I imagine myself looking back at this blog post years from now and wanting to get some answers from 2020 Shelly.
Before you jump into this post, I want to caveat that I am not a doctor, not a scientist and not any medical expert. I’m just someone who got super deep into learning about COVID-19 out of necessity and personal sanity. Please don’t take all these answers as fact, and do some more research for yourself.
That said, here are 10 questions that I might ask myself and the answers as it stands in September 2020, 6 months into COVID life:
1. What does “There is No Emergency in a Pandemic” mean?
It is a mantra that was adopted by doctors and nurses dealing with Ebola in 2013. As Eloba patients experienced internal bleeding, they might vomit or cough blood. In “normal” times, this would be considered an emergency. The gut reaction would be to rush in to help.
It is in a doctor’s DNA and training to rush into that situation and help the patient. But because Ebola is transmitted among humans through close and direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids (i.e. blood or vomit), it was critical that doctors paused to think and make sure they had the adequate protection before rushing into what is normally considered an emergency. The photo above is the amount of gear a doctor should wear to be safe for Ebola.
When J explained this to me, the mantra really resonated with me. I think that “There is no emergency in a pandemic” is a good mantra for life, and especially in the dumpster fire that’s known as 2020. You know that when a plane is crashing, it’s important to put on your oxygen mask before you help anyone else. The same goes for everything else in life.
Further, I think it’s a good reminder for me. I have a tendency to jump into action immediately. But in 2020, I’m trying to taking a moment to think through what’s happening and spend time formulating a logical game plan and response before jumping into the deep end.
As Dr. Viktor Frankl famously said:
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
2. How did COVID-19 become a global pandemic?
When Ebola was happening, it was just a bleep on most people’s radars. It was most contained in Africa and what you can’t see or know about can’t hurt you. So how is COVID different and how has it caused a global pandemic?
3. When did you first hear about COVID-19?
The timelines are a bit blurry. But here’s how I remember it:
4. When did COVID-19 start impacting your life?
5. What do you want to remember the most from the first weeks of when COVID took a serious turn?
6. Thoughts on J’s personal safety at work?
7. Thoughts on our fight for PPE?
- I’m grateful that my team at work let me take a week off from March 16-20 off to help J figure out how he was going to organize himself at work.
- I’m grateful that work wasn’t busy for J during the weeks of March, and so he had the vacation days stored up to take that time off to also help himself figure things out.
- I’m so grateful for our friends and family who supported us: daily calls with our lawyers, our support system from China who helped connect us to doctors in Wuhan and got us our first supply of PPE, people who sent us the limited PPE from their home, everyone who contributed in any way to our GoFundMe campaign, our Chicago angels who tested and sourced reputable N95s for us to purchase, and so many other folks who were there for us.
- I’m grateful for the few sane people at J’s work who helped keep us going and so we didn’t feel like we were alone in this.
- I’m grateful for the doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line each day despite clear lack of support from the system they work for.
8. Thoughts on Flattening the Curve?
- The beginning of COVID we didn’t have testing set up to control spread. This was 100% the fault of the government who wanted to develop their own tests (that failed).
- Our complete misalignment on if we should wear masks. It’s ridiculous how this is a conspiracy when it’s taken as fact in most Asian countries that had to deal with SARS 10 years ago.
- Our inability to act as a United States of America. Everyone doing their own individualistic thing vs acting together as a collective whole and squashing this altogether.