I will admit it. I was one of the people in December and January that was saying, “Ugh. Here we go with another virus. It is Swine Flu all over. Making a mountain out of a mole hill.” I was also comparing things like “when I was little and someone caught chickenpox we had a ‘party’ to get it over with.”
By the way, that was the first time I was quarantined. I was in first grade so that would have been early 1982. The chickenpox hit our house. My siblings and I all got it. My little sister was a toddler. Mom’s solution: let her run around in only a diaper. It worked. Sis had the mildest outbreak. My brother was a teenager and had a ‘normal’ outbreak. Me…I never wanted any of my skin to show so I had the worse outbreak. Two weeks I was kept home from everything: school, church, dance school, etc.
I don’t have a lot of clear memories of those exact two weeks. I do remember my brother bringing home my school work and completing it all as quickly as I could. I remember the itching. I remember being covered in the “pink stuff” that I would later know as Calamine Lotion. I remember those little bumps and sores. I remember picking at them and being told to stop it. They really itched though! I do have a couple scares from those darn things.
Here’s the thing. I have never really been afraid of being sick. I have always taken it as part of living on this Earth and actually living a life. I do believe in some vaccines but not all. Let me clarify before you begin posting hate messages. I do believe that the biggies need to be done such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, whopping cough, tuberculosis. Even though I have asthma, I do not get a flu vaccine. Mainly because through the years it has been created in mediums I am allergic to. However, I have a fairly good immune system and I do think it is better for our bodies to fight it on its own. I believe the flu vaccine should be for those who truly need help boosting their immune systems.
All this said, it is some of why I was an eye roller when all the media started ‘hounding’ on this new virus. Another piece is that at 45 years old, I have been through the SARS, MERS, H1N1, and Avian flu outbreaks. My life experience said, “here we go again.” Something in me has changed my view on this latest virus. Believe it or not, my recent schooling in statistics and my daily job of viewing performance curves and such has been the biggest influence in my change of heart.
I am still not worried so much about getting the virus. I feel confident I can fight it off. I am obeying the guidelines of staying home and away from people as much as possible. I realized that even if I can fight it off, there are plenty of other who will not be able to and that is where my focus shifted. My recently acquired knowledge of exponential growth helped me see the bigger picture. This isn’t about me and my body’s ability. This is about those who are vulnerable. This is about not decimating our medical system and completely depleting them of resources ranging from medicines to nurses to doctors and so on.
We are fortunate not to be in the Middle Ages, even if we ourselves are middle-aged. The Plague was real. It spread fast. It killed fast. Humans survived then and I know we will now. I think about the world even 100 years ago and how they dealt with the 1918 Influenza (Spanish Flu). It spread fast. It killed fast. Humans survived.
We have so many things that generations before did not. We have the ability to stay connected to our loved ones virtually. It is not as great as being able to hug someone but we are able to see them, hear them, talk with them. We have entertainment options out the wazoo! We have all become so immune to these luxuries. We can even talk with our doctors virtually!
I know we will survive this. I am curious to see how we, as a society, change on the other side of this. Will we be more grateful about our daily lives and conveniences? Will we embrace kindness for others? I am thinking of these things for myself. I know this experience is already changing me. How will it change you?