Day 75 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Friday, May 29, 2020 – Live to Blog with A Little Good News

Keeping Social Separation
Keeping Social Separation in the Time of COVID-19 – #alonetogether

Today we learned two things. First, overnight there were no new COVID-19 deaths in Prince George’s County where we live. Second, the County Executive is going to move our county into Stage 1 opening on Monday, June 1. Both are good news…but only “kind of” thanks to my doctor. šŸ™


On Doctor’s Orders

This has been a week full of telemedicine visits! First, it was my opthamologist on the 26th. Then, it was my primary care physician today. I’m rather enjoying seeing the natural habitats of my physicians. In one case I watched a partner/husband/grown child come and go through a door behind the doctor several times. Finally, the doctor went to a different room. In the other case I could hear small children in the background. It is nice to see that all these folks who command such respect and who are often so aloof in their professional settings are also moms and dads with dogs, cats, and kids, who some sometimes “bomb” into Zoom.

My opthamologist has been monitoring a situation in my left eye that will eventually require surgery. Actually, it is time for surgery – but because of COVID-19 they are using their surgery suite only for emergencies. Bummer! Instead I have to go to an optometrist to get a new prescription that should allow me to see a bit better until I can have the surgery. The opthamologist typically does refraction (testing) but isn’t right now because the office doesn’t easily accommodate physical distancing. That is true. The exam rooms are tiny.

My primary care physician was following up on my annual exam (which is in October or November) and to order a follow up blood test just to make sure I still have blood. We also had a good conversation about how safe it is for me and Clemencia to go out, since our age puts us at risk and we both also have underlying conditions (Stupidity is not one of our underlying conditions, just to be clear.) Unfortunately, it was in this conversation that she broke the not so good news…because of our risk factors, neither Clemencia nor I should go out immediately once we enter Stage 1 of reopening on Monday. We should wait two weeks until about June 15th.

Her rationale was actually quite sound and I wanted to pass it on here. COVID-19 can be carried for days by people who are infected but do have not symptoms. It takes about two weeks from the point of exposure for symptoms to occur. Therefore, by waiting two weeks after reopening before venturing out, we will have a much better idea of how safe it is. If the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spike within two weeks of reopening, then going out is not a wise choice. So, there you have it. Prince George’s County will re-open on June 1, but the Vargas Klaus House re-opening will not be until June 15. Of course, these re-opening dates are contigent on whether Stupid People decide to follow the rules and guidelines set out by the County Executive.


Tenacity, Humility, and Collaborative Leadership…There Still Time to Sign Up!

Next week I’ll be joining my good friend and colleague, Liz Weaver, on a Tamarack Institute webinar titled Tenacity, Humility, and Collaborative Leadership. The webinar will be on Tuesday, June 2 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern via Zoom and it is FREE! All you need to do is sign up here.


Registration is Open – Ā”Charlemos con Clemencia!

Are you ready to learn Spanish? Not Spanish to pass an exam, but functional communicative Spanish. Communicative Spanish is the Spanish most English speakers need to be able to simply chat with the people in their communities whose first language is Spanish. It is great for teachers, social workers and public health professionals, and anyone who wants to connect more easily and better with their Spanish-speaking neighbors.

Clemencia of Ā”Charlemos con Clemencia! is, of course, my spouse whom you’ve gotten to know through this blog. Be sure to ask about the special bonus lesson in Colombian Lip Pointing! To register for the Summer Session (June 15-September 4) visit www.charlemos.net. Cost is $85 per person for the whole summer session of 12 classes. Multiple class times are available.


The Adventures of Chickenman

Episode 42 – A youth organization representative attempts to recruit Benton Harbor (aka Chickenman) as a youth leader. Until he has to look for Benton in the Chicken Cave.


What’s Next?

Our days of sheltering-in-place are coming to an end this weekend. My Monday, June 1 posting of Stories of Covid-19 and Sheltering-In-Place will be my last. Well, unless, of course, things turn for the worse over the weekend and we get locked down again.

However, I have something in mind and I will debut it on Tuesday, June 2nd. I knew this lockdown would have to end sometime so I’ve been preparing for it. I hope you like what’s next! Stay tuned!


In Reality…and Thank You.

First, thank you. I’ve had some very sweet and kind responses to yesterday’s (Day 74) blog. I had two responses that were especially powerful to me and I will be sharing them soon. I have secured permission from the writers. They are currently reviewing the piece I have written to introduce them both to you. When they have given me the go ahead, they will appear in the blog. If you read yesterday’s blog, I think you will find these quite interesting.

Now, in reality. We are fighting two pandemics simultaneously. One is COVID-19 and one is racism. Through science and medicine there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the former. There appears to be no light but a deep, dank, never ending tunnel for the latter. The pandemic of racism in the U.S. is hundreds of years old and today it is even more obvious than ever. In 2016 Will Smith, an interview with Steven Colbert said, “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” Today the filming continues to confirm the reality of racism. While both pandemics are blazing away in our country – quite literally in some cities – the President is AWOL. There has been no comment about the 100,000+ dead of COVID-19, there has been only withdrawal today from the World Health Organization. In the midst of a pandemic? Really? There has been no comment about the protests and fires in Minneapolis (and other cities as well) except for threats of greater violence on Twitter, which Twitter had to sanction.

Mr. President, like I wrote earlier this week, we need you NOW to be the best version of yourself. Is this it?

Is this all you’ve got?


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and, please, do everything YOU can to keep yourself and others safe in both pandemics.

Tom

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