March 29, 2020

A Day in the Life During a Pandemic, Day Five(ish)

Today is Sunday, March 29, and I just finished watching church on YouTube.  That sounds crazy saying that.  I appreciate what churches are doing so, so much, but it doesn't feel the same.  It's like going on vacation and having to wear someone else's bathing suit because you forgot yours.  It'll do, but it's not yours.  That said, I'm certainly not in the pew every Sunday.  I've made excuses...and not very good ones.  When this is over, I will strive to do better because I realize the feeling I get from being with others in worship.  I hope I will remember to not take this opportunity for granted.

To be honest, I don't know what to believe and not believe anymore.  Currently New York is considered the epicenter with 55,000 confirmed cases. Nationally, the website is showing confirmed numbers at slightly over 103,000 and almost 1,700 deaths.  It seems, according to statistics, to be affecting everyone regardless of age.  Several significant world figures, such as Prince Charles, also have confirmed cases.  It does seem to be commonly accepted knowledge that we do not have enough supplies anywhere.

We experienced this locally just recently.  Our two local hospitals, Laughlin Memorial and Takoma, were bought (acquired, whatever.) by Ballad Health.  There were LOTS of hard feelings about this, mainly because their billing consolidation was totally crap and many people got duplicate bills, were sent to collections, and basically treated horribly.  They soon shut down one of the hospitals because they couldn't justify keeping it open.  The beds were empty, which means they aren't generating any money.   When we're healthier as a nation, we don't need as many resources, such as beds, respirators, etc.  In a pandemic?  I bet we wish we could go back in time and stock up for a rainy day.  Healthcare, imo, is not where you live on the edge of "just what we need" and hope for the best.  

Anywho, for some, it's becoming a partisan "he said, she said" where we are creating a deeper divide among political lines in hopes to drive votes in the upcoming Presidential election.  At this point, I just want us to be healthy.  I don't care what your party is as long as you stay home as much as possible.

I got to Zoom with my people on Friday night.  There are six of us, and we've been the bestest of friends since we were in elementary school.  It was so amazing to "see" everyone.  We talked about our fears some, but we tried to just catch up on how everyone is staying busy.  I can't wait to actually seem them in person and hug each of them.  We're generally not huggers, but oh, well. Each of them is getting a big ol' hug when I can see them again!

So...I think everyone collectively hit the wall yesterday.  Many of my friends and social media peeps seemed to be dealing with a lot.  Most of us have generally been along the lines of "yeah, this isn't fun, but we're doing okay."  Yesterday, lots of people were not okay.

I woke up from a crappy night of sleep where I had dreamed of continuous struggle:  I was fighting uphill (literally and figuratively) in my dreams.  (My dreams have always been very vivid and I usually remember them fairly well. When they're funny, they're hilarious. When they're not....they're paralyzing.)  I got up and realized my anxiety had climbed through the roof while I was sleeping (sneaky that way), and now King Kong was sitting on my chest.  I notice when my anxiety is up, I do all my breathing in my chest instead of belly breathing.  It's stupid, stupid, stupid.  Of course, then I started thinking it was the beginning of Corona, which then amps the anxiety up even more.

I finally took myself to the couch to read.  After an hour or so, my body seemed to give in to the exhaustion that follows an anxiety spike for me, and I slept.  Three hours later I woke and felt some better.  It took awhile for the "electrical" current to subside (it's a weird vibration in my body when my anxiety is up), but I was okayish by evening.  Hidden Figures was on, so I watched it and let myself relax.

Lots of people were in the same place as I was yesterday.  When we read/see/hear the news from other parts of the country, it can be overwhelming.  In some ways, the waiting game of "when will it get here" is utterly exhausting.  We still have 8 cases, but I feel certain that number will increase as results from testing start to come back to hospitals.  One of my dear friends works in healthcare and she had to work with a patient who was potentially positive.  I can't imagine how overwhelming that must feel for all of our healthcare workers.  We are truly living in this moment that will forever change who many of us are as professionals.  I don't know what healthcare will look like in the future.  Will people choose to study this in school?  Will we face an even greater shortage because of the horror stories we are hearing?  

I hope everyone is trying to be kind.  That is what I hope.  The emotional toll this is extracting on each of us is huge.  I wish I had a more eloquent word, but that is it.  This is a beast draining our emotional reserves, and we need to be aware of this as we interact with one another.  I can't make someone stay home, but my berating and screaming won't make it happen, either.  I wish our leaders would step in and make everyone shelter-in-place (re:  keep your rear at home), but I know others are afraid of this being the beginning of the gov't stripping away personal freedoms.  I don't know where I sit on that fence.  Today I think if people can't behave appropriately during this, lives are maybe more important than a person's freedom to hang out at the bar on Friday with 50 of his/her closest friends.  Everyone can choose to be an a-hole during this, but your character is revealed by choosing to place others' well-being before your own desires to head out to the Hobby Lobby.

Here's what I mean:
Infection Trajectory: What is “Flatten the curve”? - Extra Newsfeed
I think we can do this.  Really I do.

To all those out there struggling: You are not alone.  It's normal to feel anxious, sad, grief, anger, rage, shock, fear...  All the human emotions are really up for grabs right now.  Be kind to yourself and others as we walk this new path.

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