Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Life is a big bore right now… because of the variant omicron… its spreading like wild fire so I've had to stop going to the pool 3 times a week, I've stopped socializing with all my friends… we still see our adult children but that is it. Nothing interests me anymore…I'm sick of TV even though we get so many different channels, reading I'm finding it hard to concentrate. I want to do things and not be stuck at home.. im having foot trouble and start physio for tendonitis. So can't even go for walks… i guess I need a new hobby. Im so restless. I just wish I knew when things will get better. We keep getting booster shots but new variants come along so they don't help much.

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Esta semana quería salir a festejar con mi familia un cumpleaños pero decidimos mejor festejar en casa como precaución. Espero que este año la situación del Covid esté mejor para que volvamos a hacer las cosas que nos gustan y que en este momento son riesgosas.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Today is the one year anniversary of my first Pfizer vaccine… and I am finishing day 5 of my covid quarantine. I have lived the last 2 years in fear of getting sick or spreading this virus. I am in healthcare and I am mentally exhausted. Over the past 2 weeks I have had multiple exposures at my work and in my personal life. Last Monday my boyfriend got sick. He tried to isolate but we live in a 700 sqft apartment. By Wednesday night I had an intense headache that I knew was probably Omicron. I called out of work Thursday and scheduled a PCR covid test. It has since been 5 days and still no test results. I am supposed to return to work tomorrow so I spent hours today searching for a home rapid test. Results: positive. In the time it took me to find a test I have fully completed my quarantine period (per updated CDC guidance).

My symptoms were as follows:

Day 0- intensive headache, sore throat, cough, SOV, SpO2 93-98%, max fever 99.8 F

Day 1- Sore throat, cough, short of breath, body aches, chills, fatigue, max fever 101.8 F, SpO2 89-95%

Day 2- Sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, sneezing, max fever 99.5

Day 3- Sneezing,stuffy/runny nose, slight cough

Day 4- sneezing, congestion, cough

Day 5- residual cough

I am grateful to be vaccinated x3. I am a young, active, healthy person with no comorbidities and this was a severe illness for me. Covid guidelines aside, I would have called out sick from work.

Things I am worried about: I am returning to work too early because I still have slight symptoms, lack of sick leave, long covid, reinfection with future variants.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I have to go to work where no one wears masks except me and come home to a family of immuno compromised people, including myself. On top of this, my house may be forclosed due to my family's unemployment during the pandemic, as well as my school suddenly starting remotely with preemptive plans to return in person soon. Everything is unknown and unsettling, nowhere feels safe or structured anymore.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My husband went out to the store twice to get everything we needed. We all woke up early expectant to see my sister and her family who were visiting from out of state. We got the heater going, my son got a bonfire ready, the cider was warm, the hotdogs ready for roasting and my daughter made centerpieces. Everything was in order for a special outdoor "safe" visit. Then the phone call came, their seven year old daughter had a fever and a cough. We put everything back away and went back inside.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

One thing we've done better than in the past is that the names for this disease and the subsequent variants have been memorable but not accusatory

Unlike, say, "Spanish Flu", "Zika", or "Ebola" we've resisted the urge to brand it with the locations or the peoples where this disease was first identified

It helps to have a name like SARS-CoV-2 that doesn't have immediate associations with sectors of the planet

I do see the irony of the latest variant being called Omicron

"Om" used to be a way of channeling a transcendental state

Now it's more like, "OMG"

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Here comes omicron, here comes omicron, coming to your town.

Is anyone else just flat-out tired of this? Just when I think things are getting better, another variant shows up. Once again, we are facing another surge, and we're flying blind. What helped with delta may not work with omicron. Will we have more patients in the hospital as we did with delta? I hope not. That was the absolute worst working situation I have experienced in my 32 years at this hospital. And I can't totally blame this on the unvaccinated because omicron affects all, although those vaccinated and boosted appear to have milder disease.

I feel like I have PTSD. Thinking about another surge makes me anxious.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This photo of empty meat shelves in my local supermarket may be extreme, but all fall we've been noticing shortages of "normal" items in the grocery stores and pharmacies. I had gone into the supermarket to pick up a prescription in the pharmacy department but couldn't help but notice the depleted shelves in the produce, dairy and meat sections. I think the depleted shelves were due to a combination of factors: it was a few days after New Year's; and there was a significant snowfall in our area (which doesn't handle snow well) which led to a 36 hour road closure on Interstate 95 south of us. Plus all the supply chain issues which have become so normal they aren't even news anymore.

Every time I see empty shelves or see the "out of stock" notation when shopping online, I think of the shops in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the long lines that were standard for people in those countries decades ago just to buy staples. Obviously, it isn't that bad here... but honestly, I never expected to see this situation here.

And of course, these supply chain issues are most critically important when it has meant that health care professionals and medical facilities have not had the equipment and resources they need to fight this pandemic. Or when we had to made do with poorly made masks.

Sigh.... it is not a good way to start the new year.... I honestly just wish this -- the coronavirus -- was over.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

After battling a back injury and being off work most of the year I returned to the unit and worked 4 shifts last week. I am a charge nurse in a labor and delivery unit.

It seems like everyone is getting COVId or being exposed. We had several caregivers call out sick or awaiting tests because they were exposed. A patients husband awoke with a headache and not feeling well and he tested positive. We had 3 COVId +patients which is very unusual. It seems like this Omicron variant presents like a cold and is more contagious than others. Or is it that we are in contact with so many more people as it is the Christmas holiday? I just feel bad so many people had to miss family gatherings for the holidays due to COVId because airline workers couldn’t work which meant cancelling flights. Or because they test + themselves. My brother tested + on Christmas Eve. Fortunately he took a test because he said he didn’t feel too bad just tired and had a headache. On top of all that we had a big snowstorm and in seattle that means everything shuts down. So there’s barely any staff working. So many people got exposed and are + so they had to quarantine. Apparently it’s so bad the CDC lowered the quarantine period down to 5 days if you don’t have symptoms. And no test required before returning to work.probably because there aren’t any! This concerns me but also I do think we are all highly likely to get this COVId variant as the vaccine and booster seems to be ineffective. Will be massive opportunity for overtime at work if I’m healthy. My daughter is here from New York so I’m not working this week. Not sure she will have an on time flight home…

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Of course, all my patients are talking about omicron.

They're frightened. Hell, I am too. But, as I've written here before, I'm not able to express my feelings about it, and my thoughts are pretty heavily censored. "Yes, the new variant is concerning. But I'm confident that with our vaccines and boosters, masks, and caution then we'll be safe."

I don't believe most of it, but I have to say that or something quite like it. I have to exude confidence and hope, even when I'm feeling neither.

I'm definitely not feeling either of those. And the suggestion that we might be able to be infected with both Delta and Omicron at the same time is terrifying, that we might be turned into walking virus mutation dishes.

How many people need to die?

Do you have any new or different caregiving responsibilities as a result of the pandemic? If so, talk about what's changed.

My son is two years older than when this started. Developmentally, and just perceptually, it's hard to even parse what's due to the pandemic and what's not. The pandemic is just a basic part of his life, now. It's not an aberration. Grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious, grandma always has patience for you, and there's a deadly virus on the loose so you have to wear a mask and ask people weird questions before you spend any time with them. It's just life, now.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This colorful photo bursts with anticipation. It was taken just moments before our first group Thanksgiving dinner in two years. We were having a small gathering of our son and daughter in law, who got married during Covid, and her parents, who we were meeting for the first time. It was pre-Omicron, and — we’d hoped — post major Covid. Everyone was vaxx’d and boosted. We felt comfortable partaking in a careful, small-group setting. We cooked together, and ate, and shared stories, and laughed. It was simple, and seemed like old times.

Here we are, one month later, facing the bleak winter months in another potential lockdown. We’re not sharing anymore, and can’t invite anyone in, it seems. Dr. Fauci says to stay away. Plans are falling apart. Though we have learned a few things, we’re back to Covid protocols. No hugging. No gathering. No nothing. Ugly masks.

We try to find time every day to walk outdoors in the winter cold. Other than that, we’re inside, on our own, on our devices, conducting lives through phones and mail. Here we go again. How do we attach meaning to sitting indoors? Where do we find beauty? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Do you feel a sense of solidarity with any particular group at this point in the pandemic? If so, which group(s) and why?

I feel a kind of solidarity with other fans of science fiction and fantasy. I’m sitting alone in the kitchen right now, but I know they’re out there, even if I can’t see them or talk to them at the moment. We’re a universal fellowship of literature, across time and geographic location; a fellowship that will go on as long as there are books and people to read them.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Covid feels like it's creeping closer for the first time now since the pandemic started. For the first time, friends who are careful are beginning to get covid. This change is a little scary because now I work with the public, some of them unmasked. Is that a smart decision on my part, or am I just tired of being vigilant? Sometimes I think if I were a single person, I would not have been as vigilant as I am as the member of a family. Anyway, now that my close associates are getting it, I feel more than ever like I want to "win" and not get it.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The pandemic has temporarily taken a back seat to other concerns around here. Right now, the area is just digging out from the biggest snowstorm in two years: a fifty-mile back-up on the Interstate, schools shut down, government workers telecommuting instead of going to the office, etc. At least it’s a diversion from the guessing games we had been playing, which I guess you could call “Covid versus the common cold.” The game consists of wondering if your runny nose and scratchy throat are Covid, or if you just have an ordinary cold. I usually have a couple of colds every winter, and I haven’t yet had any symptoms that have lasted more than a couple of hours; but how can I know that I’m just a harmless carrier of the ordinary cold virus? I don’t want to go to the grocery store and infect some nice old lady with Covid, just because I’ve got an asymptomatic case. Testing isn’t an option: you can’t get tests here for love or money.

However, at the moment, I don’t have to worry about infecting little old ladies at the grocery store, because I’m not going to the grocery store. In fact, I’m not going anywhere. They haven’t finished clearing the streets and the sidewalks yet, and tomorrow, they’re predicting freezing rain.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I have resigned myself that I will never be able to travel again. This is heartbreaking because travel is my favourite thing in the whole wide world. I do not foresee travel being safe ever again.

Do you feel a sense of solidarity with any particular group at this point in the pandemic? If so, which group(s) and why?

Day #625 Haiku in Corona Time

Collective trauma

Pandemic to endemic

Ongoing drama

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I had surgery this week. I am more concerned with potentially catching covid at the hospital than the problem I had surgery for - and that's really saying something because it was a potentially cancerous tumor removal. I live in an area with very high covid rates, and our hospital briefly had an employee vaccine mandate, but recently rescinded it thanks to our governor. I had to have a pcr test to qualify for surgery, but my health care providers did not. That doesn't even make sense.

Logically, the risk could be low, as the surgery staff wears surgical masks, but I was handled by a number of people before and after, and who knows how vigilant they are with their masks when I'm unconcious. It doesn't seem fair that some people are made to be a sacrificial lamb for ignorant people. No one's rights sould ever include making others sick.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This is a picture I took while sitting at the Belfast City airport 6 hours early because the 24 hour PCR test I took was lost by the lab and I had to get to the airport early to pay for another test - this time a rapid antigen. There are no customer service agents around until 2 hours before your flight while several people sit around waiting for their COVID test results.I was struck by the UK’s expediency in getting free tests to people. Little did I know that I would come home to CT and find people indifferent to Omicron - no mask mandate - and no tests to be found!

Additional Material

I found myself standing at this fence wondering if fences are better at keeping things in or keeping things out? And how it parallels so many things these days… do these keep animals or trespassers out? What about masks… can’t breathe air kept in vs keeping germs out… do border walls really stop disease at the border? How does the mind filter the “truth” in while keeping “fake news” out? We clearly need structure and boundaries but where’s the line “ in the land of the free and home of the brave”? …. Are we ever really safe?

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Esta semana ha sido la mejor que he tenido en fechas, me he podido reunir con mi familia y disfrutar de su compañía. Vine a un pueblo natal de vacaciones, en donde el COVID parece estar en recesión. Todos cuidamos la salida fuera de la casa con uso de mascarillas, pero dado que no hay muchas distracciones son pocas las salidas, convivimos mucho en familia y pareciera que estamos regresando a la convivencia familia, es una linda experiencia.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

A few nights ago, my husband and I went to a light show in a nearby park. I think we were the only ones walking around without little kids in tow! But still it was nice to do a "normal" activity that hasn't been changed or modified due to the pandemic. Yes, many people, including all the young children, wore masks (we live in a highly compliant region) but other that it was simply laughter and smiles and enjoyment.

Once again, peoples' plans are being turned upside down by nervousness and anxiety around covid. Everyone and I mean everyone has one or more friends, family member, colleague or neighbor with a break through case of covid. And we are all triple vaxxed, mask-wearing folks! Fortunately, I have not heard of anyone with a serious illness... cases range from barely symptomatic to flu-like and in bed for a few days. But no hospitalizations. So far my immediate family has escaped...but it is beginning to feel like it is a matter of "when" one of us will contract covid, not "if." I just have to hope it will be mild as so many of these cases are now.

I've actually been enjoying this very quiet week, catching up on things around the house. We don't celebrate Christmas and we got to celebrate Hanukah with extended family several weeks ago before Omicron arrived in full force bringing a halt to so many plans. I'm grateful that both my kids are away from their NYC homes this week and enjoying warmer weather and outdoor activities in Florida. Given how loose FL is about masks, I'm surprised to find myself saying this... but they can enjoy themselves more there now than in NYC. My 88 year old father is a bit down in the dumps about Omicron's spread. He has cancelled several "social" plans and that is hard for him. He doesn't ask my advice and I don't give it... he is a cautious person by nature and a worrier. We both know that although he is good health overall, his age alone makes him more likely to get a severe case, should he catch it. So, he prefers to be cautious and not go to a New Year's Eve party.

I may be mistaken but I am hopeful that in a few weeks, the worse of this Omicron variant will be behind us. That is what the news from South Africa seems to indicate. It is a fast moving variant. And hopefully, nothing worse will take its place. Maybe, just maybe, 2022 will be the start to the end of this pandemic. And that gives me hope as we ring in the New Year!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I did not join family last year for Christmas. But this year I flew to the Denver area and spent the holiday with my niece's family. It was 3 days of chaos, as I suspected it would be. Most of that whirled around 1.5 and 4.5 year old girls. They both had nasty coughs. My sister caught that bug, too. But no one tested positive for Covid. So far, I have escaped it.

Last Christmas I joined 2 friends at the dog park. This year my sister and I went to Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. It has some amazing rock formations and the Rocky Mountains form the back drop. That's Pikes Peak in the background of the picture I uploaded. I had hoped to learn more about the role this place played in the lives of the indigenous people who lived in Colorado thousands of years before Europeans arrived. But there was no information available at the park and there is little information online.

All of the "landmarks" have European-centric names like "Kissing Camels," "Balance Rock," and "Cathedral Spires." In fact, it was 2 white men who named the area, thinking it would make a great beer garden. I'm sure the indigenous people who knew these rock formations had names for them.

So, I've made two trips to the Denver area during this pandemic. And now I will make the best of winter and cold and hope the next Covid variant doesn't crash the world. I got my booster shot in August. That gives me 2 more months of what ever protection I have.

By the way, most people I saw in a large grocery store in the Denver area were not wearing masks. How sad.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Omicron

Omicron

Omicron

Tempted to just leave it at that. I was "convinced" to visit my wife's relatives about 750 miles away. Coerced is more accurate. Sat on a train half the day thinking it might, might, be safer than a plane. Probably not, but there wasn't the kind of behavior you read about on planes.

Felt about as calm as cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Now I've got to start seeing patients remotely again. It's exhausting. Merry Christmas?

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Hoje quando acordei não tive vontade de cumprir minhas tarefas do dia, o quarto fechado deixou de ser meu ponto de equilíbrio e paz para se tornar meu pequeno espaço de ansiedade e estudos, eu já estudava em meu quarto, mas por prazer e não de forma compulsória, essa semana e algumas outras a pandemia me paralisou.