*****This is a work of fiction…..or is it?*****
When I first learned of the novel corona virus that was dubbed COVID-19, I brushed it off, thinking, “why should I worry about something that’s halfway around the world? What does that have to do with me?” Afterall, there were several viruses before this one, none of which affected me personally, so why would this one be any different?
Even though I felt horrible about the high number of deaths that resulted in China, I still didn’t give much thought to it. Because, again, it was thousands of miles away from me and the chances of it making it to the United States were slim to none. I was led to believe that China had done an excellent job containing the outbreak and that no other countries were in danger of seeing any cases in their regions, let alone uncontrollable outbreaks and multitudes of deaths.
Then came Italy with their thousands of deaths, and I still wasn’t overly concerned. Italy, too, was too many miles away to allow me to worry about it. Sure, I was saddened to hear about the number of folks that were succumbing to this disease, but it remained in Europe and America was safe from the threat.
It wasn’t until news stations began reporting that the virus had spread to multiple countries that my concern rose somewhat, but not enough to cause alarm. The virus seemed to have a liking for Europe, so hopefully, it would remain there and not cross the Atlantic and into my country.
But it did, due to international travelers from all over the world who boarded airplanes not knowing that they were carrying the virus, ultimately exposing every single person that they were in contact with, then those who deplaned went home to wherever they lived, unknowingly continuing the spread. Thus began the onset of a global pandemic of a virus that was so new that even medical experts such as virologists and epidemiologists couldn’t explain it, much less know how to deal with it. But I felt confident that they would. They’re experts in their fields and had dealt with prior diseases and outbreaks, so they’d know what to do and what steps to take to contain the spread and prevent people from dying.
Every day that I listened to the news, more and more cases were being reported. Numbers of positive cases, numbers of deaths associated with this new virus. I began to feel concerned, but not to the point that it prevented me from going outside, conducting routine errors like buying groceries, picking up prescriptions. I’ve always been anal about washing my hands and using hand sanitizer anyway, so that was not a new practice for me.
Finally, it got to the point that I didn’t know what, or who, to believe about the virus statistics, who was at risk, or the probability of contracting it. CDC issued guidelines and updated information on a daily basis, as did WHO and the NIH, yet politicians, including city and state governments, were saying something different, not seeming to be worried about it at all. If we can’t trust those who are in charge, then who can we trust?
“Who should I listen to?” I thought. “Licensed doctors who have dealt with situations such as this for most of their adult lives, whose only interest was my safety and the safety of every American citizen? Or to my state Governor, or the POTUS, who had already informed the public that it was all “the next Democratic hoax,” that it was “only one person coming in from China,” and that “there were only 15 cases, soon to be down to zero?” I desperately wanted to believe that. Didn’t everyone? I don’t think there’s one single person on Planet Earth who wished for this pandemic to sweep across the world and claim hundreds of thousands of lives in its wake. What kind of humanitarians would that make us if we did?
Then came the recommendation for the wearing of the face mask to prevent the spread, and I thought, “this can’t be too bad. I’ve got this!” But whenever I’d go to the store for my weekly run while wearing my mask, looking around I’d see hardly anyone wearing one, which made me wonder why I was. If everyone else chose not to wear one, and they all seemed to be okay, and by that I mean not sick, then I won’t wear one either. With a mild rebel streak in me that didn’t want to be seen as a “sheep” or one who was buying into the government control rhetoric that I’d read so much about, I gave up my mask and went au naturel’, telling myself that if I did happen to get sick as a result, it wouldn’t be too bad because I’d heard and read over and over that this virus really wasn’t much more than a flu, and since I get my flu shot every year, I should be safe, knowing that I was strong enough to handle a mild cough, slight fever and no appetite for a few days. Once the virus passed and I recovered, I’d be back to normal.
When the sore throat started, I thought, “Okay, here we go. I’m gonna get through this with flying colors and in a few days I’ll be myself again.” Instead of improving, my symptoms worsened, and before I knew it, trying to take a deep breath was like holding my breath underwater while my lungs screamed to surface and breathe in. My fever reached 105 degrees, and along with that came the body aches, chills and fatigue. I had chosen to stay home and fight it on my own for as long as I could, but I reached the point where I could no longer do that; therefore, I was rushed to the emergency room where medical personnel swarmed over me, hooking up machine after machine. Lines and cords criss-crossed over my body like lines on a road map. Breathing treatments were useless because I had neither the strength or stamina to take a breath deep enough to inhale the medicine.
I won’t be leaving the emergency room, possibly not even the hospital. I have been placed in the Intensive Care Unit, in isolation, and the only contact I have with anyone is by looking through the glass window.
I am not allowed visitors.
I am alone…so utterly alone.
All I want is to feel arms embracing me so that I can enjoy one final hug. I want to feel the warmth of a hand in mine, comforting me and telling me that I’m going to be okay. I want to talk face to face with my family and friends, but I’m afraid that has become a thing of the past, never to occur again.
I have already been informed that I will be put into a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator, and that my chances of survival are extremely low.
I’m going to die alone and lonely, with no one by my side, no familiar faces to say goodbye to, no one to pray over me or for me. This is it. This is how it ends.
The I.V. needle is in my arm now and I can feel the drowsiness overtaking me. As it does, my final thought is, “why didn’t I listen?”
Until next time….
Take care and God Bless!