By now we have all heard enough about the coronavirus/COVID-19 to last us a lifetime. I for one am limiting the amount of radio, internet and TV time to keep the hype and noise to a minimum. Given the speed of changes and misinformation it is easy to be whipsawed between what to do and not do to stay safe.
Take face masks for instance. When I was recovering from chemo and the transplant, I was told I had to wear them to protect myself when my immune system was compromised. Now I hear the ones I was given to wear are useless to prevent infection from a virus but useful for protecting others from getting what you have. Great, months of thinking I was protecting myself when really I was saving others from getting sick from me. Guess it worked, no one around me got Leukemia.
But more seriously, what is the story with the irrational panic buying? People are doing hand to hand combat in stores over hand sanitizer while right next to the empty spots on store shelves are plenty of soap, bottled bleach, and spray bottles of Lysol. Tito’s Vodka had to issue a press release telling people not to make hand sanitizer out of their vodka (not enough alcohol content). They suggested using it to pass the time while quarantined. And don’t even get me started about the rush on toilet paper. Toilet Paper? What are people doing as a result of the virus that requires pallets of TP? Maybe making home grown face masks.
You have to admit if it wasn’t so serious it would actually be humorous. The best comedians are the politicians. In Philly this week the local politicians declared the St. Patrick’s Day parade would go on as planned but in the same newscast they warned people not to attend. Then of course there is president Trump’s expert medical assessment that it “will go away”, “One day, it’s like a miracle it will disappear.”. This followed shortly after by bans on incoming flights, cancellations of large public gatherings and a stock market crash.
Speaking of cancellations, for only the second time in 124 years, the Boston Marathon is being postponed till September (first time was in 1918 during WW I). Disappointing I’m sure for all the runners that put in the training through the winter and now have to face staying in shape for 5 more months. For me it is actually helpful. I’ve been fighting a bad cold for the last 10 days and as the case with immune system, when I get sick a number of the inflictions from the chemo and transplant come back to haunt me. As a result, I had to curtail my training for a bit. The extra time and the summer months will make for much more pleasant training as I try to make the marathon challenge. It will also hopefully take us past the significant part of the COVID-19 outbreak. As someone who falls in the high-risk category (over 60 and compromised immune system) and currently fighting a bad cold, I can use all the breaks I can get. In the near-term Pam and I are just hunkering down.
Hunkering down reminds me of the months I spent in the hospital going through treatment. As we all go into some form isolation over the next few months it’s good to keep in mind that this is a small taste of what many pediatric cancer patients face for months and sometimes years. Their world isolated to one room, maybe even to a bed waiting for the next treatment. It’s the reason Help in the Nick of Time programs focus on helping with the pain, fear and boredom that often accompanies protracted cancer treatment. For those that support us I can’t thank you enough.
Till next time, stay safe.