• Dr. Kemia

I Wish it Didn't Have to Be

Updated: Apr 10

Dear Everyone:

As I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, I glanced over and there - at the end of our big farm table where he sat and studied through hundreds of high school evenings - was Joseph, home from college and doing his homework.

It broke my heart a little.

I’m so glad to have him home and have him safe. It feels normal and natural to see him there, hunched over a book holding his pen in that weird, awkward manner he has – the one that makes my thumb ache to watch and gives him the handwriting of a serial killer. I’m glad he’s here – I just wish he didn’t have to be.

I’m feeling that a lot lately, that mixture of gratitude with, “I wish it didn’t have to be.”

Resiliency in the time of #Covid19 is definitely a moving target. Today, for me, it looked like rage cleaning. I don’t do well in mess or disorganization, and I realized yesterday that I’d allowed both to creep up on all of us (I *may* have taken that out on The Husband at one point). I also realized I’d not actually Parented for about two weeks and that I was approximately 24 hours away from a hostile takeover of the farm by feral children and their dogs. Lord of the Flies has always been a terrifying read, and it was a fast approaching reality…

My point is, if things have gotten a little out of hand in your home, you’re in good company. If, on the other hand, you’ve had this buttoned up and flying right since the day they announced school closure and global pandemic – well, you probably never wanted to be my friend in the first place.

The strategies that help build our Mental #ResiliencyCapacitance are as varied as are we. The key, I think, is to recognize and deploy what works for you, regularly. Gratitude, mindfulness, meaningful work or projects, journaling, creating, organizing… all of these are things that bring focus, clarity and clear space in our busy brains during this infodemic.

Oh yes. Unplugging is an excellent tool for clearing space and increasing resilience. Frankly, it’s why you haven’t heard from me since Saturday… (but don’t take that for granted – it was even money that the Littles had me tied up in the treehouse).

Pick something each day. That's the key. Do one thing for your mental resiliency. I cleaned and organized for a couple hours, and it settled my glitter tremendously. If you need accountability partners, post in the comments -- I or some other wonderful someone will surely check in on you.

Shifting to #Cornoavirus, where are we in this today?

First, a quick reminder that Illinois and, increasingly, U.S. policy is based on a #Suppression strategy. We know this virus is highly infectious, and we know that the spread is driven by asymptomatic transmission within the community.

We also know that:

1) we have no natural immunity;

2) we have no verified, reliable treatment;

3) we have no vaccine;

4) our only strategy is to buy time by #FlatteningTheCurve, i.e. slowing the rate of transmission and thus lowering the peak number of people needing critical health care at any one time.

A suppression strategy requires at least 3:4 interventions be implemented: 1) school closures; 2) closure of non-essential services; 3) stay-at-home orders, and; 4) travel restrictions. In Illinois, we’ve had all but travel restrictions in place since March 21 (approximately six thousand-billion days ago in case anyone is wondering).

And still, Chicago is an emerging hotspot.

This isn’t entirely surprising. It’s an international destination with a high population density, and O’Hare was a public health catastrophe the weekend following the announcement of international travel restrictions.

Downstate, cases are climbing, but social distancing measures may have been implemented in time to more drastically alter the peak. Our challenge in the weeks to come will be in continuing to convince others (and ourselves) to beat the drum of “Stay Home, Save Lives!” This is hardest in the face of successful policy when the urge to say, “but nothing happened!” becomes almost overwhelming. Remember: it’s impossible to measure what didn’t happen in public health (but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all say, “thank you!”)

So, what’s the bottom line?

It is not going to feel good these next two to three weeks: we are riding the curve up. The numbers are going to climb and it’s going to feel as though they will climb exponentially, forever. But this IS a curve. New cases will peak in the next 10-16 days, depending on your part of the country, timing of social distancing implementation and how aggressively our fellow Americans have adhered to our duty to one another. Death figures will continue to climb for 10-14 days after that, and then those, too, will peak. The downslope is coming.

How fast and hard that curve continues to bend depends on what each of us does every single day. Remember that every point of contact is another opportunity for viral spread, and most of that spread is happening in folks with no symptoms. Best just to act as if you’re exposed and protect everyone around you accordingly.

A few last thoughts: 1) Designate one person to go to the store, and only when necessary. Also, please let elderly and medically fragile folks in your community know that 1) you’ll happily shop for them or 2) that most stores have hours designated JUST for them when they open every day.

2) 6-ft apart in public spaces (ie the grocery store) doesn’t also mean “wine and social distance, together, six-ish feet apart in my home on my couch.” You know that’s not the idea, and if you do it, I’m gonna FB shame you. Maybe you don’t care, but you’re hurting someone, somewhere down the line with your selfishness AND you’re hurting EVERYONE by prolonging this economic and social nightmare.

3) If you get scared, pick up the phone. All of us are having moments

4) Give grace to everyone. All of us are having moments.

5) Remember, America: We can fix anything but dead.

Love and distance-hugs all ‘round tonight. More soon. K #WeCanFixAnythingButDead #Resiliency #TrustDoctors #TrustScience #TrustTeachers #PatrioticIntroversion #StayTheHellHome #America


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