This is my last post from quarantine. Tomorrow morning the little bus that brought me here from the airport is going to bring me ‘home’. Later my friend, his mother, and I are going to drive up to their cottage on Star Lake in Northern Ontario. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful area, David has provided a couple of photos to whet your appetite.
The most exciting thing that happened today was the delivery of my second load of laundry. I was just going out for my walk when the unmarked, white van pulled up. I was like a kid seeing an ice cream truck! Not only was I wearing the last of my clean clothes but it also meant that I would be able to begin packing.
I apologize for seeming mysterious about the location of the quarantine facility but it is one of the rules or “Traveller Responsibilities … For your own privacy, you must maintain strict confidentiality regarding the name and location of the designated isolation site during your stay.”
When I get out of quarantine on Sunday, I am going to begin helping my friend to look after his mother who has Lewy Body dementia. I have taken advantage of my free time and the free wi-fi to research this disease so that I can better understand what she is going through.
What I have learned so far is that Lewy Body is similar to Alzheimer’s but takes hold much more quickly. The ten most common symptoms of Lewy Body dementia (LBD) are: difficulty concentrating, memory loss, confusion which alternates with lucidity, ambulatory changes, sleep disruptions, hallucinations, rapid changes in symptoms, loss of balance, high sensitivity to medication, and depression and aggression.
I also found out that Robin Williams had LBD and have attached here a piece written by his wife that gives a very personal, insider view of living with Lewy Body.
I received a call this evening from the Public Health Agency regarding my upcoming departure from the quarantine facility. It was one more example of how nice everyone has been to me these past eleven days. From the cheery greetings of the nurses to the helpfulness of the cleaning staff; from the inquiries about my state of mind from the security to the unseen person who leaves me surprises outside my door. I may not have much contact with people but the contact I do have has been positive. I guess that is why the time has seemed to fly by. I will be leaving here on Sunday!
I have to begin this post with an apology to my vegan and vegetarian friends. The highlight of the day today was my steak dinner. Bear in mind that I do not order my meals, they appear in brown bags outside my door three times a day.
It is clear to me that a lot of thought goes into each meal and that I am being provided with variety as well as nutrition. I get my five servings of fruit and vegetables every day in addition to numerous sources of protein. On top of that there are treats and snacks that feed my spirit, if not my body.
The steak that was the centerpiece of my dinner this evening was smothered in black pepper sauce and cooked just the way I like it. It was served with roasted veggies, a green salad, a roll, and a yummy chocolate brownie. I fear I will not fit in my swimsuit when I get out of quarantine at the end of this week.
Only five more days left! Today when I was out for my walk I overheard a man say “We don’t need to be in quarantine.” and I thought to myself that he doesn’t understand. The 14 day quarantine is recommended by the World Health Organization. A friend of mine in Thailand mentioned that the quarantine there is 14 days and asked if it was the same in Canada. I told her it is. It is also the same in Singapore. But why 14 days?
Today I asked the public health nurse if I could get the test for Covid 19. She told me that if I had any symptoms they would test but because I am not showing any there is no need. She said that if I was asymptomatic that the virus would have run its course by the end of the 14 days. That is the purpose of the quarantine.
Another friend asked if there is barbed wire on the fence that surrounds the building. There isn’t but the fence that was put up when the hotel was converted into a quarantine facility has something black attached so that people passing by cannot see what is going on. It is more of a privacy issue than a security one.
As you can imagine, most of my days here in quarantine are so similar as to be routine so a surprise gift left outside my door by the Canadian Red Cross was a welcome break from the ordinary.
Betsy, the 92 year old woman that I have come back to Canada to help care for, loves chocolate so I am going to save this present to share with her. The fact that they are little snack size bars will make them a perfect treat for her to have with her afternoon tea. Thank you so much to everyone at the Canadian Red Cross!
On my walk today I became aware of some of the wildlife that lives nearby. First, I heard the honk of the Canada Goose so I peered through the fence and spotted three geese. Would that be a family or a demi-flock?
Then one of the other walkers got stung by a bee. I didn’t actually see the bee. Finally, there are at least five dogs staying here in quarantine. I know that pet dogs don’t count as wildlife, in fact for many people they are part of the family.
When I asked about the breed of one of the dogs, I was told she is a “Mexican mutt”. She was found in a bucket when she was about 7 weeks old. She was starving, dirty, and crawling with fleas. Her ‘mommy’ arranged to bring her home to Canada. I really love a story with a happy ending!
Another way that staying in this quarantine facility differs from staying at a hotel is laundry. At a ‘normal’ hotel, if you want laundry done you fill out a form, put your items to be laundered in a bag provided, and then a whopping bill is added to your account which you pay upon checking out.
Here if you have laundry that needs doing you put it in a bag on Monday and it comes back on Friday. It doesn’t cost anything 🙂 My laundry arrived back today and not a moment too soon. I didn’t exactly have enough clothes for two full weeks unless that two weeks included attending a wedding, a Christmas party, and New Year’s Eve.
All the clean items were tagged using plastic. I have nothing sharp because sharp things are not allowed on airplanes and the cutlery provided with my meals is plastic so it took a quite a lot of sawing back and forth with a plastic knife to cut through just one of these plastic tags. This was a lot of work but the clothes couldn’t be worn comfortably with the tags still attached. I needed a better tool.
I called the Canadian Red Cross and asked if they could get me nail clippers. They said “no problem”.
Day 5 is dedicated to the Canadian Red Cross who have not only been feeding me three meals a day but got me a universal adapter so that I could plug in my computer. Without it I wouldn’t be able to write and post this blog!
One of my readers commented that it sounded like I was in prison. I am so sorry that I gave that impression. The walls of the lift are covered in heavy plastic so that they can be more easily disinfected but my suite is very comfortable and nothing at all like a jail cell.
In addition to the bedroom, I have a cozy living room, and a pantry area with a small fridge, microwave oven, and two-cup coffee/tea maker.
The cleaners come everyday but unlike a hotel, they don’t come to make the bed and change the towels. They come to disinfect and take away the garbage. Towels are replaced every three days and bed linens every seven.
I think Santa may have lent his elves to the Red Cross during the pandemic because the universal adapter appeared ‘magically’ outside my door.