Hello, 144? I know about the Corona-Virus situation and all that, but I pinched a f****** nerve in my lower back and cannot move. It hurts so much!!! Sorry, I curse more in isolation. I think it is Monday, but I don’t really know. Currently, it’s 10 pm. Can you send an ambulance? Oh, you cannot because it is not really an emergency and you won’t give me an injection. I understand that my case is not really important but still, what can I do? Okay, sounds good but I cannot walk to the pharmacy. I also cannot send my 6-year-old son. I will call a friend, then. Oh, yes I have a son. I am not busy right now since I am laying on the floor unable to move. Are you busy right now? Do you have time to talk a bit until my friend arrives? Nice. How do you feel? Super tired, eh? I figured. Must be busy in the emergency room these days. Damn, you work double-shifts? This is hard, but I am really glad you guys are here for us. Yep, I do understand what you say. [Extreme Vienna Accent]
I understand you have to hang up if someone else calls. Two children? Oh wow, I have enough work with one. Since you have two children, you know how crazy this time is for all of us. What I did before I pinched the nerve? Do you mean all day? I have taken a shower, fired off at least 40 frantic WhatsApp messages to 5 people, one of which was to a co-worker. I have consumed a cup of coffee and finished reading book number 6 since being in isolation. People ask me what I am going to do today and I sent them a floor plan of my 85 square meter apartment. That’s what I am doing. I may move from the kitchen to the living room and back. I walked up the staircase 10 times with my son. Then I made lunch. I really deserved this plate of pasta with salmon sauce after my first highlight of the day: one hour of Intermediate 2 Yoga with this app earlier this morning. My son and I are on our mats next to each other in Downward Facing Dog laughing at each other. Awe, you think this is cute?
Later, we walked to the local organic supermarket Denns which was like the shot of espresso with hope-dust mixed in that I knew I wanted but didn’t realize how badly I needed. This was the second highlight of my day. Have you been able to inhale fresh air today? You would rather be at home with your children? Okay, your husband is with your children at least. My ex-husband didn’t even call or text to ask how his son is doing. Or how I am doing. Work? I do miss work. Did I just say this? I really do. Work, and my routine. This is what I miss the most.
Well, today was not different from yesterday and not different from the day before. I think that is what it’s like when you are in survival mode. I mention it because last night when I was FaceTiming with my mom, she said something like, “To be perfectly honest, I feel more in my element than usual. I am a survivor. We keep it cool here at Homebase.” I wish I could be there right now instead of being here. Here, with a pinched nerve and not able to move or even leave the country. But when she said that, it clicked for me. Her survival mood mentality for a very long time is actually the sensation of living in the heightened state of survival mode where not time exists beyond the time that’s right in front of you. You think so, too? There is no planning beyond the one hour, 12 hours, if you are lucky, 24 hours ahead because there’s not enough information to think further out. Nobody expected anything like this to happen. Or to this extent at least. All you have and all you know is what confronts you at the moment. Like with my pinched nerve. Damn, it hurts. Well, he says he is on his way. He should be here soon. Do you have to hang up? Okay, awesome. Hahah, funny, you like to listen to my story? I should write it all down? Hey, you know what? I might, actually. So, trying to prepare for any period beyond that frame is futile. Too much is changing and it is happening so quickly. You know what I mean? I realize that I am most comfortable in this heightened state of paradoxically routine panic and chaos, too. It can make me feel like a prisoner of my own life when there is no reason to panic. But hey, on Friday, 13th of March, when they announced they will close the United Nations in Vienna, I panicked a bit. All I wanted to do was pick up my son and run home as quickly as possible. You, too? Yeah, must be the mother-thing. My friend does not maintain this quality. He thinks years ahead of me. That’s one of the primary things that I like and what attracts me about him, this sense of psychological freedom I could feel emanating from him.
It was a long day and my reactions to it fluctuate. Maybe I shouldn’t have done the intermediate Yoga class but I have been practicing Yoga for years. I guess some days are clouded by paralyzing energy that is dark and depleting. It puts a question mark at the end of every thought I have and adds a veil of desperation to my every pursuit. Oh, you know what I am trying to say? I am still so charmed that you listen to me throughout this insane time. You do think we will get through this! I hope it won’t take too long. I have been awake for an hour each night for the past week thinking about what will happen. See, if it would be just me, the situation would be different. But it is my son and I. I am responsible for him. And this pinched nerve throws the little bit of sanity we established out of balance.
Yes, we do have food and water. Thank you for asking. My friend is almost here. He just sent me a message that he was able to get the pain medication you recommended. So, let’s hope for the best. My brain is a prison, and anxiety is the warden these days. At this point, this pinched nerve is so painful that I am besieged by an undeniable urge to peel off my skin like the layers of an onion and I find relief in its cool embrace, and I know it took me a long time to finally call and I wasn’t even 100% sure if a pinched nerve qualified as an emergency.
The doorbell rings. He is here. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you for risking your life while saving ours. Keep it up. Have a safe night. And in some odd way, we should even thank the CoronaVirus. For shaking us and showing us that we are dependent on something much bigger than we think. Like the abundance of products, freedom, and health. And realizing we are taking it for granted. To see how lost we were in the “busy-ness” not having time for the most basic things. And for allowing us to put aside all the problems we thought were so important.
Emergency Dispatcher: [let’s call her Frau Fischer]: “Wow, what a nice chat, Daniela. Make sure to keep yourself and your son safe in this crazy time. Also, write about this conversation. I hope you feel better soon!”