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USA, Florida, West Palm Beach - Wendy March 19, 2020


Wendy
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Hello all my dear TLEers.  I've been wanting to check in but haven't even had a chance to properly read the information here.  I hope you will read this because I'd love some feedback as I have to make some decisions.

 

As some of you know, I work as a personal chef.  All but one of my clients are elderly and sought me out initially because of serious health problems and their inability to cook for themselves.  Most I've been with 3-4 years, and there is love between us.

 

In the past week or so I've had to shop almost daily, trying to get the items I need to for them and also stocking up for myself, which I hadn't done. Before last weekend, every attempt to get emergency stockpiles of food resulted in me standing in front of then well stocked shelves, paralyzed with not knowing what I wanted.  Over the past week I've bought some extra stuff for me and my clients every time. 

 

Before, I was cooking in my clients' homes and as of this week determined that was just too risky for them and so am cooking at home and delivering.  I now have crates stacked in my kitchen with all their different stuff.  I literally do not have room for one more item in my fridge or freezer and my pantry is overflowing. 

 

Last night I had a wave of terror about infecting my clients and realized I need to self-quarantine and it is filling me with despair.  They are already asking me to do extra shopping for them because they can't get Instacart or Prime deliveries because theyr'e so backed up.  Also most of them get service every other week and eat out a lot, so now a couple have asked if I can do weekly.  So while I am grateful I'm not a restaurant worker  just getting laid off, I'm finding myself overwhelmed.

 

I am thinking of starting self-quarantine next week and making some soups and casseroles people can put in their freezers before then, and while I am not out on the front lines every day I can develop a new model that's sustainable for me.  I'm thinking of shopping once a week and people get what they get.  I figure as food shortages continue they'll be grateful and be less picky, but it will require substantial planning since every single one has different needs and desires.  And I can't plan when I am under non-stop stress trying to continue current service under the current conditions. 

 

I'm also wondering if I should delay my quarantine a week, basically waiting for conditions here to get worse. 

 

So that's where I'm at.  I'm feeling incredibly privileged that I have a small amount of savings and just happen to be doing something that I imagine will only increase in demand, even though being a first responder is not what I signed up for!.  I feel like I have a really strong immune system and rarely get sick but at this point WHO THE FUCK KNOWS?  I'm 60 and probably exposing myself on a daily basis.  Maybe I'm already a carrier.

 

I'm finding myself today just filled with despair over these decisions.  I am so torn over needing to temporarily abandon people who need me.  And on the other hand they have way more resources than I do so why do I feel so much that I'm abandoning them?  Also interesting that all this is taking place just when I finally have gotten to where I could support myself on my income after so many years.  I'm finding the money worries to be the least of it now.

 

Oh and on top of everything my computer totally died this week and I'm on an old back up which is sucking so badly so have to get a new one and take all the time to set it up anew.  I can't be this isolated without this lifeline!  And I'm incredibly grateful I have the resources to get a new computer.

 

Love and thanks to you all.

 

💞💞💞

 

UPDATE:  Today is day 3 of my sheltering in place.  I feel really down today after hearing that someone I once knew quite well has been very ill with Covid-19 for the past week in NJ.  She is not hospitalized so breathing on her own but is in pretty bad shape.  She is my age or a year or so younger, and someone who takes extremely good care of herself. 

 

I'm really surprised at how long it is taking me to get centered after my couple weeks of running around.  I'm mostly okay but not really reaching out to anyone yet, and I have a pretty long list of people I want and need to contact, and I haven't started any of my projects.  I'm super grateful that my pool is still open and I can be outside there.  It's weird to have to add a bleach spray to my pool bag but in the greater scheme of things I'm feeling extremely grateful that things are not worse for me! 

 

 

Edited by Wendy
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Wendy, I'm so sorry for the immense stress you're going through. I don't have any genius solutions besides putting your physical and emotional health first, even if that means you must "abandon" clients temporarily. Just pay attention to your intuition if you can find the stillness to listen to it now and then. I do think Florida is going to get hit big time (think Italy) since there are many elderly  and so many spring breakers are STILL hanging out at the beach. The level of denial is infuriating. I am guessing that you have a small window before it gets really bad. I like your idea of freezable meals going out to your clients when you need to hunker down for awhile. 

 

My heart goes out to you and best of luck!

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Wendy, I am saddened to read about the stress you are going through. I am not certain how to help but I wanted to mention I do care about you. I am glad you were able to get some food reserves in place. I would not beat yourself up over the choices you have had to make. Sometimes there is not a good solution available. You just do the best you can with the options you have available to you which from what you wrote, you are already doing. Like Heidi suggested, trust your intuition.

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1 hour ago, Wendy said:

I'm finding myself today just filled with despair over these decisions.  I am so torn over needing to temporarily abandon people who need me.  And on the other hand they have way more resources than I do so why do I feel so much that I'm abandoning them?

 

You are a Priest-cast Warrior with the Goal of Submission highlighted this year, that's why... and you care, deeply. I would find a calm moment, breathe in and out slowly and deeply, and then listen to Essence. The answers are there, waiting. Repeat regularly and often to reduce the noise. None of us can hear very much, clearly, when we are stressed and panicked. Much love to you. 💞

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I just contacted 2 of my clients.  My one client who is my age and is now taking care of her grand kids instead of working at the family business was totally understanding and was basically like, whatever you can do is great and we will work it out, take care of yourself.  Another one I asked to consider what I could bring to her in preparation for my quarantine was really difficult, saying she doesn't want to eat casseroles and why can't I get her the milk she wants?  She is afraid to order from Instacart which has a 5+ day wait and I brought her groceries yesterday.  She doesn't seem to comprehend that I can only store a limited amount of refrigerated items on top of the foods I am using to prepare meals for them.  It really is disheartening and I had to explain to her that we are all likely going to have to just eat what we can find, regardless of what we prefer.  Sheesh! 

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Just now, Wendy said:

Thank you for the support @Heidi, @Jeroen @Maureen.  I meant to put in the other post.

 

I'm really hoping I don't sound whiny as I work this out.  I am well aware that so many are so much worse off!

 

LOL!!! You don't sound whiny at all. You sound concerned and stressed and loving and kind. I see you as being proactive and caring... for others and for yourself. Remember this -- No matter the question, the answer is always love. 

 

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@Wendy, so you have decided to prepare your customers meals in your own home. In NZ when this happens you have to get a 

certificate of hygiene to use your own home as a business.  And there is a pandemic happening, and your own home is where you will probably get sick in, and recover in.The food for your customers is stored in your home. The food might have Covid-19 contamination (package surfaces, fruit and vege surfaces) on it already from community transmission from people infected with Covid-19 who used the supermarket, already, but there is no way of knowing. If you contract Covid-19 and have a mild case excluding sepsis, respiratory failure and multiorgan failure,  you may contaminate the food you have stored in your home. 

 

Every time you get the combination of a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath if you can afford it, get tested and cease work until you have clearance of Covid-19. This will mean that you keep your health, and if you communicate the same to your customers (who will hopefully respect your safety, professional integrity, and preventative transmission measures, stay with you as your customer), and you won't have the moral distress of inadvertently contaminating the food with Covid-19 for your customers and contributing to their already plentiful burden of existing comorbid elderly conditions. 

 

I take it that you will be buying in bulk for your customers, but your food turnover for your customers will also be quite quick too. You will never know without swabbing the food that you buy, whether or not the food that you bring into your home, is contaminated with Covid-19. I went supermarket shopping yesterday after it was announced that there are 2 new local Covid-19 patients (again NZers returning to NZ from overseas, so far no notification of community transmission of Covid-19 so far), and there were so many people there, it was to use a NZ expression for fisticuffs, "Handbags and elbows". 

 

I feel your moral distress, this isn't at all easy. That you post this here and share it means that you care so much for your customers, who as you mentioned, are elderly, and they will have existing conditions that make them more susceptible to infections, to being immunocompromised. And the US govt is in denial. Systematically the US govt is not handling Covid-19 well, so already, with community transmission of Covid-19 present in the US, acknowledge that you are not in control of much. You can only take responsibility for your hygiene, how you respond to breaches in your hygiene, and the hygiene of your food preparation, your handling hygiene when your prepared food is delivered to your customers. That is all that you can take responsibility for. 

 

One doesn't know one has this disease until you start to get symptoms. We are all in this situation of not knowing Wendy, until we know. I am not being negligent either in acknowledging, that your customers, and your food suppliers, will have many situations that occur in normal life where their hygiene is challenged. We are not ONLY in that reality anymore, there is community transmission of Covid-19, there are multiple opportunities for your customers to enable community transmission in their everyday life, outside of your interaction with them. Your interaction with your customers and the hygiene standard that you provide your customers food with, might be exemplary. And then the customers might invite community transmission of Covid-19 with something that they do. You can only be responsible for your own practice, and your own hygiene standards. Yours seem fairly sound. 

 

You care and that means a lot.

Edited by AnnaD
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32 minutes ago, Wendy said:

and why can't I get her the milk she wants?

 

...because you might also get her a virus she doesn't want? Geesh, indeed 🙂

Take care of you first and then see what you can do for those who are willing to compromise so you can stay safe and help keep them safe.

You're not whiny. We're all in a mess now and it's, well, messy!

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Hi @Wendy you asked for feedback, after reading over and over again your post, this is what I would take into consideration:

 

Are you clear about your legal position? If not, get it, and use it as a help in your decision making. Some people who have received help in a crisis, after a crisis is over, aren't that nice anymore.

 

Abandonment for me is when a persons life is on the line, and I would be the only person of help and rescue and deny that help.

 

You said: Last night I had a wave of terror about infecting my clients and realized I need to self-quarantine and it is filling me with despair. 

I understand your despair.......

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@Wendy and @petra, yes please listen to Petra re seeking legal advice. I forgot that you are talking about AmurriKKKa and the real threat of "Suing" and "Being sued" - which is real please let it guide you.

I forgot that this is what your society is about. That concept is thankfully non-existent as regards healthcare, and life in general, in NZ. Different ways of managing. This adds a whole other level to this.

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@petra and @AnnaD seriously rethinking all this now.  I've been in the food service industry my whole adult life and have been responsible for the safety of probably hundreds of thousands of people over the years.  I know a lot about sanitation and food safety.  That being said...I had not really considered the legal liability here.  I am insured to work in clients' homes and that's it.  Anything other than that is considered catering and you need to be in a commercial kitchen and licensed.   Although I am very concerned about my economic survival, my main motivation has been to care for my clients who are expressing such need.  And I was aware of that need even before they were because I know them and I care.  I actually never considered the possibility that they would sue me and it's not likely but guess I need to be aware that it is possible.  Though I have also heard that can't happen when it's a pandemic.

 

I imagine if this does continue as it looks like it will, I will end up working at some mass feeding place.

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@Wendy, can you afford to seek legal advice regarding liability for this, given your government already has only recently decided to attempt to control it? 

 

I am not a lawyer, and I don't know what likely scenarios within an American law system, are likely to arise, for providing food to customers who want and need food, in an already uncontrolled pandemic... I have no doubt your food hygiene is high from years of experience. I am only giving you my point of view on it (nursing), not any other scope which might eclipse my concerns...

 

Can anyone advise here?

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@Wendy Just know that I care about You, the situation you are in, is a tearing apart thing, I feel torn apart in thinking about it all day long, and yes it flat out sucks, now that you are finally established in being your own enterprise, this hell brakes loose. I would like to be of more help to you, I know you are committed to your clients, the loyalty of a Warrior is wondrous and not understood well. I just wanted kind of make you aware to not get into a situation you haven't thought of yet, set things straight, and not to expose yourself, nor others into unnecessary dangerous. 

Please still imagine something possible that is more your style, than ending up in a mass thing.

Be well, rest enough, feel loved!

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Thank you @petra.  Your words made me cry...yay!  😂  Thank you for caring.

 

I'm realizing a part of me is kinda feeling a little excited that now is a time I can really help, really matter.  Is that wrong?  I do not mind mass feeding and actually think it will be a gift to me to be involved in a community effort.

 

@AnnaDI think I can get some advice on this and will look into it more ASAP.  I'm also not allowed in my community or lease to run a business from my home but in this 55+ community I can't see anyone faulting me for cooking for elderly people in the present climate.  I am just going to say I'm providing a critical service, not running a business.

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YAY @Wendy  You are really a Priest-cast Warrior through and through, I bow deep for the courage and compassion you have, if we follow and trust our hearts desires, looking back on my own life, everything fall into place with positive consequences. You really matter, there is no wrong/right in my understanding of things, there are some considerations though to hit the trajectory that is the most helpful for ourselves and others. Warriors tend to give not much attention to there own bodies ( they are the last ones to consult a doctor, or ask for help), therefore don't forget to take good care for yourself, otherwise you are not able to help others in the way intended by you.

We are starting to tread unknown territory with this crisis, use as much care for yourself as you'd like to give to others!

Big squeeze Hug, an old Warrior like you is quite cool to have around, thank you for being with us, much live and love!!!

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I have no suggestions or real help to offer, but please know I'm thinking of you and sending you love and compassion. Such lovely advice here, for all of us.

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I've decided to make some lasagna and a couple soups and deliver them tomorrow in case we have a total lockdown and then I am staying in for 2 weeks.

 

(I think. That's where it stands now.)

 

I appreciate all your responses and support!

 

💕💕💕

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