2020 was a roller coaster

Many people might consider 2020 to have been relentlessly negative. But there were highs and lows like a roller coaster ride.

My mother (Gloria M.) was diagnosed with early stage pancreatic cancer in late 2019. As such, much of her cancer treatment had to be dealt with in the context of the Covid 19 plague in 2020. She needed important pancreatic surgery in March 2020 and that was almost cancalled because the Oschner hospital was stretched dealing with Covid 19. But thanks to a very senior doctor who demanded that she have the surgery, she was able to have the life saving procedure. But then she was supposed to be in the hospital for a week and then go to a rehabiliatation center for 2 or more additonal weeks.

Instead, the hospital (where we were forbidden to visit for fear of transmitting the virus) called me 2 days after the surgery and told me that I must come get my mother as the hospital needed the bed for COVID patients.

Then they said that it was too dangerous to take her to a rehabilitation center for recovery (About 40% of the deaths this year have been from the plague sweeping through nursing/rehab homes). So my mother came to my house and my wife (Carol M.) and I took care of her for about 3 weeks while nurses visited on most days to check on her. We had no training with dealing with someone who was supposed to be in the hosptial, but Carol was wonderful in her new nurse role. The surgeon even came to the house and checked on her and removed a drainage tube. A house call in 2020! My mother then had chemotherapy for several months and was pronounced cancer free by the end of the year. Her survival is rare for someone with pancreatic cancer so dealing with the cancer during a pandemic was difficult, but the ending was a high.

Also during 2020 my daughter in law (Charlie M.) was pregnant with her first child. Charlie and her husband John M. had to deal with the pregnancy in an environment of medical uncertainty. They basically locked themselves in the house from March onward for fear of any negative effects on the pregnancy. But the baby girl, (Catherine Jane) was born healthy on August 9. Her parents stayed home with her the rest of the year though being fearful of the plague. Certainly, Catherine's birth was a high blessing in the middle of all of the death of this year.

My wife Carol and I worked from home for most of the year. As of this writing (December 10, 2020), I have not been in my office since March 16, 2020. Carol and I turned 2 excess bedrooms into home offices. I work for NASA and am able to do 100% of my accounting work from home. My wife worked from home until around November and then her office at the University of New Orleans opened up again for her to split time between home and the office.

We like to travel, but traveling became discouraged in 2020. We did visit my daughter, Rebecca D. and her husband Ryan D. at their home in Bellefonte, Pa as well as visiting John, Charlie, and Catherine in Pottstown, Pa. and a trip to visit Carol's parents in Wisconsin (Donald and Rose L.). But the traveling was difficult with some restaurants closed or not allowing indoor dining, some states having restrictions on entering the state, and some family members being fearful of any interaction with someone not living in their home.

We wear masks where it is required, but I really think it is a meaningless gesture. If it isn't required, I don't wear it. Oddly, in 2020 masks became fashionable with people buying masks with various patterns or cartoon characters on them. I have a mask with BUC-EE the beaver on it when I must wear one. There are even Christmas holiday masks.

One of the lows of the year was the open hostility of many state Governments to anything religious. Many of the states were quick to close down religious services claiming that they were "Super Spreaders" of the virus. But it became ridiculous with people not even allowed to attend drive in services where they would stay in their cars. Many state Governors became authoritarian very quickly and that was a quite scary low to any of us with a liberatrian disposition.

And we had a Presidential election, The results were very suspicious and many of us think that there was fraud and question the legality of the outcome.

So, while there was a lot of death and sorrow across the country in 2020 and a lot of unusual conditions to deal with, those lows were balanced with the highs of a new grandchild and the cancer survival.

It is interesting that Catherine Jane will never know what the world was like before the plague.