Pandemic Reflections

Photo credit: Mike Penney

(First airdate: 12/01/20) Hi, this is Dick “the Rooster“ Keenan, the host of Vinyl Dialogues here on KPTZ, and a retired clinical social worker. I have been thinking about the effects of the pandemic and want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Pandemic fatigue is mental and physical tiredness that is the result of navigating constant change and uncertainty. The long months of social distancing and quarantining contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness. It is normal to be experiencing these feelings.

Here is one person’s experience: “All of the sudden, I felt like I was drowning in exhaustion and sadness. I could only do two things: BE and BREATHE. Sometimes, the worst thing that we can do when we’re tired is to keep doing more things.”
– BE…I gave myself the gift of just accepting who I was in that moment, even if I wasn’t in a good place. It was okay for me to not be okay.
– BREATHE…I allowed myself to concentrate on breathing. It took about an hour for me to rise back up. But as I practice “be and breathe” I knew that the feeling will pass. It will for you, too.

Then, BALANCE…Life must go on. I’ve had to re-evaluate how much I do, how fast I’ll move and how far I’ll go.

In CONCLUSION…Be gentle with yourself, friends.

The relentlessness of this pandemic has been exhausting and stressful for all of our citizens. Over the summer there was some indication that as a nation we were making some headway on the virus due to our diligence with the behavioral recommendations. Hot spots seemed to be related to increased public circulation, especially large gatherings of non-member households and an increase in virus circulation.

It would not be unusual for people to want to quit following the guidelines in the face of their exhaustion and the confusing messages played out on the media. Some of the thoughts we have all had to contend with include: I am tired of being protective; I don’t care anymore; I want my freedom/independence; the president says it is not a big deal; no one I know has died; when state governments okay the opening of bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters, that means these are safe places to attend.

Likewise, when you see people socializing without wearing masks or social distancing, it looks normal and the temptation is to join in. It is increasingly hard to stick to long-term behaviors that look like all downside and no upside. That’s because the immediate gratification of socializing freely is more appealing than the constant protective measures we do day-in and day-out with the unspectacular reward of not getting the virus.

Think about these symptoms and whether they are present lately in yourself or your family:
• eat or sleep more or less than usual
• trouble focusing (brain fog)
• feel edgy or nervous
• snap at or argue with others
• lack motivation
• unable to stop racing thoughts
• withdrawing from others

The process of changing our behavior has many ups and downs. It is expected that individuals will back slide at times. These are normal reactions to the rigor and determination required to change our behavior. Rather than thinking of pandemic restrictions as something we are forced to do, we can remind ourselves that we are freely choosing these actions to help our loved ones, ourselves, and everyone in our community.

To help with stressors, here are some Healthy ways to cope and recharge your batteries:

  1. Take care of your body – exercise, sleep, meditate
  2. Limit news intake – read, play games, sort photos
  3. Lower your stress – go out in nature, take a bath
  4. Connect with others – reach out to others for your mental health and for theirs
  5. Accept your feelings – they are normal; stop and listen to yourself
  6. Try positive self-talk – I can do this
  7. Create new traditions – movie/game nights; cooking, have a child teach you something

If symptoms persist despite using various coping skills, please consider reaching out for help. A good first step is talking with your doctor about current symptoms and asking for recommendations for counseling if they don’t offer it. Remember, most of your contacts are going to be over the internet, so you will interact with a counselor from the comfort of your own home.

I hope this presentation has given you some perspective on the impact of the coronavirus on our mental health and has added some ideas to your skill set of coping mechanisms during these trying times. This is Dick “the Rooster” Keenan and my wife, Kate Keenan on KPTZ FM 91.9, saying, “Stay well and stay informed.”

No BOCC Briefings Monday 11/30

Because there are 5 Mondays in November, there is no weekly meeting of the Jefferson Board of County Commissioners scheduled for this Monday, November 30.

The next BOCC meeting will be on Monday, December 7. Once again next week, KPTZ will live broadcast the new Public Health Updates on COVID-19, by Dr. Tom Locke, Public Health Officer for Jefferson County, and Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing

Critical Conversations #2

(Airdate: November 30, 2020) In this second chapter of Critical Conversations, co-hosts Robert Ambrose and Dahr Jamail discuss the existential crisis of climate change and its linkages to the current pandemic and dysfunctional government, and they look for hope in the strength of our local community.

Give Love ~ Give Hope ~ Give Jefferson!

KPTZ supports United Good Neighbors who for over 60 years have championed local organizations that provide for the basic human needs of individuals and families in Jefferson County. UGN’s annual Give Jefferson campaign supports frontline efforts to deliver food, shelter, healthcare, education, and hope to those most in need in our community.  To all who are weathering uncertainty and recovering from crisis, Give Jefferson offers hope and the reassurance that we are not alone. In 2020, all donations to Give Jefferson will be matched by All In WA, a coordinated statewide relief effort providing immediate support for workers and families impacted by COVID-19. Visit UGN’s website for more information and a list of partner organizations.  

Compass for 11/28/20

On this week’s Compass we have a conversation with KPTZ News Director Steve Evans, who’s wearing another hat this time – as Vice-Chair of COAST, the Community Outreach Association Shelter Team, to talk about the history and the odyssey of Port Townsend’s shelter for the homeless. In partership with Olympic Community Action Programs (OLYCAP), together they offer services and support to community members and to those who can’t fend for themselves. And it’s all done with respect and kindness.

Later we have a frank and inspiring conversation with Kathy Morgan, Housing and Community Development Director at OlyCAP, and she gives us an honest prognosis for the homeless and disadvantaged in our community, and how we can be solutions for shelter and advocacy in each of or own ways.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 11/27

In this special edition of Through Science to Health, Lynn and Chris speak with two graduates of Port Townsend High School who are now working as medical professionals in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.
Jesse Maupin, Hospitalist at the University of Wisconsin Medical Hospital, and Will Bringgold, who is doing his pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at University of Wisconsin in Madison, offer their perspective from the front lines.

They candidly and compassionately speak of the long hours, increasing staffing needs, and the sincere need for community support and empathy to help them with the day-after-day challenges in patient care during these times.

Jesse has written a letter to the Leader, which will be published in its December 2 edition. The title: “Empathy in the Time of COVID.”

Update on KPTZ’s Fort Worden Home

Dear KPTZ friends,

This is a long overdue letter to let you know about progress in building KPTZ’s new home in Makers Square at Fort Worden – almost as overdue as construction itself! Yet before discussing our monumental project, I’d first like to say I hope you and yours are doing okay. Our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic, compounded by social and political upheaval, and I think all of us are feeling challenged.

The development of our new home at Fort Worden has been a complex and complicated process. When COVID-19 shut nearly everything down last March, it also shut down all construction at Fort Worden’s Makers Square for three months. Very little work had been done on our space by then – just some rough framing of studios. When construction resumed in June, Fort Worden was a different place. The collapse of the hospitality industry due to the virus crippled the Fort Worden PDA, our building partner in the Makers Square project.

Yet our new home is taking shape quickly now, and we expect a certificate of occupancy by the end of December. It is very exciting seeing KPTZ’s new home emerging!

I am incredibly proud of our station for its dedication to serving the community during this global public health crisis. With rigid safety protocols at our Mountain View station, our deejays and talk show hosts have continued to provide solace and joy through music, as well as pertinent information to help us cope with the pandemic challenge. Our volunteer news team has greatly expanded our local news service, a trend I hope will continue to grow as we move into our Makers Square facility.

Yet the pandemic is having a severe impact on KPTZ’s budget because we are not able to conduct the traditional on-air fund drives that provide 80% of our income. Community radio probably has the worst business plan around: Through great effort and cost we produce a quality product that we eagerly give away for free, 24 hours every day. Losing our major fundraising tool is potentially crippling.

I must ask you to help us bridge our pandemic funding gap.

Our plans for growing new services in our new home are ambitious, but we can only realize those plans with your support. I know it is not an easy time for anyone, and for many people the pandemic has had devastating economic impacts; but if you are able to make a contribution to KPTZ, even a modest contribution, we shall appreciate it gratefully.

Online donations can be made by clicking the Donate Now! button above; we also appreciate contributions through mail to the address below. Enrolling in recurring payments, like a subscription, is extremely helpful for our budgeting, and also we can accept stock/certificate donations. Please contact us if you need any further information to make your donation.

Thank you ever so much for your time, and hopefully for your contribution. Stay safe and well, and we’ll see you on the other side of the pandemic!

Robert Ambrose
President, KPTZ Board of Directors
Host, Rhythm Connection, Tues 1-3

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