Monday, April 13 – Woodland Wanderings and Edible Plants
by Corrie Lee OTTAWA, CANADA

Editor’s note: 586 confirmed cases, including 11 deaths have been reported as of April 12 in Ottawa. 25 new cases. Median age is 48 years old. There are 13 ongoing outbreaks in institutions. 27% of infections are coming from close contact, 23% with no travel (community spread), 20% travel only and 20% pending. – JK

I wake up at the crack of 10 am, as I usually do during this pandemic. I simply cannot sleep before 3 or 4 am each night. I start my day as I always do, with coffee and a doobie!

For the last month, I don’t really go out at all other than outside to the woods to start scoping out spots where wild edible plants and mushrooms grow. This is a huge interest of mine. My daily activities usually consist of reading up on permaculture and foraging, working on the garden we’re creating behind our apartment building, or the window gardens we started, working on my art or wandering around the woods. I’m very lucky to have access to these things because of my car and bike.

The 3 times I’ve gone out to get groceries in the last month, I always wear a mask. I’ve sewn about 20 now for my family to use when we leave the house, so we always have some to use even when the others are being washed. It’s been received well as my whole family is very pro mask and safety for all!

I took a fall a few weeks back on some ice outside before COVID really hit here too badly. I fell directly on the healing surgery incision from a recent procedure on my hand, and cut it open slightly.

The area where the forceps opened my hand up sorta separated the skin a bit, so there was a bit of a pocket underneath the healing scar tissue. I guess something got stuck in there when I fell, and although we cleaned it well, I didn’t think to clean under my skin since I didn’t really realize the pocket was there. It eventually got infected, but I didn’t notice right away cause the area was already so red and swollen. I noticed when my hand started to get more inflamed and wasn’t healing properly and started to hurt.

I made a video call appointment with my awesome surgeon, and he confirmed it looked infected and stated it definitely needed to be drained but was unsure if I’d be able to get into any emergency room. He was concerned I would be putting myself and my brother, who takes a large dose of immunosuppressants at risk if I went in yo the hospital. I did say that I was comfortable doing it myself, but he did not in any way condone it but also didn’t say I shouldn’t. I didn’t have to do anything too crazy, but it would have been something I would have gone to my doctor for under any other circumstance.

I didn’t have to do anything drastic I basically just had to drain an abscess, so I used a scalpel cause it was trapped under the scar tissue in my hand from my carpal tunnel surgery.

I steeled myself, and cut down, letting the fluid drain out, and washed and cleaned it. It was no big deal, really.

I’m a type 1 diabetic, so my healing process can be a little bit slower than the average person, especially in situations where high stress and a changed schedule alter my blood sugars. I’m getting used to it now, and my sugars have stabilized more, but right after my surgery was when this whole thing started happening and it did throw me off my normal schedule.

I’m pretty lucky that I was staying temporarily at my parents so that they could help me heal from the surgery on my right hand. I’m right-handed, and the healing process was painful at first, so it would have been hard to function. I’m subleasing my place to a friend, and when this all started to go down, I was super grateful to not be stuck alone in Quebec and not able to come to Ontario since they are monitoring the borders now even though Ottawa and Hull are basically the same cities. Where I live in Hull has no grocery stores or anything close by, and my car just so happened to bite the dust the other day, so if I wasn’t staying here, I’d be totally screwed.

I’ve been trying to stay offline mostly for my mental health. I’ve been taking a break and just learning how to be a mushroom farmer cause that’s what I want to be. I made a small colonizing room in a closet and inoculated a bunch of homemade straw logs.

So that’s taking all my time. It’s been better than staying on the internet for me.