I posted this piece on Facebook this week because I feel a sense of panic when I read many of the posts on social media. This post helped to calm me down, but it is just a matter of this doctor’s opinion. Well, that is all we have to go on – people’s opinions.
I need to form my own opinion because I don’t have the money, the energy, or the space to hoard anything. I barely have room for me and my sparse possessions. And, this post makes sense to me.
For those that don’t know, I live in Paris, France. I have only been here for six weeks, moving here from Nice, France, where I lived with my husband until he died in 2016. France is very different from the USA.
The French Health Care is excellent. And, I belong and have since Steve and I moved here in 2015. Actually, I was accepted in 2016. I applied in 2015. Still and all, it is difficult for me to read all of the instructions in French, so often I just trust what people tell me, and sometimes they are wrong.
And, the way it works in Paris is different from the way it worked in Nice. Not a lot, but sorta. I am slowly getting acquainted with the things I must do in Paris. I need to remain healthy to have time to figure everything out so that I can get help if and when I need it.
The problem for me is – I am here flying solo, and don’t have a support system in place yet. That give me cause for concern. I am still getting used to my age reality because – in my head – I am young and can help myself. In reality, not so much. But, enough about me. Let’s get to the post that (to me) makes a lot of sense.
I am a member of some excellent Facebook groups that help each other. The one I like the most is “American Expats in Paris”. These people are very helpful to each other. We are all in the same boat. Through that group, I have hired a housekeeper, gotten doctors, learned about shopping tips, stores, good restaurants, and areas to avoid. Plus, a lot more.
The doctor who posted this post, actually lives and practices medicine in Toronto, Ontario. He is an Infectious Diseases Specialist and is a member of the University Health Network. His name is Abdu Sharkawy. All of that is posted on the Internet. Other than that, I don’t know. I like what he says, and I was glad he posted this for people to read. I am sharing it with you, because we cannot share the group posts by a link. I don’t think he would mind my posting here because he is trying to get the message out. More information is on the Internet. Here is what I read:
“I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis,TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria…there is little I haven’t been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.
I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of Covid-19.
What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they ” probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.
I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games…that could be kyboshed too. Can you even
I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.
But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.
Covid-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and “fight for yourself above all else” attitude could prove disastrous.
I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.
Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.
Our children will thank us for it.
#washurhands #geturflushot #respect #patiencenotpanic”
As for me, at this point, I plan to try to keep living as normal a life as possible. Human beings have lived through so much and kept surviving and fighting. I say this to myself also, as I am old (82) and in the most vulnerable position, I must read social media ONCE a day. It makes me very upset – especially in the middle of the night. I plan to take care of myself. Light candles for those I love. Try to enjoy my new home in the spring. Try to enjoy my upcoming birthday (83). Be glad I am alive. Be glad my children are alive. We are all blessed. you do the same. Remember, it is just another big bump on the road of life. AND, WE ARE STILL HERE!!!!!