Musings in the time of the Corona Virus.

In light of the Wuhan Corona Virus or COVID 19 Virus (whatever you want to call it), I’ve had to be a little more thoughtful about my own health. Over my lifetime, I’ve had bronchitis and pneumonia numerous times and lost about ten percent of my lung capacity. 

I live quite happily in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, the air is thinner here, and I’m quite aware of those around me toting their oxygen canisters. I saw my next-door neighbor live like a prisoner in his home with COPD – oxygen hoses stretching from machines and running the expanse of the top floor of the house until he died. That’s not how I want to go out.

With the wall to wall news coverage or lack of real news, like many, my 34-year-old son is anxious about the situation. The Corona Virus is another virus – another illness set free into the world. It’s concerning, especially to all the people out there with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and compromised immune systems. My son also suffers from chronic respiratory problems, so I appreciate that he’s worried and about me too – but my brain isn’t wired the same way. I’m not a worrier. 

I’ve watched friends and acquaintances fall into fear as the news reports and social media and political pundits that they tune into offer dire warnings and hopelessness. Some have isolated themselves almost completely while others have taken to hitting the bottle a little harder. Fortunately, there are many with level heads that aren’t falling to pieces as they weather this particular storm. 

 Some of the models reported show millions upon millions of deaths – It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s not. The actual numbers are not proving the models reliable. Still, you wouldn’t know it from the toilet paper hoarders. I think if you actually need that much toilet paper – you don’t have THE VIRUS. You’ve got a whole different problem – AND better see a doctor quick before you become a dehydrated husk.   

My daughter works at a specialty grocery store. Longer hours and a perfectionistic attitude make these strange days difficult for a hard worker. She’s upset that they can’t get all they need to supply their customers. Many of which are good-natured about the whole situation, while others, not so much. This week they offered Senior Shopping Hour on Sunday from 9-10 AM, and she told me how grateful the elderly shoppers were to find toilet paper and other essentials. 

Meanwhile, my youngest brother is out in California, caretaking our elderly parents. He can’t find most of what he needs when able to make it out to the grocery store. My sisters and I have taken turns sending toilet paper – which is essential and seemingly non-existent. 

Did you ever imagine we’d be living like this? Surveillance of U.S. citizens, forced isolation, empty store shelves, and favorite local businesses going under because of the state’s lockdown? Me either. 

My other brother is on the road driving a big rig. He has many stories about being on the road during these strange times. Traffic is mostly non-existent, which gets him back and forth faster. But many of the truck stops are closed, he can’t stop and get a good, hot meal at a restaurant, and you can’t drive a big rig through the drive-through at fast food places. It’s illegal to walk up to the drive-through window, so what’s a trucker to do? These knights of the road are moving supplies across the country as well as locally to keep us going. Yet they need support services like – places to park overnight, motels, places to eat, shower, or just go to the bathroom. I think what makes an essential service needs to be re-evaluated, especially if we want them to stay on the job. I don’t know that the powers that be will do what’s right for the truckers – there’s too much political egotism influencing many of our decision-makers. 

The world we live in has changed in these past few weeks. I know some are eyeing this as the new normal, but No Thank You. Too Orwellian for me. I’m not worried that we’ll get through this particular pandemic. The fact still remains that more Americans die every year of the flu, cancer, traffic accidents, suicide, HIV, smoking, alcohol, etc., then of COVID 19. At least so far. We have excellent medical care available in this country, and I thank God for the medical and health workers. They face the impossible daily and come back the next day to do it again. The Corona Virus isn’t going to last forever. Researchers are working on a cure, while others are trying to develop a vaccine. We just have to have a little faith.

My mother is a woman of faith. She’d always say, “This too shall pass.” At least she did before dementia settled into her brain. It’s an old Persian saying, but one of the truths she knew and understood and tried to teach us. I’m so grateful that I did learn that particular lesson.

I just wonder what the repercussions will be for us after this pandemic has passed.