One of our “Begin with Yes” friends wrote and shared some common sense facts and thoughts about the Coronavirus – And I asked if I could share with you and she said yes. I found it comforting and helpful and think you might too. Hang in there everyone. And thanks Mary!
By: Mary Beacham
Here are my thoughts on what’s happening with the Coronavirus and my take on it all. I will be talking from the point of view of reducing fear, as fear only makes us suffer more. It should be known that I try to analyze and apply logic to everything I think about. Please read all the way through. While the beginning attempts to dispel fear, I am by no means suggesting putting your head in the sand and ignoring it all.
First where do I get my data? I am using CDC.gov and the Johns Hopkins dashboardgisanddata.maps.arcgis.com. Since the dashboard lists total number of people infected in mainland China as a whole, I am using that number to compare data. The total number of people infected in mainland china as of today (03/01/20) is 79,826. That certainly looks like a lot but keep in mind the latest population count I found for mainland china via google was 1,427,647,786. The infected count is a relatively small population portion in my mind. Of those infected, to date in mainland China, 2,868 have died. And 42,108 have recovered.
How many people die of the seasonal flu for compassion to what is happening now? I located on the CDC site the in 2012-2013 season 56,000 people died from the seasonal flu in the just US alone. It may be that as a pandemic, many of us globally catch this coronavirus, but only a small portion die.
Pandemic is also a scary word. Were you aware that in 2009 when the H1N1 flu came out it was considered the first pandemic caused by a new flu virus? And that 80% of the deaths from that pandemic were in people under the age of 65? During that season 12,469 people in the US died. Most of us were unaware to a large degree and just motored on with our lives.
I am pointing out the dreary bits to bring notice that this is not your first pandemic. We have survived them in the past.
I also want to point out that there was a time before yearly flu vaccines. The younger generations won’t have experienced getting the flu as a teenager or in college and how totally awful even a mild case could be. They may not be used to feeling just that bad for a week. It might be up to the older generations to relay that yes you can feel like you’ve been run down by a bus, you can experience throwing up in a trash can while having diarrhea on the toilet. Sometimes we just crawled into tub and let it all happen and showered afterward. I mean catching the flu could range from that level of living in the bathroom for a few days, to just not getting out of bed for a few days to a week, to just a bad cold with fever and chills.
Pneumonia. That word can sound scary too. Pneumonia, in my no medical education whatsoever experience, seems to be able to sometimes sneak into already congested lungs that are trying to shake off a respiratory illness. When I caught it a few seasons in college I began to notice that if I felt extremely tired even as fever and other symptoms subsided and though my coughing was almost gone, when I rolled from side to back etc. while in bed I would get a coughing fit. I think it was the fluid shifting locations in my lungs that would set off an irritated cough. I would go see the doc and he would tell me I had “walking pneumonia”, and he would give me medicine and send me home to rest longer. I never had to go into the hospital or have any major interventions done. That’s not to say it could happen. But it never happened to me.
Ok, so back to the data. From watching the data on mainland China which caught the virus first and is also of course recovering first, I noticed a few things and started thinking about what will happen when it begins to blossom around me. Travel could be restricted. But what’s more, people will get scared and make rushes on stores for supplies. If a whole bunch of us in one area catch it all at once it might be that while I’ve recovered, the stores are still closed because the employees are all sick. So, the effects of the virus could be two-fold, my own sickness and quarantining of myself, and once I recover, my ability to get anything from a store for even longer.
So, I have suggestions. Think of them as food for thought, to help brainstorm what you might need.
First, my medications. I am on one that I have to take every day. My insurance only lets me get one refill a month. So, I called my pharmacy and said I wanted a refill but not to put it through my insurance because it was too soon. I went to the pharmacy and paid with a GoodRX coupon I got easily by downloading the GoodRX app onto my phone. It worked perfectly and I only paid a few dollars more that I do when I use my insurance. Since I can’t motor on without this medication, the dollars were worth it, and I may go get a second month’s supply this way as well. That would allow me to get sick, recover, and turn around and help other folks without having to worry about ordering my meds for the month.
After meds, health supplies. Consider cough drops (not important in our minds until that day when it feels like you swallowed sandpaper XD), Ibuprofen and Tylenol. These can be overlapped to control fever and body pains. I suggest writing a log of what you took when because when the bus hits you it’s hard to remember things besides Holy Cow I feel like crap! Then, Zyrtec and Benadryl to support symptoms. I find Zertec great for the day, it doesn’t make me sleepy. Benadryl does help me sleep at night while keeping sinuses clearer. The Delsymhas worked the best for me when a cough gets to making ribs hurt because it’s happening so much. Thermometer.
Household Stuff. Cleaners that say they kill 99% of germs for trying to keep your place clean, especially if you are with someone else. Toilet paper. Soap. Shampoo. Pads and tampons.
Supplies for your pet. Matches. If you have a gas stove and power goes out, you might have to light the gas from the burner with a match. Laundry detergent. Once my daughters and I got so sick we all laid on the sofa and threw up into towels for a day. None of us could move. You’ll want to be able to do laundry through all this.
Then food. Dry goods. Proteins: canned tuna or chicken, spam. Peanut butter and honey, they last forever. Cereals, oat meals, canned fruits, pickled veggies. Water.
I’ve been quietly stocking up for a bit now. Little here, little extra there. I don’t want to scare anyone that sees me at the store. But if a rush does happen, I’m one less person to be a burden on the stores and their staff.
What can you do to protect yourself? Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as often as needed. Don’t touch your face, mainly eyes, nose and mouth. Use alcohol pads to wipe your phone or computer keyboard. Use cleaners to wipe doorknobs, sink and toilet handles. Keep checking the CDC site for more ideas. They talk about how to help others who might be sick in your home, while protecting yourself. Along those lines, another suggestion is wearing gloves while you are out and taking them off right before you enter your home. Then you are touching everything at your home with clean hands.
My goal is to reduce fear, and to be helpful where I can. I am prepared to quarantine myself here at the house. My husband is prepared to do the same at his trailer near the ER where he is employed. Since he is on the front line and very near a town that sees people on an international scale, we expect to see it blossom out there. And so we have had to think clearly about how we can best protect and support others around us. We can do that best by being setup to separate ourselves as needed, and by removing what burdens we can on the stores around us when a blossom happens by quietly preparing ahead of time. And if it peters out and doesn’t come? Then I don’t have to go shopping for a few months. Nothing will be wasted.
Fear. Fear when we look at one of the information sites or talk to someone or just think about, that fear can hit us hard. But fear does not serve us well. It only creates more suffering. Here is one suggestion that I will share in the hopes it kicks off a brainstorming process of what other methods might help you. When I feel fear wash over me I stop (I’ve kinda stopped at that point anyway) and think of these five steps. Five, Four, Three, Two, One. Five, what five things do you see, right now. Four, what four things can you physically feel, right now. Three, what three things can you hear, right now. Two, what two things can you smell, right now. One, what one thing can you taste, right now. This right now work grounds me back to a center I can work from and shifts fear more to the outside of me.
For me, this morning’s example was, Five, what do I see: the window, my sweater, the countertop, the sink, the coffee cup. Four, what do I feel: my hairband holding up my hair, my sweater on my arms, my feet in socks touching the ground, the cup in my hand. Three, what do I hear: music from my computer, the furnace running, the refrigerator running. Two, what do I smell: I can’t smell much, disregard, with a smile. One, what do I taste: a sip of coffee. By the time I am at the end, I can feel myself taking a deep involuntary breath and I realized I am closer to my center of calm.
I am sure you will think of other things that calm you as well. Keep returning to a calm center so you can be a source of help to those around you, either through action, or through a kind, calm energy. That’s how we will all pull together.