Posted by Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Organizations like Facebook, the Veteran’s Administration, and other groups have lately been putting out surveys asking about how life has changed for me during COVID.  Here’s some of the highlights that I could not answer with because of the configuration of these useless surveys, especially for those people who are radicals about the COVID-19 policies.

1. Work

I am a public speaker, so nearly all of my income has vanished thanks to the lockdown policies, particularly here in California.  My wife’s hours have been reduced, but fortunately my wife and I are making it due to the fact that we have always lived frugally, and have cut back even more to ensure we can survive this madness.

2.  Shopping

I visit very few businesses because I am medically unable to wear a mask or shield, and the paranoia of most businesses (either of the coronavirus, or of getting in trouble for violating the orders in place) have made it so that they are not even willing to recognize medical exemptions regarding face coverings.

3.  Services

As with shopping, services I would normally be using, such as getting a haircut, have not been used much due to the violation of federal law (Americans with Disabilities Act) by businesses and governments who have disallowed me from entering the public marketplace without a face covering.

4.  Medical

I have a condition that makes it hard for me to swallow.  I receive an outpatient procedure about every other year to open up my esophagus to help me with the problem.  Once the swelling gets bad, it is painful to swallow, and sometimes difficult to swallow to the point that even drinking fluids won’t wash the food down.  This year is the year I was to receive the procedure.  I have not been allowed to receive this treatment because a) I won’t wear a mask into the facility, and b) Elective procedures are not being performed right now so that the facility may keep the beds empty in case a bunch of COVID-19 patients come in.  As a result, I am living with pain when I swallow, and sometimes I can’t swallow my food at all and have to skip meals until the swelling mitigates.

In the hopes of learning why I go into severe episodes of vertigo when I put on a face covering, I have been trying to see my doctor, with very little success.  Once I finally did see my neurologist, they did not come up with an answer, simply indicating I have a “dizzyness” health issue.  They would not give me a doctor’s note showing I have the issue because they could not prove I have the issue through the tests they administered.  It took me three weeks to find a facility willing to do my blood tests without requiring me to wear a mask.  They literally cleared the facility as if I was Typhoid Mary before allowing me to walk down the hallway to the lab.  In some cases at VA I will let them give me a shield, of which I can usually wear for 30-60 seconds before I begin to feel the urge to regurgitate.

5. Relationships

While my relationship is fine, I was talking to a Family Law employee last week who said their court went from three domestic violence cases per week to more than three per day.

6.  State of Mind

Aside from being pretty angry that I can’t do anything, and I have to live in pain every time I swallow, I am doing pretty well.  That said, it did not surprise me that a few months ago I read that the suicide rate in the U.S. has quadrupled, and that recently it is even higher, especially among the younger crowd.

7.  Education

While I am not in school, the lack of classroom instruction and social interaction with other kids has taken a slight toll on my grandchildren (three of my seven grandkids live in my house with my wife and I, at the moment).  Nonetheless, their relationships with each other has grown.

8.  Social Life

Despite the lockdowns, I still conduct some constitution classes, and my wife and I go out to get some food about once per week.  I used to be involved with Constitutional public speaking or classes nearly every day of the week.  Not so much, now.  My wife and I have always enjoyed going out to restaurants to sit down, calling it our “neutral ground” and the only thing we enjoy doing together.  We went out to eat at least a couple times a week before the scamdemic.  We are sad we can’t sit in the restaurant environment, and miss some of our local small favorites because they have shutdown and will likely not reopen, but we manage.  Last week we ate Del Taco while sitting in our car in the parking lot.  Not the date night we’d prefer, but it works.  While we are getting a little testy with each other since our lone thing we enjoy doing has been yanked from us, we are not reaching any domestic difficulties stages in our marriage at this time.

9.  Interaction in Public

I have been assaulted by people twice since this started, in both cases for not having a face covering.  The first one a few months ago slammed me against a wall and shouted at me, “wear a f***ing mask, a**hole!”  The other happened about a week ago, when someone closed fist hit me across my head.  Problem was, it was the spot where I suffered a traumatic head injury when I was in the military, so it took me a long time to recover where I was standing.  By the time my sight stopped being blurry, he was gone, and nobody was willing to admit they saw it happen.  The ringing in my ear has been louder since the assault against me, and for a day and a half I was experiencing increased dizzyness and confusion.  My wife was sure I suffered a concussion, but with our experiences with the medical industry during this time of idiotic madness, we decided not to seek medical attention.  I severely burned my left hand last Saturday Night, too, but again, due to the difficult policies in place, I decided not to seek medical attention.  In the cases of assault against me for not wearing a face covering at a store, nobody offered help in either circumstance.  They simply walked by eyeing me, as they wore their masks like good little obedient comrades.  In the latter situation, I brought the situation to the attention of the person in charge at the store.  They called the police, which never arrived.  I gave a written report to the store, and asked that they give it to the officers when they arrived.  I foolishly didn’t think of having them give me a copy.  I asked about cameras, and was told the assault happened in one of the few places in the store where the cameras can’t see.  When I went back a couple days later, the person denied ever talking to me, nor needing to call the police regarding any incident.  As with the incident a few months ago, I am chalking this one off as “I’m on my own because the world has gone mad.”

10.  Conclusion

This is the stuff I wanted to get across in the surveys, but none of them afforded me the opportunity.  It was mostly multiple choice, where they gave me the answers available, none of which fit specifically my situation.  I guess being unique with individual needs is unacceptable in this brave new world of tyranny and collectivism in the name of a virus.

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