COVID-19: Making People Better
It was 7:30 pm on a Saturday when my doorbell rang. We had already gotten delivery from a local restaurant we were trying to help keep afloat, so it was very odd to hear the doorbell ring during this period of social distancing.
I slowly walked to the window that overlooks my doorstep and peeked through the curtain. What I saw was a heavyset blonde woman in a peach dress walking away and getting in her grey Ford Focus. I did not recognize her, nor did I actually expect to. My wife and I are not exactly the social butterflies of the neighborhood, so any time someone rings our doorbell, it's usually to sell us something.
After she pulled out of our driveway I opened the door to find a roll of paper towels and a package of dinner napkins. I watched to see if she would stop anywhere else and if the same gift had been delivered to any of my other neighbors. She did not and there was not. It was a gift for us from a stranger in a peach dress.
My wife has a theory that it’s because of the Zombie Apocalypse sign I put outside the door. My in-laws were flipping a house and they found a small metal sign that reads, “Warning! Zombie Apocalypse Infected Region.”
Many people have put out these wonderful signs that say something to the point of “Immunocompromised Person Inside: Please Leave All Deliveries At The Door.” I figured a zombie apocalypse sign would deliver the same point.
Maybe the lady in Peach thought we were infected with COVID-19, and we needed some extra supplies. Maybe she thought the old couple we bought the house from still lived here. Or, maybe she was just being nice.
No matter why this wonderful woman gifted us with paper products, in the COVID-19 era, I have seen a ton of people stepping up and doing the unexpected.
People stepping up
I often forget to take out my trash. Cans go out Monday night for an early Tuesday pickup. Even when I have a schedule, I forget. Now that every single day is like the last, I have no idea what day it is, and you better believe I had no idea it was Trash Day. One Tuesday morning, after not taking the trash out, I noticed my big blue dumpster was in the middle of my driveway. Brain fog has not been a major problem for me lately, so I was sure I didn't take out the trash. But, there it was sitting there a little off-kilter next to the curb.
One of my neighbors took out my trash…
Was it a mistake? Did the kids of the neighbor accidentally take out my trash? No, that's ridiculous, it's clearly leaning on the side of my house. Maybe in the COVID-19 era the trash men are authorized to come on to people's property to get the bins. Not likely at all! One of my neighbors did it.
How unexpected is that?
Meeting new people (pre-social distancing)
When we saw this virus coming, everyone took to the stores. It was like Black Friday, but we replaced TVs with toilet paper. (This Christmas’s #1 Toy!)
At this point my wife and I had already started ordering our groceries for pickup, so the mad dash for essentials didn't really affect us. We had just done a big pickup and had plenty of toilet paper and microwave burritos.
What we didn't have was cat litter, coffee, and peanut butter. Three things I buy in bulk from our local bulk store shopping club. The day before the storm, as I call it because that was the day the schools were about to shut down and everyone could see the storm clouds coming, I chose to go to the bulk store to get these supplies.
It was a madhouse! People with the pallet carts made for buying furniture, loaded down with toilet paper and bottled water. I thought I would see a little more food, but, not really. The lines were long. They closed all the self-checks to keep people from stealing, so I waited 20 minutes for my three items.
Sharing my diagnosis with strangers
While I was waiting, I encountered many nervous talkers, the best conversationalists in a long line. I found out how people were feeling about COVID-19, what their thoughts were, and there were plenty of well wishes. A woman said to me “At least you're young and healthy!”
I responded: “I may be young, but I'm far from healthy.”
This led to the best checkout line conversation I have ever had. I told her all about AS and how our treatments make us immunocompromised. She told me that she only has one lung. And then a woman in the next line chimed in that she just completed chemotherapy. For a good 10 minutes, all three of us talked about our health conditions and what COVID-19 might mean for us. I felt like it was my destiny to go shopping that day.
COVID-19 made people better
I think isolation is exactly what everyone needs. Our lives are so busy with school, jobs, soccer games, and bowling leagues. I feel having time to ourselves and think inward was the best thing to happen to humankind. Look online, people are doing awesome things. Writers are writing, artists are creating, support groups are taking off, and music artists are doing concerts from their living rooms.
2020 isn't off to a great start, and COVID-19 is uprooting lives and families in horrible ways.
However, it is also allowing people to do fantastic things, and make the world a better place.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?