Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes

Worldwide Fighting Championship

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The report is not rosy. The virus appears to be getting the best of mankind. We are still in the early rounds of the global fight. We now know that we have been in this battle for longer than initially thought, back to December of 2019. That sneaky virus was blindsiding us with early punches. Viral antibodies were detected in blood banks long before any of us knew there was a Covid19.

I am not a virologist, but I am learning that in the world of invisible life, there is great intelligence. How could the virus understand that human beings cannot help themselves, they MUST have contact? The case numbers, hospitalizations and other measurements are all on the rise. The metrics tell us that the virus is locating vectors (transmission paths, humans exhaling viral particles) with no trouble at all. 

We went through holidays and watched in horror on T.V. as millions of people traveled through airports to visit family, despite warnings to stay home and skip group celebrations this year. I saw people with masks under their noses, including one airline gate agent. I was horrified. The virus was ecstatic! We are counting days and watching as the case curve shoots up from these exposures. Experts note that case curves are mirroring the curves from the 1918 deadly flu pandemic. 1918 medical care did not have our arsenal of antibiotics and antiviral drugs, yet the curves indicate case spikes are still the same. Case numbers shoot upward following a holiday, proving that people have gathered.

My husband and I have been super careful nine months now, since we learned that we are older and more vulnerable. We wanted to go somewhere we could drive to, somewhere safe. We searched the internet to find a spot. Everywhere we considered a possible escape site turned rapidly into the newest “hot spot” for cases. You can’t outrun the virus. I heard it even showed up on a remote island where only twelve people lived, apparently hitchhiking on the supplies delivery boat.

We had to find a way to accept this situation, keep our physical and mental health in as good a shape as possible. I made a list of Pros and Cons of the pandemic. 

The number of Pros was surprising. I do not wear makeup every day, saving tons of time to do other things. We measure our health with new gadgets so that we have a baseline of readings.  We are thrilled when our pulse and oxygen levels are good. Celebrate a day of good health! Our diet has improved, as we eat greens constantly. We have zero appointments, which is amazingly relaxing. And we have maintained our weight by halving our serving portions. My husband drops down and does sit-ups while watching the news, and he is developing a six pack!

We sleep regular hours because there is not much else to do. Score points for the humans.

The Cons list was rather lengthy. We want to hug people other than just one another. (I would hug the mailman if I could, probably scaring the hell out of him.) We have both become somewhat germ phobic and agoraphobic, but these are not medical diagnoses, just our own observations. We show the symptoms, such as “cooling” our mail for days to avoid live viral particles before opening it. My husband calls this “seasoning it.” We are embracing “pod” protections. Mixing households is violating pods. A new vocabulary for virus avoidance is born. Almost no one we know has kept themselves to one pod. I am pretty sure we have been gossiped about as being overly paranoid, but we are following what the expert doctors say to do. We do not fly. I miss my eighty-seven-year-old mother immensely but cannot risk viral transference.

A vaccine is the referee who will call this match a TKO against COVID-19. Vaccines are developed. Getting them will take months. More months of sacrifice and quarantine. Ugh!

And then there is that human need for contact, guaranteeing that even very bright people “must see our grandchildren.” We all need a coach in our corner, whispering for us to “Hang in there, we almost have the virus cornered.”

All of this makes me wish there were such a thing as a “Psychological Shower.” I need one right now to wash away the dissonance of human behavior witnessed during this fight.

 

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