It had already been a difficult 24 hours. Why? I don’t really know. It’s not like it was any different than the other day since we’ve been in lock down. One of us has been sick this entire time. It’s just has been a tough stretch in the last 24 hours. The news is grim, but I’ve tried to stay focused and positive. I’ve been doing my daily meditation online group and yoga. A little bit of fake it til you make it, but still. We’ve fallen into a routine of cleaning in the mornings, laundry. Making sure we are deliberately planning our day locked inside. Yesterday we listened to our neighbors play Building Bingo across the utility porches. We do meal planning, taking the garbage out, any thing we need to take care of back in the US. Checking on family and friends. Trying to stay busy. Maybe learning something new.
But for whatever reason, today was one of those days when you just can’t get yourself together. Jeff suggested I have a good cry, take a hot bath, and then have another cry. Again, I don’t know why I’m so blue. I told him this and he said ‘Who cares why. Just cry if you need to.’ Perhaps I’m still recovering. I was ill first, and then Jeff. Yesterday they officially extended our lock down a few more weeks into April now – maybe that’s why.
Then today, right after my mediation I got a phone call. The Dr. I saw the day the lock down went into effect has the virus. They were calling to let me know he’s in the hospital and to find out how I, and other members of my family, am feeling. My first thought was ‘Oh my God. That poor man. He’s so lovely. I hope he’ll be OK.’ Right now I’m taking another moment to breathe deeply. Because it seems so surreal. You watch the news but you never think it will happen to you. My doctor probably didn’t.
Then you go over it in your mind. Sure, you’ve had some of the symptoms but they could be anything. You were smart. You saw what was coming and you wore a mask at the Dr. You only took the metro once to go from the Dr. to the hospital to get some tests. Just once, one stop. Sure, people stared at you, because back then no one was taking this thing in Italy seriously, except my friend at the El Chino. He knew it for what it was. I bet his relatives back home in China were filling him in. But that was the same week the Women’s Day Marches happened all over Spain the previous Sunday. They’d only cancelled Fallas the day before.
But on that day, at the appointment, this particular Dr. didn’t wear any gloves. Just a mask. and he examined my neck and traced how the nerves in your neck run down to your fingers. He was thorough and knowledgeable and I felt better when I left. And he didn’t wear gloves. Gulp. And then you think, What if this is what knocked me down for a week with a recurring fever and cough. And What if I brought this home and made Jeff sick?
Jeff is better today after sleeping a lot yesterday and spiking a fever again last night – we both did. But I’m trying not to extrapolate. To think about what could have happened when the devil comes to call. Something entering your house that you can’t even see, could kill someone who is your whole world – if it doesn’t kill you first.
OK – My heart is beating normally, again. I hope my Dr. will be OK. And his family too. The world needs more doctors like him. Caring and patient. Ones who take the time to explain things and make you feel safe in their hands and under their scalpel. I hope today this man is in the best of hands and will fully recover from this virus and collective global nightmare. I hope we all will. And come out of it better, more empathetic, and stronger on the other side.
Please ~ all of you in countries where your governments have not locked you down – please lock yourselves and your families down. No play dates, family parties, bbq’s, camping trips – it’s not a holiday or snow day. Don’t go to the Starbucks drive-thru and think that’s enough social distancing for you or the barista. Follow our lead and don’t wait. Believe me – I’m not being an alarmist. Do it before this devil knocks on your door. Stay safe, Stay sane and Stay inside.