your family from being out and about everyday. But working during a time when you knew that you could take everyone down in your building with you if you got sick, like the Titanic, was the pinnacle of stress.
Our neighbours locked themselves away intensely. What used to be a busy building with the coming and goings of grandchildren quickly became a completely vacant place. People were really scared, and I felt like a threat in my scrubs coming home every day with people peaking out at me from behind curtains with concerned looks. So we were in a bit of a bind when our cat Frosty went missing from the building and we had to figure out how to find her during lock down.
We had ventured out with our kids one of the first days that we were allowed to walk around our own neighbourhood during lock-down. We felt like complete aliens escaping our building, and were so nervous about it, that we left our cat out on the balcony for the first time alone, without realizing. When we came back she was no where to be found, having not gotten the Corona cat memo she had escaped to finally be free and go out and enjoy her new life.
That was a long night. Our kids were devastated about the loss of their cat, and my oldest was up bright and early out looking for her on the balcony. We spotted her far away, two balconies over.Relief was replaced by panic when we realized we had no way of getting her back. We didn't know what to do; we briefly knocked on the door we thought belonged to the balcony, but this was back before masks were available, Corona was in it's infancy, and NO ONE was coming to their door.
So we snuck up to the balcony and spent 30 mins trying to lure the cat back over. She was scared and confused, and because it looked like no one was home, and I was getting desperate to get our cat back and stop hovering around someone's apartment, I mounted the plexiglass covered railing and grabbed our cat. This required climbing on a chair and then an incredibly awkward gymnastic-style jazz hand, holy shit, almost fall dismount on the way back over with a catterwalling cat.
Just as we were climbing back over our own balcony, haggard from what must have looked like the burglary of the century to every occupant peering out of their apartments, I heard a voice yell "I hope your cat is okay". The voice came from a tiny, white haired woman who couldn't hear me scream back "I'm so sorry, we didn't mean to break onto your balcony, we tried to knock first, my 12 year old couldn't live without his cat", no matter how hard I shouted.
That night my kids made a card, with our phone number on it, and we baked a cake for the little elderly woman who we now know as "Aunt Bev". At that point, as we rang the bell and ran away, we weren't sure that our cellophane covered cake was okay to leave, we left a note to wipe it down with alcohol first.
This is what started our 4 month friendship with Bev. We have seen each other several times from over 100 feet away on our balconies but have never met in person. She has frantically waved at our kids during nights when organized clapping for front line staff happened, and has looked over and smiled sadly when we had a full building vigil, first for the shooting victims (NS ) and then for the funeral that went by for the downed Snowbirds pilot.
She has dropped us off baking and cards, I have brought her alcohol gel (woohoo distilleries),and treats at the shop when I went.
Bev has texted that we have kept her sane, living alone during a time when her main visitors were usually her own grandchildren, who weren't allowed to come into the building. And she in return has reminded us that kind people, both old and young, are the valuable things that keep life happy, and the stress levels down. I'm hoping one day to meet Bev in person, but for now, we still revel in leaving packages on her doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away like the thieves that first snuck onto her balcony.
Stay well everyone