Why I Am Not Afraid of COVID

Before you get into a tither, let me START by saying it is fully rational to be wise AND not fearful. This is not a binary choice between being lawless and cavalier or being up in the night with panic; there is a third option.

We are where we are, and the only thing to do is hunker down and let it pass. If you pay any attention to the numbers in Italy and New York, you may come to the same conclusion as me: Proximity matters. The closer the people are, the more the people will get sick.

However, I have been living with rubber gloves, Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and hand wipes in my car for a long, long time. That’s what life with family members with terrible diseases is. Perhaps that adds to my steady emotional response to the Coronavirus.

Here are some other reasons:

We already live with worse. My mom has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It is a terrible neurodegenerative disease that presents to the outside world a lot like ALS. She was, on more than one occasion, diagnosed with ALS.

We have been in multiple doctors’ offices receiving news that literally makes the room spin. We have been told that it doesn’t matter what is wrong because there’s nothing that can be done. We have been told more times than I can count that there is no cure and no medicine and that it is a matter of when, not if, this will kill you.

Because she was diagnosed with ALS once, and “not ALS yet, but it will be” once, I feel connected to that community. I feel their pain as they are screaming for an incredibly hopeful treatment, Nurown, to be approved and used on a large scale; but their shouts are currently being drowned out by people hoarding toilet paper.

To many, this response seems out of proportion.

I follow the numbers. I check the progress of the disease on worldometers.info daily. The other day there were 452 new cases of COVID-19 in the United States.

That was just over 8 people per state. I live in Texas. It’s a big state.

***Edit: It turns out my son sometimes reads my blog. That is a surprise! It turns out he does not take my facts at face value without researching himself. This is NOT a surprise. He brought up a valuable point: The WORLDOMETER site updates daily. Clicking the link now gives much larger numbers than when I wrote this. The numbers swing wildly. I am still not afraid.

So far there have been 311,357** (updated) documented cases in the United States, with 8,452** (updated) deaths. In no way am I minimizing those deaths (each life matters) but the CDC estimates that between October 1, 2019, and March 28, 2020, there have been between 24,000 and 63,000 deaths due to influenza.

My mom was originally diagnosed with ALS in December of 2017. The 2017/2018 flu season DID scare me. It seemed so much deadlier to me.

The death rate of COVID is simply not that high. 50,000,000 people worldwide died of the Spanish Flu in 1918. 675,000 of them were here in the United States. In 2009, we had H1N1–the Swine Flu. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that swine flu infected nearly 61 million people in the United States and caused 12,469 deaths. Worldwide, up to 575,400 people died from pandemic swine flu.”

Perspective.

I didn’t have a life before this. We already homeschool. There have been changes at church in the preaching that made it a struggle for my family, so that’s doesn’t feel like a real loss. Most of my time each day is spent at home or going to doctors appointments or therapies for my parents or my daughter, so there’s just not much that has changed.

My favorite pastime is going with my husband for appetizers and a drink to watch the Astros games. The Astros are currently the least liked baseball team–maybe ever. I can’t be sure their games would be ON in any restaurant…but we still miss them.

I do need to get a life, but now I get to blame everyone else for not having one. BONUS!

I see so much good happening. Watching the Navy hospital ships Comfort and Mercy pull into California and New York, bringing help and room for patients was breathtaking.

Watching companies shift gears to produce things to help in the crisis is the American spirit I want to grow. The New England Patriots’ diesel truck filled with 1.2 million face masks to be delivered to New York hospitals was fabulous. Restaurants are donating food. People are sewing masks. Bible verses are everywhere.

There is so much to gain by families spending more time at home. I hope we read more; use technology less; take time to think about what we want our lives to be. This can be a magic moment in so many ways, if we let it.

I think the responsibility for those who are at greatest risk, lies mostly with those who are at greatest risk. Hold on.

Take a deep breath. Don’t let yourself get too upset, yet.

I saw an Instagram post saying something along the lines of, “MY MOTHER IS NOT DISPENSABLE,” in response to the idea reopening businesses.

If we don’t reopen businesses, MANY, many businesses will die.

This person’s fear was that if we DO reopen businesses, her mother would die.

My youngest was born with special needs. She was medically fragile and highly susceptible to illness. The responsibility to keep her safe was ours–my husband’s and mine. The onus was not on the rest of the world to cease normalcy because our life was no longer normal.

Those who are the most at risk need to take the responsibility for their own safety seriously.

That being said, we all need to be respectful.

My college age daughter spent her spring break in New York state–ground zero for COVID-19 US. She was also exposed to someone who was exposed to someone who tested positive.

When she came home from college, she self isolated for two weeks because she does have a sister with special needs and medically fragile grandparents. She, at 18, behaved in the most respectful way possible because she believes she has a responsibility to the world around her.

She’s awesome.

Earlier this week my Dad fell in the middle of the night. Normally my husband goes and gets him up, but this time he seemed to be in considerable pain, so my husband called 911.

I headed over and got to the gated community just behind the ambulance. We were having trouble getting the gate open, so I took a moment to chat with the paramedics. “My dad has to be really, really hurt before I will take him to the ER,” I said. “His doctor’s office has an x-ray and a lab to do blood work, so if it is possible to give him a pain pill and tuck him back in bed, that is the plan.”

They were totally on board.

I am not terrified of the contagion, but exposing an elderly man unnecessarily while also giving potentially overworked ER staff ONE MORE THING to do is something I will try to avoid.

We need to gut it out. We need to keep away from others when possible; wash, wash, wash; don’t touch our faces, which, as it turns out, is THE VERY HARDEST THING about this entire situation; try to support local businesses by ordering take out or buying gift certificates; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

The most vulnerable should completely isolate. The church and friends and family should support that by filling in the gaps for them.

ANYTHING WE CAN THINK OF TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES we should do. I am in the camp that believes the economy will come roaring back. The people on the front lines, working day and night, will someday stop working day and night and will be looking for food, fun, and some pampering.

Businesses that are currently closed will have to open early and stay open late to accommodate the massive flow of customers. This day is coming.

VERY SOON the numbers of recovered cases will skyrocket. Once they hit 6 digits, the conversation will change. THIS, TOO, WILL PASS.

Let’s simply decide not to destroy ourselves with fear in the meanwhile.

2 thoughts on “Why I Am Not Afraid of COVID

  • April 4, 2020 at 7:10 pm
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    Robin, I had no idea your mom was diagnosed with ALS. I am so sorry. My mom died from that horrid disease so I know how hard it must be for you to care for her. Such a cruel disease. Thank you for your measured and calm wisdom during this bizarre time. Miss you!
    Pam Johnson

    Reply
    • April 4, 2020 at 7:12 pm
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      I miss you, friend!!

      My mom was misdiagnosed but it is still a difficult scenario. I hope you are well…

      Reply

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