By Corrinne Lennox
It is early 2018 and a recorded phone announcement alerts Riderwood residents. It gives the date and the reason for the call.
An intestinal virus was reported by a large number of Riderwood residents as well as by several members of the staff. The outbreak is taken seriously and several precautionary measures are put in place. These are some of them:
All common areas are to be closed. These include the card rooms, exercise rooms and class rooms. Previously scheduled meetings, social events and movies are canceled. Most important, residents are urged to stay in their apartments—the virus is air borne. Everyone should to wash their hands frequently.
The situation is to be closely monitored by the administration. Residents would be regularly updated about the situation by phone and accompanying written notices.
The automated calls and written notices continued for about three weeks, total.
The only exception to the moratorium was in the dining rooms. “Why the dining rooms?” one resident was heard to ask. “Well, they do have to feed us,” came the response from a more seasoned resident.
The dining rooms, however, were not untouched by the situation. Some of the most popular menu items were the first to go. Lettuce topped the list, along with sauces, and all ice cream, although the latter eventually became available via sealed paper cups. Also unavailable were most condiments and items likely to be handled by others.
Eventually, the virus diminished followed by a slow return to normalcy. But back in independent living, some residents were taking the situation in stride. “One day, I watched three Turner Classic movies, back to back,” said one.
“I cleaned my every inch of my apartment,” claimed a second.
Another bragged she threw out every unwanted piece of paper she had received in 2017. “I love throwing out,” she said and added, “I guess there really is good in every situation.”