I did not pay much attention to the news about the Coronavirus until I heard someone I knew had been hospitalized and was fighting for his life. It was a relative I hadn’t seen in many years, since well before his grandparents had died. His grandmother was my mother’s cousin, and I stayed with them in my 20s when I visited.
But he was very important to me at that point in my life, and we share great memories. When my mom called me and told me the news, it stopped me in my tracks. It made all this talk matter.
He had not been traveling. He had not had contact with anyone diagnosed with the virus. They had first told him it was a lung infection and not the Coronavirus. But still, here he was. Now diagnosed with it and in such critical condition, they could not airlift him to another hospital that may be able to provide better care.
It got me reading — the unknown of why this has happened is one of the scary things. You can be like Patient Number 31 in Seoul, Korea. She supposedly infected thousands by carrying on her normal life. She went to work, to lunch, to church. Yes, she had been tested but left the hospital to get back to her life. She felt fine.
How often do we find ourselves sitting next to a co-worker who is sick with a stomach virus but not wanting to burn a sick day? Hearing someone took their child to daycare who has been up all night vomiting? Having lunch with a friend who has allergies — or is it a bad cold? They don’t seem concerned, so it appears we are a bit hysterical if we cause a fuss. What has happened to us that we only look at whether we feel well enough to get out, and not about those others whose health we compromise when we do it?
I’m about as far as you can get from being a germaphobe. I volunteered as a clinic coordinator at a free clinic for a while and learned not to react when people were coughing or sneezing directly in my face. I never got sick, though I could have. I learned that people aren’t very good…