COMMON ENEMY, UNCOMMON APPROACHES
Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020
The oldest strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H.P. Lovecraft
Petrified, scared to death, nervous, tolerating, managing, optimistic, striving, or thriving – where are you on this continuum?
The number of COVID-19 deaths, and the pace of new cases, is declining in some countries.
Not here, not overall, not most places, but some – China and South Korea, for example – apparently now in better shape. Statistical graphs seem to bear this out, that containment plus testing large numbers of people is critically important. Not for stopping the virus, but for stopping that unmanageable curve/spike that forces high demand that outstrips the deliver capacity of healthcare systems ability to cope with the load and deliver life-saving services quickly enough.
Is this lousy movie coming here soon …
We hope not.
For Canada, for other countries who took demonstrative action early, we are likely to have a statistically moderate outcome.
Spain, Italy, and Iran have gong-show numbers.
I’ll bet their doctors and hospitals are just as competent. In Essence, it’s not about treatment protocols or proper diagnosis, it is the large volume of people needing care overwhelming the healthcare system’s capacity to provide.
What will Africa experience?
What is the truth in Russia?
Tic toc … we’ll see.
Adjusting to new normal / post-panic phase of this COVID-19 epoch, so many of us are asking similar questions – not so much about wild animal markets in China, but about preparedness, and how the reality of us being a secular and crowd-friendly society, leaves us feeling so distressed when that panic mode passes. Or not.
Two weeks isolating, removed from life-norms, seems like solitary confinement.
It isn’t prison – but we are already feeling imprisoned by it. If not jailed, at least persecuted and punished, deprived of some or all of our usual freedom of movement, of association, and of livelihood.
I wonder …
What could we have done differently?
Doesn’t matter much now.
Doomsday has not arrived yet, and likely won’t.
This isn’t that last bad day in Pompeii, isn’t as bad as it looks (yikes, it’s likely worse than we imagine in terms of deaths, and catastrophic for the planet financially), isn’t bubonic plague – but news reports and fact realities suggest we might see horrors way beyond anyone’s expectation. Like just before someone starts a war, we expect carnage, but we don’t expect it will ever darken our personal doorstep.
When we clean up and rebuild after severe storms, floods, or wildfires – we know what that looks like, we know how to help each other, community to community, face-to-face. I’m delayed, obviously, on things I planned this week – many will have to wait. Some, I’ll be better prepared.
Before I tackle this next pile of files, projects, and initiatives – something else comes to mind:
We have experience with to-do lists, bucket-lists, and every husband knows the terms job-jar and ‘honey-do list.’ I’m thinking something different, something we can start now – and continue with once life in our workplaces and communities continue. Here are a few thoughts:
-read a book, or finish writing one
-take a course, or design one
-learn a new skill, or refine one
-cook something new, eat something new
-exercise more, not talking or writing about it but doing it!
- start something
We can all make our own lists, can’t we?
I want to be upbeat.
Anyone can spread bad news and negative perspectives. It isn’t so much that we need hope instead of fear, but rather that we need perspective and truth instead of fear.
In recent days I’ve been proud of my province and my country, and there are many elements of that, but the most public and visible are our leaders; health experts, health ministers, premiers, and the prime minister. I am rarely one to sing the praises of our Prime Minister. It’s not politics, just my perspective – but whatever your politics or party, Prime Minister Trudeau is making hard choices about our citizens; he has earned respect, and I expect he’s gaining it around the world as everyone comes to grips with the reality we are all fighting the same virus enemy with the same tools.
How about the others?
It is easy to criticize governments and their leaders for how they are leading or which one got out of starting gate first, or last – the issue is whether or not they are working effectively now. Their work is not over, because it seems to have scarcely begun. And we all, along with media, will critique them until it is all over. And then there will be the hearings, the inquiries, the second-guessing in hindsight.
But, for now, has the world gone down the toilet on a speedboat?
No. Not as I see it. We’ve got new vocabulary, new protocols, heightened awareness, and soon we’ll have thinner wallets, and less wealth – but we’ll have better health. And better understanding of healthcare planning, budgets, hospital beds per capita, respirators per capita – and the value of research. Not unlike Dr. Salk solving polio in 1955, someone will discover or create a vaccine for COVID-19, and they will be instantly famous, and will be lauded with awards and attention.
For now, our heroes and heroines have to be front line medical staff; doctors, nurses, everyone who touches or breathes near a patient – they are risking their lives every shift. They aren’t on the news, they won’t get a Nobel Prize, but we’ll be collectively owing them our lives.
Do we fear death, or a world paralyzed by fear?
Do we fear life, or the fear we won’t get to live it as we’ve dreamed?
Are we fearing something visible and tangible, or fearing something invisible?
If we fear this invisible virus, we’ll be locked-up emotionally for more than 14 days, but if we are committed to living with, around, and despite its reality, that is something I can sink my teeth into.
OK, sink my dentures into …
I plan to have a great day.
Going to a restaurant will be challenging as most in Calgary have closed and the rest will likely follow, perhaps voluntarily but likely by government order if the numbers of infected continue to rise. It’s a good time to read a novel (or perhaps write one?) but I will probably just spend more time on social media and binge watch Netflix, RH, Calgary, AB/from Bradenton, FL
That Ted talk was excellent! Could not read the article without subscribing...thank you for linking us so often to amazing insights, thoughts, quotes, ideas...a well-read man is sure worth their weight in gold!, SF, Lethbridge, AB