“Hi all. Dare I even say it. The C word… It is flooding us right now. Flooding into our country, into our media, and into our daily lives.
Isn’t it crazy? If we rewind to November, none of this was remotely close to being on our radars. Three months ago, we were gathering our big families in the living room. We were filling our plates edge to edge, topping it off with the good ole gravy downpour. We were kissing grandma’s cheek and grandpa was yelling at the game on TV. After we blissfully launched ourselves into a tryptophan-coma, we loaded up in the car in order to load up the cart. The stores were packed! You know that Black Friday buzz? Following the holiday, we all returned to our blase jobs and school routines. Your kid’s shared snacks and high fives at school. You shook your buddy’s hand at work, and you might of went grocery shopping and forgot to wipe down your cart.
Isn’t it crazy how it all changes in the blink of a eye? Isn’t it crazy what we take for granted? Right now, we most definitely are not trying to gather our families into one small confined area. We are being cautious of what food we have in our homes. Right now is not the time to kiss family member’s cheeks, especially our grandparents/parents as they are most susceptible to the virus. There aren’t sports on the TV right now. Leagues have been temporarily put on a hiatus in hopes of not spreading the virus further.
Our carts do remain full, and we are buzzing with anxiety at the store; but not in a joyful, new play station, Black Friday way. This time it is supplies people are after. Diapers, soap, toilet paper, canned goods, milk, and medicine fill the brim of carts as people wait, one after another after another after another, to check out. These supplies are purchased in one of two cases. 1. It will either get them through a possible quarantine or 2. A possible personal hiatus from the general public to avoid all the germs.
Kids are not going back to school like they did for fall break. If you are from Ohio, like myself, spring break is not ending any time soon. In fact, Ohio k-12 will be on a three week spring break. Again, in the hopes to stop the potential spread. Colleges are following suit — evacuating and switching to online schooling. Some jobs have even temporarily switched their employees to remote, work-from-home locations. Of course, we all know of the recent travel bans put in place as well. Sports, churches, and events are all being put on hold. We have been urged and encouraged to stay away from from large crowds. All of this… all of these precautions and steps taken have been like no other.
It is nice to see these precautionary steps being taken in order to prevent. I do not disagree with them. It is great that we are trying our best to prevent. But, I also have empathy for people who are affected by this in a non-ill related way. I feel bad for the high school seniors who may not go to their last prom. I feel bad for the college senior who is unsure what their four-year degree graduation will look like. I feel for the senior sports players who don’t know if they already had their last practice/game for their career. I feel for the families who can not afford to take three weeks off with their kids and have no family to turn to. I feel bad for Americans who need to JUMP on a plane to get back to their home country, before they are no longer able to for a period of time. I feel for the elderly in the nursing homes who have been placed on a lock down, and their families who are not allowed to see them at this time. I feel for the medical staff who will be on the front lines working rough, long hours from this. The list goes on and on. But these unfortunate situations are only happening in order to help the pandemic. That is what we need to remember. PREVENTION is what we are aiming for.
When flu time rolls around, we take precautions. We get the vaccine, and we have extra Tylenol and ibuprofen on hand. We wash our hands more often, and when we are unable to wash, we sanitize. We wash coats and back packs. We wipe toys and counters. We eat our vitamins and try our best to have optimal health by eating balanced, sleeping well, and exercising. If we do end up sick from the flu, we stay home and wait until we are better before returning to our daily lives. Just as we plan for the flu yearly, we should prepare for Coronoavirus in the same manner.
This does not mean doomsday prepping. For me, as a solo parent with my husband deployed right now, I need to stay healthy for my daughter. If I go down, there is no back-up parent to help. I work in a daycare, and my daughter, being the toddler she is, puts everything in her mouth. Due to that, I have been sick plenty this year, and know I am around germs more than the average person. With that being said, I knew I needed a few essentials if we did get sick. I also wanted to avoid going to the store, and other packed places, for the next two weeks. I grabbed ONE extra box of diapers; got us some food (just a normal grocery store amount to get us by for said time); back-up soap (since we are washing our hands so regularly); and ONE back up Tylonel.
We were completely out of toilet paper — not one roll left — and I needed just a pack. I went to three stores and found none. Luckily, my father-in-law picked us up some. I can not say I have personally encountered the ‘hoarding person’ at the store. They definitely exist, as the stores are incredibly sparse. But when I went out shopping in public, I was actually so overly impressed with my hometown community. Although there was a fear driven-anxiety buzz to every store, people were being so compassionate to each other — helping one another get higher things off the shelf, exchanging kind words. Staff at stores were hustling around, trying their best to help everyone.
My family has reached out to let me know if I need anything in the upcoming weeks, not to hesitate to ask. I have called on my own grandmother to remind her to get stuff now and not later. Now is a time be a COMMUNITY. So, when I say prep, I mean as you would for the flu. You do not need to doomsday prep. The community has to help one another in order for all of us to be ok. The flu comes yearly, we prep for that. There is a new virus we must now prep and take precautions on. Prepping is a community affair. The community can’t prep with soap, diapers, and TP if a select few people take months worth.
Aside from prepping materials, it is even MORE important to properly protect yourself from the virus. The best ways you can do this is by washing your hands, wiping down counters, keeping your hands away from your face/mouth, limiting your exposure in packed places, and sanitizing your hands when you do not have the option to wash.
I completely understand this fear of the unknown. I understand the heartache in the missed situations at hand. I understand that overall, this pandemic is extraordinarily problematic in a plethora of ways. But is it not crazy how three months ago, everything was so different? What we can take from this, is don’t take those small things for granted — like a family gathering, your health, or March Madness. This is not the best of times, but do not fret, there are better days ahead. The next time you have to say, ‘three months ago…’ I hope you can look back and know you helped your community; you didn’t take anything for granted; and you washed your hands A TON.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Edmisten, 23, of Ohio. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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