Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID 19: a personal journal...

2020...  a year with hope yet now challenged by a relentless Coronavirus unlike any before.  This New Virus now labeled Covid 19 was believed to have started in China before spreading throughout the world.  Initially, I had hoped for this virus to be contained within reasonable borders but we would soon learn that thousands unknowing of carrying the virus would cross many borders.  Washington State would be the first I believe known state of the USA to encounter this.  President Trump would stop international flights in January of 2020 and Vice President Mike Pence would lead the charge in our country's actions to fight this horrific virus.

Humor would be key in helping most deal with this virus.  Initially, business as usual continued.

Humor as seen here would be key and also with some truths.  Working in a hospital, healthcare workers would definitely seem more fearful of bed bugs, lice, etc. Many like myself internalized emotions of the potential horror this virus could bring but as a coping mechanism we stayed strong, used humor, and kept busy.

We had to remind ourselves as with all flu and cold seasons to stay clean and not panic.  So many conspiracy theories and other fake news and research would surround us especially on the internet.  I typically share some things to stir up brainstorming, maintain hope, and keep us thinking but many had become overwhelmed and unable to separate the fact that we all knew it wasn't always fact.  I literally observed highly intelligent people became defensive and overwhelmed with various emotions.  Their concerns were valid of course in most cases as we know some people really do believe if it's on facebook it must be true.  Bless.


This would be the last Webelos 2 den meeting before things became more serious.  It was a sign of things to come as we were soon mandated to no longer meet for non essential matters. 

The end of basketball season came abruptly and fortunately we were able to find humor even with March Madness.  The UNC Tarheels would have their worst season I've ever seen and they would not be attending the "Big Dance".  In fact, my wife even joked that they would not even make the NIT or as she stated the "Not In Tournament" post season events.

Many of my running friends had to face the fact that races were being cancelled.  Fortunately,  I would not have any races scheduled until September's Hinson24 Ultra and October's Pilot Mt 50k.

Schools would soon be closed.  This was tough as we would have to find ways to maintain childcare.  My wife and I both do Occupational Therapy in a Level 1 Trauma Hospital and were deemed essential employees.  This is a blessing as many would soon be out of work filing for unemployment.

On March 19th, we were all informed that our first person with Covid19 in Pitt County was an assistant Principal of North Pitt High School.  Several friends of mine who attended a lego conference in Raleigh would have to be quarantined because they later found out someone positive was at the Lego Conference.

Vidant Medical Center would be screening everyone for a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath and if they knew they had been in contact with anyone positive or had they traveled from abroad etc.

There was so many episodes of fake news that Facebook was blocking nearly everything until they were able to get a grasp on things.  I even had a post from CS Lewis blocked but it was later allowed.

As predicted, the market took a big hit.  Trying not to panic, I remained with these investment despite a big loss.  In fact, I actually increased my overall paycheck investment percentage in hopes that I would buy things on sale sort of speak and profit later when the market improved.  I knew I had to be patient as this ordeal could last a long time but I was hopeful that this crisis would be improved by the summer and the market improved within a year. Time would tell.

Gas prices continued to drop and in fact in some areas of the country the prices would be nearing a dollar a gallon.  Cheap prices but soon we would be limited with no where to go but essential places.

This was about the last time I would be at a bar.  I help take care of my mom in my home town.  I would finish helping her and meet my friends Steve and Bill to reflect our new stress.  Steve and Bill were in scouts with me but I have known Bill Since the 3rd grade because his mom was one of my teachers at East End School.

Still attempting to find humor...

Sports would be cancelled...

Events would be cancelled...

Many would be buying out the hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other cleaning goods...

March 13th 2020

March 26th 2020

March 27th 2020

March 27th would be our 17th Dating Anniversary...  Here is a much nicer memory drinking Corona Beer in Curacao as the sun set...

March 28th 2020

Getting groceries became different...  it's not completely protective but Food Lion did wipe down carts for us and put up this shield.  

March 30th 2020

Masks became mandatory but the community came together with support

March 31st 2020

April 1st 2020

My coworkers and I trying to make the best of the situation.  We wished this was all one big April Fool's Day...

Our cafeteria at work

April 2nd 2020

April 3, 2020

We continue to be screened before allowed to work...

April 4th 2020

A Reminder in history that this too shall pass...

Still many things to be thankful for...
Here I am outside with the fire with Venus in view...

April 5th 2020

Palm Sunday 2020 is not the same as usual... here I am as a kid at St Luke Methodist Church in Goldsboro NC

 A reminder that a change in routine is tough... those with Autism know all too well

Kirk, Cory, Landon and me on the Greenway keeping our distance...

Reminders that life must go on but socially distant of course... the hardest is keeping distant from my mom.  We stocked up pretty good on food etc but mail and food transactions are difficult because we certainly don't want to give my mom anything as her health is already compromised.

April 6th 2020

Messages of Support

Health Hero Hotline

My Dojo "GMA" now enters a new month of virtual online live classes.  It's very weird to teach and talk to no one but at least it keeps me connected to my students and helps me pay part of the rent.

For visiting my Blog, I'll let you have a free class...

April 7th 2020

1st death in Pitt County NC

401k loss at -19.7 but this is improved from -28% about 3 weeks ago...

Even Vidant Medical Center is making food pick ups available...

April 8th, 2020

update by


Did I mention it's Occupational Therapy Month?  I guess not... so much going on but that does not take me away from loving my profession.  Yes, it's more difficult now but that's why I wanted to do this.  I wanted to help people learn to be more independent regardless of the challenge.  If you have read my ultra blog adventures, you already know I love challenges.

April 9th 2020

The community continues to come together...

Good Friday April 10th 2020

and then the Dojo today went from this...

to this after a young kid drove his car with bad brakes into my Dojo today...

April 11th 2020

Can't remember when gas was this cheap... ironically with everyone staying home mostly there's no shortage of the cheap gas...

Pikeville NC helping my mom...

keep smiling and positive!

Old place in Belfast where epic games were played!

I attended my close friend's Tom's father's graveside service.  Just close friends and family allowed so I was honored to be there.  I remember my dad's military honors and wishing I had better videos etc so I made this video for them.

Easter Sunday April 12th 2020

April 13th 2020

Thought provoking in a time that we can't believe anything on the internet or news etc.  So many views so in the end trust nothing...

April 14th 2020

April 15th 2020

Today my family received our government stimulus check...

Afternoon of April 15th

More OT Month Celebrations...

April 16th 2020

Landon, Gina, and I are still getting in our workouts!

Shaggy... sleeping more than playing now... 17 years old

April 17th 2020

Lots of opinions about mandated vaccines etc...

Local business closes down after over 30 years...
but new management may be taking over?

April 18th 2020

Got kids outside for some runs!

April 20th 2020

April 21st 2020

April 22, 2020

lost a patient today not COVID19 related ... tough... years helping on a Code Team is tough but at least you didn't have a relationship with the patients.  When you are a therapist working with the individual it is another level of sadness...  

This didn't help after enduring the code.... then later finding out the individual who drove his care into my Dojo didn't have insurance...

just thankful I have a job I love and am still working...

April 23rd 2020

From a facebook post from my friend Kim...

If you're unsure about guidance recently, here's something from a lawyer friend of mine from Canada, it makes things crystal clear ... kinda: 
1. You MUST NOT leave the house for any reason, but if you have a reason, you can leave the house.
2. Masks are useless at protecting you against the virus, but you may have to wear one because it can save lives. They may not work, but they may be mandatory, but maybe not.
3. Shops are closed, except those shops that are open.
4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors; you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick.
5. This virus can kill people, but don’t be scared of it. It can only kill those people who are vulnerable or those people who are not vulnerable. It’s possible to contain and control it, sometimes, except when it leads to a global disaster.
6. Gloves won't help, but they can still help so wear them sometimes, or not.
7. STAY HOME, but remember — it's important to go out.
8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarkets, but there are many things missing from the shelves. This is why, even if you don’t need toilet paper, you should buy some. 
9. The virus has no effect on children except those children it affects. 
10. Animals are not affected, but there was one cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no humans had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there.
11. Stay 2 metres away from tigers (see point 10).
12. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick while being non-symptomatic, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. You can also be non-contagious with symptoms. Bear this in mind before wasting your doctor’s time. 
13. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand because it's better not to go out —unless you (don’t) need to buy toilet paper.
14. It's important to get fresh air but don't go to parks if you go for a walk. Don’t sit down, except if you are old, but not for too long, or if you are pregnant, or if you’re not old or pregnant but need to sit down. If you do sit down, don’t eat your picnic unless you've had a long walk, which you are/aren't allowed to do if you're old or pregnant.
15. Don’t visit old people unless you have to take care of them and bring them food and medicine.
16. If you are sick, you can go out when you are better but anyone else in your household can’t go out when you are better unless they need to go out.
17. You can buy take-out food from restaurants. This food is safe. But groceries you bring back to your house have to be decontaminated outside for 3 hours, including pizza.
18. You can't see your older mother or grandmother, but they can take a taxi (not to see you) and meet an older taxi driver.
19. You are safe if you maintain the safe social distance when out but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance.
20. Always stay at the recommended social distance; however, in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, because, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours ... or four hours...or six hours... I mean days, not hours. But it needs a damp environment. Or a cold environment that is warm and dry. It also remains active in the air, and possibly underwater though probably not. Never touch cardboard, or wood, or plastic, or metal. If you have to sleep, don’t touch your sheets of your pillow.
22. The virus stays in the air - well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room; in one hour a sick person can infect ten. It’s more than likely that all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. 
23. Schools are closed so you need to home-school your children, unless you can send them to school because you’re not at home. If you are at home you can home-school your children using various portals and virtual class rooms, unless you have poor internet, or are too poor to have internet, or you have more than one child and only one computer, or you are working from home. Baking cakes can be considered maths, science or art. If you are home-schooling you can include household chores within their education. If you are home schooling you can start drinking at 10am.
24. If you are not home-schooling children you can also start drinking at 10am.
25. The number of corona related deaths will be announced daily but we don't know how many people are infected as they are only testing those who are almost dead to find out if that's what they will die of. The people who die of coronavirus who aren’t counted, won’t or will be counted but maybe not.
26. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that is not dangerous, apparently, unless you take too much.
27. We should stay in lockdown until the virus stops infecting people but it will only stop infecting people if we all get infected so it’s important some get infected and that some don’t get infected.
28. No business will go down due to Coronavirus except those businesses that will go down due to Coronavirus
29. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more but only after you take off your gloves and spray your Lysol with Lysol just in case someone who didn't wash their hands after they went to the bathroom touched a door handle previously touched by a non-symptomatic coronavirus-carrier who touched the same bottle of Lysol when stocking shelves 24 hours ago.

April 24th 2020

We need to think more vs be sheep to the media and beyond... hmmm
check this link out


Well we've all become home school teachers now... fortunately it has taken a village in our house using our friends/friends kids during the day while we are at work and my wife and I taking turns in the evenings...



May the 4th 2020

May 5th 2020

Taking Ethics Class Virtually 

401K... was approaching  -30% so this is an improvement overall

May 6th 2020

Meanwhile the young man who drove into the dojo did not have insurance... we did make some progress here thanks to Mercer, a local glass company.  Pictured with the new work is John Ormsby one of my martial arts instructors and friend since the late 80's.


May 10th 2020 "Mother's Day"

Sadly, we had to visit mom/Oma from a distance

The kids had a good time taking their mom on an adventure before giving her cards

May 11th 2020

May 12th 2020

Nice gift as I left work...

I've been blessed to have my own gym.  I'm finally breaking some plateaus and getting near my all time marks with hopes to go beyond.  That being said I'm also starting to pick up on my cardio which can impact my overall power in weightlifting.  

May 13th 2020

sad day... 13th anniversary of my dad's passing after a battle with Colon Cancer right after enduring heart surgery...

May 14th 2020

Large jump in cases... people are getting out more as we try to reopen businesses etc...  maybe too soon?  problem is battle of COVID19 vs people unable to work and survive

With all that is going on, it's been nice to have all kinds of birds and even a new squirrel visiting for food...

I was randomly drawn today! Nice!

Chicod School Car Parade
Greenville NC USA

May 15th 2020

May 18th 2020

May 19th 2020

Virtual Forum...

Meanwhile the market slowly improves...

May 22, 2020

Pirate Nation,

I am saddened by yesterday's announcement to eliminate four of our sport programs. The decision was gut-wrenching in every sense of the word. It was a difficult day for our student-athletes, our coaches, alumni, the entire athletics program and university.


ECU's Athletics Department mission is to guide and support our student-athletes in their pursuit of excellence; academically, athletically and personally, but with the ongoing pandemic and the rising costs of doing business in intercollegiate athletics it has become impossible to sustain that mission for 20 programs.


The combination of a growing deficit and an uncertain future due to COVID-19 forced us to make decisions that will help us mitigate our deficit and seek long-term financial stability. Our Athletics Leadership Team, in partnership with the University, agonized over the decision.


It's not an ideal plan because it involves heartbreak and despair for many, including the 68 student-athletes and nine coaches who are dealing with yesterday's news.


When you embark on a career in athletics, you don't receive a playbook on how to deliver news like this. The look on the faces of our student-athletes and coaches when I relayed the news yesterday is a visual that will stay with me forever.


There is nothing to be said to make the situation any better.


These student-athletes did absolutely nothing wrong to deserve this. They came to East Carolina to be a Pirate and earn a quality education. We will honor all athletic scholarships for student-athletes who decide to remain here and support those who may leave to continue their sport at another university.


The student-athletes affected left their mark on our department and University, contributing in a positive manner to the community, excelling in the classroom and being role models for the next generation of Pirates.


The head coaches
 (Matt JabsShawn HeinchonKirsten Burgess) affected by yesterday's news worked extremely hard to develop young men and women. Matt and Kirsten are former ECU student-athletes and showed our student-athletes what it means to compete like a Pirate. Shawn spent 17 years leading the Pirates tennis program and is passionate about this community.

Not only are we losing three great coaches, but truly special human beings who left an indelible mark on our department and this community.


Athletics are very important to the overall student experience at East Carolina and provide national visibility to the institution.  We are talking about the best and brightest student-athletes who impact all aspects of our campus. I fully appreciate the sense of pride tied to wearing the Purple and Gold, and the value athletics provides to our student-athletes.


Our student-athletes are extraordinary ambassadors for ECU, and we won't forget what our swimming and tennis student-athletes provided to the department.


We should be inspired by the courage of all our student-athletes, especially over the past few months during this pandemic. They have adjusted to the "new normal" and thrived in the new world of attending classes remotely, virtual team meetings and being away from their Pirate Family. Our student-athletes finished with a school-record 3.3 GPA for the spring semester and set another mark with a combined 3.21 GPA for 2019-20, the highest mark in school history.


When we think of our future, the financial challenges ahead, the uncertainty in our world right now, our student-athletes are a prime example of being resilient and willing to adapt to any situation.


Words won't make the news this week any better, but I hope our student-athletes, coaches and alumni understand these actions were made with careful deliberation and what we feel is necessary for the long-term sustainability of athletics at East Carolina University.


For all your support and patience through these complicated times, we thank you. We are One Pirate Nation and we will stand together.


Since the day I arrived in Greenville, I was told Pirate Nation had a chip on the shoulder. Well, I think it's time we get a boulder on our shoulder and band together to build a department that will be sustainable and competitive that we will all be proud of.


It didn't take me long to learn that Pirates are unique. We don't get easy.


We understand we are going to get an occasional visit from adversity, but Pirates fight for what they want.


Dealing and managing with obstacles is our way. There's no doubt we have challenges ahead of us.


With the release of the Athletics Fiscal Sustainability report on Monday and yesterday's announcement, the tendency is to look in the rearview mirror and hold someone accountable.


I choose to focus on the future and play a role in leading East Carolina Athletics back to prominence. I'm asking you to join us on that journey.


We have to stop questioning decisions that have been made in the past. Let's acknowledge those and move forward in a united, positive manner.


It is time to truly unite and move forward together. We have an opportunity to create something special again at East Carolina that others across the country probably don't think is possible.


It's time to roll up our sleeves and prove all doubters wrong.


We will do our part to be more proactive in our efforts to relay the importance of ticket sales and Pirate Club support. I understand we are in uncertain times, but let's be partners on this road back.


It's not always going to be easy and challenging times will occur, but we can't wait to celebrate all the victories with you. We are preparing to have you back in the fall, on campus, and in our venues for Pirate Athletics.


We can only move forward one way, TOGETHER!


On behalf of the entire athletics department, we appreciate your patience and support.


Go Pirates!



May 21st 2020

RepGregMurphy COVID19 Update

Landon's Birthday Weekend

May 28th 2020

EAST ECU Magazine 2020 Summer Issue

June 1st 2020

Landon and I started the Summer Cardio Streak... here we go!

June 4th 2020

Market slowly improving!

June 13th 2020

Tony G.  owner and head instructor of Champion Karate in Little River SC has been a friend through martial arts and ECU since about 1987.  We train together when I'm in Myrtle Beach and he let me use his Dojo to do Live Karate Lessons for GMA while I was in town.

June 17th 2020

Throughout the world there has been civil unrest regarding a movement for Black Lives Matter after ongoing social media with evidence of racist acts toward black individuals.  Many have promoted hate and prejudice toward law enforcement for being prejudiced toward blacks.

On a lighter note, my son Landon and I have ran for 17 straight days

June 18th 2020

1st day walking into work that there wasn't a line for testing...  Seems like Monday morning have the longest lines...  Everyone is getting tired of this and yet we fear the peak hasn't hit and another wave awaits as well...  

Dojo is still closed but we have made plans to teach outside starting July if we can't get inside...  this has been tough.  There are some gyms open but evidently they can afford to pay the fines etc...

Visual Display of COVID19 Impact

yep it leaves off several diagnoses but still...

June 25th 2020

We have had a surge in positive numbers but the number in actual hospitalizations is lower in our area when comparing that we were approaching 80.

This waiver states medical or mental necessity for  my students to take martial arts.  Those who don't have this form will be able to do our outside classes.  We hope to get the ball rolling in July.  Sadly, we can't go without form for at least another 3 weeks as phase 3 in NC was pushed back due to the rising positive numbers.  Everyone seems to be tired of this mess and becoming less patient.  Our governor Roy Cooper is attempting to make good decisions to prevent the spread but the inconsistencies of the decision making has increased unrest.  For example, we can't have gyms and dojos open but we can have other businesses etc open at half occupancy.  Many small businesses and beyond have suffered.  I'm just praying I can withstand this storm


Another day in bridging gaps to independence!

July 1st 2020

Missing regular classes but we are resuming with outside and online classes ...  

July 13th 2020


another race cancelled...

so many gadgets etc out there... this was interesting as so many complain about wearing masks...

Many of my friends who wear glasses deal with this all the time...

So many people are tired of everything and unclear about what is fake news and what is true or even mixed...  

numbers are climbing.... I didn't worry about the number of positive results since many are not symptomatic but these hospitalizations are concerning

so much mixed information full with facts and fiction are out there... we don't know what to believe.  regardless of what we know, someone will turn it into a political twist...  I'm tired of it...

School is now planned in our area for 1 week at school and 1 week virtual classes--  it has been a nightmare for parents, students, and teachers... how do we work, afford day care, find day care... so many obstacles and concern and as numbers of positive COVID19 climb, will they decide to go all virtual?  so many questions...

Numbers still climbing...

so many opinions...I'm just trying to be open minded yet guarded with all the stuff out there since we have no clue what is fact vs fiction...

Well the good news is that I can attend many different churches virtually...


Some Schools like mine at GMA are still practicing social distancing even with training...

Some martial arts schools are training as usual...

Virtual Spelling Test

No matter what I'll be working out

Dealing with this pandemic should not be mixed with politics but sadly it has been.  With so much mixed facts and fiction no one knows the truth about anything anymore...

Still staying positive...
Here I am with an OT intern

November 23rd 2020

Wayne County represented at Vidant...
2 Cougars and an Eagle

December 1st 2020

Masks and playing trumpet for patients is a bit challenging!

Boy Scouts Create Hug Booth

December 17th 2020

January 5th 2021

After the first dose, my arm was fine until about 4 hours later when it became really sore.  Working out with weights the next 2 days helped and that was it.

Gym work is therapy but we are keeping equipment clean and wearing masks.

So much chaos with the world right now...

The 2 announcements above were just days apart...

July 12th 2021

The Dojo has finally been doing well again as we are only using masks as an optional choice.  Unfortunately, now we have a Delta Variant spreading... We are finally under 50 currently hospitalized in our Vidant system.  We are still wearing masks and logging temps before work.

August 29, 2021

The numbers are up as there are more mutations of the virus.  Yet, many are still anti mask and anti vaccination in their thinking.  It's pretty obvious at this point that regardless of the long term studies, you are still better off to have the vaccination of you were to get the virus.  Maybe we won't know the real answers for 20 years but for now my bed is on everyone getting vaccinated so at least the virus will have less chance for surviving and mutating.  The FDA Finally approved the vaccines so at this point if people are skeptical, I hope that helps.  If it is a control feeling they don't like then I wonder why they don't have issues with other mandated vaccines such as Measles Mumps and Rubella.  

The Dojo is doing well but for safety I have started wearing my mask again but giving students choice to wear a mask.  Less than half are wearing a mask so it is likely that if I mandate masks that people will not be in favor overall.  With freedoms however there are responsibilities and potential consequences.  I hope everyone makes the best decision for them but also knowing if they are sick they cannot train.

September 2nd 2021

My own daughter at age 8 was the only one in our family who did not have a vaccination available to her and sadly became positive with COVID and did not attend her first day of school until September 2nd.  Fortunately, we had the resources to give her a personal bathroom and bedroom during quarantine and we could all continue school and work since we did not have symptoms and were all vaccinated.  My wife and I did have to take turns working vs taking care of her.  As you can imagine, September 2nd was a great day to get hugs and kisses again!  Regardless of status, all students must wear masks and we must wear masks at work.

September 3rd 2021

December 2021-January 2022

March 2, 2022