Musings & Whatnot

Reflections From Solitary Confinement

I believe this is week 3 of our lockdown, quarantine, stay at home, shelter in place whatchamacallit orders.

I’ve heard it called many things but I often (jokingly) call it Solitary Confinement.

How Am I Holding Up?…

I’m often asked how I’m holding up because… shortly after losing both Dad and Cookie my sudden aloneness was further amplified by the government mandated Stay At Home orders.  

Aside from the days when I miss Dad and Cookie (the natural grieving process) I’m doing just fine!   

Being alone is not a problem for me because I’m an introvert with MCS.   

Introverts need their time alone in order to recharge…

I haven’t had much alone time in the past 2 years while taking care of Dad. This probably explains some of the stress I was dealing with.   

For now, the lockdown alone time has been a great time for me to renew, recharge and heal both physically and emotionally.   

The Extrovert’s in my life insist I need to be surrounded by people in order to get through my loss but that’s simply not the case.  

Thankfully… with the weather warming up a tad I can sit on the back deck, basking in my aloneness with a nice cup of coffee while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

People with MCS are already secluded from society…

Living with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) has rendered me quite adept at staying away from toxic-to-me public places and avoiding people.  

I may be physically secluded from society but I’m very much virtually included. I have friends across the globe with whom I communicate, have parties with and more… all via the World Wide Web.  

I’ve been doing this for many years!    

Heck, Nikki lives 1,500 miles away and I still go shopping with her, take trips and more and it’s all thanks to modern technology.  

Is virtual the same as being there in person? Heck no… but it sure beats not being there at all.   

Public Places Are Extra Toxic Now… 

With all the extra cleaning and disinfecting being done in stores, doctor’s offices and other public places I’m finding it very toxic out there now.   

I understand the need for the extra efforts and I’m certainly not complaining. I agree that it’s necessary.   

Even though I agree it’s necessary it’s also something that anyone with MCS has to deal with and find ways to navigate around.  

It’s Not As Easy As (Some) People Think…

Sometimes, in conversation, my difficulty going to toxic places comes up. This usually leads to people bombarding me with (what they think are) easy ways I can avoid going to the store – even though they’ve never done these things themselves.   

I realize they’re trying to be helpful but I wasn’t asking for help. The issue simply came up in conversation… not as a complaint… not as a plea for help… it was simply just part of the conversation.

As they list all the so-called easy options that I have at my disposal…

It becomes frustrating trying to explain why it won’t work the way they think it should.

It’s actually pointless to try and explain because no one can truly understand unless they also live with MCS, food allergies and sensitivities.

If they also live with MCS, food allergies and sensitivities they wouldn’t be trying to tell me how easy it is in the first place! 

I’ve lived with MCS for many decades…

After many years of living with MCS, I certainly know the tips-n-tricks of avoiding stores. I’d (almost) bet the farm that I know more than the person who’s trying to tell me how to do it.  

There was a time when my MCS was much worse and I couldn’t even step foot in a store without dire consequences. To circumvent this, I ordered most of my food and supplies online (this was back in the early days of the internet – before most people knew you could do this).  

To this day I still get as many things as I can online.

I feel bad not buying local but it’s a matter of my health and I’m thankful the internet allows me to live better with MCS.

In the present day craziness…

Ordering online and using Walmart Grocery pickup or similar options is not as easy as it was just a short month ago.   

Now that so many people are utilizing these options it’s more difficult to get the needed items and that’s not even counting toilet paper!     

  • Online products are often out of stock or take weeks to get (instead of a couple days). 
  • When attempting to use the store drive-up/pick up option it’s very difficult to get a time slot to go pick up an order.  

I just waited 2 weeks for a time slot for Walmart grocery pickup. The only time slot was on Easter Sunday but I took it. I have no Easter plans anyway so why not go for a drive!

Using an alternative brand isn’t always an option…

I can’t buy just any ole thing. With my MCS, allergies and sensitivities I need to be careful of everything I buy. I spend a lot of time reading and analyzing labels.  

If one brand is out of stock it doesn’t mean I can simply buy a different brand because a different brand may contain something I’m allergic or sensitive to.

The bottom line is… 

When we give helpful advice (to anyone) our solutions are most likely easier to do in our eyes than it is for the other person to do in real life. 

There’s always more to the story.

An Epic Face Mask Fail…

To try and stay ahead of the game I decided to make a face mask from stuff I’ve found around the house. After all, the Youtube videos show how easy it is 😆

I failed in the DIY face mask department so I decided it might be easier to buy one.

After looking around on Etsy I found one that met my requirements.

My face mask arrived yesterday…

The anticipation mounted as I eagerly opened the package.

Inside was a cloth face mask (with a filter) sealed in a plastic bag.

Before opening the bag I got a whiff of something I thought was hand sanitizer or hand lotion.

My thought was… the person packaging the mask had just put hand sanitizer or lotion on and there was residue on the bag.

It’s not uncommon for this to happen so I proceeded to open the plastic bag and took the mask out to give it the once-over.

It wasn’t long before I took the confounded mask outside and gave it a swift toss…

The mask had been washed and chemically disinfected 😧   It was outrageously strong. Or, at least, it seemed that way to me.

I got very sick from just a brief exposure to it. I’m still suffering the effects today but it’s better than yesterday.   

Why not wash the mask? Because that $#!t just doesn’t wash out! I can’t get near the mask to wash it nor would I want to bring that thing back into the house.   

Returns aren’t allowed on face masks but I couldn’t get near it to package it up and return it anyway.    

It can just sit outside until someone can discard it for me.

Once again it was just another wonderful – albeit wonderfully challenging – day in the life of Me 😄 


About The Photos…

Top Photo: A cool reflection in a rocky creek bed at Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park taken several years ago on a nice summer day. I think it’s fitting since we all have time to reflect these days.

Picture Quote: Sunrise on the boardwalk at a beach in St Augustine Florida. I took this photo on March 3, 2016 during a stay at Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort (RV park).

2 thoughts on “Reflections From Solitary Confinement

  1. Hi Connie,I have also been in isolation for a month. Or I have to change that because my Walmart order went so bad I actually had to go shopping. I am high risk so that was not a good thing. So sorry about the mask you ordered. I did whip up some masks and then lined it with a panty liner to hopefully give me more protection and also used rubber gloves. I knew what I needed and headed straight to those deparments grabbed what I needed and got out. But I don't suffer from your MCS but have COPD and I'm older than dirt. .I don't mind being solitary confinment as you call it lol I'm pretty much a loner. I have my kids but they have busy lives. And now adays everything is a text. I feel your doing OK in dealing with you losses. Everyone has to deal with things their way not what someone else thinks. I live in a retirement community and I can't beleive these people don't seem to understand distancing. I'm so happy I have my porch and can sit out there and get some fresh air and not have to bother talking to anyone as they can't see me. Yesterday some woman called me to invite me to a gathering at the club house. WHAT! Anyway I was polite and just said thank you for the call. I guess some Senior group donated some free food but this woman was also selling items. The donated food was wonderful but the addition of selling things? Food wise I think I'm good for at least another month. I sure hope this is over by then.Hope I didn't bore you to much, just thought I give you something to read. LOLSafe well

  2. You didn't bore me! I enjoy hearing from others. My Walmart order went smoothly yesterday but, sadly, I can't get everything I need through the grocery pick up so I have to venture in to the store. I'm going to retry a DIY mask and hope for the best!

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