Miserable day out during pandemic


Unfortunately I had to go out today to get some stuff before hunkering down for the duration of the quarantine. I didn’t want to go out, but stupid No Frills caused me so many problems that I kept having to go back several times this week. In fact, I’ve been out more times this week (during the pandemic) than I have for the past three months. Damn No Frills. 😒

A couple of days ago, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in town more than doubled in the past two days (from 5 to 11), and the mayor declared a state of emergency (though from what I’ve heard, it seems to be more about unlocking the emergency-funds loot-box access than anything else).

The strange thing is that despite the pandemic, there were still plenty of people out and about today, and not just out getting supplies, even just out for the joy of it. Maybe it was because it was a nice, warm, sunny day, or maybe it was because people are just dumb. It’s most likely the latter. ¬_¬

Free food?

When I got to the first bus-stop, I found a container of CoffeeMate on top of the garbage-can next to the bus stop. It was new and sealed, so I figured I’d take it. I like creamer in coffee and it’s almost $5 in store. 🤷 (Of course, it meant that I now had some extra baggage for my trip.)

Taking the bus during a pandemic

The 16 eventually came and I got on. When the pandemic started, the LTC made a change to segregate the bus, reserving the front third for the elderly and those with special-needs/prams; everyone else has to get on and off from the read door, so they aren’t collecting fare until the end of the month (yes, that means free bus rides… if you’re willing to sit in a sardine-can with possibly sick people). There were a few people on the bus during my trip, but fortunately, they kept sitting near the door, so there wasn’t really anyone near the seats at the back where I was sitting.

First stop: getting a key

I got off the bus and went to Home Hardware to use a coupon for a free key duplication which came at a good time because the stupid co-op wasted lots of money changing the front doors a couple of months ago for no reason whatsoever. 😒 While I waited for an employee, I mused at the sign saying that if customers look like they’re sick, they’ll be asked to leave. An old guy came and copied the key for me and took the coupon instead of sending me to the cashier, so I didn’t get a receipt in case the key doesn’t work (it did work, but I still needed the receipt to fill out a survey for a chance to win something). I thought it was odd that the old guy was working during a pandemic that kills old people. Before I left, I imagined being rich and how I’d ask him how much he makes and give him enough cash to cover a few days of work and tell him to stay home. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of money. :-\

Wrong bus 🤦

Google Maps said to get on the 27 across the street from Shopper’s Drug-Mart, so I crossed the street and waited at the stop for the 27. It eventually came after 25 minutes. I got on and again, sat at the back seat. Moments later we drove past another 27 coming the other way. I realized I was on the right bus, but from the wrong side of the street.

The 27 went the complete opposite way I wanted to go. I wasted an hour because I didn’t see the stop on the other side of the street (which was also a little bit down the road, not just directly across the street), and also because my social-anxiety-disorder prevents me from drawing attention to myself, by for example, jumping up and pulling the cord to get off a stop or two away.

In the meantime, a bunch of people got on the bus in that extra hour and potentially exposed me to covid19 for nothing. Worse, because of my social-anxiety disorder, I kept worrying that the driver noticed that I was still on the bus and assuming I was going for a joy-ride during the pandemic.

Stereotypes exist for a reason

A day or two earlier, I had checked the websites for UWO and Fanshawe College and saw that both had been closed to staff and students and lessons were moved online. The only ones that should still be on campus anymore were only students who were not able to return home, and even then, they should only be in their dorms, not actually on campus, certainly not in classes. And yet, when we drove through UWO on one side of the route and near Fanshawe on the other end side, there were still a bunch of students coming and going. I couldn’t help but notice that all of them were either Chinese or Indian, every one of them. They were going to school, during a pandemic, on a Saturday, while the school was closed and locked down. They really leaned into the stereotypes. ¬_¬ Stupid young students exposing the town to a virus so that they can get in a few extra brownie points. 😒 But then, I guess they have to do that as part of their plan…

Perhaps not surprisingly, I also noticed that only the Chinese students were wearing masks while everybody was not. That’s been a pattern in general around the world and I’ve even seen some videos on YouTube that discussed it.

S.A.D. is crippling

Eventually, the bus got back to where I started, across from Shopper’s. From that point, it took only eight minutes to reach No-Frills. An eight-minute trip took 63 minutes for nothing; 55 minutes wasted for nothing. My SAD has caused countless problems in my life, and this was just the latest one.

I went to No-Frills, but first, I had to do something with the bottle of CoffeeMate. I figured I couldn’t just bring it in with me; that’s the reason I hate shopping by bus, because it means you can only go to one store, you can’t go in with bags full of purchases from another store. I thought about it the whole hour that I was on the bus. I figured I’d hide it somewhere and pick it up after I was done at No-Frills. I kept picturing the mall and trying to think of where I could hide it. I thought I could hide it somewhere outside of the mall, in the back, but when I got there, there were a surprising number of people around the mall and I didn’t feel comfortable walking around back, I assumed people would think it’s weird (I tend to overthink and assume a lot of things).

Instead, I went inside and towards the back of the mall. I considered going downstairs to see if there’s anywhere good I could stash it, but instead, I went to the bathroom. I washed my hands from the bus, and hid the bottle of creamer behind the garbage can. Yeah. 😐

No-Frills almost wasn’t horrible… for once ¬_¬

I then went to No-Frills and began my last shopping. I saw a girl there that looked familiar and I realized it was Makayla from one of the Meetup groups I’m in. She was at the check-out with her grandmother and left, and I realized that it had been four months since that meet-up, or in fact, any meet-up, and now, it would be months before another one. It was depressing because as much as my SAD makes me dislike being around other people, I was actually looking forward to the end of winter bringing new meet-ups and going out and re-connecting with the world (even if it means sitting quietly and slipping out as soon as it’s over). I feel like the world got screwed with this pandemic which happened just as a way to screw with me. ¬_¬

Anyway, I got almost all of the stuff I wanted to get for once, which was weird because for a few months before the pandemic, every time I went to No-Frills, the shelves were half-empty and they were always sold out of whatever items that were on sale that I went there to get, regardless of the time or day. I assume the only reason I was able to get the stuff I went there fore was because fewer people were shopping. That’s the bright side of this quarantine. (Though I wasn’t able to get any mayonnaise because it was all gone.)

Most importantly, I was able to use my voucher for chocolate-milk. A month or two earlier, I had gotten a 4L bag of chocolate-milk that was on sale for the same price as regular milk. After two or three days, it started to smell like a hospital (a bizarre thing that I’ve noticed with chocolate-milk in the past few years; it didn’t used to do that before). It’s hard to describe, but it the smell really does remind me of a hospital, be it bandages or gauze or antiseptic or whatever, it’s definite the smell of “hospital”. Worse, just a few more days after that, it started to taste like formaldehyde (not that I’ve tasted formaldehyde, but I have smelled it while doing fetal-pig dissection in high-school, and the smell and taste of the chocolate-milk reminded me of that). It was so bad, that even holding my nose didn’t work and I nearly threw up the last time I tried to drink it. It wasn’t even past the best-before date (let alone the expiry date, which few manufacturers bother putting on anymore). I complained about it (and asked why it’s like that now) and they sent me a voucher to get a replacement. (I specifically told them in the message that I was put off by it and afraid to get chocolate-milk now, I didn’t trust it anymore, so what good is a replacement voucher? 🤦 I guess that was the point, they could “do right” by me without it actually costing them anything. Well, I got a new bag anyway. (Update:I finished it without it smelling bad.) I didn’t however get a chance to use the coupon for sour-cream/cottage-cheese because they didn’t carry the brand the coupon was for. 🤷

I got my groceries and checked out. As I was bagging my stuff, I noticed there were two receipts left on the conveyor belt. I figured if whomever(s? 🤔) left them there didn’t want them, I’d take them so that I could do the surveys and use the codes on them to get a couple of extra chances to win some money/PC points. 🤷 (Unfortunately, when I got home, one of them was missing. Somehow it disappeared. 😕)

I then went back to the bathroom and grabbed the bottle of CoffeeMate which was still there (there had been at least one or two people who used the bathroom in the meantime, so it wasn’t a certainty that it was still there—but then, even if someone did see it, they probably didn’t want bathroom-creamer 😀).

Yes pain, no gain

Walking from No-Frills to the bus-stop was surprisingly uncomfortable. I’ve been lifting weights for a while, so I should have plenty of muscle-power, but the four bags of not-that-heavy groceries was killing me, particularly my shoulders. The problem was no the weight, but rather their volume; they were large enough that I couldn’t walk naturally while holding them at my side because they’d keep bumping into my legs, so I had to hold them out to the side which was hell on my shoulders. (Another reason I hate shopping by bus; you can only get two bags. 😒)

F the LTC, yeah, you know me 😒

I waited at the bus stop for 25 minutes. Because my schedule was ruined from the 55-minute mess, I had no idea when the next bus was coming, so it felt a lot longer. Fortunately, it was sunny and not too cold.

After the bus came, I got on and took the earphone out of one of my ears to make sure I could hear the stops so that I could ensure I got off at the right stop. I needed to get off the 25 and walk across the street and down the street and wait at a different stop for the 34 so that I could go home. It used to only take a single bus to go from very close to my house to No-Frills and back, but the stupid, idiotic, piece of garbage LTC changed the routes and schedules last year to accommodate the stupid, idiotic, piece of garbage students who pay $80 for an 8-month bus-pass then leave at the expense of residents who pay $81 per month all year round. Now, it takes two buses, twice as long, and a lot more walking and standing and waiting to get there and back, which is worst in the winter. (And now, I can’t even get the car documents and stuff sorted out so that I can drive, because everything is locked down. :-|)

So I got to the bus-stop at Glenora and crossed the street and waited for the 34. After 25 more minutes, the 25 came and I got on out of habit (like I said, I always used to take the 25 before). Once we passed the street that I was expecting to turn into, I realized I was on the wrong bus, and pulled the cord and got out.

This was at least two stops past the street I needed to catch the 34 on, and since it was out in the middle of nowhere, the stops were very far apart. There was no way I’d be able to walk all that way while carrying those bags of groceries. I gave up and waited for the 25 to take me back in the right direction, towards home (the 34 eventually showed up back at the other stop where I had been, far off in the distance).

While I waited for the 25, I decided to screw the 34 and just take the 25 to Adelaide and walk the extra 15 minutes to get home instead of waiting another 40 minutes for the next 34 to take me to a stop that’s a 5-minute walk from home.

So I waited for the 25. And waited. And waited. Two 25’s came by in the other direction (three if you count the one I was on) before the one in my direction finally came 40 minute later. What the actual hell‽ 🤨 How is that that three buses came in that direction on that route before a single one came in this direction? It makes no sense. The LTC is a friggin’ mess, and they can’t blame it on the pandemic, they’re always like this. 😒 Worse, it was past 5pm at this point, the sun was dipping in the sky, and it was windy. I was freezing by this point.

Eventually the 25 came and I stayed on it. I got off at Adelaide and started walking home. I figured I’d make up for the extra walking by getting a lottery ticket from Rexall on my way home. But, when I got to Rexall, it was closed. There was a note on the door saying that they’ve changed their hours due to the pandemic and were now closing at 6pm on Saturdays. It was 6:05pm. 🤦

The lottery ticket; or, making the least-worst of a worse situation

Despondent, frustrated, and angry, I walked the rest of the home. I still didn’t feel relaxed and ready to start the lock-in because the having to go out the next day to get the lottery ticket still weighed on my shoulders. I considered that maybe Sobey’s was still open so I could get the ticket there, but I thought that if it weren’t, then I’d be wasting another 10 minutes to walk there and back for nothing. But, as always, I figured that even if they’re closed, walking there and back wouldn’t be for nothing, it would be exercise. I have a tendency to dismiss things like that by chalking it up as forced exercise, which is good because it makes it less frustrating when I have to walk around and waste time, but also because voluntary exercise is difficult, so forced exercise like this isn’t unwelcome. I left the grocery bags on the floor and went to Sobey’s. They were open. I got the ticket.

As I was about to leave, I looked at the receipt and noticed it said $13 for alcohol. 🤨 I mentioned it and she gave me the correct receipt. I’ll be generous and chalk it up to the pandemic rather than general sloppiness. 🤷

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

I got home and put the groceries away.

I made myself a nice hot cup of coffee and relaxed, finally having gotten everything and done everything I had to do in order to hunker down for the pandemic. Finally. (Except I still hadn’t used the sour-cream coupon… ¬_¬ I realized I could have gotten the sour-cream from Sobey’s or Rexall, so I still have to go out on Sunday. 😕 Motherf-)

Anyway, I didn’t go on Sunday and won’t go on Monday or anytime soon; I don’t need it right now, and the coupon is good for 2.2 more months.

(Update: I later ended up going to Rexall to get my prescription and they didn’t have that brand, and went to Sobey’s as well to get milk (I don’t trust Rexall’s milk anymore after what happened a couple of months ago), and they didn’t have it either. I’m not sure if I can use the coupon at all; the only chance is if either Food Basics or Freshco happen to have a brand of cottage-cheese/sour-cream that the voucher covers, but I’m definitely not going to those anytime in the foreseeable future. 🤷)

Finally done

It’s time to finally unwind and try to make the most of being shut-in.

(Update: unfortunately, between having to watch YouTube videos literally from morning to night, and TV shows, I’m not actually feeling any different during the lock-down than any other time, so it feels wasted to me. :-\)

My not–Covid-19 cleared up!

One of the side-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is that whenever anyone has any sort of issue, they can’t help but immediately assume the worst and jump to conclusions that they have contracted Covid-19. It’s just part of the paranoia that the pandemic has unleashed. The paranoia is so strong that it even affected me.

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, my alarm clock went off, so I hit the snooze and rolled over to stay in bed for nine more minutes (for some reason, my alarm clock’s snooze is set to nine minutes 🤔). As soon as I rolled over, I was washed over with a wave of horrible dizziness. I felt like the world was spinning and felt horribly nauseous.

Over the next week, I did some research and determined that:

  • It’s definitely not Covid-19 because dizziness, which I had, is not one of its symptoms, and conversely, I did not have either of the two key symptoms (fever and cough) that Covid-19 does have (if anything, I was ~0.5°C below normal—not low enough to be a concern, but still, clearly not a fever)
  • It’s one of three things. It could be an inner-ear infection, a sinus infection, or BPPV. I did the Dix–Hallpike test and it was absolutely positive; doing the move resulted in extreme dizziness and my eyes jumping all over the place, trying to get a fix on the world as it spun (in my case, the nystagmus was vertical instead of horizontal).

BPPV is really nasty. Imagine spinning around in a circle for a couple of minutes, then stopping. That sense of dizziness, nausea and vomiting, falling over, and inability to see because it looks like the world is spinning around you is the same vertigo that people with BPPV have, all the time. Imagine feeling like that all the time; it’s excruciating, and arguably worse than having chronic physical pain. 😵 🤢 🤮

The typical onset of BPPV is from 50-70 years old, but with my luck, it makes sense that I would get it early. Worse, the condition usually clears up after a few days to months, and may recur for some people. Again, with my luck, I fully expected it to last months and recur, if not just be a permanent thing I have to suffer with.

I wasn’t sure it was BPPV or an infection. Even with the Dix-Hallpike test, the only way to diagnose it, is to perform a differential-diagnosis to rule out other causes like an infection, which I couldn’t do. I considered going to the hospital to have them check, but with the pandemic, I knew that if I went, I would likely end up having to wait for many hours in the waiting room before being seen, and also increase my chances of contracting Covid-19, so I didn’t want to go. (To make things worse, the longer I avoided going, the more the ER would fill up and the more Covid-19 patients would end up there.) But, like I said, with my luck…

There are a few maneuvers and exercises that are supposed to help with BPPV, but they actually trigger the dizziness and nausea, so they were very undesirable and I kept delaying them as long as I could when I tried doing them. It’s as though a treatment for the pain of a broken arm is to punch the broken arm and cause it to hurt. 😕 Regardless, they didn’t work and I still had the condition.

I held out hope that maybe it was just an infection (preferably sinus over inner-ear since that’s easier to resolve, with fewer side-effects, and also, I did feel a pressure behind my nose and eyes, so it was a possibility). I ate a lot of onions and garlic and citrus and hugged a hot-water-bottle, huffed Vic’s VapoRub (I love that stuff, it’s so refreshing; I’m baffled that some people don’t like it 🤨), and pretty much every other home-remedy you can do for a cold/flu/infection/etc. in the hopes of clearing it up sooner.

Unfortunately, after 4-6 days, I was starting to lose hope of it clearing up and starting to worry that it was going to be chronic. I tried my best to avoid moving at all because any movement could trigger it, but even just stretching could cause it (that’s actually what caused one of the early episodes that caused me to really worry).

Every now and then, it would feel like it was over because I hadn’t felt dizzy in a while, and I crossed my fingers and hoped it was cleared up, but when I tested, it was still there. :-\

On Friday, March 20th, sometime in the afternoon, I felt like it had been a while (several hours) without an episode, so I cautiously did a test, and… nothing. I assumed I was too cautious and didn’t trigger it, so I tried again, and still nothing. I tried to convince myself that it was over, but I was too scared to believe it. But, it turned out to be true. It was over, it wasn’t happening anymore. After 6.5 days of agony, it really was over.

(Update: Whatever the condition was, it’s been over for two weeks now, and I’m desperately hoping it doesn’t return. The strange thing is that it’s been two weeks already but it doesn’t feel like it, and also, I already started taking for granted living without the horrible symptoms very soon after it cleared up instead of really enjoying being healthy and not miserable. 😕 I guess that’s normal; people who have near-death experiences say they feel changed and want to make the most of life, but that never lasts long, they go back to normal life pretty quickly. :-|)