Well my dear Finders, I have no idea how many of you have left this portal open, but if you have I hope this message finds you and yours safe and well. I can’t recall when I last posted here, a place a humour and joy and general wackiness. The days of blissfully traipsing about France seem so long ago now. Those were the days before this coronavirus, and these are the days after. I suppose it’s not a stretch to say that it’s a new world.
Rusty and I are hunkered down, heeding the advice of our public health wizards like our lives depend on it because they do. With my chronic health issues and Neil’s medication that suppresses his immune system, we’re considered “vulnerable” people. Truth be told, this supposedly novel way of living has been my reality for some time now. Hand washing and disinfecting have long been enacted in my house, so nothing new on that front. As soon as flu season ramps up, I lock the doors and settle in for the winter. Sweatpants and Netflix, books and wine. Friend time is FaceTime. Add in my many years of medical training and experience and you’d be hard pressed to find someone more prepared for a pandemic such as this one. And yet.
The trouble with doctors and other healthcare providers is we know too much. We know how this kind of scenario will play out. I’ve known this was coming, every detail of it, probably since mid-February, then watched in horror and maddening frustration as the people in charge of the world just let it happen.
And now here we are right where I knew we would be. The ever rising case tally, those big red circles blooming over world maps like drops of blood. Folks panicking in grocery stores, fist fighting over toilet paper as if survival is somehow connected to how much you wipe your arse. World leaders fumbling and melting down, laying bare their ignorance and ineptitude, fiddling while the cities burn.
I don’t worry much for myself, even with my risk level I’m privileged beyond reason and resigned to whatever comes to me. My concern is bigger and broader. The jobless, the homeless, the indigent, the people trapped in homes where violence is rampant at the best of times. The countries under siege like China, Italy, America (Christ on a cracker), the economies, the cumulative effects and losses, just the world in general. I worry that the damage to every aspect of modern life is marching toward being irreparable. It’s enough to crack the hardest of heads and hearts open.
But somewhere underneath the angst is a little bubble of hope. Hope that good things may come out of this. That this may be the crisis that finally gets people to wash their godddamn hands properly. This new-fangled 30 second soapshow is how I’ve washed my hands since I started medical school. I worked for years in the ER of children’s hospitals, ground zero of all that is infectious, and managed to escape with only one serious throat infection. I’m still waiting for my medal. If you take nothing else from this whole debacle, know that the hand washing alone will make the world a better place.
Perhaps we’ll see a new trend toward a deeper respect for science and evidence, and recognition that we are all citizens of the globe. A trend toward demanding better from our leaders and from each other. Toward thinking of the greater good and placing equal value on all lives. Pandemics come and go and this one will be no different. It’ll leave its mark on every one of us but it’s entirely possible that somehow we’ll emerge on the other side of this, battered and weary, but changed for the better. Maybe truth and reason will rule the planet and women will suddenly be in charge of everything meaning when the next crisis hits my poor sister will be spared wandering the streets of London searching in vain for the last box of tampons in England (true story). You know full well if the ladies were at the helm there’d be a shortage of Viagra long before the period shelves were empty. Unicorns and rainbows. Puppies romping through fields of wildflowers. Maybe.
But until then we have no choice but to settle in. This is a marathon not a sprint. By now you all know what to do. Wash your hands. Stay at home. No travel under any circumstances. Listen to those with a string of letters after their names and not to those spouting nonsense. Do what you can for your neighbour. Don’t sweat the small stuff like serving ice cream for dinner or plopping your kids in front of a screen for hours on end. Just do what you need to do to get through.
Here’s to better days my friends. They are coming. Of that you can be very sure. Love to you all.