I was just curious how many of my blog readers are concerned at all about the Coronavirus (or Covid 19 as the WHO named it). I am moderately concerned. It certainly spreads rapidly (54 countries last I heard), has a very high rate of transmission from person to person compared to many other viruses, definitely seems to be airborne, and is more serious than the flu, no matter what Trump says (the flu has a fatality rate of about .1%, where Covid 19 has at least a 2-3% fatality rate and about a 15% pneumonia/serious complication rate according to present data available).
I think what concerns me most is that America is barely testing for it, so it is hard to know how widespread it actually is. Until recently, only 3 states had test kits that actually worked, and the requirements to be tested were strict. With all the business and student travel we have back and forth from China, you have to think there were likely many missed cases. It is made worse by the fact that the illness has a long incubation period and can cause no symptoms in some people who are still contagious.
So far, all the countries who have decided to test rigorously have had rapidly rising rates of infection, usually doubling or even tripling every 2-3 days. To make matter worse, the economy is definitely being affected, with supply chain issues abounding in many industries due to reliance on Chinese production. Here in the US, we get almost all of our prescription medicines from China, which explains why CVS has already sent me “low supply” warnings on several of my meds. Luckily, I can survive without my meds for a time, but I worry for those who need certain meds to survive.
I certainly hope this concern is overblown and nothing bad really happens, but I don’t think it is a bad idea to be a bit prepared in case there are some disruptions to daily life due to this emerging pandemic. Make sure you have plenty of food and other necessities on hand in case of shortages or quarantines. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones!
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Let me try not
I want to remain
of the fact
that the bravest
man amongst us
will never overcome
the innate fear
Tomorrow I have my first ever upper gastrointestinal endoscopy scheduled. I’m super nervous about it. My biggest fear is that the anesthesia won’t fully knock me out and I will be conscious during it. I also worry about the possibility of the anesthesia wearing off early and waking up during it. I almost wish it had been done today so it would be over already and the anxiety would be over with.
During the procedure they plan to take a small biopsy to check me for celiac disease since changing to a gluten free diet has seemed to have some positive benefits for me. For one thing, since I switched to a mostly gluten free diet, my iron and vitamin D levels have stabilized for the first time in at least over a decade after always being too low.
The procedure is also being done to check for a hiatal hernia and acid reflux damage. I hope the results won’t be discouraging or worrisome. I also hope the anesthesia won’t make me sick. Prayers and positive energy are most welcome if any of you do that kind of thing!
I am not afraid to die –
but I am not yet
unafraid of living.
I’m not sure I have ever written truer words than the 3-line poem above. This little gem came to me while taking a bath last night, so I repeated it to myself like a mantra until I got out of the tub and could write it down.
It is true that I am not afraid of death. I am a bit afraid of the actual feeling of dying, mostly because of the instinctual anxiety I fear it would bring. However, I am not afraid of being dead. In fact, I rather look forward to it. If there is something after death, it will be awesome to explore and find out what else is out there. If there is nothing after death, it will just be like the times I have passed out or been put out for surgery…simply a loss of consciousness which often sounds like a relief in itself. No more worrying. No more pain. No more anxiety or depression.
However, living is scary. Knowing I may have years and years of dealing with anxiety and depression ahead of me. Knowing that I will likely suffer from chronic pain and chronic illness until I die. Knowing that my degenerative conditions will likely worsen with time. Fearing that my husband may get sick or die and I will be alone. Fearing financial ruin. Fearing homelessness. Fearing potentially abusive situations. Fearing the entire planet going to shit (a justifiable fear from my point of view). Fearing that I may end up committing suicide if life becomes unbearable (not the ending I would desire for my life).
Feeling like shit today. Woke up after sleeping 10-11 hours, ate breakfast, and then went to take a nap for another couple of hours. So, why am I so exhausted and feeling like I got run over by a steamroller?
Well, yesterday my husband was driving home from work when a tire fell off his car. I had to go pick him up and once I got there, we had to wait for the tow truck to come get the broken down car. It was supposed to be about an hour before the tow truck arrived, instead it was almost three hours. Three hours of sitting in the cold (we did turn on the heat in my car occasionally, but didn’t want to run it the entire time we were waiting). Three hours of sitting in a position that is not good for my back, neck, and joints. Three hours of my joints stiffening due to the cold and being cramped in the car.
I knew today I would feel rough after all that and expected my CFS/ME and Ehlers Danlos to flare up. As usual, I was correct, but I wish I wasn’t. Those who don’t have chronic illness and chronic pain have no idea how easy it is for normal, annoying life events to set us back for days. I think it is something you have to experience to truly understand.
Sorry I didn’t update you all yesterday after the hearing, but I was just too exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically after the stress of the day. Overall, I think the hearing went ok. It didn’t start out very well since my husband and I had trouble locating the right building and ended up walking through the thick, slushy snow so far that I had an asthma attack, started crying, and was totally soaked from the knees down by the time we actually found the right building. The roads were bad too from the snowstorm and parking was almost impossible since none of the parking lots had been cleared yet.
Once we got into the building, I had a few minutes to recover from the asthma attack and calm down at least. I also had about 15 minutes to meet with my lawyer before the hearing to go over everything again. During the hearing itself, I was quite nervous. I was doing a lot of rocking back and forth (“stimming” in autistic terms).
I think I only had the nerve to look at the judge two or three times the entire hour I was in there. I mostly stared at the microphone and tried to block out everyone else there while answering questions. That seemed to help my social anxiety. I think I did a decent job answering the judges questions…and she asked a lot. I never lost control of myself, although in my closing remarks I did tear up a bit and got a little emotional talking about how hard it had become for me to keep a job due to my physical and mental disabilities.
Unfortunately, the judge did not tell me her decision yesterday. I will have to wait to receive the official verdict letter. On the positive side, my attorney did say afterwards that he thought it went great and even on the off chance that the judge gave a negative verdict, he thought I had a strong enough case that he would appeal that. I hope it doesn’t come to that though, God only knows how much longer that would make the whole thing drag out…and quite honestly, we need the money as soon as possible, especially since I just got a $1,500 ER bill (our deductible sucks).
Tomorrow morning is my SSDI hearing. I’m super anxious about it. I feel a little nauseated just thinking about it. I’m afraid I’ll do or say the wrong thing. I’m afraid I’ll burst into tears and feel embarrassed. I’m afraid I’ll somehow misrepresent my reality. I’m afraid the judge will say no and ruin my foreseeable future.
I know the judge probably won’t even give a straight “yes” or “no” answer tomorrow, but that makes it even worse because then I have to wait who-knows-how-long in suspense and worry. I hope I’ll feel better when it is over, but knowing me, I’ll probably spend the next few months picking apart the experience and everything I think I did wrong until I get an answer.
I’m a paper doll
with third degree burns.
Dress me up,
make me pretty,
and please, simply ignore
all the raw, peeling flesh
falling onto the floor.
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)