Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I Cursed the Gloom That Set Upon Us

Without sounding at all giddy, I'm dying to know how everyone is feeling right now about all these happenings.  I'd never downplay the seriousness, in fact I'm mostly trying to distract my mind away from all the fear and onto more interesting or fascinating details of this situation.  I worked on Sunday inside a giant box with no ventilation and thousands of shoppers depositing their droplets.  Personally, it felt so wrong to be there.  I really struggled with my reasoning for going in.  I am not the one to call out unnecessarily and don't like leaving people shorthanded.  Then Monday, I felt compromised again but worse as schools were cancelled and another day had brought much more information to light.  Against my better judgement, I went in.  The store closed in the middle of my shift and we all left quickly like we were trying to beat an impending snow storm.   But it wouldn't be for just a day or two, it would be the official start of living in unknown territory, not just for us but for everyone and for an indefinite period of time.

The night before I watched as de Blasio, looking like he'd seen a ghost after coming out of an all day meeting, announcing his reluctant decision to close schools.  And then the next day when Trump who wore that similar look of horror in his press conference seemed to have done an about face literally overnight.   Tonight I read this frightening article so possibly charts and graphs of this nature is what they were both digesting and why the tones were changed so abruptly.  One line reads: The Imperial College group reported that if nothing was done by governments and individuals and the pandemic remained uncontrolled, then 510,000 would die in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States over the course of the outbreak.

In the thick of his cancer my brother joked with me about having the consumption.  I remember being so taken that his sense of humor was in tact at such a critical time.  He found a way to handle his fate with such grace.

I found myself unable to pinpoint my fear while being consumed by it, so writing is helping me to lock it down.  Yes, I'm a little scared of getting sick but more of the possibility of going to Brooklyn Hospital.  I had a very medieval experience there once that I never want to repeat.  I do fear for my family and friends. That's certainly the biggest driver.  As most of us probably did, I made a mental assessment at the start of this, who's most vulnerable in my circle in order of risk and down the line.  For most it's your parents or grandparents.  For others, our mates.  It's a reality we all must tackle right now and do what we can, keep in touch, keep checking.

Mostly though I fear the unknown, things I can't control; how long will this last, will we see thousand dying each day at the worst points. How could we get through that?  What if something happens to a loved one across the miles and we can't make proper arrangements.  You know I guess the questions go so deep that the fear is endless.  Especially with a good imagination and a backlog of disaster movie images to pull from.

I've been training like an athlete in the last months, living in the moment (trying) and silencing worry and anxiety by acknowledging, but not being it.  Where I would normally be chicken little right now, I'm trying to be the calm that is needed.   

We need someone to arm people with the right information. Be concerned for the right reasons and lead us to better ways of seeing this.  The way I understand it, most of us just need to try to stay away from people by social distancing, that's our one job right now. Flatten that curve! We may get sick but most will get through it.  We can run to get provisions in the case we need to isolate ourselves in our homes due to contracting this virus, but that's not the emergency.  It's that by all of us being out in public, we are going to spread this thing like warm butter cream frosting on a summer day.

Everyone handles stress differently.  Everyone handles their bodies differently.  You'd be hard pressed to find a healthy looking person walking in certain parts of the city and boroughs right now and I'm pretty sure that spreads to the middle of the country.  I'd be curious to know how many people we have that are in the high risk category overall.  That's scary.
Some people can't eat when they're nervous but somehow my appetite soars.  I like a little cheese with my anxiety.  I made the mistake of dipping into my frozen provisions stash early.   These slow cooker pinto beans with some enchilada sauce were an incredible cradle for my beef tamal.

* There is an interview with Dr Fauci where he states 'we need to study if the virus has changed' when referring to over half of the 300-400 cases hospitalized in France that were under 65.  I never even considered it could change.  And THIS is why I'm not watching one of the plethora of virus movies this week.

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