In this COVID-19 madness, that has become the New World Order at least for the foreseeable few weeks, and which feels like we’re all living out some surreal apocalyptic movie, there are still those who feel this is all a wild over-reaction to something no more worrisome than a cold.
I’m here to tell you that for me, COVID-19 is much, much, more worrisome than a simple cold. As an immunocompromised person, with several autoimmune disorders, I’m in that 20% high- risk-group that would find themselves in danger should they contract this illness. I’ve considered this deeply; from both an intellectual perspective and emotional one. I’ve accepted that if I were to get sick, I might not be able to beat it and that’s okay. I know you’re reading that right now thinking “What the actual fuck? What do you mean you wouldn’t fight? You would just give up?” No. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that my body is not equipped to fight something like this and that it puts “Survival of the Fittest” into a whole different perspective for me and others like me. The kind of perspective that leaves a wife having to tell her husband, “Please understand darling, I may not get through this.”
I am not a soldier, but I am a soldier’s wife. And I remember when he prepared me for deployment into a warzone; all the potential disaster entailed and how my mind exploded with worry about a life that could potentially include one without him. How all of our future dreams could be snuffed out, and at every turn where I saw him by side, he was gone in a puff of smoke. All of this was now in reverse, and I saw that haunted look in his eyes and it killed me. I’m not a soldier. I wasn’t trained to go into battle; I wasn’t trained to expect to die and I wasn’t trained to potentially have to say goodbye. Having to look in my husband’s eyes and tell him that I might not make it was the most difficult, most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do. But I certainly realized that day his job was much more difficult than I ever gave him credit for. I realized that no one can teach you to be ready to say goodbye.
If you don’t have to be worried about Covid-19, you should count yourself lucky. If all you have to be concerned with is washing your hands for 20 seconds while singing “Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you,” then life is good. If all you have to do is focus on your family, make sure they are safe and practising good hygiene, and if all those you love are not in a high-risk group, then life is cake. The maddening, hoarding or completely opposite, disregard and denial is truly perplexing for me, however, ultimately boils down to the same common denominator: a lack of empathy for human life other than your own. You could say this is self preservation, but how much toilet paper is truly required for self-preservation?
While I am very much a realist in regards in regards to this situation, I’m not a fatalist, despite my acknowledgment and even acceptance of possible death and I’m hopeful that I will neither contract COVID-19, and if I do, that I will recover. Having been through so many frightening surgeries, experienced so many difficult pregnancies and given birth to two, tiny preemies, and now, living with these autoimmune disorders and chronic pain, I’ve learned to accept life and death without prejudice. We’re here on this planet and it’s a one-way ticket. We get to enjoy so many beautiful experiences and I have. I’ve been so incredibly lucky. I have no regrets. I’ve lived on my terms and I’ve done things how I wanted and if I didn’t make it, it would suck but I wouldn’t be angry at the universe. I want to die on my terms too and with whatever time I had left, I want it to be with my family and I want it to be peacefully. But there’s still hope in my heart that all this will pass and that we will learn from it.
Learning from this is how I want to end this. We all may have our thoughts about COVID-19, but I think it’s very important to understand that there are a whole array of possible virus and germs (new and old) out there, lurking and waiting to find a host. As you have learned, it only takes one person to start a pandemic and it can spread very quickly. Once it has spread and once it has a foothold, things become very challenging to deal with. Not only does treating the disease become difficult to manage but you have economic repercussions and citizens who begin to feel that there is not enough being done to manage a critical situation. We the people, have to implore our government of the vital importance of Public Health and making sure it is properly funded and equally so, the CDC. We need to make sure that our Healthcare system is placed at the forefront of thought and no longer neglected so that people are able to get more than just adequate care. COVID-19 should be a huge wake-up call for the public, the healthcare system and science community. If people continue to deny the gravity of the situation, I truly believe this will happen again, and next time we may not be so lucky.
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