Yesterday after the call from our Dr. office, I admit I was freaked out. But I’m back from the edge. Now, more than ever, counting our blessings has to be part of our daily routine. It must be mandatory. We are alive – that’s enough. I didn’t sleep last night after watching news that broke my heart. Doctors sobbing about the choices they are making throughout Spain. On top of everything these hero’s are doing to save lives they must now determine who to save and who to allow to slip away. It’s breaking them in half at a time when they’re working so far beyond what we should expect humans to endure – in deadly conditions.
Bodies of the dead are now kept on an ice rink in a mall outside Madrid. They’ve run out of refrigeration to keep them before contagion trained funeral homes can collect them for burial or cremation. The army has been pressed in to service to pick them up from homes and hospitals and transport them in their trucks. Yes, they’re trained to do this in war time. But what a grim task in your own city or neighborhood.
Due to the lack of ventilators, if the patient is older than 65 years old they will be given pain medication and kept comfortable but they will not be put on a ventilator. These must be kept for younger patients with a higher possibility of survival. In Italy, the age is 60. One cannot imagine the choices, and stresses these medical professionals are under, and the lasting effects of this crisis that will haunt them for all their lives. It will impact us all but not a fraction of what it will for these people. We will need to put this in our post-Covid plans. PTSD is real. And if anyone in the US thinks it will be better there – think again.
Spain and Italy have the top two healthcare systems in the world. And their beds and ventilators per capita outstrips the US by orders of magnitude. And Spain and Italy are swamped – overwhelmed. So what is happening here is just a week away from the US main street – and it’s already in the tri-state area around NYC. The rural hospital crisis in the US was real before this pandemic. It’s about to get a whole lot worse in under-served rural America where small hospitals have been closing by the thousands in the last 10 years. Those fly-over states and in the Deep South. This is what medical care for profit will buy you. No care at all.
I watch the news in the US and hear the latest Trump/FOXnews/GOP talking points of just allowing the oldest and ill in the US to ‘wash out’. Calling the cure (locking down society) ‘worse than the disease’, and I am unbelievably angry. Their drumbeat is building on social media, TV, and in newspapers. Protecting the rich while abandoning those who live paycheck to paycheck. Describing those who will die in inhuman terms of dollars and cents and measuring productivity. If anyone knows anything about Nazi Germany – this is how they dehumanized people before they systematically exterminated them. It’s not a hyperbolic analogy. This virus is just a cheaper method than building all those expensive camps and tying up valuable rail service.
The US bailing out corporations and failing the citizens who need help the most, is their new/old approach. I’ve heard 2.5% as the number they’re throwing about on every media outlet. That’s over 8 mm people who will die if the Corporations/Wall Street and Trump get their way. The impact of that on our society is unimaginable. The impact to our families is unconscionable. How can we say the economy is more important than lives? How did we get to a point where our government only represented corporations and those with the money to influence policy, and no longer served any of the population who they’ve turned into drones to work in the corporate mines? People who are ‘expensive to maintain, and – not productive.’
Things must fundamentally change after this. People must expect and demand more from our government and leadership. The government must start working for us – not using us as fodder to feather the nests of the few and privileged. Healthcare as a human right. Income equality. Free access to higher education. A curb on rampant greed and regulations reinstated that protect people over profit. They want everything to get back to ‘normal’ because idle people have time on their hands to take stock and think things through. No shopping fix. No distractions. That’s more worrisome than the economy – I think. And they know it. It’s a psychological game to them – as much as anything else. A dangerous time.
I’ll stop now. We’re alive. Our families are healthy back home – right now. We will pray for those who are ill and those who are on the front lines. We will do our part and stay out of the fray and not spread illness – unless we run out of food or medicine and then we’ll go full protective garb. And we will help our neighbors at a distance. It turns out – even in the midst of this – we have a lot to be grateful for.