Life is such a small experience now, physically reduced to the necessary walls around us. I’m ecstatic to be going to work again, but also afraid. Work’s walls are necessary walls, and there are numerous people within them, and each one of us is a potential carrier and spreader of the virus. Everything possible is being done. There’s nothing else we can do but hope that we’re all taking care when we’re out in the world.
I’m afraid of the winter. It gets cold in the desert, and I heard that it gets very cold at work. What if I won’t be able to function? My tolerance to cold is low, low, low.
Cold antagonizes autoimmunity. It’s beastly to autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease), secondary Reynaud’s, Sjögren’s Syndrome, all of the autoimmune everything that I have.
I love my job, and I don’t want to have to leave it because I can’t handle the cold.
I’m hoping that I’ll acclimate. My spoiled ass hasn’t had to function in the cold in decades. I worked in the cold when I was in the Army and stationed in Germany. You did just fine, I remind myself. I didn’t have autoimmune diseases back then, that I know of, anyway, but I’m going to go with the assumption that I did so that I can mentally prepare for this winter.
Because any reassurances and pep talks will have to come from me, from my memories of my experiences. I did it before. I can do it again. In the snowy German winter I spent eight-hour days working outside, doing everything from running wire to building temporary sidewalks out of pallets during field exercises. I remember the challenge of not slipping on the ice that coated the pallets. I remember huddling with others over coffee when we’d go in to warm up. We all griped about the cold, but we got back out there once our fingers thawed out. We had no choice. I disliked it, but I survived it.
I don’t want to dislike and survive my job in the winter. I want to keep loving it there.
This whole rambling train of thought about the cold is a tangent. I didn’t plan to talk about the winter. What I wanted to say, actually, is NOTE TO SELF remember to ask people at work whether cold and flu viruses tend to “go around” there, as they do in office work settings. I just want to know.
I’m afraid of the virus. I’m afraid of the winter. I’m afraid of how the virus and the winter are going to intersect. COVID is relentless and robust, and the “second wave” hasn’t even hit yet. I’m afraid that the winter will strengthen it further, and that we’ll become even more vulnerable with our defenses down in the low temperatures.