The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.
All interviews are edited for length and clarity.
Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, The Waters on 50th senior living community
Arminta: We get tested for COVID every two weeks and we got tested again today. I always have a headache afterward. I don’t know why.
There are no more positive tests here. I talked to the son of the woman in assisted living who had had it, and he told us she was turning 100 this year. That’s quite a deal! But evidently she is fine. She’s a neat lady. Her son’s a doctor and would visit her every single day before all this came up. He’s been a really good son to her.
They are doing a lot of interesting events, like Trivial Pursuit, a hot chocolate bar, cardmaking, gift wrapping, a program on Hanukkah and a sweater social. I don’t know if it’s ugly sweaters; they probably think our sweaters are ugly anyway.
We have to wear masks and be 6 feet apart, and they offer events at multiple times to help keep us distanced. But it’s important to be in the same room as our neighbors. It’s important to see other people.
Ron: We wave. And then if we get close, we do a fist bump. That’s all the excitement we have.
For Thanksgiving, we Zoomed with our son and grandkids in Washington and our granddaughter in Missouri. It was nice to see relatives we hadn’t seen for awhile.
Arminta: They are now allowing one family member to come in for an hour once a week to help make their beds, sort out their pills and do things like that. Our kids haven’t come; I think we’re handling it OK.
Ron: I can screw it up all by myself.
Arminta: I can still do my own pills.
They send us COVID updates, and they keep insinuating that we are going to be some of the first people after the health care workers to get the vaccine. The Waters has signed an agreement with Thrifty White Pharmacy to store the vaccine and help administer it.
When I got tested today, I talked to the gal who administered the test about the vaccine and said I was a little leery of it. I asked her how safe it was, and she said it was extremely safe because the base they’re using is the one they used for the SARS vaccine, so they didn’t start up from scratch even though it seems like it arrived really quickly. My reservation was that it was so fast, but she kind of convinced me that it would be OK.
Mount Olivet is sending dinners out to people like us who are confined, and this Saturday, they’ll be delivering us a meal. And then on Christmas Eve the Lake Harriet United Methodist Church across the parking lot from us is having an outdoor service and they’re going to sing hymns and Bible tunes. We’re invited if we want to go out, but they’re also connecting us by radio so we can have a nice Christmas Eve.
VOICES FROM THE PANDEMIC
- Barb Joyce, infection preventionist, Jones-Harrison senior living
- Marcia Zimmerman, rabbi, Temple Israel
- Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, Waters on 50th senior living community
- Tracey Schultz, science teacher, Clara Barton Open School
- Peter Kumasaka, Linden Hills, emergency room physician
- Jen and Marcus Wilson, co-owners, True Grit Society gym
- Marion Greene, board chair, Hennepin County
- Jesse Vasquez, Uptown resident
You can read all of the stories here.