My immediate family has gone unscathed from COVID for the past 21 months, literally speaking. On the other hand, I’ve seen it tear families and friends apart due to one-sided, stubborn views. This article isn’t a debate on pro-vax or anti-mandate. Because at the end of it, does that all really matter? Or is there something bigger? Bigger than mandating vaccines. Bigger than the healthcare crisis. Bigger than the conspiracy theories. Bigger than COVID, itself. I can’t hide in the shadows any longer.
Our children’s education and mental health has suffered. In the USA, Arizona ranks number #49 and has one of the worst school systems. They’re constantly being pushed around from remote learning, to in-school learning, to black-listed from school because they were in a 6 foot radius of another child, who’s parent was tested positive. But, they’re given free lunch, so that should solve it all. Actually it may help solve one issue, considering 13 million children in the US don’t have enough food.
We’re the United Stated of America, dammit Land of the free and home of the brave. But, maybe it’s not everything we were sold.
Thanksgiving was small this year. A total of 6 adults and 1 child, but no lack of gratitude. I went to bed around 10pm and woke up at 11, shivering. I added another blanket and continued to shiver all through the night. The body aches were the worst that night. My husband Keith, a firefighter, got home around 9am and with what little strength I had left, I cried.
After 3 days with a fever, sore throat and headache, Keith talked me into going to the ER. Due to recent restrictions, no one was allowed to go with me. Fever and all, I drove myself. No physical exam was given. Very few questions were asked. Two hours later with one IV bag of electrolytes, 800mg IBU, a diagnosis of lower back pain, and $700 later, they sent me on my merry way.
That experience sums up 99% of any medical visit I have encountered in the US, over the past 35 years. And by the way, you can now buy at-home COVID tests. If we don’t advocate for our own health, who will?
The past 21 months have shown us that the systems we have built, are broken. And the only way we can help re-build is through with compassion and community.
There are 3 types of people in this current world.
- First is the people that shame you and treat you like a leper. They like to ask questions like: where did you get it from? Why didn’t (enter unhelpful information here)?
- Secondly, is the people who live in fear. They hide to avoid conflict, and while they seem to be concerned, they keep their distance because they do not want to be associated with the leper.
- Third is the people who are genuinely concerned. They ask if you need help, even if they can only help from afar.
What’s interesting is each group has a varying stance on COVID and the vaccine itself – a mixture of pro-vaxer and anti-mandates.
It reminds me of modern day women’s rights movement or black lives matter, where emphasis is placed on one gender or skin color to make one group of people seem “lesser then.” It makes me sad to look back on our history and think that we haven’t learned anything. When in all reality, we are all born human. And that in itself is a miracle. Each human life… literally a miracle. To say one is lesser that the other, oh the contrary!!
It pains me to see people so angry and willing to tear families and life’s a part over something so trivial and minute in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, it’s something I’ve witnessed it in my own family, as well. I’m not doubting or trying to make the lives that have been lost, lesser. We can only control the things we can control, which is usually our reaction and/or behavior.
It Takes a Village
Thank you to my husband who took care of our house and our children. Thank you to the firefighter that stayed longer at work, so Keith had time take the kids to school. Thank you to our neighbors and mother-in-law that watched our youngest son after school. Thank you to my mom and dad who help with meals and spent extra time with the kids.
As an introvert and someone who tends to avoid people, I’ve realized that sometimes we need help from other humans. Check on your friends and family and ask if they need help. That being said, please take precautions, but we can’t do this alone.
So what can you do?
Here are 10 ways you can help a sick friend:
(Contact) Ways to help a sick friend:
- Take their kids to school, or pick them up from school
- Offer to eat dinner with the children, while mom or dad rest
- Deliver chicken noodle soup and Gatorade
- Take their dog for a walk
- Water their plants
(Non-contact) Ways to help a sick friend:
- Pick up a prescription or medication, and leave it on the door step
- Make dinner for their family, and leave it on the door step
- DoorDash them dinner
- Send a care package
- Text and check in on them
Do you know the story about Pandora’s box? All evil was released, like pain and suffering, and all that was left was hope. But, is hope good or evil?