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Interview with Grandma

I decided to interview my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family. My grandfather and grandmother live in a senior community and I thought it would be interesting to interview them because they might have a different perspective. So I created some questions to ask them. My grandparents live in San Diego. San Diego does not have too many cases yet, but my grandparents are taking precautions. The senior community has to be very careful and cautious of their actions because Covid-19 can be very dangerous to older generations. Especially because the community shares lots of spaces and equipment, Covid-19 could spread fairly quickly throughout the community. My grandparents are being careful and are dealing with Covid-19 day by day. 

How do you feel about social distancing?

My grandmother was very adamant that she hates social distancing. “I hate it,” she said. My grandparents are very active people so not being able to do the things they like is difficult. My grandfather usually plays pickleball with friends, they have square dance lessons, and they usually join many of the community center events and activities. In summary there are many things to hate about social distancing for my grandparents. My grandma has lost many things that she normally does. However, she does understand that social distancing is necessary. 

Do you think social distancing is a good solution to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

My grandmother responded with “yes”. “It is our only one” She believes that this is the only way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. She also went on to say that she thinks and hopes that this solution will work and help flatten the curve. 

How has social distancing affected you? What things did you have to change? 

There are many things that my grandmother cannot do anymore. She can't hang out with all of her friends. She cant go out to eat. She can't go to church. She can't go shopping, she can only go shopping for essentials. My grandparents can not go to square dance lessons anymore or do any activities at the community center.

What are some personal experiences? 

She explained to me that in the beginning of March when things in the U.S were started to close down and some states were starting to quarantine she got sick. She did not get tested so we are not sure if she had Covid-19 or not, but she had many of the symptoms. She had all of the mild symptoms except a fever so the doctors would not test her. She called them to ask but at the time they were only testing people that had all of the symptoms. It is possible that she only had a flu, but it is likely that she could have gotten Covid-19 too. For a few days she felt bad then quickly recovered. The doctors told her just to treat it like a normal flu. She also said that the flu or what she had felt was a little different from the normal flu.

How do you cope with social distancing?

My grandparents are very social with their community so they miss all of the friends and neighbors. They have had many zoom meetings and have called some of her friends. However, she does not really like to call people she likes to see their faces. She is coping and dealing with the social distancing by staying in touch with friends and family. 

What is your experience of social distancing? Has it been easy? Or hard? 

My grandmother explained that it is not that hard to follow the rules of social distancing but  it is hard not to see your friends. Though she tries not to complain because some people do not have jobs and can not make money for their family. Many people are struggling and can not get food. So my grandmother is grateful for her current situation. She also explained how her community is taking the rules of social distancing very seriously. There are no cars on the road and there are barely any people out taking walks. “My community is dead” When she takes walks it feels like her community is empty. They shut down all public places so it is hard to not follow the rules. Additionally, they made a new rule that no one new can enter the community. 

Did you experience anything like COVID-19 during your childhood? Were there any epidemics or illnesses?

“When I was really young, we had a polio pandemic. It was a virus that would cause people, usually children to be paralyzed. There was no lock down, but people didn't go to public parks,  pools, ect. Later they came up with a vaccine that pretty much got rid of it.” said my grandma. This pandemic was in the 40s and 50s. It was very deadly and killed lots of people. It was not as contagious as Covid-19 and there were no quarantines, but they had to be very cautious of their actions. My grandma said that this time was very scary and in a way they had to social distance themselves. Some things were similar about both pandemics that my grandmother has experienced. The fear people had and the cautiousness about who you meet is the same.

To conclude, my grandmother told me about how her experiences as a child are connected to the things she is experiencing today. Being the age that is most at risk for both Polio, as child and Covid-1, as a senior is frightening. But by staying in touch and staying connected with her friends and community she has learned how to cope with crises like these. The things that we experience today will affect the way we handle things in future pandemics. In conclusion, looking back at the answers to my questions, I realized that there is a theme of connection. My grandmother’s connection between both pandemics that she has lived through, has given her more knowledge on the subject. Also, my grandmother is coping with the quarantine by staying connected to her friends and family. I think that connection can be the way we handle the Covid-19 pandemic. Staying connected to your values and passions in life are very important to get through times like this. In conclusion, to get through this quarantine stay connected to all your aspects of life. 

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