Vexations and Conundrums – June 2022

Post-Pandemic Blues

We’ve heard from Dr. Fauci that the “pandemic” phase is behind us, yet COVID cases are still occurring and one more surge could come this summer. I notice I’m still a tad jumpy around large crowds, where I grab my security mask, just to feel more protected. This reentry is not what I envisioned. I dreamed of a hard end to the plague and global celebrations akin to Mardi Gras.

The reality is more brutal. First, we had to go to every medical checkup which had been postponed for over two years.

I’d noticed a floating black spot in my vision. I thought it was a fruit fly, and I’d try swatting it away. I looked loopy to an observer, as I waved at nothing. Finally I realized the spot moved when my eyes moved. The optometrist saw a large floater, which I will soon get a second opinion on, as it may require retinal surgery.

The dermatologist in Ajijic told me there was a dramatic increase in diagnosed cancers because people had not received medical checks during the pandemic. I had a small skin cancer removed, proving her point. I remarked that I’d watched the spot change during the pandemic, and she explained that “evolution” is a key marker of trouble in dermatology. When skin marks change, head to your dermatologist, the sooner the better.

Diligence on dental care throughout isolation helped on this front. Our dental experience was much more positive. No issues. However, I know others who have had to have major, expensive procedures after the pandemic. 

Postponing routine medical visits can have dire consequences. My stepson knew someone who delayed going in for medical treatment due to COVID fear. This individual is no longer with us. He succumbed to a different disease. This anecdote is a motivating factor for me to plan for other checkups.

These examples don’t even address those whom we lost to the pandemic. Almost everyone can share the loss of at least one friend or family member to COVID. The pangs of grief for those who are gone hits at the strangest times, and often. A simple reminder and being unable to call an individual to talk anymore, results in a heavy, homesick feeling.

A family member who is a psychologist shared that there are increased mental effects from COVID. Heightened anxiety is one issue.  Long COVID can have brain fog as an effect. I have my moments of forgetfulness without brain fog! I am grateful to be vaccinated, as this supposedly helps prevent Long COVID.

So how are we to deal with this aftermath? One online workshop I attended recommended participating in activities which are not compatible with depression (Source, Lewinsohn and Graf, (1973) Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.)

We need to walk outside in fresh air (Jane Goodall is a proponent of “forest bathing,” which involves sitting in the woods, in the company of trees.) Music and friends are antidotes to dark moods. People watching is good too. The people sitting down on the malecon watching everyone’s activities are on to something.

Animal watching in the wild is a healthy activity. The bird watchers in the village are exercising positivity.

Planning peace and quiet and spare time are considered beneficial. How delightful that some lazy activities are good for us!

I think I’ll go and play some of my favorite ’70s music, which always seems to transport me to a happier, more carefree time.

June 2022 Issue

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Katina Pontikes
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