This is very unusual. I am genuinely afraid for the first time in my life. I know it’s the first time because I have never experienced this kind of fear. Oh, I distinctly remember being rolled into the OR when I was eight years old. I panicked. There were all these people in the room and they had masks on and one picked up this black cone and held it tight against my faced. I was forced to breathe in this horrible odor. Back then, doctors and nurses didn’t explain to children what was about to happen them. Nope, they just did it. But still, the fear I felt wasn’t like this.
I also remember my car being hit by a truck and then spinning out of control, doing a full three-sixty across three lanes while my life and other cars whizzed by me at 70 miles per hour. But that, too, didn’t have me feeling this way. No, I am completely absorbed and unnerved by how I feel today…a day, just like others lately, that will feature the daily announcement of how many people are battling the Covid 19 virus…and how many have lost that battle.
At first, I treated the coronavirus like other events. Basically, it was a news story that involved other people in other places. I wasunlikely to become personally involved, I thought, because I do not have a particularly active social life. I am retired so the entire work environment and the people who populate it are no longer part of my routine. My calendar usually contains lunches or dinners with various friends. These are easily postponed or canceled altogether. I have to admit, this is the first time I have bagged such events because of the threat of a virus. But, as we have all learned, this is no usual virus. Popping Tylenol and consuming lots of OJ and chicken soup doesn’t chase this bug away. And, oh yeah, this invisible little creature doesn’t just mess with your plumbing, stuff up your airways and increase your running temperature…no, it does more: it can kill you.
Especially vulnerable are people over 65. Hmmm, I have that beat by ten years. You are even more vulnerable if you are 65 and have various inhibiting medical issues. Hmmm again, where do I start? And the kicker especially hits home: this virus sets up shop very easily when the host’s autoimmune system is pretty much nonexistent. Cue another hmmm. Among the of pills I dump into my body week after week is one that tanks my immunity level.
So here I pace, a perfect target, big and bold, with a lethal virus just waiting for me to be still for a moment and step out from amongst the trees and expose myself. And this is the fear I have never felt before. It is so surreal…and so real.