My wife Amy spends this Saturday, March 28th, 2020, in isolation in a hospital room in Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
No, she is not suffering from COVID-19, the coronavirus that has killed 14 people in Virginia, 1,704 in the United States or 28,238 worldwide as this is written at 7:35 a.m. She is recovering from neurosurgery Friday and the isolation comes from new rules about protecting patients at the hospital.
I kissed her and wished her good luck shortly before 7 a.m. Friday as they wheeled out the prep area to the operating room and haven’t been allowed to see her since. Her surgery went well, her doctor says, while Amy and I are allowed to talk by phone as she recovers. Hopefully, we will see each other early next week when she is released and I can bring her home.
The house we share with our pets feels empty this morning without my wife of 40+ years here but living with a sense of loneliness is part of the new way in a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic.
America is now the most infected nation in the world with COVID-10. More than 28,000 have died from the virus and the death toll is expected to be in the millions before this pandemic eases. To date, no one in Floyd County has tested positive, but infectees close in from Roanoke, Franklin and Patrick Counties as well as Radford and Blacksburg.
Gov. Ralph Northam, along with Senate and House representatives from Virginia, has asked the federal government for help in funding operations by the National Guard.
Northam activated the Guard, which is normal in times of a state where an emergency is declared but has not deployed it yet. He says the primary use of the Guard will be to help in dispensing supplies, equipment, and help at hospitals.
While I waited at Roanoke Memorial Friday for word on Amy’s surgery, a staff member told me that a Botetourt woman in her 60s was the only patient in the facility there. She is in critical condition. Others have been treated at the hospital but are recovering in “self-quarantine” at their homes.
Most of us now live in self-quarantine conditions at home. The only time I go out now to pick up groceries or, sometimes, prepared food at restaurants that can only serve in takeout or drive-through conditions.
A group of friends who normally gather for breakfast and/or coffee on mornings is on hold. As a contract reporter for The Floyd Press, my primary work in April is normally photographing high school sports, which are cancelled along with school for the rest of this term, and Circuit Court, which was cancelled for the month of April.
Court is scheduled to resume on April 7 unless the 21-day hold imposed by the State Supremes is renewed. If it is held, the hearings will most likely be limited to judges, lawyers and court personnel, along with defendants and members of the press.
Time will tell. This is a new time, a different time and one that we may be living with for a long time.