- the COVID-19 variants
- our record-breaking heat wave
- devastating forest fires
- air quality (see: forest fires)
- the deer eating my zinnias
Okay, that last one may seem trivial (but I was TOLD that deer won’t touch zinnias – which is apparently FALSE!) I have also noticed that my cardiac symptoms don’t even make that worry list these days. n . .
There is simply so much else to occupy my worry time lately.
As so many of my Heart Sisters readers keep telling me, their worst worries on any given day are often not the cardiac issues they’ve spent years getting used to, but new and unexpected issues.
For example, just when I thought that ongoing chest pain, shortness of breath and crushing fatigue were my biggest “normal” worries, this past winter those symptoms somehow faded into second place. I was far too busy focusing on debilitating new symptoms of persistent plantar fasciitis in my right heel. This is a repeat of an excruciatingly painful foot injury that ended my running life years ago. (See also: “Running Past”, my Runner’s World essay on becoming a former runner).
But lately, I’ve started fretting about a brand new thing to worry about (on top of climate change, a sore heel and my poor zinnias) – and that brand new thing is shaking hands again.
In a post-COVID world, I now wonder: will people go back to the handshake? How should I respond to that? And don’t even get me started on casual acquaintances who move in for a hug the way we used to do.
Right now, where I live on the beautiful west coast of Canada, our province is in Step 3 of a 4-Step “restart” path back to a pre-pandemic “normal”. The criteria for Step 3 are:
- at least 70% of the 18+ population vaccinated with first dose
- low case counts
- declining COVID-19 hospitalizations
1. Bundgaard H. et al. “Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers.” Ann Intern Med 2021;174:335–43. https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-6817.
NOTE FROM CAROLYN: I wrote much more about heart patients and stress in my book A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press). You can ask for this book at your local bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon, or order it directly from Johns Hopkins University Press. Save 20% by ordering this book directly from Johns Hopkins University Press, using the code HTWN .