Friday, April 3, 2020

Social distancing

After two weeks inside, my husband and my niece ventured out the the supermarket yesterday, wearing homemade face coverings and plastic gloves. This morning, my niece shared how you can make a no-sew face mask with a bandana and two hair ties. There is now some debate, however, about whether these homemade masks serve any purpose at all. At least it helps us keep hands away from our faces.

An ER nurse on my TV screen was telling a reporter that when family members or friends bring desperately ill loved ones to the hospital, knowing they won't be allowed past the door with the patient, there is a moment before they take their leave of each other when they exchange a particular look, wondering if they will ever see each other again. It is this look, the nurse said, that guts her.

In state after state, governors are seeing their orders for ventilators and other medical equipment evaporate as higher bidders swoop in. Often, that bidder is the federal government, which then warehouses the purloined supplies, never distributing them to states in desperate need. In fact, yesterday the president's son-in-law said that the federal medical stockpile isn't for our use. "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile,” he said. “It's not supposed to be states stockpile that they then use." Who, I wonder, is the "our" in this statement? Last night, the hashtag #KushnerIsAnIdiot was trending on Twitter.

Every evening at 7:00 in our city, you can hear the sounds of applause and cheers and air horns out the windows of apartment buildings, as quarantined people send their thanks to the first responders who are changing shifts. These heroes are risking their lives to save ours.

My friend’s housemate, an ER doctor at Weill Cornell, came down with symptoms. She moved into another friend’s empty Airbnb to wait out the illness. She told my friend that if she gets sick to go to her hospital, so she can possibly assist her care. She also told her that if she ends up at a different hospital, she’s not to let the hospital staff start an IV for fluids on her, as the medical staff at Weill Cornell has been finding it worsens the fluid in the lungs. She noted that their hospital has had one covid death while a hospital five blocks away has had 63. She was making the point that the day to day learning isn’t necessarily being communicated widely enough. I have no science to back up this IV fluids claim. I’m just sharing this here in case you ever need to ask the question.

There is also some suggestion that ibuprofen (Advil) should not be taken with covid, as it appears to interact with ACE inhibitors in a way that worsens symptoms. This has not been definitively proven, but to bring down fevers, probably safer to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead.

In truth, though I worry non-stop about my son, my little household is having a gentle quarantine experience compared to some. I'm grateful, and may it continue to be so. America seems to be having a worse time with the new corona virus than other hard hit countries, though, and this is completely the result of a staggering failure of leadership on the part of the federal government. Why hasn’t the president invoked the Defense Production Act in this crisis? He’s reportedly invoked it hundreds of times for capitalist pursuits so why not to save the lives of the American people?

Also, I finished a complete draft of my book yesterday, 92,730 words. Now I begin again with the editing. Meanwhile, my husband is making progress with his sailing ship. I love the red glitter hearts around his head in the picture. Which is to say, I love him.


  1. Okay. I heard about what Kushner said and here's what I say- he's now on my "Why don't they get the virus?" list.
    I am feeling less and less guilty about saying that these days. And you know exactly who is the #1 person on my list.
    And yes- who the FUCK is "our"? I mean, if this isn't the time to dip into the stockpile, what IS? Nuclear war, I suppose.
    BUT- congratulations on finishing the draft of your book! I know, I know- it's not done until it's done but you have certainly gotten way closer to the finish line. Are you relieved? Proud? Both? I hope so.
    Be careful, dear. Y'all stay safe. I'm glad your man has such a project to work on. I know it must require a lot of attention and focus. We all need those things now.
    Love you.

  2. It all seems so surreal to have to face this horrific pandemic and have the most incompetent group of psychopathic narcissists in charge of everything. It breaks my heart everyday...every moment.
    I'm glad you are writing and editing. A good way to balance the madness with sanity.
    I think of you and your family and hope that you stay safe and well there.

  3. My biggest fear is that one of parents (ages -- 86 and 89) will need hospital care (for any reason at all) during the next few months because I won't be allowed to go with them. And right now, I won't be allowed to be with my daughter as she gives birth. I too am furiously angry at the complete lack of leadership in the White House. We had a warning, we saw what happened in China, and yet all that time was wasted. Things could have been much different.

  4. Congrats on finishing the draft. That's great! It must be such a relief, even in these trying times. I hadn't heard your tips on ibuprofen or fluids -- that's interesting. There's so much to learn.

    As a former New Yorker, I'm only partly surprised by the differences in care from one hospital to another. I remember being warned when I lived there to go to this hospital, but NEVER that one. I guess such differences have been around a while.

  5. I can but shake my head. what the fuck is wrong with these people? and Kushner, what a toad. what the hell is the Federal Stockpile for if not for the states and for the people? when it was pointed out the the mission statement for the federal stockpile said exactly that it was for the states to supplement their supplies in a national emergency, the administration changed the mission statement. and did you read Trump's nasty response to Schumer's letter? Nasty. Hateful.

    and yes, bad enough that people are dying but to not be able to have your loved ones there, to not be able to be with the one who is dying? this is the saddest part of it. these people are dying alone without being able to say those last words.

  6. Congratulations on the first draft. I can't imagine that many words. Thanks for the info about declining IVs. There's a lot of sharing on twitter of data between docs, but I had not seen that one. My favorite factoid of the moment is that laying on your stomach will help your blood sats. It decreases pressure on the lungs and allows them to fill more easily.

  7. Congratulations on finishing your draft. I hope the next leg goes well too. "Staggering failure" doesn't even cover the mess we're all in. Still no grocery delivery for me. Nothing available too much demand.

  8. The Unites States is one messed up country right now, although to be fair, it's been messed up for awhile. That tRump was ever elected, the Republican Party has supported him, turned a blind eye to his lies and his incompetence is nothing short of criminal and is certainly amoral.

    I'm glad that you all are staying safe and home, for the most party. Groceries are a necessity. Nothing like a pandemic to help you get your work done at home:) I'm just whizzing right along on my new quilt.

    Take care and may your family be safe and healthy.

  9. Thank you for posting that loving portrait of your husband. What Love has given to us, no one can take away. I can't say that enough.

    Just yesterday I found an old basket in my bedroom closet that is full of handmade bandanas that I used to wear on my head, along with other lightweight long scarves that can be used to cover my nose and mouth when I go out on Mondays for groceries. When I was trying on the bandanas and scarves yesterday and looked in the mirror at myself, I looked just like your niece. Yes, thumbs up!

    Good to know that you have finished the draft of your book. At a time like this, it helps to have something to work on, something to focus on.

    Sending love to you and your family and friends in New York.

  10. The news out of NYC is heartbreaking. I'd been taking a news break for a few days, but watched PBS Newshour last night and just wept.

    My daughter is sewing face masks and I'm first on her list. I do have bandannas I can use as well. I suppose it's better than nothing, and doesn't take the place of the 6 - 10 distancing practice.

    Congratulations on finishing the draft! The editing will no doubt keep you busy now. It's good to have something to occupy the mind at this time.

    Stay well, stay safe. All good wishes for your family.