Since “safer at home” became our new normal, there have been many nights over the dinner table with Johnnie’s Dad, John, when, along with prayers for health care workers, first responders, friends & family, one of us would comment on how lucky we were that the planets aligned and two lengthy hospital stays were behind us.
A little backstory is probably in order.
Since before Thanksgiving of 2019, much of our weekly calendar was filled with medical entries. John’s health had been declining while we were at our Panama City Beach home and, from the time we returned to Chicago for the holidays and continuing as we segued into 2020, hospital stays and visits to the ER became a part of our regular routine. While we won’t go into specifics, suffice it to say that, good doctors & nurses plus, our own attention to detail, resulted in a FAR better outcome than the initial prognosis had suggested. Following the second hospital stay, a 6 week admission to a step-down facility had the desired result and John, feeling and looking better than he had in quite a long time, was given the OK to return home.
If you heard us on WGN radio during this period of time, it was only because family and “extended-family” friends were at our house making sure Johnnie’s Dad was OK … and he really wanted to hear us on the radio.
It wasn’t long after this welcome homecoming that the COVID-19 outbreak went from a news story to the daily pandemic headline story and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay-at-home” order for the entire state.
Given John’s much better, but still recovering, condition there was no doubt that he should follow the Governor’s orders. Adding to that the reality of the number of turns around the sun that all three of us have experienced and the on-going health issues the two of us have documented in previous blog posts, we’ve taken that “stay-at-home” order very seriously, too.
The seriousness of the situation, sadly, went from news headlines to personal experience as two of our next door neighbors became part of the story when they became victims of this horrible pandemic. Their deaths left a hole in our hearts for two gentle people who had been dear friends for the better part of 30 years.
Like most of you, we’ve experienced a sea change of emotions as this new normal settled in.
With the exception of three grocery store excursions and one “safe-distanced” Easter dinner drop-off for family, we have been, and will continue to stay, safe inside for the duration.
This is the part where we share the lucky reality of our own, wonderful, “U. N.” … unselfish neighbors. Without any prompting from us, some of our neighbors, knowing that all three of us fell in to the higher risk category, asked and ultimately insisted that they be allowed to make those weekly grocery store visits for us.
It is germane to this blog post to mention that, over the years we’ve been in this location, our neighborhood has, indeed, become a sort of mini-United Nations. Japanese, Chinese, Iranian, Greek, Croatian, Hispanic and Serbian are just some of the nationalities that populate our block. We’re not just saying this but, over the past several years, as the neighborhood has changed, we’ve frequently commented to each other that we just may have some of the best neighbors we’ve ever had.
When THIS is over … and that day WILL come … please bear with us. We’ll try not to make too much noise, but we plan on having a seriously big patio party to say thank you to our own “U. N.”
In the meantime, please join us in staying “safer at home” … and don’t forget to wash your hands.