By Steve White
contributing writer 

Continuing life during the pandemic

Life with Pepe


April 10, 2021

Jack Sann


Chances are you have a "pandemic routine." Pepe and I have grown into a routine. A routine such as is common for an "older couple" that have been together in isolation during this ongoing pandemic - even if it is only a dog/master couple routine.

Recently I went to bed earlier then usual with a minor headache. One that an aspirin would not give me relief from. Early to bed is normal for Pepe and I; however not this early. It was still full daylight.

Pepe always follows me to bed. His bed is on the floor at the foot of my bed. He sleeps there until he's certain that I'm asleep, then moves to the living room couch or his favorite bed on a wing back chair. That evening he was anxious and very nervous - something was bothering him and he kept getting up and wandering about the house. Occasionally he would give a nervous light bark from somewhere in the house, usually the kitchen area, before returning to his bed. Not a "wake up Dad!" alert bark; just a light bark that dogs sometimes do to ease their own discomfort when something is going on. He finally settled down and we both went to sleep.

Our home is almost completely surrounded by large fields. Field mice in the house is a constant battle for me, especially in the spring as they look for warm nesting areas. They usually come into the house by way of the small openings for plumbing in the kitchen. It would be a simple matter to mouse proof these openings; however, the mice would find another opening, perhaps in a less convenient location for me to trap them. I set or check the bait in three traps every evening; then check the traps every morning as the mice come into the house when all is quiet - usually at night after we've gone to bed. Mice are not found in the traps very often, however I check them just in case. The next morning, after this particular night, there was a mouse in one trap. Usually when the trap springs it is instant death. This mouse almost got away. He obviously had struggled with the trap and I'm certain his activity to free himself was what had caused Pepe's anxiety the night before.

Life after the vaccination: like many people I have been looking forward to getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. My "turn" for the shot finally came up. A long anticipated preparation for COVID-19 immunity. Of course, there was the wait for the second inoculation, then a few weeks wait for full immunity. That's assuming I won't fall into the low percentage of people who are not protected by vaccination.

For over a year Pepe and I have had very little physical contact with other persons. With my compromised lungs, and being older than the average lifespan for an American male, I have been a prime target for serious complications if I'm infected with COVID-19. The fact that I'm now inoculated against the virus has given me some comfort to be around others for more than just a few minutes. Granted, the "vax" shot is NO guarantee to keep the virus away. I'm still wearing a double mask while essential shopping, frequently washing my hands and using sanitizers. These prevention aids, combined with caution and common sense, will add more protection from being infected.

What can and can't you do after being fully vaccinated? A common question asked by those of us who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The standard answer has been that we can resume some parts of our old lives but must remain vigilant in many ways as the pandemic continues. With the now threatening "fourth wave," Pepe and I are now restricting our away from home activity much more. Our hikes and long walks are now restricted to the immediate area around our home. Our planned PCT Section Hikes and car camping trips are also on hold.


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