I can’t sleep. The anxiety that’s been building all week has finally become too much. It strangles me when I lay down.
The governor has just issued a state-wide shelter-in-place directive. Our town has been under lockdown for 2 days already. But somehow this seems more terrifying.
The entire state. Paralyzed. 39.56 million people locked in place.
My brain starts racing. Thoughts. Too many thoughts.
Do we have enough food? Water? I know we don’t have enough toilet paper. I start to cook imaginary meals in my mind. How many do we need? 3 a day times 4. 16. 16 times how many days? It’s an unknowable number.
The governor didn’t give an end date. It feels like there’s no end in sight. The directive says to stay put “until further notice.”
Can we survive until further notice?
I know we can leave the house to get essentials. Food. Medicine. But out there seems too scary right now. There’s a virus. A novel virus never before seen on earth devouring humanity. I don’t want my family to get swallowed up by it.
Unless we already have been. The results from my COVID-19 test just won’t come. They said 48 hours. It’s been days. The labs, they say, are unprepared. Overwhelmed. Everyone could already be sick and we just don’t know it. They say most symptoms are mild. 80%. But for some the mild illness suddenly becomes life-threatening.
My daughter has asthma. My husband too. I worry about their lungs. I can’t think about. I mustn’t think about it.
STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!
And then my mind turns to my parents. They’re in the high risk category because of their ages. And they’re each alone. Do they have enough food? I know they don’t. Can they risk going out? No. But I can’t help them. I’m 381 miles away from them.
Why do we live so far apart? Why is my family so scattered? We’re up north. Parents in LA. Brother in Chicago. Sister-in-laws in New York. Mother-in-law in Florida. Other mother-in-law in West Virginia. Brother-in-law in Korea. It was a bad idea to disperse like this. All over the world. We should be close. We should be together. But we’re not.
I can’t cry. I’m too terrified to cry. It feels surreal. Is this really happening? Did I really read a call for volunteer medical professionals and hospital supplies in the weekly town email blast? The one that usually gives the farmer’s market times and reminds us to pick our favorite bike route?
Things feel so scary. So out of control. And who is in charge? Who can fix this? Who is helping?
The doctors. The nurses. The researchers humming away for a cure.
But then I worry about them. What happens when the doctors fall ill and there’s no one to care for the rest of us? I don’t know how to intubate someone. Suddenly my skills, all the knowledge I’ve accumulated in life, feels so useless.
My son needs a haircut. I don’t know how to cut hair.
I’ve relied on my village. Other people with other skills my whole life. And now that village is gone. Shut. Sheltering-in-place.
I’m not the praying type, but tonight I pray. For this nightmare to end. For normalcy to return. For life and all that I took for granted to come back. I just want it back. I want restaurants back. I want stores back. I want school drop off. I want hugs with friends and parties and movies and malls back.
I want this virus to go away. Leave us alone. Stop killing people.
Please. God. Please.
How will this change us? Who will we be when we can finally crawl back into the light? How will this impact our kids? Will they be stronger for it or irreparably damaged?
Will we ever be able to live without fear again? Touch a surface without wondering? Hug a friend without wincing? Go to sleep without worry?
I can’t sleep. Not until this nightmare ends.
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