I’d really like to share good news. I wish I had some. Or at least something like hope. Instead I have acceptance and a glimmer and advice.
Yesterday was week 11, day 77, for the US COVID-19 counts I’ve predicted since March 15. My updated post on March 24 was bleak, and the numbers had spiked. Yesterday (March 31) I ran the math again and the March 24 model did not change. It did not get better, but my “good” news is that it did not get worse. We’ll still have about 1.5 (or maybe 2) million American human beings with COVID-19 by mid-April. The powers-that-be-whether-we-like-them-or-not are finally sharing graphs like mine (that you know they had all along) to the masses and admitting that hundreds of thousands will die.
Bad and scary news takes time to seep in. We fight and kick and deny. It keeps coming and coming until we face it. We look around for somewhere to run and hide. We find our backs against the wall and remember our strength and accept the reality we are in. And we fight.
Fighting this beast right now means hiding. Don’t leave the house without a mask. Wash your hands raw with soap like you’re about to go into surgery. Do not touch your beautiful face. While you hide, make a plan. Nothing hurts so much if you’re not surprised by it. Think about what will happen in the next month. What might happen during the summer. What will you do when…?
When the toilet paper runs out?
When the power goes out?
When you need a root canal?
When your friend dies?
When you die?
You can wipe with a cloth. Light a candle. Find a dentist and beg for relief.
But when your friend dies? Notice I did not say “if.” Get ready. It is going to happen. When your friend dies, you cannot go to the funeral. In these times, they would not ask you to. So take time to speak to your friends now. Make sure they know they are special to you, now, while you can tell them you love them.
And when you die? OK, certainly not all of us will die in this pandemic, but the likelihood that many of us will not see 2021, will not see the changing of the guard in the WH, will not see faraway family again has significantly statistically increased in this pandemic. And even if we survive this one, eventually the bucket will be kicked. So when you die, do so without regrets. You might be alone in the hospital. It will be a wild ride. Maybe you’ll be on a ventilator. Maybe there won’t be a ventilator for you. Maybe the hospital will turn you away. But you’ll likely die alone if this beast takes you down. So take time to tell the ones you love how special they are, how they made your life better. Tell them your hopes for their future happiness. Remind them you love them. If not directly, if not today, perhaps write it down and leave an envelope for them. It will help when you are gone.
One last thing. It feels like the end of times to me, obviously. I’m not sleeping. I’m a bit obsessed. But I will not die on a diet. I have been baking. (I have been eating.) I just can’t summon the glee of baking right now. Let’s survive the beast the best we can and hope for bonus days of living after this passes. In the bonus days of our lives, I’ll blog about baking again.