A Travellerspoint blog

July 2020

Under Self-Isolation in Karlsruhe, Germany

In happier times

Last year I was diagnosed with cancer. Hence I have to consider myself „high-risk group“ and keep isolated as much as I can. I’m glad not to be in hospital under the current circumstances. They let me go home just before Christmas, with a light chemotherapy through pills and control visits in hospital just once per month. My parents came over for Christmas, and I am glad that we were able to spend the holidays together. We live 500 kms apart, currently travel is out of the question for either side. I have no idea when we’ll be able to see each other again.

In mid-March, when the restrictions started, I understood that I would have to impose self-isolation on myself for indefinite time. Since cancer has struck me, my life had come to a halt in many respects anyway. All the shopping and deliveries were already organized, so the change was not that harsh. However, this means no more visitors in the house apart from the nurse and the cleaner, no more being taken to a supermarket by a friend and doing my shopping myself, no more choir rehearsals and club meetings. But I have a group of faithful friends who do my shopping and run my errands. Thanks my dears, you know who you are!

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My door, with a sign explaining that and why I won't open and that all deliveries, packages and so on are to be put into the red box. You'd think the sign is big enough... I assure you that it is not, some postmen just don't get it.

And hooray for all the options we have through modern media, from keeping in touch with distant friends and relations to online shopping.
Otherwise, it did not make much of a difference. I cannot work any more, sitting at the computer becomes a pain after a short while and my attention span is, thanks to all those pills I am taking, that of a three-year-old. Writing this blog entry is already a great achievement for me!

I so miss cycling most of all. A bicycle would give me freedom of movement over large parts of the city in fresh air and safe distance from everyone else, but my cycling times are over for good. I spare you a description of the medical reasons. A couple of months ago I sold my beloved bike, a bike belongs on the road not in a dusty cellar. It’s my cleaner who bought it, and every now and then I still get to see it.

Sitting down and chatting on the meadow
Photo courtesy of Ella, with permission

However, instead of lamenting, one ought to be creative. With the friends who bring my shopping, I have a little face-to-face chat with me on the balcony and the other person at the window of the staircase, with three metres of fresh air between us. One friend whom I see regularly has a little campervan with all camping equipment on board; she unloads two chairs, a little table and everything on a nearby meadow and we sit and chat for hours. Thanks to this beautiful, sunny but not too hot summer!
One utensil is always on the ground between our seats, though not visible in the photo: a measuring tape, set to a length of 2 metres. This helps a lot to respond to silly comments from passers-by!

Then there are phone conferences, video meetings and even the occasional good old-fashioned letter. A neighbouring church community has taken to holding their services outdoors. The square in front of their church is perfect for this. It is surrounded by trees, and there is a lot of room, distances are easy to keep. Perfect for someone like me!

Tomato plant on my balcony

The balcony is my favourite place. I got myself a nice suntan this year, something I have never before been after. I all started with the wish not to look so ‘sick’, and I soon observed that the warmth of the sun does me good. Then there are a couple of potted plants to be taken care of. I confess that I am a bit of an over-protective tomato mum. One yellowing leaf and I am dead worried …

The wombats are faithfully keeping me company. They are a bit grumpy because life is so boring and there are no trips to be taken on. Sometimes, if I don’t want to go all alone, I take one of them on my walks, with my handbag doubling as pouch.

Due to all this trouble I do not get out very much, my physical forces allow walks in a radius of one km around my house, so I cannot describe the situation in the city from first-hand experience.

Germany has never been in a total lockdown like other countries. We have always been able to go for walks to our liking, do grocery shopping, ride our bikes, drive our cars wherever we wanted. With the exception of the federal states along the coast, they had banned all visitors from outside their state’s boundary. This ban has in the meantime been lifted. Many attractions all over the country, like sights, museums, zoos and so on, have reopened, although with some limitations. Even the great toilet paper crisis has been overcome.

The wombats inspect a delivery of groceries

There were and still are tight restrictions on everything that involved gatherings on people. Masks are to be worn, for example, in shops and on public transport, unfortunately not everyone is willing to do so and I am not so sure whether controls and fines really happen. The majority of people do contribute, though. Occasional local outbreaks can almost always be traced back to events where the rules were not observed.
So far infection numbers are comparatively low in this country, the measures work. Generally speaking, Germany is getting off mildly and our government is doing a good job.

There are idiots out and about, demonstrating against “their fundamental rights being affected by the anti-corona measures”. Holy crap. The most important fundamental right is the right to life and physical integrity. (Grundgesetz article 2, my dears.) And this applies not only to yourselves but also to the people around you, to the aged and infirm.

Many businesses are struggling with big economic problems these days. I understand their worries. However, isn’t saving lives more important?
Again, it’s the creative ones who get along better. Many restaurants and shops have started delivery services. One ice-cream parlour in the area has made big business and gained itself almost nationwide fame by installing an online ordering system for ice-cream tarts in the shape of – toilet paper rolls.

There is a lot of corona humour around. In my humble opinion, it is possible to laugh about witty corona jokes while still taking the threat and the illness very seriously. Let’s remember that humour is also good for strengthening the immune system.


Somewhere on the web I came across a crocheting pattern that looked so weird and whacky, I simply had to try it. I herewith announce my latest hobby: crocheting corona viruses. I give these funny fellows away to the people who help me and I assure you, they are contagious indeed… One has actually moved to my doctor’s studio and found his permanent home on their reception desk. On Halloween people put up carved pumpkin faces in order to drive the bad spirits away. They are to think that a colleague has already occupied this place, and turn away. My virus talismans might work the same?

The pink one with the soulful eyes is my resident virus, all the others have moved out. As there are still some people in my surroundings without, I am still making more.

I apologize, this blog entry has a lot of me, me, me and very little about the situation in Germany. There is a saying that sick people become self-centred and egoistic – looks like I make no exception from the rule!

Note to self: be creative and make the best of it…

Posted by Kathrin_E 01:49 Archived in Germany Tagged germany corona Comments (12)

Addendum to the Maryland Situation

Physical Therapy is the Highlight of My Day

Maryland is doing pretty well with flattening the curve. I have heard that we have a positivity rate of 9.5% which is the lowest since the beginning of April. In our zip code we have had only 39 cases. We have gone to Phase II of reopening - we can eat outdoors at restaurants.

Our governor jumped on the problem immediately - my daughter said he had an advantage in that he just got done with chemotherapy for cancer and he understood what an infection would do to him. It seems strange to think of cancer as an advantage but I guess you could look at it that way.

I am still doing physical therapy for my hip - or rather I have started doing it again. I stopped in March and we picked it up again in June. Half of the visits are done on the computer. The visits in person are the only time I see someone who isn't a doctor, other than my husband

I went to the dermatologist Monday and she took two biopsies of my face. I don't think either were cancer, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:33 Archived in USA Comments (5)

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