[Day 3 in that this is our third day of staying home…]
It’s early Sunday morning. The first thing that weighed heavily on my mind was the fact that I was skipping church along with our youngest two kids during Lent when our bishop is visiting and my husband is president of our church, my American-born husband of Chinese-Japanese-Hawaiian ethnicity who is the first president of our Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Church in nearly 100 years whose ancestors do not hail from eastern Europe. That still makes me laugh, but he has a winning way with people, for sure.
It just didn’t sit right with me given that I feel some obligation as a family unit and face of the church representing our parish, but I knew in my heart I was staying home with two of the kids for good reasons.
I like to pretend that I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my decision, but truth is, I do care. Caring is part of who I am. I always care. It’s one of those conundrums: how do you stay true to yourself and feel empathy for others at the same time, if empathy is even the right word to describe how I feel about it? I recognize the leadership obligation that is called for among all of us, but I also recognize I don’t always do the right thing.
It’s just…it seems like such a no-brainer to stay home this time. Surely God understands, right? The loving God, not the vengeful one we sometimes hear about. And surely, to love one another is to do what we can to help one another, so staying home is exactly that.
Thank God our bishop is “with it”. I’m not quite sure why he waited until the Greek diocese of Chicago (which we are not part of) suspended services for all but a skeleton crew (i.e., a priest and a cantor) first. But as of this morning, he made the decision to allow people to voluntarily stay home from liturgy today. My husband and oldest, an altar server, went anyway as it seemed the proper thing to do. He will report back as to how many show up.
I’m very glad the bishop made this decision as he is the only one who really could, from a leadership perspective. As much as we have a decent population of millennial families, our church is predominantly older people, the very target demographic that is impacted the most severely by COVID-19, so for their sake…well for everyone’s sake…this was good news.
I wasn’t staying home with the kids on a random whim either.
My daughter had a fever that came and went this week and now she has a cough. It’s not the dry cough we’re on the lookout for, but still. My youngest had sniffles, glassy eyes, and a cough too. It’s very likely he just has seasonal allergies, but now I’m on Mama Bear high alert.
Besides, I’ve been exceptionally fatigued over the last month and I swear this past Wednesday I felt a little flushed with a bad headache that repeated the following day. It could be that the pace at work has picked up significantly and I’m not all that great at managing stress. It could be me adjusting to a brand new prescription of hypertension medication – yay me. It could be, um, menopausal changes for all I know. (I’m a late bloomer for that sort of thing…and yes, I’m an open book sometimes. Some of you might say I share too much information, BUT you’re still reading, are you not? LOL) So…..what exactly is going on?
I’m not 100% wigging out. Maybe a teeny bit. I know the days ahead will be hard. But I’m not a pessimist. I’m actually fairly calm about this but serious. In other words, I’m a realist. True, my threshold to be triggered is a little more sensitive than some people because of the nature of my job, the fact that I’m a mom, and I’m an information junkie. I take it all in.
So far, my husband and oldest seem to be symptom free but who really knows? The kids attend school in a rather large school district of ~7500 students. Up until now, I worked among 2500-3000 people on the campus of my employer and my fellow employees come from all over northeast Ohio. My husband flits about our school district plus two other neighboring school districts to work any given week, so our little family unit is surrounded by mass gatherings daily. We get around.
And now we wait.
Before I close, let me share some good tips and insights I’ve curated over the last week. First I offer up a couple of videos from an old Pittsburgh friend of mine, Dr. Vonda Wright, one of the smartest, strongest women I know and the vocalist at our wedding. She is an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta now, as well as an author and speaker on thriving as you age. She’s posted a couple of videos that appeared on Facebook but since some of you may not be able to see them there, I share them here for you. You can find her on LinkedIn and @DrVondaWright on Instagram.
The first is how to wash your hands like a surgeon. You know they know what they’re doing! I’ve also heard to sing a verse of Old MacDonald or pray the Lord’s Prayer while you do it so you can be sure to do it at least 20 seconds.
The second is a few tips for how to stay calm and prepare for these days of social distancing. She had some good advice given that she lives in a multi-generational household.
I also found this particular comparative guide to symptoms from Sharecare.com to be helpful:
And these mythbusters, also from Sharecare.com, some of which have me shaking my head:
In addition, I offer up this article that reminds us to safely sanitize your smartphone but I would take it a step further and remind you to do the same with your wallet, purse, credit cards, glasses, keys, steering wheel, car handles, keyboards, mouse, and anything else you have touched on a routine basis. All of this is in addition to the deep cleaning you are likely doing in your own home including doorknobs, handles, and light switches. Don’t forget to do the same with your groceries.
Being real, here, peeps. Not crazy, not hysterical. Calm but realistic.
And this article entitled “Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially and How to ‘Flatten the Curve;” from the Washington Post which does an incredibly effective job of explaining how social distancing works. (Too bad flattening this curve isn’t all that effective in flattening some other curves I personally have, but that’s another story for another time… LOL). Read the accompanying article too. I find it incredibly cool that mathematicians and public health experts have studied these things to help us in a situation like this. Thank God for their expertise.