France Under Quarantine, And Kitty Woes
Another week, another “new normal” and I wish I had better news to share. In less than a week we’ve gone from a free-movement nation to a nation under full lock-down, and sadly another of our paws may soon pass away.
It’s a lot in a short time, and admittedly I’m not always able to keep it together, but I’m also thankful for where we are, and the fact that we decided to stay here. This is our life now and likely will be for the next several months. So we’ll just try to enjoy each day as we can, share our sadnesses, and spread our joys. Here’s our update.
France Is Now Under Full Nation-Wide Quarantine
On Tuesday March 17th at noon, France went into full lock-down with forced 14-day indoors quarantine for the whole nation. It happened fast, really fast, mere weeks after the infection rates started rising, and frankly I’m glad it did.
This shut-down is critical right now. It’s our only hope to attempt to slow the spread of the virus and allow our healthcare system the chance to cope with what’s coming. And if it works it will save countless lives.
It’s not pretty, and I think it’ll likely be extended (14 days is IMO just not enough) which will unfortunately incur other consequences, but having read the heart-breaking accounts from Italy (where the death-toll has already well surpassed that of China), as well as reports from doctors & hospitals that are already close to overwhelmed in other locations, it is literally the only thing that makes any sense right now.
If people will not stay inside of their own accord, a forced lock-down is literally the only viable solution.
In the USA several States are also coming to this same conclusion, but it’s happening slowly, IMO far too slowly compared to the rate at which case numbers are rising.
I just hope all my blog readers are in a safe and comfortable place to ride this thing out and if you’re not, I can only re-iterate the message from my last post -> If you haven’t found a place to hunker down yet then find one now, and go there now. From the charts & trends I’ve been tracking, the US is a mere week behind what’s happening in EU, and may well overtake China in total number of cases in less than 2 weeks. So I expect restrictions & full lock-downs to happen FAST. Please folks, find a place to hunker down now.
So, How Does Lock-Down Work?
So yes, we’re under full lock-down, but what does that mean? Well, the new rules in France are pretty strict.
All schools are closed across the country, as are all stores, restaurants, bars & businesses. Only essential services are allowed to operate (e.g. grocery stores). and you can only go out of your house for specific needs, which are also strictly regulated. So for example, you can shop for groceries, go to the doctor and pharmacy and walk your dog. But you cannot go for a bike ride, and you can only walk/jog close to your residence. It’s extreme, but that’s also the point of it all.
And there’s more….
Before you go out you need to download & fill out an authorization form (“on your honor”), which you must carry together with valid ID. Only one person can go out at a time, and you can only do one of the approved activities. If you are caught without the form, or go out for a reason not on the approved list, then you risk a fine up to €375.
The form is really just a formality since it’s self-filled, but it’s there to make you think deliberately about your outing before you go. And the fine of course, is there to enforce it.
Basically unless your outing is strictly necessary, you STAY HOME!
Staying Home Is A Routine
Staying at home is pretty much what you expect it to be, and can be as boring, or as interesting as you make it. Creating a routine is key, especially one that includes both mental and physical activity.
In our case we walk the dog in the neighborhood in the morning (with our authorization forms), work from home most of the day (which is thankfully easy for us), and exercise/relax in the afternoon. Around 5 pm the whole family gets together for a game of domino’s & happy hour, followed by dinner. Rinse and repeat.
We also all have our own little personal activities.
Dad has been busy in the garden, Paul has picked-up the guitar (following JustinGuitar on YouTube) and I’ve been baking & keeping everyone organized and in-line (or so I like to think). And yeah, like everyone else in the world we also watch Netflix, but only in the late evening after dinner (too much Netflix is not good for the brain or body).
That’s really the sum of it.
Grocery Shopping Is Now Our “Big Outing”
My next expedition is going to be fresh food shopping, and that’s likely going to be the “big outing” for the week.
From neighbors I’ve talked to (thro’ texts/Whatsapp), the stock at the stores has been a bit hit and miss, depending on where you go. Our local village store is apparently very well-stocked apart from a few items, whereas some of the bigger stores closer to Toulouse have emptier shelves. They are all re-stocking furiously however, so it may just be a hang-over from the panic shopping that went on right before the lock-down (the last day was apparently quite nuts). I’m hoping that by next week supply lines will have settled down a bit.
We have a few different options for shopping too.
We don’t have any home delivery in our area, but the bigger stores (e.g. Super U, Intermarché) are all offering online order with contact-less pick-up which means you just show up and they load the groceries directly into your car trunk. The only caveat is that you may not get everything you order, depending on stock. For example, my next-door neighbor did a big online order this week, but only got ~1/2 the items on his list. Plus pick-up slots are filling up quicker now that everyone is quarantined, so they’re running about ~4 days out from order. Still, it’s a decent option if you don’t have any critical needs & plan out far enough ahead.
Going into the store is a better bet if you need something specific, but of course it’s not contact-less. Most of the groceries are trying to manage that by limiting how many people can enter at once, as well as enforcing only one person per trolley and encouraging people to shop outside of regular hours (e.g. early afternoon, weekdays). Also, to prevent excessive buying, several stores are now limiting how many items you can get (e.g. no more than 2 of any item). I think that’s a reasonable approach.
I’m not sure how I’ll be doing our shopping yet, but I’ll probably try the online option first and see how it goes. I’ll let you know.
But Rand Is Not Doing Well
Frankly, all the above stuff has been relatively painless so far.
We’re not on the front lines for COVID-19, we’re fine on food and we’re in a good place to ride things out. We have it easy, really. But there’s a wrinkle that’s thrown our little world into profound sadness, and that wrinkle is our sweet, little kitty Rand.
Poor Rand has not been the same cat since her sister died last month. We’ve worked hard to try and get her out of her grief, but it’s been deeper than I could ever have imagined, and I believe it’s affected her health.
Within three weeks of Taggart’s death, Rand’s kidneys went from being stable to suddenly much, much worse. It could be a total coincidence, but I feel deeply that she simply lost the will to fight. Much like couples who’ve been inseparable their whole lives, when one dies the other goes soon thereafter, a tie of love that pulls to the other side.
That can be true for cats as well as for humans.
The day the quarantine went into effect (of course THAT day) she took a downturn, which naturally put our world into turmoil. Thankfully my vet was still open for emergencies, albeit with new no-contact quarantine rules, so I was able to take her in that very afternoon. I handed her over to the vet tech on arrival, stayed in the car while she got examined, and waited for the results by phone. The whole thing took over an hour, and the results were not good.
Basically unless things miraculously turn around, my timid, sweet little girl likely only has short while to go.
So, yes that’s where we are. The last few days we’ve been trying some new meds (a kind of Hail Mary attempt) together with palliative care. I’m trying to keep her comfortable, trying to see if she can turn around, and trying not to dwell on what might happen in the next few days if this doesn’t work. If she needs to go in for the injection, we can’t be in there with her (due to the new quarantine rules) and that completely breaks my heart. The thought of her having to die without her family beside her is too much. I literally don’t know what I’m going to do.
But For Now, Things Are Calm
But hey, we’re not there yet and for that we must be thankful.
To be honest our worries are small in the grand scheme of things. There are people out there with far greater sorrows than us. Folks who cannot be with their families, people in ICU, everyone whose lives are being upturned by this virus. It’s a crazy time, and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by it all.
But we must also count our blessings. We’re in a good place, and everything is really calm here. With a bit of luck this cool & collected calm will continue, virus cases will slow, everything will be manageable and Rand will decide to join her sister all on her own. At least that’s my hope. I can only hope the same kind of calm and love for everyone, everywhere. Stay safe, my friends.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Terri ann Reed says
God bless you all!
Thank you for your communication. It helps to hear a voice from across the pond and what you see and hear. We are just starting the battle in the States. I wish you and your family good health during this difficult time. Again, thank you for all you do for us.
I wish the best for Rand and you in this time of uncertainty! Hang in there! Rita
March 22,2020 from Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Sending a HUG. Thanks for the update. Interesting to hear how things are going. So sorry to hear about Rand’s situation…I’ve been there and have an idea of what you’re going through. SO, back to that hug….
Virtual hugs are much appreciated 🙂
Oh Nina, my heart breaks for you guys and I will hope Rand decides to go on her own. We are fairly isolated here in Arizona but the increase in the number of cases in this state is alarming. There has been talk in this household of heading north to Montana–timing is everything and we don’t want to wait until it’s too late. Montana only has maybe 30 cases so far and no deaths. We could travel fairly isolated having only to stop for gas. Worrisome times for sure. The church I’ve been attending had services today–I can see the church from our house–I couldn’t believe they were going ahead with services–I didn’t attend. So much of this same thing is happening across the US–people just don’t get it! Hugs to all of you!
So very sorry to hear about Rand. It’s truly heartbreaking. I know the pain and sadness. Been there with my 11 cats and dogs. First time in 30 years it’s just my husband and me. I’m praying Rand turns around. And if not, that you can be with her. These are terrible times but even in these times there are many blessings that can give us strength and hope.
Oh Sonia….11 cats and dogs. That’s a lot of heartache. And of course also a lot of love that you carry with you always. Stay safe & healthy.
Janna. Ugh yeah, these are not easy decisions. It’s very early for you to head north, but you also have more of your usual support network up there, plus the isolation. Tough to know what’s right, or what’s the right time. And yes, don’t know why church services are still going on. These gatherings have to stop, at least for the short term.
I’m so sorry about Rand. My heart is aching for you.
Shirley Robbins says
So sorry about Rand. Is it possible to find a kitten that might lighten things for all of you? So glad you’re in a good place to ride things out. Availability is iffy for many things here in,my Houston/Galveston suburb. I placed an online order yesterday for pick up in a little while today. Three items available when I ordered aren’t any longer. Strange items, I think – cream cheese, root beer, and garbage bags. They’re limiting many items, including zip lock snack bags – 2 boxes.
Stay well, and good thoughts for Rand.
I think that after this, we are going to need a little break from cats. We will probably get another kitten one day, knowing us, but this last year has just been tough (soooo many medical issues, so many sleepless nights). I think we will go with just doggie and us for a while.
Thanks for the update on your area. It’s always interesting to hear first hand what’s going on in the various states/cities. There’s so much conflicting news.
Nancy Phillips says
Thank you for your update. I think you are correct about the future of how long the lock down will last and that it is coming to the US. NY, CT, NJ and California are tightening the restrictions even more now. Unfortunately as of yesterday there are seven states that have done little in the way of closures. People are still in vacation mode and want to go camping. Some folks are upset they can’t continue their life style of traveling around the country. They don’t want to hunker down and feel all the parks should be open for them. I think they are a tad bit removed from the reality of the situation.
PS I miss your campground reviews. They have been very helpful.
It’s a tough thing to tell people to stay put and stay inside. Folks love their freedom (for good reason), and tend not to change their ways until someone they know is directly affected or dies. It’s sad but true.
The lock-down in France hasn’t been easy either. The second day police handed out over 4,000 fines to people who just weren’t respecting it. The French love their freedom too! But I think everyone is coming around now, just like they did in Italy & are doing in Spain. Hopefully the same will happen in US.
Positive thoughts to you and your family, critters of course – are family too… Keep remaining calm, and also taking care of each others and those around you when you can. This C-19 is, and will continue, to hurt… But it will be behind us. We will recover from the economic hit, and we will help each other thru the emotional hit…. Attitudes matter… Best to you, and all. Smitty
Hopefully your sweet kitty becomes stronger, if, though, that dreaded final injection does become necessary, perhaps the vet or vet tech that comes to your car could bring the syringes out with them, administer the drugs, and you would be able to hold your beloved one through to the end. Might be worth at least asking about, after all, it would be essentially the same amount of contact between the medical staff and you. My heart goes out to you, stay safe and well, -Mary
Mary, Yes, I’m hoping I can persuade them to do something like that. As long as I can be with her, even in the car I am OK with that.
You are correct Smitty. We WILL get through this, and we WILL recover, all of us. Thank you for the ray of light.
What a beautiful view Polly is “showing” us! Tears came to my eyes thinking of you all loosing your kitties in such a short amount of time. Hopefully Rand passes in your arms without pain. I think my tears are remembering holding my KatyKitty in my arms as she was given the life-ending injection just 1 year & 4 months ago. She too had kidney failure but also had other signs of old age such as a hearing loss and possible dementia.
I’m in California and as a Librarian, I’m on administrative leave since all of our libraries are closed because of the virus. I feel relatively lucky not to be living in a densely populated city like San Francisco but live in the quiet country of the Sierra Foothills.
Stay healthy and know that your fellow animal lovers are here sending you hugs.
Awwww, your dear old KatyKitty. I can see she’s still very much in your thoughts. They stay with us forever, don’t they?
And yes, I’m happy to be living in the countryside too. It’s much easier for us to isolate here than in the bigger cities. Hopefully all stays calms in the Sierra Foothills.
I too agree with the lockdown and am grateful you are in a safe place, as I feel I am too. The worst is sick furbabies. For that, I am sorry for you.
Linda Sand says
Earlier today I read a comment that struck home for me, “Just because I have a migraine doesn’t mean her headache doesn’t hurt.” Pain is pain and I recognize yours. Hugs to you and the fur babies. Together, we will all get through this.
David Barlia says
Wish I was there to give you a hug, but no you’re getting one from us. Stay safe
Oh Nina, my heart aches for you all – this brought tears to my eyes. I pray that Rand goes peacefully on her own with her family there when the time comes.
We have been dealing with TTA surgery recovery with one of our dogs and she hasn’t been cooperating (has pulled out staples twice now, at night – with the cone on). Yesterday’s vet visit was like yours – had to wait outside after they came and got her at the door. Into our 3rd week since surgery but fortunately I have been able to work from home and can keep an eye on her.
We’re outside of Seattle and surprised that the governor is hesitant to lock things down. We expect that to change in the near future (hopefully). Some people here are not taking it seriously here, either. But we sure are!
Sending you strength – stay healthy and safe!
Ugh TTA recovery. That’s a loooong road that we’re very familiar with (TPLO in our case). It does not make it easy if doggie doesn’t co-operate! Hope that your girl springs back quickly. It’s a tough first 6-8 weeks, but it goes very quickly after that. Polly has no limp (from either leg) anymore.
And I can’t imagine it will be long before your governor changes their mind, especially right outside of Seattle (!!). The sooner they do it the better, and the higher chance that the lock-down will only have to be for a short time.
Tami Fox says
I’m so sorry about your precious kitty. FYI, we’re full-timers and are currently in Las Vegas at Nellis AFB. We pulled in a couple of weeks ago without a care in the world. Two days later the world went crazy. Las Vegas is shut down….no casinos, hotels, nonessential business. The Famcamp here cancelled all incoming reservations as of March 18, but since we were here already, we can stay. We’ve even put in a request to extend our stay until the end of April, which was approved. All that being said though, the CO could change his mind at any time and close the campground down. We are happy to be here as long as we can. We go for walks around the campground and everyone is socially distancing themselves. Such a crazy world right now. I hope there is light at the end of this tunnel. Be safe and healthy!
I’m SO glad you found a place to settle, but it sure is scary to hear how many cities are closing up campgrounds altogether. Hopefully they will let you stay, especially since you’ve extended your booking. In OR that’s what they’ve done in Astoria (they’ve closed campgrounds, but allowed those who are longer-term residents or were on-site before Mar 11 to stay). There MUST be safe spots made for fulltime RVers to hunker down.
Anne Stauffer says
So very sorry to hear Rand is not doing well, my heart aches for you.
Here in the Bay Area of CA, I’ve been at home for a week, just got a grocery delivery (5-day lead time). Just as for you, seeing some items unavailable (chicken!) and others in great supply (coffee, thank goodness!). I see people ignoring the shelter-in -place order ,so I think a little enforcement wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Thank goodness for coffee!!!! I’m hoping my order includes it next week. I don’t know if US will go down the route of enforcing the lock-down like they have here in EU (that’s a big step, and Americans will not like it), but if case numbers continue to rise at current rates there may not be a choice. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Sandie Dixon says
My heart breaks for you guys. We had to put our Rocky Joe down last week and it is so lonely. I’m not sure how much Skitz realizes he’s gone because she is old, almost blind, deaf and a little dementia. But we were able to hold Rocky to the end and I am so grateful for that opportunity. We are hunkered down in our RV park here in AZ. A lot of other people in this park are just not taking this seriously at all. So we have self isolated away from all of them. They think I’m overreacting but I know it has to be coming. And it’s scary especially for us older folks. The doctors interviewed on the news this morning said that if they have to choose between a young person getting a ventilator and an older person getting one – the young one wins. Hugs to you guys and stay safe.
Sandie, I’m SO SORRY to hear about Rocky Joe!! What a terrible loss. My heart goes out to you. I’m so glad you were able to be with him in the end, and I know he’s with you now.
And yes, I don’t get how long it taking people to get serious about this. The bed & ventilator shortage issue is real and if doctors have to choose, the ventilator will always go to the younger person. That’s been reported in Italy, it’s true here in France and it’s going to be true in US too. I hope none of us end up on the receiving end of that choice.
Thank you for the point of view. Rand….
What a sad, sad time for you with your dear kitty. Since you have had so much experience doing medical caregiving for your animals, perhaps the vet could give you the injection to administer. Seems a compassionate thing to do. Stay well.
Unfortunately, this is one injection I just can’t do. It goes directly into the heart, and that’s something I have no experience with, and would not want to mess up. I will ask the vet for a strong sedative however, in case I need to bring her in. That may be my best option if she does not choose to pass on her own at home.
My heart also breaks for you and your beautiful Rand. If the injection is needed, is there any way it could be done in your car or in the parking lot at your vet’s in a private area. There must be a way for you to be with Rand… even if you have to wear a gown and mask.
Yes, I’ve thought of this too. I will certainly be pleading my case to the vet. I don’t mind if I have to wear gloves or a mask, or anything.
Gloria Emory says
Nina—Bought tears to my eyes for poor pretty Rand. I’m hoping she can pass in your arms.
Thank you so very much for insight of what is happening in France. Sadly, the US didn’t have the leadership to get behind this sooner. People are still thinking it’s some kind of hoax—I simply can not believe they think that. We are in AZ and will stay where we are for now. My husband has several issues and this virus would not do him well. AGAIN thank you and best to you and yours. HUGS for Rand
People with underlying issues are exactly the reason everyone needs to stay in and slow this thing down. We’ve been very vigilant, because of dad. He is in good shape now, but he’s been through several cancer treatments, and he is in the most vulnerable age group. It just takes one person to infect him. We are VERY dedicated to the #StayAtHome movement.
sending lots of love and hugs….I wish all the states would shut down here…it amazes me how they just don’t get it which puts us all at risk…
Barbara Goodman says
Such hard times, I’m sending warm and fuzzy hugs to Rand from me and my paws❤️Stay safe and take it one day at a time, blessings to you all.❤️
Mary dunbar says
Hugs to you all. Stay safe and healthy
Jim and Gayle says
Sure hate to hear about Rand so soon after Taggart’s death. That would be difficult enough in itself without the worry of everything else that’s happening. Take care of yourselves and hope Polly is doing well.
Whichever choice you make with Rand it will be the right one. You have made a wonderful family for all 12 paws to belong to. They wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I am so grateful for your blog.
Blessings to you and your family
Aaron and Beth Jones says
Keeping Rand in our prayers! You and Paul and Dad stay safe! Better days are ahead for sure.
Peter in Florence says
Hi Kids…We are on lock down here also. It appears that the more TP you have the less chance of getting the virus. Sorry to hear about your kitties. Jan’s kitty, Tootsie left her a while back with kidney failure. Aside from the bad news, it looks like, as you say, not too bad of a place to have to stay put. Here’s hoping you guys stay well and we will try to do the same….Peter
The toilet paper crazy in the US continues to amaze me. I haven’t been into our local stores in France yet, so can’t tell you if the craze has reached here, but the week before the shut-down TP was still in good supply. Who knows now of course!
And yes, we’re in a very good place to ride this out. I feel very thankful for that.
I know the lock-down is awful but it seems to be helping France. I am in New Mexico and we have put ourselves in lock down because of our age and health issues. Fortunately we can shop for groceries online and then go pick them up. It’s not easy to get a time, etc. I feel for Full Time RV folks as public parks are closing, even rest stops are closing. Polly looks like she is handling it well. So sorry kitty is having troubles. They do love each other.
Yes, I do think the lock-down is helping. At least the rate of infection seems to have slowed in France, although it’s really too early to tell for sure. We will know much more a week from now. Glad you guys are staying inside & safe.
So, so sorry to hear that Rand is fading. I know she feels the pull to be with Taggert. Possibility: Is there any way that YOU could send Rand home to Taggert yourself at your home in your arms, by getting the injections from the vet? I know you know a lot about veterinary medicine. Could you do that yourself? At least, you’d be there with her, if she doesn’t decide to go on her own. I lost my 20 yr. old kitty to kidney failure a year ago. It’s never easy. Convince the vet that these are unprecedented times and offer to sign a waiver that you hold them in no way responsible. Just a thought! At least, she’d be with YOU.
Unfortunately I can’t give this particular injection myself, as it goes straight into the heart. I will ask the vet for a strong sedative however, in case I need to bring her in. That may be my best option.
I wish you the best. Never, never easy. Ever.
Oh no, if this really is Rand’s final days, I hope you can be with her peacefully until the end!!!
Glenda A says
I’m so sorry about your kitties. They are beloved family.
Gerri Lilly says
So very sorry that Rand is not getting over his grief. It’s a difficult time. Will keep all of your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Cynthia Blaylock says
Nina, Is there any chance that if Rand has to have the shot, the vet could allow you to pick it up and administer it – so she could have it at home and in your arms? Or alternatively, ask about an “overdose” of a sedative that would do the job? I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to leave her there and will be praying that you don’t have to go through that.
Steve, Holly, and Tula says
Ms Jimi says
God Blesd you dears. So hard to read about Rand, what an awful thing. I send thoughts of peace and hope.
Sarah Hopkins says
So, so sorry about Rand…and hoping for the best possible outcome.
Just wanted to say thank you SO much for your recent fantastic blog posts, and for the fact that you decided to keep writing for all of us who so enjoy your blog. You are an incredibly talented writer, and your posts are informative, heartwarming, inspirational and addictive!
We too are grateful for the fact that we have an amazing and comfortable environment to live in whilst we wait this out, even though we were supposed to be picking up our new motorhome in France in only a few weeks time to start full time travelling. Not sure when those plans will be able to be reinstated, but for now just trying to focus on the positive and today.
We so hope to meet you both one day when we do finally make it over, as you have been a huge part of our inspiration to take up the travelling life.
Warm regards from Noosa, Australia
Thanks so much for the lovely comment! Sorry to hear your motorhome travels in EU will be postponed, but I’m glad you’re in a good place right now to ride this out. The way things are looking now, we have at least several more months to go before the virus trends (hopefully) turn around. We hope to meet you too when you over here!!
We’ll bring the wine!! French of course!
I am so sorry the Rand is doing poorly. Losing another beloved cat will be hard.
We’re in Tucson, in the house, pretty happy about the house. Tucson has closed restaurants and bars, traffic is really light. Our governor is engaging in magical thinking and has declared manicurists, hair dressers and barbers to be essential services. I would really like to see a full lock down, our number of cases is low and wouldn’t it be wonderful to keep it that way?
Stout heart and all the best to you, Paul and your Dad.
An early lock-down would be the absolute BEST solution, but sadly most countries/states have not seen this. Once the virus gets out of hand, the progress become much more difficult to control. I just hope the US states all come to their senses soon.