Wear A #$@%ing Mask!

yuriko/ August 20, 2020/ Health, Life and Stuff

This is just an observation.

COVID-19 is very contagious.  Extremely contagious.  Back in December, when it was first discovered in China, the United States had no real clue as to what was coming.  The world wasn’t prepared for what was on the horizon.  We thought the fires in Australia were going to be the hallmark of 2020.  Boy, were we wrong!

I, myself, was sick for a good month or two at the beginning of the year.  I kept coughing so much that it kept me up at night and when I finally got to sleep, it wasn’t very restful.  For weeks, I was hacking and I kept bugging my doctor about it.  I went to Urgent Care, where they wouldn’t let me go home until my fever had dropped, but at that time, Covid-19 was starting to make its presence known and tests weren’t administered freely because of limited supply, or denial of its existence on the part of some doctors.  I had asked several times (jokingly) that maybe I had coronavirus?  And every health care professional I spoke to laughed and asked if I had recently been to China or Europe, or had contact with someone who had recently been to China or Europe.  The answer was no.  So, no test.  That’s before we knew how it spread and how easily it was to catch it.  At that time, we didn’t have the social distancing or the mask policy, though they encouraged masks.  I wore a mask because I was coughing incessantly and people gave me dagger-stares.

It took me a good month or two to finally get over this illness, whatever it was. I never got tested.  But since March, when the state was in shelter-in-place, I’ve been pretty much quarantined in my house.  We only go out for groceries and the occasional meal, but we always wear masks and try to maintain social distance whenever possible.  So far, so good.  Because you see, I’m immuno-compromised.  I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, which everyone I’ve spoken to, who doesn’t have RA, will just say, “Oh, yeah, I get joint pain, too.” I do want to smack them upside the head, but I refrain from violence and just smile at them.  Then, I try to explain that it’s not just a joint pain that comes and goes.  Sure, I have good days and I have bad ones.  I haven’t had a really, really bad one in a long time and for that, I’m truly grateful.  I have a great doctor, who is accessible and answers my questions whenever I email him.  I don’t have to take a cocktail of drugs for this as some other folks. I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have it under control and it’s not screwing up my life. But since I do take drugs that suppress the immune system, I am in a high-risk category.  So, if I happen to catch Covid-19, it may not be just a simple run of the flu with a fever and some coughing.  I may have already had it.  I don’t know.  There are no conclusive studies (as of this posting) that antibodies develop and will keep you immune from this disease.  I’ve read articles (ok, on Facebook, so you can gauge the validity of it) where some people write that they have been infected more than once.  I’ve seen articles all over the news about how some people had to be put on ventilators.  And I have seen people laugh off the thought of a ventilator and how it’s not so bad.  A ventilator is a machine that helps you breathe or breathes for you.  When you’ve got a tube shoved down your throat because you can’t breathe on your own, then you’ve got a pretty serious problem.  From what I understand, you come off of the ventilator in one of two ways: 1) you can breathe on your own again, or 2) you’re dead.  And it’s not just a little tube.  It’s painful.  It’s painful to watch on dramas, I really don’t want to see it happening in real life.  I don’t have the stomach for it.  A lot of the times, when you’re on a ventilator, you’re also sedated because of the discomfort.  So, here’s a Covid patient, in the ICU, on a ventilator, with no family members because of Covid-19 and how contagious it is.  How awful is that?  Would you want your family members to suffer like that? No?  Wear a mask!

And I hear the hemming and hawing of folks about how forcing people to wear a mask infringes on their liberties.  It only makes those folks look like @$$holes.  They don’t want to conform to society.  They don’t care about other people.  Apparently, they only care about themselves.  Well, those people must be pretty lonely and if they aren’t, then, they are pathetic and a scab on society.  Humans have survived this long because we learned to work together as a community, despite the idiots who think they can make it on their own.  Sure, we have disagreements and we fight.  That’s just human nature, unfortunately.  But humans do rise above when it really matters, or so I thought they did.  Some folks complain that they can’t breathe with a mask on and it’s limiting the supply of oxygen into their bloodstreams.  A mask will not lessen the amount of oxygen you take in.  A mask will not hurt you.  The CDC recommends that you shouldn’t wear a mask if you’re under 2 years of age, already have trouble breathing in the first place, or if you’re unconscious (or have difficulty removing a mask without the assistance of others).  So, there you go.  The average, red-blooded, flag-waving, gun-toting American can wear a mask.  SO, WEAR A MASK!

Because of the increasing number of folks who have tested positive (even though we’re assuming that it’s an underestimated count of the actual number of cases – because some places are not giving accurate numbers, some people are not testing because they are asymptomatic, some people are afraid to find out, etc), I’m wondering if in the future, when you see a new doctor and have to fill out the medical information, will they ask if you’ve ever tested positive for Covid-19?  Especially since there seems to be some evidence (though not necessarily proven) that even without the virus for months, someone could still be suffering from the lingering effects it had on the body, such as respiratory problems, or cardiovascular problems?  Like when the form asks if you were ever a smoker. (Even if you hadn’t smoked in decades, there might be lingering effects in your lungs.)  There are some folks called “long haulers” and they seem to be those that still have lingering symptoms even though they had tested negative – after initially testing positive and running through the disease.  There seems to be a growing number of long-haulers and I hope they get the help that they need.  I hope they get the support that they need.  It seems that once they’re no longer positive, the medical professionals don’t know what else to do.  So, please WEAR A MASK!

It’s pretty simple when you think about it.  If you want the economy to bounce back, wear a mask.  If you want to see your family sooner rather than later, wear a mask!  If you want your children to go back to school instead of staying at home in front of the computer, wear a mask!  Wearing a mask helps stop the spread.  Stopping the spread is the easiest way to get over this pandemic.  It’s not rocket science.  Just wear a mask!

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