Perspective Check For Covid-19 Infection
The date is March 31, 2020 and the world is in flux right now due to a pandemic sweeping the globe. That line sounds a lot more like something I would write for a sci-fi fiction novel however that is, sadly, not the case. 2020 introduced a new way of life to pretty much every man, woman and child in the world. In the matter of 60 to 90 days life went from a regular state of being, to a literal state of emergency. Sadly, as of this writing, it is almost certain that the worst is yet to come for most of the world from this terrible virus.
I had thought perhaps that this is a subject that I do not need to write about. Covid19, corona virus, panic and fear is dripping from every news outlet, from every social media site, from every data stream you consume daily. It is unlikely that you are able to encounter much other than information about this virus right now if you turn on your TV or go on the internet...which of course everyone is doing basically 24/7 since most of the world is on lock down right now, meaning all but "essential services" are under strict orders to remain exclusively at home and to have contact with absolutely nobody other than the immediate family that you reside with. What a scary thought. For some however the thought of being stuck at home is just too much, or their belief that a real virus on their doorstep not strong enough, but in either case many people continue to flaunt (and post about) their rebellion against the imposed lockdown.
This is one of the main reasons that I decided to write about this situation, despite only being a pool guy and not a doctor. You see, as I believe many of my readers already will know about, I live with an incurable autoimmune disease which cut my career short as a swimming pool builder (see; My story about living with MCTD). Autoimmune disorders are where your immune system accidentally attacks healthy parts of you like they are a virus / invader that needs to be eradicated. It is a spectrum type disorder, and the one that I have is particularly insidious. Mine is within a classification of AI called "overlap autoimmune diseases" because I can have symptoms from any number of different individual AI diseases, of which there are over 100. For example, I can have all of the active symptoms of Lupus but always test negative in the blood test for lupus. I can have symptoms from polymyositis, or sjogren's syndrome...getting a firm diagnosis for MCTD is exceedingly rare due to the way it manifests like this, and it is different for every person.
This is not a pity party. I am explaining to you the technical nature of how a compromised immune system works so that you can understand how and why things like sunlight can cause my immune system to suddenly attack my eyes. Or physical exertion to cause my muscle protein to break down so fast it causes kidney failure. Every organ on and in my body can become under attack at any moment, without warning, and also without a cure. The severity of these attacks can be enough to kill people with AI diseases. This is why, even under normal every day life conditions (pre-pandemic) my friends and family all know to NOT come over when they are sick with anything. They understand how a cold or flu could cause internal organ failure if I get a bad roll of the dice. Living with a compromised immune system is terrifying but since you only get one life to live people like myself manage to trudge forward and even manage to enjoy life like everyone else.
So here we are fresh into 2020 and tens of thousands of people are dead (just over 40,000 confirmed as of this writing) from a virulent sickness that is spreading like wildfire from country to country. This sickness causes an extreme immune reaction in the body, where the lungs in particular can become so inflamed that there is simply no guaranteed way to keep you alive. This is why ventilators are in such extreme demand, but even with a ventilator there are no guarantees that you will recover, and in fact there are cases of young, healthy and able bodied people succumbing to the illness. If you could for just one moment, I would like you to ask yourself how you might be feeling if you were me. For just a moment picture the scenario I have described above where even pre-pandemic I was forced to live a life of a germaphobe. How not-safe do you think I feel right now? How scared do you think my wife is for me? How scared would you be for yours?
When I go online, which is technically my job so I need to continue to do this every day, I can not articulate to you the feeling I have when I read people posting about how stupid this lockdown is, or how only sick people are going to die so let's all just go back to work...look, I understand that there will be crushing financial hardship for pretty much everybody by the time this has passed. The moves we are making today are going to have massive repercussions to the economy for years, and it is entirely probable that "life" will never go back to the way it was before. I also understand the extreme sensation that we, the general public, are not being told the truth (or the whole truth) or however you want to put it. I also don't trust "leaders" who say and do things which appear to be self serving or hold serious potential for having ulterior motives. I understand all of that. What I don't understand is why, or more when, I ceased to matter.
I am connected to thousands of pool professionals online and through social media. I see your names when you post about "fighting back" against this lockdown. You enjoy reading my articles, and pool owners by the hundreds of thousands read my tutorials, but if you insist on not listening to the leading experts we have in medicine and treat this like "just a flu" then I am going to have a real problem. I am not 90 years old, and I am probably not going to die in the next few years anyway, but if someone like me catches covid19 right now there is not going to be a whole hell of a lot that can be done. It will be a roll of the dice, and I will hope for a lucky roll. It is easy to say that total numbers of death (so far) are lower than other diseases and illnesses, but you should also look at the level of global attention this particular virus has, and yet there are still hockey rinks being converted to makeshift morgues to refrigerate bodies because they can not cremate them fast enough. I don't ever remember something like that from a regular flu season, do you?
In conclusion, I can understand how it is easy to picture an infirm 99 year old man passing away and thinking that his time was near anyway. I don't agree with it, but I can understand how you got there in your mind. If you openly flaunt your resistance to measures put in place to protect people like me, how do you suppose that makes me feel about you in particular? A year from now are you confident that you will be able to hold your head up if things actually did get as bad as many experts are pleading with the public to realize? Did you do everything that you could to help the most vulnerable people to be safe, or did you make an already scary time MUCH scarier for vulnerable people with your callous, poorly thought out actions? Maybe you will actually contribute directly to people dying. Maybe a lot of people. Even if there is a tiny, remote chance that all of this is not being blown out of proportion then you should be taking every measure possible to protect every man, woman and child that you can. But you don't need to wonder. You can just go look at the places that have already felt the full power of this virus. No clairvoyance is needed for that.
If you are one of the many people who have given up everything to protect the people like me, I can not find words to express what this means except to say thank you. Who would give up their job for a stranger? Go bankrupt? Risk their home? Close their business to protect the weakest members of our society because medical experts suggest this is the best we can do in light of this unprecedented modern day event? I can't go outside to see the empty city streets that people are talking about, but it marvels me that this incredible push by society is actually happening and people are staying home at extreme personal and professional detriment. If you are a person fighting against this then not only are you spitting on millions of people like me, but you are also spitting on the efforts of hundreds of millions of people who are taking great losses to try to help. Even if you are right and this isn't as bad as some make it out to be, how are you so confident that you are willing to gamble with other peoples lives? I think we can all agree that there is at least a chance that this virus really is that dangerous, and actually following isolation and quarantine protocol actually might save lives. How confident are you that you are making decisions today that you will be proud of in the future?
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