Now is the time I wish I had the words – the magic words that would make everyone’s fear, anxiety and worry go away. But unfortunately that’s not how it works.
I keep thinking of hope. A word, feeling and emotion that I’ve clung to heavily since high school. When all seems lost, hope is the thing that keeps us going. Hope is there for us in the good times and the bad.
Coronavirus isn’t “just for old people.” I bet you all know at least one person, if not more, who is immunocompromised or vulnerable to this virus. Whether it be age, MS, ALS, cystic fibrosis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, an autoimmune disease, a vitamin deficiency, a pregnant mother… the list goes on. It’s not that hard to do our part. It’s not that hard to practice social distancing and stay home.
I think back to 2009 when swine flu was going around. You might not remember the freshman that died at my high school days before I was diagnosed, but I do. You might not remember what swine flu looked like or felt like, but I do.
The tightness in my chest, gasping for breath. The panic that sets in when you realize you can’t breathe. The teddy bear I had to clutch to my chest to sleep because my lungs hurt so bad. The 31 days of my senior year of high school I missed.
The high fevers, bad cough, weakness, doctor visits, pneumonia, hospital stay and quarantined period. The mask I wore to dinner for senior homecoming and the dance I never made it to because I had to go back to the ER. The breathing treatments and medicine and feeling of accomplishment when I could finally eat breakfast and take a shower before needing a nap. The months it took to truly recover.
I can’t imagine what it is like to be more at risk than me because honestly, I’m pretty healthy.
I can live my life without worry or fear as long as I take my medicine like I’m supposed to, carry my inhaler around with me in case of emergency, stay up to date on my flu and pneumonia shots, visit my pulmonologist and do the required breathing tests year after year. I have it easy. I’m very fortunate.
But if this virus can make me very sick, imagine how sick it can make the people who are less fortunate than me. Imagine how sick it can make the people less fortunate than you. Don’t be the reason someone else, immunocompromised or not, gets COVID-19.
Life feels like a movie right now. We drive down the road and see sign after sign on business doors such as “Closed Until Further Notice” and “No Church Services.”
We live in a world where we don’t like to be inconvenienced and we don’t like change. We’re selfish and constantly live in a state of go, go, go.
I think it’s kind of nice to be forced to live a “simpler life.” I say that loosely because we still have smart phones, wifi, online shopping, Netlfix, Disney+, and the ability to work from home. Essential businesses are still open and drive-thru and take-out food is still available.
We have warm houses, electricity, books, games, exercise classes to stream, social media to scroll through and FaceTime. Most of us are privileged to be doing the things at home we’re being “forced” to do like spending time with loved ones, snuggling our pets and picking up old hobbies and activities to stay entertained.
I’m very grateful that in a time like this, I can work from home. But I realize and fully understand others can’t. If you do go out, please be nice to the ones risking their lives every day so we can have the necessities we need. The first responders, nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, pharmacists, restaurant workers, gas station and grocery store clerks, hardware store employees, truck drivers and countless others.
I know the future is uncertain. I know people have lost jobs, people are facing severe financial burdens, people are rescheduling or canceling important events and people are missing loved ones while others are losing loved ones. This isn’t an easy time.
But I have hope for the future. I have hope that taking the time to pray, take care of ourselves and check on friends, family and neighbors will help ease all our worries and fears and bring each other hope.
People are struggling, worried and stressed. Let’s spread positivity, love, light, kindness and generosity. Things will probably get worse before they get better, and that is why we need to do our part. Stop the spread. Stay home. We’ll get through this the same way we get through everything – together.