by Donna L. Scrafano
According to Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary, “isolation” is “the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others; the condition of being isolated; the act of separating something from other things; the act of isolating something.” Thanks to the coronavirus, isolation has become part of our society’s culture—for the sake of humanity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the entire world. When I watch the news, I sometimes find myself confused and annoyed as to why there is still anyone who does not take this disease seriously. Just the word “pandemic” should alert one to the seriousness of our world’s current situation.
Although I haven’t yet fallen into panic mode, I’ve decided to be more diligent with my already OCD-like cleaning, sanitizing, and hand washing. Bleach has always been my friend for cleaning surfaces. I would sometimes joke that you won’t ever pick up an illness at my house. However, I couldn’t promise you wouldn’t contract bleach poisoning. Joking, of course.
So here we find ourselves, as a community, state, country, and world, being diligent about sanitizing and heeding the current advice to self-isolate. Well, at least the more cautious in our population seem to be doing so. Isolating has new meaning to me. It was once looked upon as a negative thing to do. Not so now. I suppose that’s why it’s quite the challenge for me. So, what does one do while self-isolating? I walk about three to four times a day. My ten-and-a-half-year-old Lab, Roxy, is quite tired so I only take her on two of them. Because I’m so very organized and we moved only a little over a year ago, I have no cleaning out or organizing to do. There’s one small project I’ll attempt to do that includes going through old pictures. That task could prove to take up some time and be enjoyable. Maybe.
I’ve decided to take this “isolating” opportunity and work on my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Fortunately, I’ve had some practice with conquering the sometimes sad feelings that accompany isolation during the time I cared for my father, who has since passed away. Therefore, in addition to walking three to four times per day, I’m meditating more, reading self-help books, and watching self-help programs. I watch comedy and feel-good movies as well. Because I live in the same house with my one daughter and her family, I do get to have face-to-face contact. And there’s the connection of technology. The friends and family members I don’t have physical contact with, I FaceTime with.
My 12-year-old grand-love, Quincy, expressed how grateful he was to have his technology to correspond and play games with his friends. I told him that if this situation had happened when I was 12, the only means of communication would have been the telephone. I explained what exactly a telephone was in those days, how one was attached to the wall in the kitchen, and the other one was in my bedroom—my light-blue Princess telephone. He was astonished that one could live like that, even on a good day.
What I’m practicing mostly, during this time of uncertainty and isolation, is being thankful and grateful for all that surrounds me. When I or a household member becomes frustrated about self-isolating, I kindly remind them of the fact that we are in our lovely home, where it’s warm, comfortable, and clean and full of food, drinks, and, yes, toilet paper (LOL). Our pups are with us. We are together. Most of all, we are safe. I then ask them to remember the thousands of Americans who are still stranded out of the country and are desperately trying to return home. I have to think that these Americans would give anything to be “isolated” in their own home , in their own community, state, country. This concept gives one a whole different perspective on “isolating.”
Donna began her journey in Human Services in 1983. During the next 35 years she held various positions and formally retired in 2018. She writes on an array of social issues. Donna's relaxation time includes walking her Lab, Roxy, having fun with her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, writing for Silver Sage, spending time with friends and family. Her last full-time position was providing care to her father. Since that has ended, Donna is taking the time to invest in her own self care and interests.