It has become my least favorite prefix. Noro, as in Norovirus, aka the stomach flu. The kind they get on cruise ships. This was no cruise.
On the third day of my mother-in-law’s residence in Senior Independent Living, the notice arrived. Almost 1/4 of the residents and staff had been infected. All planned activities were suspended, the gourmet dining room was closed, residents were confined to their apartment for the duration of the epidemic.
It was not a good start.
My MIL was widowed over a year when the suggestion was first made by my husband’s 2 siblings. She was lonely and depressed and having trouble maintaining her home of over 60 years. Maybe it was time to move.
This is a very choice center 30 miles from her home, close to the youngest brother and primary caregiver. (We live 300 miles away. )
She married at 19, moving from her parents’ home to her husband’s, never having a place of her own, never a roommate that was not related. This was a major challenge, and she was cautious, even fearful of the decision. She agreed to “try it” for 2 months.
My husband and I were never convinced this would work for her, believing she is just playing along to appease the 2 youngest siblings. I cannot imagine leaving a home of 6 decades, no matter how lovely the new dwelling.
And, it is lovely. She has brought much of her own furniture, purchased some new. There is a lovely kitchen, huge bedroom and living area, small dining room and a spacious, accessible bath with modern appointments. She is ambulatory, using only a cane or walker at times; in remarkable good health for a woman of 85.
Before viral “incarceration”, residents were forthcoming, friendly and seemingly very active. We saw card games and Wii bowling tournaments, shopping excursions, walking trails, gazebos, exercise rooms in use. The highlight of their day was the socialization at the 3 gourmet meals served in elegant style by wait staff in black tie/white shirt full uniform. A grand piano graces a small stage for entertainment during meals.
The first day we saw her there, she was so animated. We joined her at dinner just after her welcome luncheon; week-long activities were planned and abruptly canceled by the next day.
The virus symptoms showed up for her pretty quickly. We were discouraged from visiting, which gave us a few days to begin the cleanup at the house.
She had given the word that she was ready to give up the clothing/personal effects left behind by her husband. It was time. We began the process of sorting/donating/ trashing the years of collections. This was a couple who never threw anything away. Ever.
When they ran out of room, they built newer, bigger closets. Their ranch style home features a full attic and full basement, with storage from floor to extended ceiling. Outdoor shed, garage all filled to the brim.
And…we both got the virus. We are home now, but still in recovery.
p.s. Don’t believe the hype. I’d take those 5 pounds back any day…any day !