Saturday, March 14, 2020

History Lessons: Common Sense

I suppose I should take a moment and address what everyone's talking, panicking and joking around about: Viruses. (Interestingly enough, a word that has no plural in Latin.)  I haven't been surprised, and have been somewhat amused as I scroll through Facebook and look at the gifs and memes derived from all the hype and panic on the subject. The toilet paper thing has me a bit confused, but I guess I should just "roll" with it.

I've been asked by several folks thinking they may get some sort of "inside scoop" about what's going on with the current COVID-19 case in Fremont County. I tell them that everything they need to know will always be released and updated from Wyoming Public Health through their local media channels. They can also get educated on the subject by going to Center for Disease Control & Prevention's web site at  Know that your local public health department and officials are constantly being informed and updated, as are the local EMS and First Responders.

Let's get back to the CDC. If you take a little tour through the site, you will find a wealth of information on many, many diseases and viruses. I just clicked on the "Outbreak of Listeria Infections" and read about how hard-boiled egg products from a certain company has caused a "multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytongenes". Now, obviously that's not enough to create a global pandemic, but for the states and consumers affected and the company taking the hit, it's big. Click on "More Outbreaks" and you'll see a myriad of other infections and diseases besides COVID-19.

When I was a kid/teen, my parents rarely took me to the doctor. We were raised to fight illnesses. Living in Wyoming, you can bet that I had plenty of colds. If I had a fever, chills, a distinct and consistent cough, etc. (basically, the flu)...I was confined to my room until the fever broke and was feeling better. I remember once I was so very very sick; I was lethargic, and the 105 degree fever would not break. When OTC meds, old school remedies and a few homeopathic rituals were proven useless, that's when my parents would take me to the doctor/ER.

This was back in the 60's-70's-80's. Don't get me wrong; we did have a family doctor. My mother had a serious, undiagnosable illness. I have only seen old photos of her as a healthy, vibrant young woman. I never knew that woman. There's one memory in particular where my brother and I were called into a hospital room and I saw her in the bed, deathly gray, thinning hair. I was too young at the time to understand, but I look back and wonder if they had called us in to say "goodbye" to her. But then...they didn't know my Mom! She fought for every day of life, living in constant pain. Some days would take her completely down. But she lived on for decades, raising her children, enjoying her grand-children and great-grandchildren. She eventually died of pancreatic cancer in 2005.

My own daughter was born premature. She was taken c-section and whisked away to the ICU. Lungs were almost, but not fully developed. One nurse in particular had been watching over her, observing her breathing, her skin color, etc. The doctor wanted to put her on a respirator, but the nurse said, "I wouldn't just yet. She's fighting. Let her fight a bit, see how she does. If she doesn't improve, then we can put her on." Rachelle never had to go on a respirator. Granted, she's had a host of respiratory illnesses throughout her life, but she's has grown into a strong, healthy, beautiful woman. I can rightfully say that she's been a fighter since the day she was born.

The world is filled with bugs, seen and unseen. Just because we don't see them with the naked eye doesn't mean they're not there. Medical science and technology has come a long way since mine or my folks' generations, and there's a lot more we know about many diseases and illnesses. But there are still those we don't know much about. I am not only fascinated, but always impressed and grateful for the brilliant minds who study these bacteria, viruses and other camera-shy creepy crawlies.

It is true, there is not much we know about COVID-19, but those brilliant minds are learning and you can bet that their mind wheels are turning thousands of rpms. However, a significant concern is not just the virus itself, but the millions of people who are not in the categories of risk who panic and start living in bubbles. What we watch on TV and read into today's "the sky is falling" hysteria will eventually decrease, and we will see recovery rates. We are already seeing them. Yes, there have been deaths, and that is why those who are in those categories of risk need to take extra precaution.

If I somehow got COVID-19...or any virus...I would do what I've always done: Fight. Then again, I don't fall into any particular, significant category(ies) of risk. If anything, all of this has made me more aware of my own health, my environments (home, workplace and public). I've always been hygienic, I've always washed my hands. I'm courteous to my friends, family and co-workers if I've been sick, and not sneeze or cough in their faces. I will go home if I'm sick, and will see a doctor if I need to. Last year I had a horrible headache that wouldn't go away. I fought it for a while, but the pain grew so intense that I had to go to an urgent care clinic. Turns out it was a terrible sinus infection. A few days of antibiotics, and I was up and at 'em again.

Common sense is not so common these days, but perhaps it's the one cure that is needed to help fight the infections of misinformation, ignorance and bad judgment. Get a good night's sleep. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Exercise. Educate yourself on facts. Learn, trust the advice of and take instruction from the brilliant minds all over the world who are at work, day and night, to help you and serve you.

A couple years the beginning of my Third Life...I promised that I'd rid myself from the toxic Nouns of my past, and focus on being the kind of person I've always wanted to be. I promised myself that I would be helpful, hopeful and happy, no matter what. I promised myself that I would approach and find a solution to every problem I might face with the strength, knowledge, wisdom and common sense from history lessons learned. I promised myself that I'd live each day as if it were my last...

Nothing has changed.

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