Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Staying Home, Part 2

I am beginning my second week of obeying my state’s stay-at-home orders. I have decided to remain in my house until at least the end of the month. As I wrote in my previous blog post, I consider this my job now. I need to send the message that I take this pandemic seriously and am willing to do whatever it takes to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Over the next week, I will be watching the news closely. If I feel comfortable, I may decide to return to work on April 1. In the meantime, I have been assured that my insurance benefits through Alameda Alliance are not in jeopardy if I fail to work the required 80 hours per month. I do want to get back to serving my recipients. I expect that I would be going directly to work and then directly home, avoiding any other social contact. Then I will consider if it is OK to return to regular shopping. Yes, we are running low on toilet paper, and my prescription for my cholesterol-lowering drug needs to be refilled by April 5.

Like many I am spending more time online. My weekly Quaker meetings for worship (Strawberry Creek Meeting and Berkeley Meeting) are now conducted via Zoom. I have another Zoom meeting coming up this week to decide if we are going to cancel our spring quarterly meeting that is scheduled for mid-May.

My biggest disappointment is that we won’t be holding our annual Berkeley CROP Hunger Walk next Sunday, as planned. It is organized by the international relief organization, Church Word Service, and allows us to fundraise for local hunger relief agencies. Our Berkeley agencies are the Berkeley Food Pantry (run by Berkeley Friends Church), Dorothy Day House, and Youth Spirit Artworks. The money is split with CWS getting 75% and the local agencies receiving 25%. Even though the walk is cancelled you can still donate online to our Berkeley Quakers Team, . Thanks.

March 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m Staying Home

Why I’m Staying Home


While I have been considering how I would need to respond the COVID-19 epidemic for a number of weeks now, it all became very real for me when I watched Governor Gavin Newsom’s press conference on Sunday, March 15. Right off the bat, he announced that everyone 65 years and older need to stay in their homes and not go anywhere; no work, no shopping, nothing. 

Yes, he was talking to me. I am a couple of weeks away from my 70th birthday. The day before, I was standing with the crowd at Berkeley Bowl West, buying milk and thinking that this may not have been a good idea. However, I needed milk, just like I needed to do my work as an in home care provider earlier that day. I just got on my bicycle and rode to the places I needed to go.

I didn’t need another job. However, Governor Newsom has given me a new job. I now have the job of staying home. That changes the other jobs I have.

Even though I don’t smoke or have any other health problems that put me at risk for serious complications from COVID-19, I do care for people who have those risks, such as diabetes. I have not been experiencing any of the symptoms, and the chances I have come in contact with a person with the virus are low. If people without symptoms are able to spread the virus to others, however, that justifies me staying away from others who are at risk.

My IHSS work mostly involves housekeeping and shopping. While another person could fill in for me and do my jobs, finding a person to work in my place will not be easy. I am hoping for guidance from my union, SEIU 2015. Governor Newsom said at his press conference that he was talking with the union.

If I get COVID-19 and do recover, there is still the chance that I would become seriously ill, possibly needing a hospital bed and a respirator, I would become a part of the overload that our hospitals are facing right now. By keeping myself away from the virus, I would be part of the solution and not be an additional burden on our healthcare system.

So this is my new job. I am letting the world know I am taking this crisis seriously by complying with the Governor’s directive. That directive came one day before the counties in the entire Bay Area decided that everyone, regardless of age, need to limit their activities and stay home as much as possible. I am working at home, doing the jobs I don’t get paid for. I have been spending more time on Zoom, including two Quaker meetings for worship on Sunday, a Quaker  clerks’ meeting before that, and a meeting of the Alameda County chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby last night. I am not hurting financially. I do have 8 hours in sick pay through my union contract. I will be getting my social security check by direct deposit next week. On my birthday, I will get a nice, new present from New York Life, as I start drawing down on my 403b retirement account. in addition to Social Security, I am on Medicare. My main concern is that I have a health plan through my work, Alameda Alliance, that is my supplemental insurance for what Medicare does not pay for, such as dental care and prescription drugs. For that benefit I need to work 80 hours per month. I know I will fall short this month. I am hoping for some guidance from my union.

I am optimistic that I will be celebrating my 70th birthday, even if it is at home. After that my goal is to be alive on Tuesday, November 3, when I cast my ballot in the presidential election. I will vote to remove the incompetent and corrupt Donald Trump from office. Join me in voting for the Democratic Party nominee for President and replacing the cowardly Republican senators who failed to do their duties to remove Trump from office by impeachment. 

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment