Another story in the series of pandemic quarantine tales from across the world. This is the third in the series following on from here and here.

This is from Tabitha B who lives somewhere in the United States. She too responded to my mailing list request for quarantine stories.


Tabitha B US

I don’t have much of a quarantine tale, I’ve been sleeping through most of it. I have narcolepsy. Sometimes that means falling asleep a lot, never quite as crazily as Hollywood likes to portray it though. Sometimes it means staying awake for days. Sometimes its 1 to 2 hour naps that are spaced out and that’s my only rest for days.

 

You never really know what you’re going to get.

 

I also have a rare condition called acute intermittent porphyria. It adds to my fatigue and throws in a great deal of physical pain as well as periodic stomach cramping, severe muscle cramps, and general fun.

 

My household includes my two growing kids and my ailing mother who has early onset Alzheimer’s. They are all my responsibility along with two cats and one mean little old dog whose name is ironically Buddy.

 

With the covid-19 chaos, I lost my job which caused all of my conditions to implode. Everything is acting up and because of that I have been stuck on a weird cycle of sleeping for about 48 hours or more and then staying awake for about 4 days, give or take a day.

 

Luckily my kids are 14 and 11, plenty old enough to help out if their grandmother has any issues while I’m stuck in dreamland.

 

We have been self quarantining since the first case was reported in our area. Despite my odd hours, I am loving my time at home and so is my 14 year old. My mother and my 11 year old are struggling though. They cannot grasp why we can’t just go to the park or visit friends. They are emotionally wounded every time I make them stay home when I make grocery runs once every two weeks.

 

Our budget was tight even before I lost my job, we hadn’t eaten out in a long time. So home cooked dinners are just normal and my efforts to make them special, when I’m the cook, has been thankfully well received.

 

Much of our lives revolve around sleep, food, books, and video games. I’m the only ‘Bookaholic’ but I read enough to make up to their refusal to take joy in it.

 

Our town is small and our county is not heavily populated. The whole county has an estimated 30,000 people. We only have ten confirmed cases, one death. I personally know several that tested in other areas though due to work or doctors offices, those are not counted for our county.

 

We have a high level of poverty though. My previous job was as a case manager for a nonprofit homeless service, so I know first hand how under-reported the poor of our town is. Knowing how the people of our area handle most matters, I am terrified of this virus. Without even a second thought many here would turn to their pastor before their doctor. The joys of living in the bible belt. Even those who want to go to a doctor tend to already have too many bills to afford it and no insurance to help them.

 

My family is one of the fortunate ones. We are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe called the Chickasaw Nation. We have our own hospital which means at least our medical costs are not of huge concern right now. They have been very proactive in their measures to handle any cases but honestly that was expected, at least from me. The current Governor of our tribe has been our Governor about as long as I’ve been alive and before that he was in a leadership position over our hospital. He is a very forward thinking and kind man who truly cares for our people. I worked for a short time in his office and personally know him to be one of most amazing people alive.

 

I guess that pretty much covers us for now. I’ll have to update if our situation changes. My family is convinced I have caught the virus on my trips to the store but until I have more symptoms I won’t be tested. Hopefully, I won’t need a test.

 

I am extremely interested in hearing others stories and life tales in response to your email!

 

Thank you for caring enough to listen,

Tabitha B


Post Script

I did contact Tabitha to see if there were any updates and I got this reply which I find both shocking and disheartening:

I only have two updates. My symptoms are a little more pronounced so I am trying to schedule a virtual visit with my doctor. If she agrees then I might be able to get tested. The other update is more frustrating to me. My landlord had been kind, saying he’d work with me through this pandemic. Now, according to his visit yesterday, I am facing eviction if I don’t pay him by Monday. I have all of $2.00 in my account. I don’t know if our local courts are open nor how evictions are being handled right now but generally it isn’t hard for landlords to evict on very short notice here.
So I have a stress filled weekend ahead and doom to face Monday.
Prayers, wishes, thoughts, or anything else you could send would be greatly appreciated.
Feeling disconcerted, I wrote back to make a suggestion – an idea I had, and received this response:

Hi Stephen,

There is no need truly. You kind words and sending some positive vibes my way will be plenty.

While it’s frustrating and heart breaking, it is immaterial. In full honesty I was homeless once before, years ago, and it sucked but the world kept going and things got better.

If it comes to that, it’s okay.
My town is well known for its embarrassing legal tactics that are not legal at all. It has been featured in books such as ABC, and XYZ, as well as a documentary of the same name. It hasn’t changed. It is a good ol’ boys club and the landlords here are always members. [My edits to avoid identifying her location]
We will get by one way or another, we always do.
Tabitha
To which I simply replied, “You are one very special person. I do hope and pray things turn out well for you and your family. God bless you.
Sincerely
Stephen”

Wow! I feel truly humbled Tabitha chose to share her story with me an you. I have made a suggestion to Tabitha in light of that postscript. I’ll let you know what happens.

Latest Update 

Hello Stephen!

I have another update for you.
The full story is that my landlord stopped by, he served me the paperwork promising to file eviction as soon as courts opened. We started packing the next day to prepare and I started selling a few things we wouldn’t be able to handle while in a shelter.
Now I should explain here that I have three older sisters, one younger, and two younger brothers. None of us are close really, we have all drifted apart except one sister. She and I as kids were always together. She sort of was a mother hen even though she was only 5 years older.
She learned of me selling things, called my son, and then my landlord.
She happens to be in a much better financial position than me, so she used her stimulus check to pay two months of my rent.
We are not close now and she has known somewhat of our struggles for years and never helped, but something in her told her she needed to do this.
I have been in awe and so grateful that I cried and cried. That horrible ugly crying that just refuses to stop.
My little quarantine tale/saga will have a happy ending after all.

Isn’t that just great news!

Stay tuned for more in the series of pandemic quarantine tales.

Stay safe! #StayAtHome

For reliable facts and information about COVID-19, I suggest checking out the BBC website.

 

 

 

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