As if sucking air through a straw, I gasp, my trachea burns, my lungs compress and I can’t breathe.
But don’t worry about me, focus on your fellow man.
I am not sick now, but the way coronavirus reacts in the body seems eerily similar to the way my body reacts when exposed to environmental toxins.
If you have never suffered from a severe asthma attack or respiratory illness, it’s hard to understand what it feels like to struggle to breathe. I do!
Don’t underestimate COVID-19. Show solidarity even if you are not infected other people will be.
With its easy transmission, lack of a treatment and invisible asymptomatic carriers living among us, this disease becomes a formidable foe.
We are past containment. Our best hope: “flatten the curve” which means slowing the acceleration enough that national health care systems can cope without collapsing.
Most cold viruses, infect the nose and throat. COVID-19 spreads directly to the airways and lungs without warning setting off a war between the virus and immune system
“The virus hijacks the cell and reprograms it genetically to make more copies of virus,” said Dr. Otto Yang, a UCLA expert on infectious disease.
First it strikes the lungs and impairs breathing.
The body fights back causing more inflammation. This damages blood vessels, which can leak fluid into lung tissues, clogging the tiny air sacs. Pneumonia results limiting one’s ability to deliver oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide.
Next it attacks the kidneys, which can no longer remove waste from the body fast enough.
If the disease progresses, cell damage occurs throughout the body. Organs fail from the virus’ attack or because of septic shock.
No country has enough resources (intensive care units, isolation rooms, ventilators) and medical staff to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people getting sick at the same time.
That’s the crisis happening in Italy right now in a wealthy region with one of the best health systems in the world.
“In Milan, in Bergamo, in Padua they are having to choose between intubating a 40-year-old with two kids, a 40-year old who is fit and healthy with no co-morbidities, and a 60-year-old with high blood pressure, because they don’t have enough beds. In the hallway, there are another 15 people waiting who are hardly breathing and need oxygen.”
Our too little testing, too late policy failed. Misinformation and lack of testing accelerated the spread of the illness by delaying our reaction. We are ground zero. In France, in Switzerland, in the USA.
Social restrictions are enforced. Countries shut down. Everyone must comply in a united effort to slow the progression.
Stop pointing fingers and blaming others — the Chinese, the Italians, the French, the Democrats, the EU.
Don’t think that this doesn’t concern you.
You may not fall into the vulnerable elderly age bracket or high risk category, but someone you know does. Dialysis machines, insulin pumps, pace makers, and other medical equipment and modern drugs keep many of us ticking. If infected with COVID-19, thousands more will need access to artificial ventilation and the best medical technology available to beat this disease.
Heed the medical advice. Wash hands. Stay home. Stop complaining.
Overreacting? Don’t think so.
With every breath you take
Remember this caveat.
Human beings everywhere
Share the same air.
There is no life.
“Twenty-four hours, three leaders, three patterns of leadership: The coronavirus crisis forced three of the West’s most important leaders to reveal themselves. Trump presented himself as a rage-driven amateur defined by sloppiness and vindictiveness; Macron as an ambitious visionary clipped by capacity; and Merkel as a diminished figure fading slowly into the background without leaving office. The world can only hope they suffice.”
This extract from https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/13/coronavirus-pandemic-tale-3-leaders-trump-merkel-macron/ shows how the globalized world was unprepared for such a global threat, and that if crisis reveals true leaders, they also reveal a fake one.
This is a very creepy time, Pat. I wish you and your family the very best. We went to the grocery and drug stores yesterday to get what we’d need for a prolonged period and today is the first day of hunkering down. Mom being almost 95 with health problems, we’re planning to stay isolated for a few weeks to a few months if possible. Thank God for the internet. We can all stay in touch.
Yes, Lynne, these are very unsettling times. Certainly it is something I never imagined we would see in our lifetimes. I am so glad your mom is able to live with you for I am certain she is much safer there. You are bestowing a generous gift of love. In some ways, as writers, we may be better equipped to ride out the quarantine. We have gift of escaping into our inner world of books, words and thoughts. Take care of each other. Stay well my friend and keep writing.
Very well said, Pat! People need to realize this is about the common good and not about what they are missing out on. I work in long term care with elderly and cognitively challenged people. I don’t worry about myself if I were to contract the virus because I am generally healthy. I am taking extra precautions because I would never want to be responsible for infecting one of those vulnerable people. If everyone is willing to sacrifice a bit now, we will get through this. Long walks in the fresh air help me focus on what really matters!
Jean, thank you for contributing to the conversation. As someone who works so closely with the elderly, you understand the importance of people acting for the common good of society especially during this global health crisis. Your message should be broadcast loud and clear. I am sure that the calm, patient way you engage with others in your job, offers a sense of peace and hope during such an unsettling time. Keep up your positivity in your noble work.
Hi Pat! These sure are crazy times! Rarely does an “emergency” spread across country borders like this!
It’s maddening to have an inept liar in the White House on a daily basis-it’s literally INSANE during times like this. It helps to be able to see leaders in other countries, actually LEADING, which puts pressure on Trump to follow. (following others is NOT in his wheelhouse!????) My only hope is that “his followers” will MAYBE finally see his complete ineptitude ! I know you, like me are extremely worried about our daughters who are both on the frontlines in healthcare! We NEED those TESTS! Right now school and all activities are being cancelled for at least 2 weeks. Which of course leads to many other issues. Childcare. Meals for kids who receive them at schools, and to Seniors that are stuck at home. My 90 yr old mom is quarantined in her assisted living. That’s hard because she is almost deaf and has difficulty using a phone. We can call the facility anytime and mom has a “special CNA, who we contact personally.
I have been thinking about contacting a couple other seniors I know to see if I can deliver them items they need if they need it, so they don’t go out. I thought about your mom & dad. I meant to give her my number last time I saw them. I will email you my number if you want to give it to them. Or give me theirs, and I will check on them and make sure they have what they need. My moms assisted living right by your mom and dads so I am by there all the time!
Marilyn, thank you so much for commenting. I hope others will read your words too. Never has the need for strong leadership in our government been greater. Hopefully others in the USA will see the dire for change after witnessing how ours has completely bungled this crisis again. Like you, I also worry about our daughters and others in the medical field who are on the front line trying to help people survive.
I am sure your mom will miss your visits. Would they let family members pop on the grounds to peek in at loved ones & wave through the windows? Or would that be too disruptive?I am touched by your kind offer to check in on my elderly folks. I admire how selfless you reach out to others in the community who may be in need. Our world needs more Marilyns.
Thanks Pat, for helping us think about how we can flatten the curve. It’s so important. Life is going to be uncomfortable for awhile and it may never be the same again as we once knew it. This is hopefully just a once in a lifetime event for us and our children and I sincerely hope we learn all the lessons we can from this very unfortunate time. Wishing you well, my friend at this very uncertain time. Stay healthy. Stay indoors and let that Frenchman take good care of you.
Thanks Tina. European countries are shutting down one after the other in the wake of the coronavirus. Schools closed, borders controlled, businesses urging employees to work from home. The streets of Geneva were empty. Grocery shelves over here are empty too as folks hunker down. I am so lucky to have a full panty and a Frenchman who never tires of cooking.
How have people in your 55+ community reacted to the crisis? Is Jono still being inundated with interviews?
Scary times indeed, Pat. My 90-plus year-old mom is a big concern of mine. I ran to WalMart yesterday for items to tide us over the period of self-imposed isolation. Know what was flying off the shelves, other than toilet paper, of course? HUGE cases of beer! I guess intoxication is one way of dealing with the anxiety — though I, for one, am grateful to be a writer with plenty of ways to keep myself occupied! Stay safe, my friend.
Yes, people here are very scared and European countries are shutting down one after the other. Switzerland & France closed all schools last Friday and as of today will close everything except grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals/clinics in hopes of keeping people off the streets. Like you I am worried about my older parents. Your mom is lucky that you can help her. As writers, we are used to entertaining ourselves in our inner world of books and words. Keep writing and playing music during this unsettling time that is even more difficult for you as you are also grappling with the loss of your little beloved best friend.