“The Dog House”…Our Response to the Coronavirus.

Today, my husband and I went and bought a pop-top caravan with a longer term vision of road trips. However, the reality is that we’ve bought the caravan to protect me from catching the coronavirus from the family. We bought something small and cheap which will fit in the backyard alongside the boats, and it needs a lot of work. However, at the end of the day, we’ll have something which is our own and almost becomes a member of the family. We’ve decided to call it: “The Dog House”. That’s not only because it will be parked out in the backyard with the dogs. As you may be aware, “being in the dog house” is when a bloke is in trouble with his wife and he might be sleeping on the couch but the saying is that “he’s out in the dog house”.

For those of you who have been following Beyond the Flow for some time, you’ll be aware that I live with a severe auto-immune disease, Dermatomyositits  which attacks my muscles and that as a complication of this, I’ve developed Insitital Lung disease with fibrosis in my lungs. I live with 50% lung capacity on a good day, and I also know what it’s like trying to get through a really bad day. A few years ago, I caught pneumonia and stopped breathing for a split-second. I was coughing and coughing and coughing and suddenly there was nothing. Fortunately, something popped and cleared my lungs and I was still alive. It took months for me to get out of danger and my lung specialist bluntly told me that if I caught anything else, I’d be finished. This pneumonia also triggered a flare of my auto-immune disease. So, I also ended up having chemo to halt that. So, you see, I have a pretty good idea of what it could be like to catch the coronavirus and what it would mean for me and our family…or the extended community. This is not something to treat with our usual Australian indifference. The “she’ll be right mate” attitude. Some of us will be right. Some us us will still be here but with scarred and damaged lungs, and others will be gone, especially if we as a community don’t take transmission seriously and self-isolate as much as we can. That said, I haven’t completely quarantined myself yet. Not knowing how long this thing could hang around for, I am being very selective.

I also wanted to share a Facebook post from one of my dear Muscular Dystrophy friends, Cassie who is in her 20s. I won’t say much about her except to say she’s stretched and extended herself well beyond her disability and conquered so many hurdles. Then, something like this virus comes along, and it isn’t about fear or anxiety. The threat is real. Anyway, here’s what she had to say:

“I haven’t said much about this covid-19 but here is my piece to everyone that may be belittling it or panic buying and hoarding.
This is more than a common cold. sure some minor corona virus’ cause the common cold but this is worst than the flu. Those people panicking, filling up hospital beds and hoarding supplies, you are being totally unfair on everyone else who still needs those products too.
So many people I know, including myself are vulnerable to death from this virus. Surely by knowing me you would realise our lives are worth more than such flippant and infuriating (to me) statements that ”it is just like a common cold” or ”it won’t effect me”. By saying it is not that big of a deal stops people taking infection control seriously resulting in people like me dying. ask yourself how many people do you know with emphysema, copd, asthma, heart disease, weakens immune systems, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and many other conditions? how would you feel if you potentially carried covid-19 to then they died? just because ”the old and weak” as society deems us often die with any spreadable disease doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking this seriously and taking measures to protect EVERYONE. MY LIFE MATTERS TOO AND I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!!”

You’d have to be made of stone if these words didn’t strike you like an arrow through the heart. It’s also a wake-up call to people who aren’t taking this seriously. Do you want to be the one who passes the virus onto someone else who then goes on to die? If we’ve taken the best precautions, then we don’t have a case to answer for. However, if we’ve stuck our head in the sand, then we’re accountable. There have been pure bred idiots who have gone to the supermarket on the way home after being told to self-isolate because they’ve been exposed to the virus. OMG!


Here I am helping my daughter with her audition for the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of the Sound of Music in Sydney. I had a nasty chest infection and was on the nebuliser but did manage to go with her to the audition.

Anyway, I wanted to share this this with you. Let you inside the world Cassie and I share with so many people who have lung and other medical conditions so you can walk in our shoes for a bit. Breathing in through our lungs, and know what it means to struggle for every breath. I would do anything to stop someone from getting this thing. Like Cassie, I am also determined to stay alive. This should be a no-brainer, but more caution is needed.

Jonathon mask

My son and I making Irish Stew when he had a cold quite a few years ago now.

Please be cautious. Please be kind.

Best wishes,


22 thoughts on ““The Dog House”…Our Response to the Coronavirus.

  1. Dan Antion

    Best wishes to you and your family as well. These times are scary for everyone, but more so for some and we all need to appreciate that and act accordingly.

  2. itsathought2

    You bring home to me why my thinking that we should focus all our efforts on isolating the at risk and just let the damn thing run it’s course, would not really be effective. We all have to participate to protect the vulnerable.

    Unless you are a single person living alone like myself, true isolation is impossible. And even now in all this mess, if I were forced to truly self isolate, I would likely still need to leave the apartment to take out the trash or receive a delivery of groceries, which would expose me. And all of that is complicated and compounded when you live with others, particularly as a parent.

    Thank you for refocusing me on why we are all sacrificing. It’s a mess. But we must get through and we must all take it seriously or it will all be for naught. We will lose the vulnerable and have killed the economy, if we don’t do it right.

  3. Pingback: I was wrong – It's a Thought

  4. maxwellthedog

    Good thinking on having an emergency isolation unit if needed! We worry about you because of your higher risk profile. Not sure how cozy that camper will be as you move into later Autumn and Winter but maybe the infection curve will have flattened. “Dog House” is a good name. We named our camper “Katasumori” which means “snail” in Japanese because with that camper, our home was always on our back. Max loved it so I guess it was a bit of a dog house, too. Keep giving us frequent updates, Ro, so we know what’s happening down in your neck of the woods.

  5. Tails Around the Ranch

    Thinking of you and sending positive wellness thoughts your way. Never fear, there are thoughtless idiots all over the world. I’m starting to call them out now. Respectfully, but still calling them out. It needs to be done or they’ll continue their boorish, dangerous behavior. Stay well, my friend and have fun fixing up the Dog House. It looks like it has loads of potential and promise.

  6. IreneDesign2011

    Mostly people do care and show the needed empathy to stay home most possible. In Spain, we are locked totally down to avoid further spread of this virus.
    Send you healing thoughts and wish you the best.

  7. Rowena Post author

    I heard that Spain had totally locked down on the news, which I think is a sound approach, although it is painful. However, I think the idea is for short term pain and a focus on prevention.
    I’m not so sure our Australian culture is prepared for this. We tend to have a she’ll be right attitude and view wearing masks as an over-reaction and being concerned about germs as OCD and over the top. There’s always been a “you can’ tell me what to do” kind of attitude, which concerns me in the current context. Hopefully, the general population can put that on hold for a little while and enjoy some time at home or even outdoors in a quiet place. I am lucky that our local beach is almost deserted most of the time, so I could still go there atm. However, I’m not feeling the best myself atm and have been fighting off a chest infection for a few weeks on and off. Feel a bit worse today and going to get more antibiotics.
    Take care Irene and thank you for your concern.
    Best wishes,

  8. Rowena Post author

    Loads of potential and promise sums it up well. I’m lucky that my husband is very good at fixing things and will be able to get this looking and functionally great. I’m looking forward to a few adventures ahead once all of this virus thing is out of the way.
    BTW our news showed people in the USA queuing up to buy guns. Is that widespread or perhaps they honed in on one community that was misrepresentative. It’s not like the news to create their own story.
    It’s strange looking outside through my window at the sun and blue sky overhead, the washing hanging on the line and my rosebush with it’s spent flowers reaching out almost like a hand upturned seeking something mysterious, unfathomable. There’s even a spider’s web, which I can only make out because a smattering of Jacaranda leaves have been capture inside the huntsman’s lair. Guess it’s going vegetarian tonight. I’m going to turn those thoughts into a post.
    It is hard and strange for people like yourself who are grieving for reasons quite other than the coronavirus and how that now flies right under the radar. Funerals are such an important part of the grieving process but no doubt also subject to not holding a gathering of more than 100 people. My uncle’s cousin died and he’s Aboriginal and they’re much more susceptible as their general health isn’t good. I don’t know how that panned out. They usually have massive funerals but they might just have got it through before things got worse.
    Take care and safe.
    Best wishes,

  9. Rowena Post author

    I am so pleased that I helped refocus your thoughts. We are a few weeks ahead of the game, because our son’s school excursion to Europe was cancelled by the NSW Education Department. This was before the spread through Italy was made public. They were going there and visiting Rome and Pompeii and it’s such a shame they missed out. But since then, going to Italy has become a no brainer. Indeed, an impossibility.
    Anyway, because of this and my own health situation, we looked into things very early on. We’ve had the kids sick at home before and me needing to self-isolate and us wearing masks. It is not foreign to us. I also have a lung specialist who I think is the head at Sydney’s major public hospital. I know he will look after me. During the bushfire crisis when I was struggling to breathe as I also have asthma, he told me to get to hospital soonerrather than later. Not to wait until I needed to go to ICU. That they can treat me before it gets really bad. That is very good advice for people now, although at the same time, we don’t want our hospitals clogged up with people who aren’t really sick.
    There’s so much to think about and I guess that’s where the experiences of countries which have experienced pandemics before are so valuable and can guide us all.
    Best wishes,

  10. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Tom. I will be blogging more frequently again as I’ll be needing to get more of my socialization online again, and I’m going to slow down a bit with the WWI research. It’s been rather all-consuming for at least 6 months and I need to draw breath.
    I loved the name of your camper. That’s so funny and very apt. Our current tow vehicle is a Subaru Forrester. It has a 2.5 litre engine ( had to ask Geoff about that) and when we brought the camper home down the freeway yesterday, it was us in the slow truck lane being overtaken by cars shooting past like rockets when that’s usually us.
    I had a chat with an elderly woman yesterday while waiting for Geoff t pick me up. Her husband is ill and not eating much and she thought he might eat some chicken. Indeed, he sounded like a good contender for some chicken soup. However, there was no chicken available and she said that “he might have to eat cat food”. It made me laugh, but I hope the poor fellow perks up. It’s quite a battlefield out there.
    Geoff went to the supermarket after school drop off yesterday and had no trouble. Came home with a big plump chook and we had Apricot Chicken with roast veggies for dinner. It was like he’d killed the fatted calf. We also had pavlova.
    If we truly run out of fod supplies, I had a look in the cupboard and I think we’d be able to live on Chocolate Caramel Slice for at least a fortnight. I have about cans of condensed milk in the pantry. Don’t ask me why. It’s just one of those things you discover when you do an inventory. Strange stuff.
    Meanwhile, Lady found the spare dog food on the floor in the laundry and looked like she’d down the fatten calf. She chewed a hole through the bag ignorant of the consequences. Anyway, she has plenty of food in storage to get her through a famine. THat said, I don’t think she’ll understand when we’re dishing the food out to the pups and we tell her than she already had her share last week. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.
    I wonder if Spam sales are skyrocketing in Hawaii? Have you got back over there since you left?
    Take care!
    Best wishes,

  11. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Dan. I’m not really sure who this virus is going to claim. Those of us who have been living with long term chronic health are used to self-isolating and have probably established a lifestyle beyond the mainstream at least for parts of the years when colds and flus are a problem. Where people respond with the fight reflex, instead of flight, is where I think we as a community and them as individuals could come unstuck.
    I hope you stay well and please keep me posted about your neck of the woods.
    Best wishes,

  12. IreneDesign2011

    I hope, that the world will recognize the need of totally lock down for a while, until there are more control with this virus.
    No, it isn’t any fun, but necessary.
    People here don’t like it either, but we are all concerned about the more weak people, for whom this might be fatal.
    Take good care too, Rowena.

  13. itsathought2

    I think the advice that most people need – which is if you get sick, stay at home, don’t go the hospital, DOES NOT apply to the vulnerable. We need the hospitals to be focused on the most vulnerable. Stay Safe and wash your hands. 🙂

  14. maxwellthedog

    Sounds like you and Geoff have things under control. We have to His Furriness to the vet today to get his regular injection of Cytopoint and they have an involved protocol where one phones the office as one arrives in the parking lot. The vet tech directs where you leash the dog and return to your car. The tech comes out, gets the dog, does the job and returns the pup to the leashing spot and waves to you so you get out of the car, pick him up and go n your way. Haven’t figured out the payment portion yet. This methodolgy will not go over well with the Malt. I told her that was going to whisper “Max, you’re gonna have to live here for awhile.” She is now furious at me and won’t speak so at least there’s a silver lining to all this. 👿

  15. tidalscribe

    You have vividly brought home what the glib phrase ‘underlying conditions’ actually means. It is scary when so many people havn’t been tested and though it seems awful for everything to be closing down , how else can we keep it from spreading?

  16. Rowena Post author

    It is extremely challenging and we need some really intelligent leadership which we’re not always getting. Our Prime Minister isn’t switched on and today they had to close Bondi Beach due to overcrowding. Australians congregate at the beach instead of social isolating. We’re daft, but I saw that coming and realized we had to withdraw. Dealing with this virus is too big a cultural shift for most Australians. Here’s a link to Bondi Beach: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-21/bondi-beach-closed-over-crowds-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/12077618
    Best wishes,

  17. Rowena Post author

    Poor Max. His troubles are being cruelly magnified.
    Thought you’d enjoy this photo of Bondi Beach. It’s been closed for exceeding the 100 people in an outdoor space regulation. Daft Australians. I should also point out that while the beaches are open for business, our churches are completely shut down. It’s always been said that we’re a nation of sun worshippers.If Corona doesn’t get them, skin cancer could.
    Best wishes,

  18. Rowena Post author

    It appears not so immortal. Been a few cases of coronavirus reported at Bondi. It’s hard for some people to get the messageacross all age groups. I’ve been quite surprised at the risks people are taking and if you read my post from today, you’ll see I went for a walk long the more secluded end of our beach , but photographed the other end and there were too many people there for my liking. I entered via a track through the dunes. Sneaky!

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