A Journal of the Plague Year 2021–chapter 222

Monday, July 5

The pandemic and lockdown are still having an effect on health care demand and supply. In the city, I was unable to get a timely appointment for an ultrasound that my doctor wanted. Back here on Long Island, I am unable to get an appointment for physical therapy.

I imagine two factors at work. First, many people delayed making appointments during the lockdown—and many health-care facilities weren’t taking any appointments. Now, renewed demand is overwhelming medical offices. Moreover, some of the urban population has shifted, moving to country and suburban locations where there are fewer health-care providers. 

The East Hampton physical therapy office that I telephoned was downright rude. Another place, in Sag Harbor, was both flaky and evasive…and ultimately failed to return a promised phone call.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to report to Southampton Hospital at 11:30 a.m. for the ultrasound. I’ll probably keep telephoning the Sag Harbor PT office in pursuit of an appointment there.

Today is the day after Independence Day, and most people with jobs have this as a holiday since the 4th fell on a Sunday. For the jobless, holidays are meaningless or worse since nothing can really be accomplished on such days.

Every day lately has featured rain, sometimes torrential. That put a slight crimp yesterday in the detonation plans of fireworks possessors and would-be outdoors party-goers. Still, there were enough explosions that the deer population was forced into hiding—a good thing for new rosebush possessors such as myself. At sunset yesterday, I spied one doe chomping on our new Cherry Frost rosebush. I yelled bloody murder and Emily quickly applied some spray-on deer repellent. 

The weather is also having an impact on our grilling plans. On Saturday, I dodged the raindrops to grill burgers and some veggies. I was surprised it worked at all.

Tonight’s dinner: black beans and rice plus a green salad.

Entertainment:  Another spy drama—Netflix’ Red Joan with Judi Dench as an unlikely Soviet agent.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2021–chapter 221

Art is cute, but nature is flat out mysterious. Just what are the front-yard visitors in the second photo up to?

Sunday June 27

After a while, we couldn’t take any more of the city. So we came back to Long Island.

New York City is not what it was, of course, and even the transition back to “normality” is quite disconcerting. Some folks will assure you that the lockdown is over–yet mask-wearing is still mandatory on the subway. Most people who I saw were still wearing masks every place in public. But, then, I didn’t go out to any restaurants or night spots; the scenes there may have been quite different.

Back in March, I was fearful while in the city. During this trip, I was fearful…and suspicious. Every doctor/dentist who I saw seemed to want another visit or some second procedure. The dentist informed me that I need a crown on a tooth where there’s a “food trap.” Only a little while back, he offered reasons why there couldn’t be a crown. (Maybe he worried that insurance wouldn’t pay for it.) Fishy, no?

Most troubling of all was my experience at the Apple Store. My Mac Power Book has begun warning me that I must replace its battery soon. So I went over to the West 14th St. Store on Thursday and spoke to one person who said the battery replacement should take about an hour–but that I would need to make an appointment with someone at the “Genius Bar.” At my Friday appointment, after examining my laptop, a Genius Bar rep told me that the computer would have to be sent away for a period of 5 to 7 days, during which time it would get not only a new battery but also a new keyboard.

Really? If you Google “Mac Powerbook battery replacement,” you see information about how to do it yourself with a replacement battery purchased on Amazon.com.

I didn’t surrender the computer to them. Maybe I will do so when we return to NYC in August. Or maybe I will find another alternative. The fall-off in business during the lockdown freaked out a lot of people, who worried about eviction and bill-paying. Now, I’m afraid, some may be looking for ways to get financially healthy again.

Dinner: a Capriccio salad of fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, celery, and balsamic dressing, with asparagus on the side.

Entertainment: A Kind of Murder on Hulu.