I decided earlier this week that overreacting is preferred to under-reacting in this uncertain time of the COVID-19 virus. Perhaps it has to do with the events of this past winter. It hasn’t been an easy one, starting with the death of my older brother in December. Then my husband spent the past three months coping with sinus infections, shingles, and pulmonary issues, which came after he’d finally gotten himself weened off prednisone in September. His immune system went haywire after six years of steroids pumping through his body. That’s a story for another time on the how and why of so much prednisone.
While he awaited sinus surgery in February, his pulmonologist diagnosed him with allergic asthma, which basically means he’s allergic to everything. To prevent having pulmonary issues, he either has to be on prednisone—which he is once again to get through the current troubles—or he needs to start a life-long process of receiving a shot each month. Or, as his doctor said, he could live in a bubble. Everything is on hold right now except for keeping him on prednisone so he can breathe. But he’s in a high-risk category for the virus, which also puts me at high risk.
About ten days ago, we began socially distancing ourselves. At that time, no one understood. One of my friends—a healthy seventy-year-old—wanted us to do something with her. When I told her no, she said she didn’t have to worry because she was healthy. She had no plans to stay away from anyone and couldn’t understand why we were refusing to be in her company. She’s since changed her mind.
I’ll admit it requires a whole new way of looking at our lives. It’s not necessarily about how healthy we are personally, it’s about what we might carry and give to another person.
Another cancellation and another friend not getting it caused me to simply adjust my wanting to please everyone else. I would rather be called crazy or obsessed or dramatic than have my husband contract the virus and put his already overburdened and compromised immune system to the test of whether he can survive it or not.
The shift in attitude from those around me began earlier this week. Then every event we had scheduled through the end of April was been cancelled. Disney World’s announcement of closure scared me the most. Spring break in Florida and no Disney World? Unthinkable. Then further proof of where we are, all the bars were ordered closed in Florida. Again, spring break. Now beaches are closing. It’s serious, folks.
But not everyone is on board yet, which could put us all at higher risk for a longer period of time. Yesterday, I took advantage of our local Nissan dealership’s valet service to have our truck serviced. They pick up and deliver the vehicle for free—great service with or without isolation issues. I left the key in the truck in the driveway, so the driver didn’t have to interact with us. Fine. I paid online. Fine. The driver returned with the truck and headed for the front door with the key and a paper for me to sign. When he handed me his pen, I said, “I’ll use my own if you don’t mind. We’re in a high-risk category for the virus.”
I signed while he waited outside. When I handed back the signed document, he said, “Frankly, I’m more worried about dying from cancer or the flu than this stupid virus.”
“I’m more worried about you passing it along to us,” I responded.
He handed me the key fob. “Better go wipe this down then, I just had my hands all over it.” Then he walked out to the yard where my husband was working and patted him on the back on his way to his pickup car.
As long as some folks see this as a joke, we’re in for a time of it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when our leaders have been making fun of the virus or calling it a hoax from the beginning.
Stay safe and overreact as if your life depended on it. Or at the very least, as if your friends’ and family’s lives depended on it.
And if there is any silver lining maybe it will lead to some personal enrichment and enlightenment about the lives we lead where we are used to immediate gratification and material comforts. At the very least, we can finally put the age-old question to rest: Does toilet paper keep me safe?
I’d love to hear how you’re coping and what’s happening in your part of the world.
And you can always read a book!