By Jenna Shelton
There has been an excessive amount of worry, fear, mis-information and rumors surrounding the novel coronavirus, called Covid-19. While this extremely infectious disease is spreading rapidly around the world, one thing is for sure—those with health issues, the elderly and the young are at the most risk for contracting and possibly dying from the complications of Covid-19.
I am a non-traditional student at Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) who is in a weird age where I am considered a “sandwich caregiver.” I care for my 90-year-old grandmother, my 62-year-old mother, and my 13-year-old daughter, all of whom have some health issues. While my grandmother is very frail, she is also very stubborn and determined to maintain whatever independence and autonomy as she can, which means she lives alone with her cat, Nicky, who was named after the Adam Sandler movie of the same name, implying he looks like an angel, but is truly a little devil.
My grandmother gave up her license a few years ago due to vision issues, and depends on family and friends to normally take her out to run errands or bring her supplies. I normally visit once a week and take her to get groceries and medication. With this pandemic rapidly spreading throughout Illinois, and having been ordered to school and work from home if possible has really thrown a kink in our normal lives and routines.
While my health is not perfect, I am the least at risk out of our large extended family members, meaning I have been elected to be the one who goes out and runs errands for everyone. I have organized my shopping lists and family members’ needs so that I only have to go out once per week, and with proper precautions, limiting my families risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
I am going to share some of the tips and tricks that I have picked up while attempting to shop during a time when the fear of contracting Covid-19 is heightened. First off, before I even leave the house, I make sure that I have a list of exactly where I am going and what I am getting. Because I have family members that have critical medical conditions, I have been instructed by the doctor to make sure that I only leave when I absolutely must, and I have to take certain precautions, like wearing a mask and gloves.
When I get to the store, I make sure I have my list and I put the card or cash I am using in my pocket and leave my phone and purse in the car—out of sight and in a locked vehicle, of course. I utilize the cleansing wipes when I enter the store for the cart even if I am wearing gloves. I make sure not to touch my face and am careful to not be close to others in the aisles and in the checkout lines. When I get into my vehicle, I throw away the gloves and use hand sanitizer. When I get to my grandma’s house, I wash up as soon as I get there, drop off her supplies and redo this process over and over until it is time to head home to wash up again and to change my clothing and shoes as soon as I get home.
Is this overkill? While some may say yes, I do not really care and will follow my family members’ doctor, who recommended these precautions. I would rather be too careful than not careful enough and end up with a family member, who had not been out of the house in the last 2-3 weeks, get sick because of my carelessness. So if you happen to see me at the store with a cart full of toilet paper or bleach or a lot of food, know that it is not me hoarding supplies, but I am purchasing these supplies for multiple households. Stay safe and please practice social distancing while limiting your exposure to public spaces.