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Don’t cry in your mask

This seems to be the second in what could become a series of ‘What not to do in your mask’.*

In this case, it was prompted by an unhappy visit to the vet with one of my two ageing cats. She’s been getting thinner and more withdrawn, and she’d started leaving us daily pools of vomit on the kitchen floor. I steeled myself to do something about it.  

Due to Coronavirus measures at the vet surgery, we have to remain outside in the tiny car-park and notify the receptionist of our arrival, then go round to the busy road at the front of the building and wait there at the appointed time with our animal. The vet takes the basket and its occupant indoors (we can’t manage to squeeze into the basket so we remain outside watching the traffic), and then returns to explain what she’s found and what we could or should do.

After the second consultation, there was a conclusion. Palliative care only. I was on my own outside this time and the vet took me just around the corner, to a pavement a little away from the worst of the traffic noise, to tell me and to discuss how we can look after our lovely cat until the end.

How bizarre it seemed. Trying to hold it together, two metres apart, both wearing masks so our voices needed to be slightly raised despite wanting to be gentle about all this. My fabric mask was soaked from the top and the inside by the end of it. I suppose I was aware that some of my worse grimacing was at least partially hidden throughout. Of course, the resulting nasal congestion made it almost impossible to breathe whilst the soggy mask remained in place, but it had to stay put until the vet had retrieved the cat in her basket from inside the surgery and I had wobbled back with her to the car-park. 

A few minutes to sit and ponder, bare-faced at last. At least the breathing was easier, and I could remove the residual snot from my face.

Then to realise that the car-park really is very small, I had parked forwards in the only remaining space and no-one had yet moved (where the hell were all these people? I had been the only visible ‘patient’) leaving me no easy way to get out.

Days later, I am still hugely impressed that I managed to manoeuvre my now seemingly pointlessly large car, and eventually reverse through the high-gate-posted entrance/exit – all whilst still gently weeping. I suppose it gave me some mental focus, a type of distraction therapy.

I hope they get some fun from watching on the CCTV. It is perhaps therapy for the poor vets as they try and clean up their own masks too.

*Previous What not to do in a mask –  Don’t run in your mask 

Of masks and varifocals

Breaking the habit of recent months, I popped into a shop today on my way back from a walk – rather than making myself wait until my next scheduled visit to Sainsburys.

Fortunately I had my mask and my credit card in my pocket. Aside from my house keys, this is all I normally carry these days and I try to remember always to have them in case my plans change on the spur of the moment. 

So, I donned the mask and ventured into a Co-op store I have never visited before. Then spent what seemed like forever wandering aimlessly, trying to find the few items I thought I needed.  Are you supposed to follow the direction of the footprints on the floor these days?  If so, I transgressed and hope this will not catch up with me from the CCTV.

My problem lay in the combination of mask and varifocal glasses. Whereas in Sainsburys I roughly know where everything is – our lives are so predictable these days that I buy pretty much the same stuff each week – which means I can easily find what I need, today, not only was I unfamiliar with the layout of the store, but I couldn’t easily recognise any of the products without reading the names. Which I was struggling to do. I have got used to squinting awkwardly in Sainsburys to determine the Use By and Best Before dates. Here I could barely see whether this was a meat product or a fruit!

Ah well, on proper inspection at home, I seem to have mostly the right things.

I noticed that my right eye had a bit of a cry on the homeward walk too. Possibly because of the strain in the Co-op, but more likely the high winds which have continued to buffet us today, after yesterday’s impressive gales. Or perhaps it’s the onset of Autumn. Noooooo.


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