It won't always be like this
Tuesday, April 07, 2020
My post about kindness after being out yesterday prompted my Amazing and Terrified front line worker in BC to freak out at the idea of someone using a N95 mask for grocery shopping when there is an emergency shortage of masks and gowns for those exposed to the virus all day at work. I always think that nothing happens by accident and when I was given those masks I thought "there will be someone right away in my life who I know will need them". As soon as I saw her message I thought for sure I should send them to her because she and the people she is responsible for as a home care nurse are going into situations where there might well be Covid 19 and they have no protective gear unless someone is identified as positive already. But I didn't sleep well last night with that thought. Instead I have contacted the donations hotline and maybe my role is simply to post the donations contact information in Ottawa.
It is hard knowing the right thing to do. I'm learning and I'm realizing mistakes. What will it be like some day? Will our grandkids be amazed by the stories? Will they be shocked that this event had to trigger the social and environmental and political changes for the way we treat people and value them, turning our life guide pyramid on it's head just as the Keto diet turned the food pyramid upside down? I have always said that the medical system would have to break down before it could change the way it needed to. The same with our government. Our education system. Our values towards work vs family and community.
This is a time of crisis for our front line workers and I have the privilege to stay home during this war. I am taking it seriously. Learning how to do it right. Tried making a home made mask and while it was brilliant because it could be easily changed/washed, it failed because yup, I kept touching the mask, putting my hands that had touched items in the store near my face. I could not sleep this morning remembering that I had told Bob "oh yes you can put that back, I already have one" and to my horror later realized I should have taken both after we touched one. It's more complicated than saying "I washed my hands before I left home" because we touch things all the time. It is not just about me protecting what comes into my house, but about me passing the virus from surface to surface. Yup, we might be virus free but on my journey from my house to the store and back I might pass a virus already lingering on a package left from someone else onto more surfaces. We breath and we shed the virus. While it is community spread we need to assume everyone has it, even us. It must be more than coughing on someone or it would not be so contagious.
Last night I was craving ice cream. I am an emotional eater and we don't have ice-cream in the house. But I said "I wish.... " and Bob offered to go... to get ice cream. And I almost said yes. He was ready to. Then I paused and thought about him dying because I wanted ice cream. Or someone else's loved one dying because I wanted ice cream. Or the virus spreading another 2 weeks or more because I wanted ice cream. Maybe that is one of the gifts of this pandemic, making us learn to pause and think before we act. To be aware of our "history" so we can recount where we went, what we touched, who we came into contact with.
It won't always be like this. We will have a vaccine. We will have testing to know who is sick and be able to trace their contacts and "path" they followed so we can clean up and everyone can get on with their lives. We won't have to leave our groceries in the car or garage overnight or wash all our fruit and vegetables before they go in the fridge or for a couple of days be washing our hands so many times a day for so long even in the safety of our own homes. Or maybe we will always be cautious and more sensitive to making sure everyone has running water and basic resources.
It is not just the "systems" that will break and change. It is me. I take so much for granted, am so ignorant of circumstances around the world, am so insulated from realizing how much my presence in the world affects it. It is responsibility and a challenge. You can teach an old dog new tricks. I am curious about the good things ahead.