This is a long note about the pandemic in the style of my long rambling and personal notes. We all know there is a value in avoiding this kind of thing so I will start with twelve actions I support. Most people will be better off if we could or can do these things,
I strongly support and to some degree propose the following approach to Covid-19.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Maintaining greater than the CDC six-foot minimum physical distance between people whenever possible.
- Avoiding physical group gatherings where possible.
- Getting sunlight and fresh air and airing out your house when you can avoid people nearby.
- Wearing a mask when you can be careful, use a disinfected mask and find ways to preserve public safety.
- Carrying and over using surface disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Doing your laundry well and more often than usual, showering often and keeping your house clean.
- Examining one’s finances, insurance, pantry and other resources as objectively as possible and making a plan and budget.
- Tell your loved ones that you care about them. Channel positive energy and pray for others.
- Turning to online resources to establish emotional and relational support systems.
- Keeping up a balanced life where possible. Exercise, eat. sleep. play, pray, think etc.
- Try to support your government’s, company’s, church’s program for surviving this crisis.
- Monitor your own health and the news about the crisis.
- Try to support health care professionals and facilities.
- Respect and support essential workers.
But however anyone may feel about these ideas these are not the main reasons I am writing. I am sharing my own experience and perspective.
I have not said much at length or in a very personal vein about the Coronavirus Pandemic yet. So far on Facebook, I have liked other people’s posts. I have passed on valuable information from key sites and I have made jokes about this horrific situation which are particular to my own experience. But I have yet to write at any length about the pandemic or its causes, likely effects or what it will be like to complete the journey through this process.
I am concerned about my Dad, who although young to be my father by modern American standards is still old enough that I was born more than a year after he got married and he was in post baccalaureate studies at the time. He is a multiple cancer survivor and has chronic lung disease. I am concerned about my Mom who is very resilient but has had two moderately severe traumas in recent years and is diabetic. I am concerned about my brother Simon with many special needs. I am concerned about my niece Esme with a rare variant of cystic fibrosis. I am concerned about a lot of other people in America as America rolls through this version of the worldwide nightmare. I am also concerned for friends and associates abroad in many other countries.
Some of you might be afraid, for yourselves and not be eager to admit it. I can relate to that sense of apprehension pretty well. The virus plays into my own fears, the fear of drowning and choking to death by myself or at least away from a loving known person is easy for me to understand. I had several bouts under a croup tent as a small child and suffered from mild childhood asthma and chronic shortness of breath, I loved to be in the water and had a number of near drownings. When I fell one of two times and broke my arm as a kid ( that time rough housing in a tree) the immediate pain was actually less than the shock of having the breath knocked out of me. I invested a lot of my life into family and extended family, Christian ministry and church life and the world of marriage and romance. All of those things have to do in no small part with the idea that one does not want to die alone and be buried alone after leaving a period of social isolation.
Males are twice as likely to die of this as females. I am close to 56 and have never been as resilient as some. In addition, I have smoked, lived in dense air pollution, cleaned with bad fuming chemicals a good bit, had childhood respiratory illness and I still engaged in some activity outside the home which is considered essential. One of those activities is to donate plasma. I get a free to me health screening twice a week there and they work hard to keep the place sanitary but because I am older than average and because it takes a long time it is probably one of my biggest risks as I am avoiding any other groups whatsoever except online or when I get stuck in an occasional line in a shop. I have been donating regularly for a while now and I believe it is kind of like a lot of things, every donation keeps people alive although I do not know that I personally am saving all that many lives and am aware that there may be a time when I am unable to do it. Plasma donors also contribute source plasma which has a value of about $1500 per donation when it is certified out of the collection center and their time, and their risk in time like these and the pain of the process and lowering their own immunity. Donors also agree to waive most risks including a small risk of death from
a particular type of equipment failure or other rare event. In return for all of this donors get whatever good effects plasma donation may stimulate (almost unstudied), some health monitoring and a sense of community. Donors also get some financial compensation greater than the out of pocket cost and generally that money has gotten favorable tax and regulatory treatment. I used to donate blood a great deal and only got a cookie or a tee shirt. But nobody ever died of an air bubble from a blood donation. People do die of such accidents in plasma donation and my guess is that those events are not much reported. Thousands of people donate safely each day but that never drops the risk to zero. So plasma donation is what it is for as long as it is.
Beyond that outing twice a week, I do try to stay home. But, I am not idle. I am fully engaged in coping with the challenges of my own life since I was subbing at Abbeville High School on March 13 and the announcement came out that the Governor had closed the schools till April 13. By the end of the day the Vermilion Parish School Board had closed the schools till April 20,2020 on the grounds that the Governor’s action brought the closure into our spring break in this parish. That seems an innocent little interlude now. But it was a big deal when it was announced. I was glad to have the chance to study on Monday and catch up on Wednesday because on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. I had my Life, Health and Accident Insurance Producer Licensing Test in Metarie. I passed the test. But Metarie was shutting down quite a bit between the time I arrived on Monday and drove home straight from the test on Tuesday afternoon. I have been working with a great company with a view to representing them in this industry but despite a supportive recruiting sales manager there have been complications caused by the pandemic. As of this time the final papers have not been signed. I hope to let you know when they are signed according to the policies of the company. Which I do not fully know. Regardless, I studied and passed my test in a stressful time. I am not yet fully employed but I have my license and am eager to help people meet insurance and retirement needs as the world crisis evolves. I had a license years ago but never tried to sell insurance and let the license lapse. But I think the work matters. Insurance is just as relevant now as it ever was…
I am proud of what family and friends are doing and I wish that I was doing more for them. Isolation is hard. I am proud of what much of the Catholic Church is doing — although I am a less devout Catholic than I used to be. I am proud of what many institutions and groups I have been part of are trying to do. But these are very bad times. We are a long way from out of the woods. I feel that this is the crisis of my life so far. Maybe it is not, but we can only act by the light we have.