Okay, if you are having massive anxiety and can’t deal with any more bad news and you’re already doing hand washing and social distancing then skip this post and feel this giant hug from me and go read a book in the bath. I super love you and we’re all going to get through this.
Everyone else? First off, I apologize for writing this because I know you come here for laughter and we need laughter more than ever but I have some stuff to tell you and I need to vent and I need you to listen.
Most of you are doing all that you can to stay safe and keep others safe. Some of you are heroically working first responder jobs or other essential jobs and I can’t thank you enough. Some of you are posting bullshit on Facebook about how coronavirus is a hoax and you’re not changing anything and are encouraging others to do the same because no one you know is sick. *INSERT GLARE HERE TO SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO I LOVE BUT WANT TO STAB IN THE KNEE WITH A FORK*
I have 5k Facebook friends so I see a lot of people’s lives through the screen. A lot of them are sick or have sick family members. Most can’t get tested so you’re not hearing their numbers. Some have been tested and are positive for coronavirus. At least one of them has died. There will be more.
But still I see people I love say, “It’s not real.” Or “I’d rather get it now and get it over with.” Or, “It’s just a hoax.” It is not a hoax.
My sweet niece was in Europe when this started getting scary. And before you start yelling about irresponsible traveling she was actually living in Belgium to help Syrian refugees so she’s a goddam saint. My sister Lisa insisted she come home to California, which was the right call but she was exposed to a lot of sick people on the plane and in the overcrowded airports that were in disarray so she’s in full quarantine at their house…like sheets over her part of the house like in ET and unable to throw her trash away and just a crazy sort of living that makes us all feel lucky that they have the ability to do it. She’s feeling fine (but bored probably) but a few days ago my sister started feeling sick. She’s sicker now, with a fever that goes from 100-103 and so she’s quarantined in her room until further notice. Does she have covid? Probably. But you won’t see her number on the lists because the tests aren’t easily available so it’s not being reported. There is so much misinformation or lack of information that honestly I’m afraid to even share this stuff because it all changes so fast, but I’m going to share what I know as of now so you can have a better idea of what it’s like living through this and not really knowing. I’m not calling Lisa because it makes her cough so we communicate through texts. Here’s what it’s like in her world right now:
(By the way, the tylenol thing (in case you haven’t heard) is a great example of how fast information changes. The WHO said that anti-inflammatories could aggravate COVID but a few hours ago they just announced that now they think it’s fine.)
So here’s the deal: My sister will probably be fine. The majority of us will either avoid the infection or we’ll survive it. But a lot of people won’t. And a lot will have serious health problems for the rest of their lives from it. That’s why it’s important to stay home when you can, to social distance, to support the vulnerable who need help, to thank the people who are out delivering groceries or working at the pharmacy, to support businesses in safe and responsible ways and to not spread fear, racism, or misinformation.
I see people in my Facebook feed saying that we should just get this over with now and let everyone get sick at once and recover. I thought myself until I realized that it was so contagious and serious that there literally are not enough ventilators or beds to keep people alive if we flood the system. Plus, the doctors and nurses are getting sick so there are less of them to help save the people we love during the peaks. That’s why that “flatten the curve thing” is important. We have to slow the spread so there are enough vents and doctors and nurses and beds for everyone who needs them. This is why I am asking you (if you aren’t already) to social distance, to wash your hands, to call the vulnerable in your neighborhood who need help and may not know how to get supplies that they need and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop posting bullshit about how this isn’t real or important.
Right now a lot of people have this backward. They think they should wear a mask to keep from getting sick when they are out. You wear a mask to keep others from getting sick from you. You should assume you are infected and work in a way that keeps other people safe. Because honestly you very well may be sick. Many, many people are asymptomatic and are spreading it without realizing it. You may be sick right now. I may be too even though I haven’t seen anyone outside of Victor and Hailey in what feels like forever.
We are very, very lucky in that Victor and I work from home and Hailey goes to correspondence school and we have the resources to stay home for now. Not everyone does and if you want to yell at me here you totally can because a lot of people are in super shitty situations and need to vent. There’s a lot of bad out there and a lot of fear. But there’s also a lot of good. And I see so many people staying home as a sign of love to the people who will have a better chance of surviving this if we slow this down. And I see people reaching out to help others when they can. And that’s a good thing.
A special note to those of you who, like me, deal with mental illness. This shit is fucked up, right? I know. I know it exacerbates all your issues and you can’t escape your house and it can trigger anxiety and depression and OCD and it’s a quick spiral. You are not alone. Keep taking your meds. Get sunlight. Take walks if you can. Drink water. Keep your appointments with your doctor who should be happy to do them on the phone. Know that this is not forever. Enjoy the laughter when it comes. You are not alone. Neither am I.
For the people who are suddenly working at home with their family and are thinking that the real fatalities are going to come when you all strangle each other, just know that this will end and that it will make an amazing story you’ll tell your grandkids. About all the memes you sent each other. I don’t know. Actually, wait, I do have one thing that helps. In our house we have an imaginary coworker named Kevin and when something goes wrong (the house is a mess, no one let the dog out, etc.) we blame Kevin. The thing heard most in our house right now is, “FUCKING KEVIN“. Honestly, he’s a real dick but thank god he’s here.
Another hint that’s helping me? Zoom. I didn’t even know what it was and tech scares me but it’s basically like a free online meeting room where you can invite all your friends and have a video call/happy hour together in your pajamas. It was super easy to install and I’m an idiot and did it myself so try it. (This isn’t an ad, I swear.)
Fingers crossed that sometime soon this will be a strange adventure we all lived through. We will probably always remember what we did during our plague year so make it memorable. Play cards with your kids. Read all the books you ever wanted. Attempt to work even though it’s impossible to concentrate. Write. Binge watch everything. Be kind even when you don’t have to. Remember others. Take care of yourself and know your limitations. Realize it’s okay to not be perfect or to feel whatever you feel. Laugh. Cry if you need to. Ask for help. Call your family. Watch the stars from the backyard. Make your kid teach you tik tok dances. Don’t panic. Forgive people for being dumb. Hold politicians accountable. And most of all, remember that we will get through this. But only if we work together. (But separately and from your own home.)
If you have any hints of things that have helped you in this weird time please leave them in the comments.
I super crazy love you guys.
PS. There may be angry people in the comments. Sometimes justifiably angry and sometimes not. That’s okay. You can yell at me. Don’t yell at each other. Focus on the good. It’s harder to see sometimes, but I promise you, it’s there.