I really did not want to contribute to the conversation flooding the internet about the Novel Covid-19 (Corona) virus, but given the chain of events in the last 48 hours, it is somehow unavoidable. No one, including Mr. Twitchy and me, has been able to ignore it.
Last week, we were in Washington DC for a conference. We flew home Tuesday night knowing that we had a very full schedule ahead of us at home.
And then the world collapsed. The Corona virus had spiraled out of control in several countries and was threatening more, including the United States. The Stock Market fell precipiticely, recovering partially one day and then falling even more the next. It is chaos out there and very scary on many levels.
On Thursday, two days after we returned home, we received an email from the conference that we had attended stating that two people who were at the same meetings tested positive for the bug. Since we don’t know who those people are, it was recommended that everyone who was there put themselves under voluntary quarantine for 14 days.
We continued with some of our plans when we could keep away from other people and then suddenly, everything was being cancelled. From small meetings to huge sporting events. Nothing was spared. My daughters became concerned about our health and asked us to please, please stay home. I have been going out as little as possible, and am doing a lot of reading and other things that I needed a day home to do. So far, we are feeling fine and hope that by Tuesday, we will be able to go out freely again.
In the meantime, on our only short outing today, it was strange to go to the bank and see the bank tellers wearing surgical gloves to make transactions. At the drug store, a clerk, wearing gloves of course, was handing out packages of toilet paper to customers willing to pay double the usual price. We have been told that the shelves at Costco are bare, as are their online stores. The streets are empty. Restaurants are struggling. The unintended consequences of all of the cancellations affect every segment of society in unimaginable ways.
A trip to the market this morning was horrific. Huge crowds, no carts and nothing on the shelves. Everyone is in panic mode, stocking up for a very unsure month or two ahead of us.
How does all of this affect people with chronic illnesses, such as Parkinson’s Disease? When social distancing becomes the norm in order to make it harder to spread the virus, as it has in the last week, social isolation can become a huge problem for many of us. Unfortunately many of us fall into the older adult category that seems to be more susceptible to Covid-19. Fear can be a big factor. It can keep you from getting out of your house to go to the doctor, therapy and your much needed exercise classes. What about shopping for food? Going to a movie or dinner with friends? Socially isolating yourself can be devasting, bringing on depression and a worsening of our symptoms.
Those who are living in a facility, even though they are surrounded by other people, may feel totally isolated. Visitors are being discouraged because they could unknowingly have been exposed to the virus and could spread it to the infirm residents there. Several retirement homes have been the sites of the biggest numbers of fatalities in the US from Covid-19.
HOW TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING WITHOUT LOSING YOUR CONNECTIONS
For some good tips for how to cope, the Davis Phinney Foundation published a very good blog today on practicing social distancing and avoiding isolation. Bottom line, your computer is now your best friend and will keep you connected to others in these dystopian times. You can read the blog here.
Another good article can be found on Everyday Health today. Explained: How Your Immune System Fights Off Coronavirus (and Other Germs) Doctors explain how your immune system protects you against viruses and other threats — and what you can do right now to help it in the face of threats like the new coronavirus. There is a lot of good information here for you to understand why this virus is moving so fast..
THE STRESS FACTOR
An even bigger problem may be the stress of living through all of this. As you know, stress can make your PD symptoms much worse. We don’t know how long this will last and when we will be able to return to our lives as they were before. It raises so many questions. Will we even be able to return to what we had before? What are we going to face financially? Have you prepared for an emergency situation like this? Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure that you have your support system in place.
One way we can all help each other is to set up a means for communication. Go to the Twitchy Woman Facebook Page and start a conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We will get through this together.