The Strains of Isolation: Quarantine Status Quo

This is a difficult thing, to be quarantined due to an epidemic, There have been many comparisons to the Spanish Flu of the latter part of the decade of the  1910s. We have a lot of things that are the same in this epidemic as they were in the early 20th century and there  are also things that are different. Overall the differences in the two eras are well illustrated in my room and life from which this post comes. I was married to someone of a compatible background and we lived together for eight years. Had that happened  the odds that I would have been divorced back then would be much lower. The chance that I would be childless in that era had I loved as I have would have been much, much smaller (though one cannot say nonexistent). So I am much more alone. I am a skilled gardener but amid my own personal brand of chaos related to the pandemic I have not been like the larger trend and gardened more — rather I have gardened less in every way {but still a good bit this spring) and I have not put in a vegetable garden which I had planned to this year but have not done in a long time.   The only food crops I planted in the last decade were a half done fruit trees and they were very young and not all survived to give fruit and so we had a very few and small harvests before the trees and the house and land around them were sold. So, no garden is another likely difference with the 1918 era.

The there is the wired world in which it is possible for me to put this post together on my laptop and distribute through my website located in the wonderful world of the internet. There is nothing that would be part of our lives that would have been harder for my ancestors in 1918 to understand,

Also I live in America, I work I have enough money for basic necessities most of the time and give to other causes but I have dealt with pain to the point of limited sleep and some disability for a week and have not tried to get medical help or prescription drugs. That is because I  almost never do get any medical care. I am much shaped in my life by my repeated failure to get health insurance . Like much of my life the story is long miserable and to people with very different lives hard to believe. But I have had it for years at a time and I have mostly not had it. This year I had four realistic plans to end up with health insurance right now, I invested time, money and energy into those plans and I ended up here with no health insurance. In America today that means no medical care more than in almost any society in the history of the world at any time — at least for certain kinds of people.  I am the product of a long time of the lack of diagnoses and the wear and tear of not getting more help for chronic injury than my over the counter pain killers and dietary supplements, using my over the counter  sling and a homemade ice pack along with aspirin and Naproxin.  But on the other hand, others somewhat like me have become opioid dependent and sometime because of the kind of chronic pains I suffer from without an acute injury, I have had acute injuries but all of them were a long time ago. But the aches and pains I have now can be severe enough.

My own life is much shaped by living in a world where a vast amount is spent on healthcare and in general i know that if I cannot sleep, can barely function and generally am sick and weary there is probably no health care for me. That is not really the way it was in 1910. The was wide access to very inferior healthcare of varied types for many people. People paid doctors and nurses with chickens, eggs, a painted shed, car repairs or a mowed lawn if they could not come up with the money. Doctors often got discounts at local shops for years based on performing medical services. People also had gardens, belonged to functional extended families and had religious institutions and fraternal life insurance organizations that buried the dead and cared for the bereaved. The nuclear family was a costly and often troublesome institution that often performed better under extreme stress than it did with all of its foibles and iniquities in the daily run of things. That nuclear family has much declined.

In dealing with this Covid-19 crisis the responses will have to deal with what is the same about pandemics and what is different in the two pandemics. In America ans much of the world the pandemic of the late teens was followed by the roaring twenties and not a Great Depression. But has the world changed?

Some people think that the world has changed a lot. You can read the article here that the following charts come from  which represents a conservative American critique of some aspects of social development in recent years.There is a lot which goes into making conclusions about this debate over social policy. But what few can debate is that some things have changed.


The world is not America, But to some degree, the disappearance of the society America aspired to be most in the 1950s marks a change in the aspirations if much of the world. America has changed the way it has and has done so without national universal socialized medicine and while that may have had benefits in technological innovation, diverse treatment options and resources available for emergencies — it has certainly led to the suffering misery and death of millions of Americans. Those people fall into identifiable blocks. One of the most identifiable blocks is composed of rural white men like me,  People of color who cling to small businesses in  dying neighborhoods,illegal aliens who work hard, usually pay taxes  and increasingly are hated and mistreated, single mothers who have one child student loans and a very good paying part-time job —these are all part of the mosaic of people who cannot get health care often enough. There are hosts of people who have their bankcards declined when the transactions never reached their bank, whose wifi crashes and who are just not liked much by most bureaucrats and when all this web . Decades of this kind of inability to operate on the mandated playing field in the game of American life is more than a set of frequent inconveniences. It become a way of assuring a shortened, more painful and less happy life.The Covid-19 effects will play into that world. One impact is that every time I donate plasma I have to certify that I feel well  and healthy that day, So that is the main reason that I have not been able to donate in over a week. That is my longest break in a good while. I worry about those needing the supply. I also miss the screening of various health parameters. Those are useful health data points but not healthcare if you are ill you quit getting the screenings.

It is virtually impossible  for people who are never excluded from the  world of those with access to healthcare and health insurance to know what that is like. The  weeks and days in which  older white men in rural America like me rotate ice packs, over the counter braces and  a sling and spend time alternating losing sleep to pain and passing out exhausted when they get enough homemade self care to blot out the pain — This is the America I know. I know well the world of those  too young for Medicare and who will be too beat up to live long once they get to Medicare. The life expectancy of white men in America has long been in decline. You can read some of these facts end view related clips here. So many of us struggle and nobody outside of these groups I mentioned are able to see the impossibility of enrolling in Obamacare or medicaid or making ends meet. White men with health insurance are dying as well but I believe a detailed study would show folks in my category leading the race to the grave by a mile. Many of us try to find ways to make our society make sense even when it cannot. One thing we can do when we cannot negotiate a payment plan for our very rare emergency care when we know all the pain, suffering and shortening of life we are asked to endure. One thing is we can find nonprofits who will take the little money we have to spare. Before Obamacare there were more charity community clinics that accepted donations many shut down because “everybody has care now”. Life on the outside when from very bad to horrible in ways nobody should have to know. But we can give to non profits like RIP Medical Debt.  I have and the process is gratifying. The text below is what their website gives you to look at when you make a donation.

Thank you for your donation!

Your donation to RIP Medical Debt will abolish 100 times its value in unpaid medical debt — which contributes to more than 60 percent of the bankruptcies in our country. Your fellow citizens, your community, perhaps even your next-door neighbor, all of us thank you for your care and generosity.

Please check your various inboxes for an email acknowledgment and tax receipt.

To stay up to date, join us on Twitter and Facebook. We look forward to keeping in touch.


Executive Director

Men in America and white men in rural areas most of all are dying of varied forms of isolation, irrelevance and disaffection. That is really manifest at all sorts of levels. The larger idea of a declining white percentage of the population is just one factor. A general study that mentions that for someone who has not read about it is found here.  But I am not including the most relevant studies in any way in this post. One definite reality is that we have not had as many native born white children born in America as  there were native born American white children turning eighteen in a very long time, That is in a country with rapid population growth by many standards. So a lot of rural white men feel discarded and isolated and badly treated, The Me Too movement has a secondary effect of showing that society has tolerated all kinds of abuse against women but is just not as tolerant of the foibles of husbands. Single men are cut off from family as single women are not.  Mr. Mom is a rarity and the title answers many questions. In many ways women struggle in this new order  more than men. However that is very debatable, but for many men isolation  from marriageable women means poverty, depression and early death. Maybe things can change in this crisis  — I have some ideas as to how but we shall see. I am getting to the point of trying to remind people of things to think about without much argument beyond that.

It is not easy to be alone. There are several meanings of the word easy. Sometimes being alone is the less difficult option. But while it may give comfort and sometimes it may offer convenience.   It rarely offers both convenience and real peaceful flow of life’s restorative forces. I wonder what the pandemic will do to those who have become isolated in various ways. I have more tolerance for the idea of isolation than most people struggling with this new reality.  I have been alone in a variety of ways for a fairly long time. The sense of isolation has to do with the various ways in which men and women interact and how women are integrated into society. Only after all of this does it directly relate to how men are regarded by society when considered as a particular class of citizens.

But isolated people are still citizens, human beings, relatives and play other roles in society. I try to do what I can. Even in charity there are more internet and transaction failures in my life that in the life of most committed donors in the country. Here is a recognition of another donation:

Thank You For Your Gift!

Your incredible act of generosity will have a profound effect on someone’s life. In fact, your gift today will help us provide 150 meals to families in need. That’s truly phenomenal – and something we hope you take great pride in!

And it’s not just food you’re giving with your donation today, it’s also hope. When a bag of food or groceries is placed in the hands of someone struggling with hunger you can actually see their spirit lift as this one realization takes hold: someone cares.

And today, that someone is you.

See below for a confirmation of your gift. You’ll also receive this same information in your inbox.

I had a connection or two in the world and my family ties to Family Missions Company which have enabled me to help a few people in this worldwide crisis whom I do not personally know. I have the capacity to do what I can do without infrastructure of a more integrated life. These last  photos show people holding the bags of rice created in the pictures in the last post. So some things can be done.  She also sent me a bio f each family represented by the woman receiving the rice and why her family had not gotten government food aid. Some connection networks endure. I have also been able to advertise the various feeding programs provided by employer to the families of their students in my Facebook posts.








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