We had one of those bizarrely surreal days yesterday. In the prelude to that we’d gone for our usual – no, UNusual – weekly foodshop the day before. Over the last few weeks I had been buying extra bits and pieces. Amongst a list of additional extras this time was aloe vera gel, to make hand sanitiser which could not be had for love or money. The aloe vera had proved to be difficult to find. The health food shop had a few decent size bottles. As well as biodynamic turmeric and castille soap which I use to make foaming hand soap. Those three items swallowed a third of my shopping budget. I said to himself he might need to go to the bank to get me more cash. I am one of those dinosaurs who still pays cash.
I was not panic buying. It felt like preparing. As we had been advised to do. A ‘just in case’ sort of shopping. I knew I would need to isolate myself sooner rather than later. I just had not voiced it out loud.
But the fear and panic buying has hit communities hard. First the toilet paper disappeared off the shelves faster than lightning. We were – and still are – left scratching our heads. In quick succession the toilet paper has been followed by hand sanitiser, canned foods, long life liquids, bread, flour, sugar, meat …..
… and now, live chickens, seedlings, and alcohol. So on Monday we found that the shelves in the supermarket were emptier than ever before. I selected from what was available. Everywhere were signs informing us how many we could buy of the most sought after products. Himself asked if I was panic buying. No, I said.
As we left the supermarket to go to the local greengrocers for fresh fruit and vegetables, it was heartening to see well stocked shelves. And no price gouging. It was at this point that I had a ‘moment.’ Bursting into tears, I announced to himself that I was going into self isolation. I got a stunned look and a why. I couldn’t speak. He didn’t probe. We finished our shopping in relative silence interspersed with my tearful hiccups.
Later that day, sitting watching the now regular COVID 19 daily update, he asked me why I had a moment. All I could say by way of explanation was that all of a sudden everything just overwhelmed me.
But I digress. I was going to tell you about our surreal day yesterday. It started with a visit to my doctor for an annual review of my treatment plan. This usually involves a session with the clinic nurse who does various measurements and tests. And the paperwork which is then passed on to the doctor to discuss with me and we sign off on it. In the morning I got a call from the nurse to explain today’s procedure. It is changing daily. I was instructed to phone the clinic when I arrived in the car park. The call would be transferred to the nurse who would conduct her part of the review by phone. There would be no physical bits and bobs done. She did her bit. Delivered the printed plan to me in the car and told me I would be called in when the doctor was ready to see me. I was to go straight to her office. Which I did. And I was back in the car within three minutes with copies of scripts in hand. I was informed the same system will apply when we attend for the fluvax next week. No sitting around waiting. In and out as quickly as possible to minimise exposure and contact time. No sitting around for 15 minutes to ensure anaphylactic shock did not set in. I had visions of the car park being littered with bodies in shock! I must admit it was efficient. And very impersonal.
We then made our way to Bunnings. Because I had learnt that the key ingredient for hand sanitiser (isopropyl alcohol) could be bought from there. He knew exactly where to find it when I told him what I needed. It is used as an industrial solvent and cleaner. The best quality they sell is 99.9% proof. To be effective in killing this nasty bug it must be a minimum of 60, preferably 80.
Himself went in while I waited in the car. Minimising exposure and adhering to social distancing. Not long after he came back shaking his head. He, along with half a dozen women (his emphasiss, not mine) stood looking at empty shelves. No alcohol. No methylated spirits which, at a pinch, could be used. Why is it always women looking for this stuff, he asked. Because, I said, us women are the ones who make it for you men to use! By this stage we were in fits of laughter at the absurdity of events we found ourselves immersed in. Seemingly it would be easier to score a hit of drugs than toilet paper, or, now, alcohol!
I next directed him to ask at the chemist, knowing they also use isopropyl alcohol and sell it. He duly did as asked, They, of course asked if he was making hand sanitiser. He said yes. They burst out laughing. No. They had sold out. More would be coming in two weeks. So an order has been placed.
When we got home I looked in the laundry cupboard. I was delighted to find we had not one, but TWO bottles of metho. So I can make a batch with metho to keep us going. I have a reliable recipe. I have the ingredients. Today I will make my first batch. Yesterday I made wet wipes. Who knew this would be happening!
Innovate – survive – smile
PS – life has taken another 360 the last two days here in Australia as the Prime Minister announces ever tightening restrictions. We are now all encouraged to self isolate. Many businesses have been mandated to close, Borders have been closed. Overseas travel banned.