It’s Sunday March 22, 2020, and a lot has changed in the past week. In just seven days we’ve moved from hand-washing++, and social distancing, to “Wow! I sure hope this doesn’t get as bad as it is ‘over there'”, to realizing that it certainly could.
I work in an ER and last week I spent bone-chilling hours outside in our hospital’s COVID Assessment Clinic. When people presented with symptoms or exposure risk I was disheartened by the number implying they wouldn’t take our advice to self isolate at home.
Inside, I’ve seen the mock situations and real-time transportation of patients with suspected COVID — a parade of porters, security, and environmental services — accompanying the gurney. You can be sure there are way more on the way to the ICU. My stomach rolls when I think that our hospitals could be impacted like Italy’s are, and yet, that is entirely possible.
Even though I try to avoid a regular diet of news, I’ve read and watched plenty about horrors suffered elsewhere. Yet, until now, it’s all felt surreal.
But do you know what finally brought it all home? My kitchen table.
Exactly one week ago we had friends over for lunch. Because of the way my kitchen/great room is set up, the table is in an odd spot so I make it as small as I can when it’s not being used, but on our lunch day I raised the fold-down leafs and we had a dandy visit.
For some reason, I left the table expanded. Until today.
This afternoon I decided to lower the leafs and put things to rights.
The moment I did, I was flooded with sadness, mixed with a dose of reality. Everything going on in the world finally hit home with sobering personal impact.
Who knows when I’ll stretch out that table again, raising the leafs, and adding extra boards to bring it to it’s full length.
Who knows when we’ll be able to have someone around here that isn’t just me, my husband, and Bruce the dog?
Who knows about a whole lot of other things, some of them truly frightening.
While I continue to not worry, because I’m not the worrying sort, I’m filled with concern. Worry won’t change one thing about what’s going on, but the actions of all will sure influence the outcome.
Right now, I’m trying to understand how others are impacted by social isolation. First to mind are the children whose only safe place is school, and those who must go out to work, without the luxury of working from home. I think of business owners, especially small, but also large, and the migrant workers needed for food farming soon, stopped by closed borders. So many are touched in ways I can hardly imagine, and yet I trust that we will all do what we can.
You’ve seen this picture before, about stepping back, and stopping the spread, and you’ve read another meme flying around social media: “Your grandparents were called to the war. You’re called to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. You’ve got this.”
Everyone in the world asks you to please sit on that couch. Watch Netflix as hard as you can. Do it for your family, do it for your friends, and do it for the rest of us. You’ve definitely got this.