We all are like cars. We have transmissions, some have six speeds, some have five or other speeds. If you are like me, a six speed – wide open every day – going full speed all day and parking at night. Others start off a four speed, not so fast, but constant.
The coronavirus – COVID-19 has caused us to change gears, not because we want to but because circumstances have dictated that we must. Stay at home, social distancing, no handshakes, wear a mask, washing our hands nonstop. These new rules dictate what gear we are in.
The first week, I tried very hard to stay in sixth gear. I scheduled events, meetings and conference calls. I was intent to keep everything as usual. By the end of the week, I had shifted down to fifth gear; cancelled several events, cancelled out of state trips and spent more time on the phone.
By the end of week two, I had shifted into fourth gear, the situation was becoming very real. I was now concerned when out in public; I looked at everyone from a different perspective. Did they have the virus? Were they a carrier? I had shifted down yet into another lower gear, doing much less in public – Sunday school and church had now been cancelled. I begin to contact close friends just to make sure they were ok. Doing lots of texting, emails and spending time on Facebook, seeing very few people – some days not even shaving.
At first, food became an obsession but after week three, I made the important decision to cut back on food and began a very dedicated program of exercise – doing two miles each day at the park – just me and the ducks. Yard work has become a daily routine for me, doing things that I had delayed for years.
It is apparent that we as human beings can adapt more rapidly than we had believed. Changing gears is built into a car just as the ability to change gears is built into our human DNA.
As we moved past week three, we saw the sharp increases in cases and unfortunately deaths. We watched the news each day for updates and waited on the critical news – do we have a vaccine? Only when we have a vaccine, like the flu vaccine, will we be able to begin the return to normal.
Now at week four, the curve is flattening. We are shifting up toward another gear, getting ready for some changes back toward the new normal. Spring is here giving us new hope and dreams to look forward to. The Governor will be providing new guidelines so we can begin to turn the economy back on and get many people back to work.
While many are concerned with the mental health of the people, I believe by far most people will change gears and get through this without major problems. Yes, we will have some who will not, but even in normal times, we have those who have mental illness problems. Let’s hope the media does not fan the mental health issue to the point that many believe it is a reason to give up on getting through the stay at home order and the recovery that follows.
When a safe COVID-19 vaccine becomes available – get one, and the traditional flu vaccine this fall, as well. We do not need to stress our healthcare systems this fall with preventable flu cases while we await a way to protect ourselves from COVID-19.