On Thursday I took my shortest scheduled ride in nearly 2-years yesterday — just 24-miles. I had just a 2-hour gap between my last client session and an appointment for my mother to get her first COVID-19 vaccination. Obtaining a vaccination appointment here in Fallbrook was a big deal and I didn’t want her to miss it.
I got mom to her appointment on time. The nurse offered me a dose also, since I’m mom’s exclusive caregiver. I gladly accepted. We’ll return in 30-days for our second round of the Moderna vaccine — and we’ll be one small step closer to a reconfigured normal. Through most of my ride though, prior to our vaccinations, I reflected quite a bit on mom’s year of confinement.
I got a lump in my throat thinking about the old woman who, just one year ago, stepped into a pandemic. I got a few lumps more, thinking about the much older woman who will now attempt to step beyond it. Mom, 90, has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic, and now this. Hard to imagine, but COVID is the one which has impacted her most, despite that she’s been kept in isolation — or perhaps because of that.
Mom’s had a safe year. If nothing else, her life has been comfortable during the pandemic. If she lost anything, it was her schedule of regular activities — which was also her conduit to all human connections. Prior to the pandemic, mom had reasons to leave the house every day, reasons to speak, and reasons to listen.
Two days a week she took exercise classes at the local community center. She also participated with a meditation group at our library. She and I ate lunch out several times a week, and were often invited over to the homes of my clients for lunch or dinner. We regularly walked at Oceanside Harbor, after feeding the seagulls our leftover fish ‘n’ chips. All of those activities were good for her. Then one day, they just disappeared.
Also prior to the pandemic, I took her to one of the local markets every day, put a shopping a car in her hands, and gave her an hour to walk up and down the isles, just to look at things and say hello to the people she saw along the way. It wasn’t exactly step aerobics, but it was daily exercise and socialization — which I had no way to duplicate once the stay-at-home protocol began.
Mom’s loss during the pandemic has been the cognitive and physical stimulation all those activities provided her. Though there’s no way to measure those losses, it’s clear that she’s a different person than she was a year ago. Of course she would have continued to age without COVID, but I suspect her decline wouldn’t have been as steep.
In a month mom will get her second dose of the vaccine, and following proper protocols, I’ll begin taking her to restaurants and markets again, but on a limited basis. I’ll be taking somebody though, who can’t walk as far, who can’t process as well, who can’t remember as much, and who won’t recognize anyone she sees.
My mother will be living with collateral damage from the virus. Her life may have been spared during the pandemic, but her physical and cognitive health have been compromised forever. And everywhere around us, whether we see them or not, there are tens of thousands more just like her. Please keep your eyes and hearts open to them. They’ll need our patience.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 7
Mph Avg: 15.7
Seat Time: 12 hours 07 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Ozomatli. Enjoy…!