A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 96

Wednesday and Thursday,  June 17 and 18

Emily is suffering from her chronic back pain. On Wednesday, she was sitting in an upholstered chair with her laptop on her knee, then she went to get up and suddenly, whammo. I suspect she twisted her back as she leaned forward while gripping the laptop, in a combination of muscle exertions that isn’t good. She had trouble hobbling over to the bed where she lay with a cold pack on her spine.

But after taking some Aleve and sleeping at night, today she is a little better. She even did a few leg raises as a physical therapist once instructed.

She has had this back problem off and on for several years. Is is sciatica? Spinal stenosis?

Here is another problem with the lockdown: Sure, you’re avoiding the pandemic but what if a different medical issue arises? Emily now has an August appointment to see a specialist back in New York City. Yesterday, she spent some time online looking for alternatives out here, maybe at Southampton Hospital. Then this back trouble comes along. Should she seek out a physical therapist in East Hampton? 

We’re both doing just too much sitting. We try to take walks, and I do a little yoga. But strangely enough, Manhattan is a more physically demanding place. And now that no one wants to take the subway and even more people are biking, exercise is on the daily agenda. Furthermore, taking the stairs in lieu of an elevator means even more exertion.

Another Peapod grocery delivery is slated for today, sometime after 5 p.m. As I have noted several times before, this is a mixed blessing: good prices and no social mingling but just how much of what we have ordered will really arrive? And there are always surprise omissions.  (This time, not so bad: no Bonne Maman apricot preserves, no scallions, no vitamin D-3, no Haagen-Dazs ice cream, no mixed nuts, and no Aleve.)

I know: In the midst of an international health crisis when thousands are suffering and dying, I should be embarrassed to complain about such tiny matters. But such are the times.

Right now, Emily is watching a Lawline video on prisoners’ legal rights. The presenter has this upward rising inflection at the end of every sentence—the phenomenon that was once associated with Valley Girl teenagers. Now it’s just habitual with many people, but it once carried some kind of implied meaning. Like, “do you know what I mean?” Or maybe it was offered to express a cut-me-some-slack uncertainty: “this is what I think, I hope you agree?”

Lawyers are required to undergo this continuing education in order to renew their legal licenses. I could go into the other room so as to avoid listening—but I’m going to take a shower instead.

Oh, yes: the rabbit reappeared in our yard this morning!

Dinner: Penne with asparagus pesto and a green salad.

Entertainment: Fritz Lang’s silent classic Mabuse the Gambler; episodes of the Netflix damaged-detective series Marcella.