DBA

T-SQL Tuesday 132: Coping with a pandemic

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by my good friend and data platform MVP Taiob Ali. Taiob’s challenge is very relevant to current season – he asks to blog about how we are coping with what life has dealt us during this time.

I really wondered where to start on this..because this year has stuck me with so many challenges that I never imagined I would face. I have been blessed with reasonably good health, longevity and good health in my family and a relatively low stress life other than periods which passed soon. But this year was not meant to be that. Clearly I had lessons to learn that I haven’t, and the universe decided it was time I did. My issues started well before the pandemic, around February or March, with some health challenges that seemed minor – some dental issues, digestive issues and female health related. I went through my annual physical, which came back good, and my doctor sent me home with some antacids, and also advised me to consult an orthodentist for my jaw related problems , which I had had ten years ago. I am relatively new to the Raleigh area, so had to look up a good orthodontist here, and that took a bit of time. I was still going to work as usual and coping, with the help of some OTCs and researching dentists as I went along.

By March, Coronavirus had been declared a pandemic and our office decided to let us telecommute full time by mid April. I still recall the day – I had tuned a difficult stored procedure and taken off early. I was doing some shopping at Target when my boss messaged me to ask if I could come in and look into some timeouts the said procedure was causing on production. So I decided to purchase the (expensive) purse I was looking at (that purse will remain with me for a lifetime, as it was the last in-store shopping i would do for months). I went back in to work, fixed some issues on the procedure and headed home. It would be my last visit to the office for a long time. We were asked to work from home the next day onwards, and are on telecommute since then and will be for an indefinite period of time. Going to work was an activity i enjoyed – the office is literally one block from where I lived, the people and environment was very fun to be around. I started to feel really low (in addition to the general depression the pandemic was causing) being stuck at home all the time. I spent too much time dwelling on this and forgot all about the orthodontist search, which did not serve me well. By June, the jaw problems had escalated seriously and I could not eat anything without severe pain and distress. I was put on a jaw appliance and advised no solid food. I lost 10 lbs in two weeks and with great difficulty managed to find an odd combo of things to eat which did not hurt the jaw and provided some degree of nutrional support. The pain subsided in five weeks but only subject to the jaw appliance being in place. I am seeing another orthodontist to get further advice. But the combo of all this has led to a ton of health issues, esp digestion related. I won’t say much on that except that am getting treated and it will be slow but surely heal.

In the meantime -I lost 3 beloved relatives to Covid. I am not good with emotions in general, and being stuck with so much was unbelievably stressful. Thankfully, the amazing therapist I had in Louisville who helped me cope with my mom’s untimely death was available on telemedicine. I was able to process some emotions and grief with his aid. I can’t say am still through with it but am able to manage and be functional.

I can write a few more pages on my own story, but I think this is enough for people to get an idea. My lessons are as below..these are not things that I did not know but now I know really well and hope other people will consider:

1 Your body and mind are your vehicles to living and well being. Make it #1 priority to take care of them. Having a fun job that you enjoy does not mean you are doing this – a lot of us as techies think being absorbed in work means we are having a great life – what we neglect in the process can hit us hard, especially as we get older. Force yourself to log off when you are done, get that annual physical/exercise/dental appointment/nutritionist appointment in.
2 Stay in touch with family, especially elders – make the best of the time you get with them, even if it is virtual. We don’t know how much we have left and it is good not to have any regrets around this.
3 If you are going through chronic pain/discomfort, develop ways to focus on something – whatever gives your mind a way away from it. I take short walks, look at picture books with scenic pictures, old photo albums and various.
4 Get a therapist or a friend to do a healing visualizing meditation – there are lots of such meditations available but a personalized one , with scenarios that you want to happen are very helpful. I use the one my therapist made for me every day and it helps me, a lot. Some people who are religious may also be able to use prayer in this manner.
5 Last but not the least, stay safe through it. This means a lot of stress in of itself. I know several friends and family membes who have gotten the virus, including some who are very healthy. Nobody thinks of it as trivial. Mask up and limit exposure to any place with people.

‘THIS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY’…is a wise line that has helped me many a time. It is a line to ponder repeatedly. We will get through, it will all be fine. Peace be with everyone.

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