My COVID-19 Point of View: What Life Is Like in Richmond, Virginia
What’s happening in Richmond, Virginia: My name is Amanda Lynch and I’m a 40-year-old woman who lives in Richmond, Virginia. I live with anxiety that began in my last pregnancy almost four years ago. I work as a Trauma Informed Specialist for a local non-profit. I write a lot about Adverse Childhood Experiences, historical and racial trauma, and systemic and systematic oppression; particularly how those things impact the brain and decision making. I am also interested in exploring how bias impacts health care. I am an avid writer and just released two books in the last month. One is a journal to help kids develop mindful practices, the other was co-authored with my daughter.
COViD-19 is having a significant impact on daily life in Virginia. We are up nearly 900 cases since yesterday, with over 72,000 cases here. There have been nearly 2,000 deaths. I question if the numbers are accurate however, because test results are taking between two to 14 days to come in. I’m currently being treated for COVID-19; although my initial test results came in as being negative. I was told that there is so much we don’t know about COVID-19 and the testing may or may not be accurate, so was retested last Friday. Results pending.
My observations about masks: As the weeks have passed, I’ve seen less people wearing masks. I see friends vacationing on Facebook and less people wearing masks as we’ve moved into Phase 3. I’m not sure why. The virus is still very real. Moving into Phase 3 simply means that the hospital just has room for you.
My experience out of the house: Restaurants have reopened, but you aren’t allowed to sit at the bar. They aren’t very crowded. The grocery store scene is about the same with more supplies being available than in previous weeks. As a small business owner and avid yogi, I’m glad to see things opening back up, but slowing and cautiously. The yoga studio that I practice at, Humble Haven Yoga, has implemented many safety procedures prior to taking in person classes. They are also still offering virtual options. For the past few weeks, we’ve relied mainly on Instacart, GrubHub, and DoorDash.
My health: My anxiety is through the roof. Last Monday night, my breathing became labored, I spiked a fever and was diagnosed with presumptive COVID-19. When I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was sky high and my heart rate was 135. My temp was 103.9. It was awful. I wear a mask everywhere and I’m constantly washing or cleaning my hands. Although my test came back negative, I’ve continued to show symptoms of COVID and was retested on Friday. I’ve been seeing a therapist for quite some time, and all of those visits are through telehealth. Most meds I’ve just had delivered to me.
I will likely return to Phase 1 with my family once I am no longer under quarantine. It just doesn’t feel safe going on and it’s not healthy for my anxiety. I don’t understand how wearing a mask has become a political issue. As the administrator and founder of Black Lives Matter 804, I am also very cognizant and aware of the ways that COVID-19 has devastated Black communities nation-wide due to long standing health and racial inequities, comorbidity, bias from healthcare professionals, and access to quality healthcare. We must find ways to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the Black community.
My quality of life: My anxiety causes me to work a lot. It’s the way I cope and this can be a blessing and a curse. Since March, I’ve published two widely successful books (“The 5-Minute Mindfulness Journal for Kids” and “My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams“), led countless meditation classes and workshops, started a garden and spent a lot of quality time with my family. I’ve also enjoyed performing my job virtually. I have a great community that supports me when I need it, so that has kept me balanced. I would say my quality of life is pretty healthy most of the time, but there are days when I’m struggling like most everyone else. I work hard to make sure I’m not over doing it and that I’m setting healthy boundaries.
My husband lives with bipolar disorder, so working, yoga and therapy allow me to support him as well. He’s had a tough time during the quarantine and being codependent is something that I have to actively work against.
My unique COVID-19 moment: I tried to get my kids to take front porch photos when quarantine first started. I think each of my children’s faces represent the various emotions that we’ve all experienced during this time. In addition, my oldest daughter went viral last month for a picture that she took at the General Robert E. Lee Monument wearing her ballet attire with her best friend. It’s been a whirlwind for sure.
My hopes for the future: I’m looking forward to my son returning to college, my oldest daughter starting high school, my middle daughter starting kindergarten and my youngest returning to preschool. Although this global pause has largely been positive for my younger children, it’s been extremely disruptive for my son in particular. He’s ready to get back to his adult life.