Hell’s to the NO!
That’s what my brain thought. Of course, that’s not what came out of my mouth. I’ve spent 12 years as a teacher thickening that filter between my brain and my lips. I weighed my words carefully.
“You mean, you want me to come into the doctor’s office?” I clarified with the doctor’s assistant.
“Yes,” she replied.
Again, Hell’s to the NO!
I engaged my filter and answered with a hesitation in my voice.
“Is that safe? I thought… you might have teleconferencing on a Zoom call… or something like that.”
“Would that make you feel more comfortable?” she replied.
With a deadly virus afflicting more than a million people in the United States, more than 3 million people worldwide, and resulting in more than 56,000 deaths in our country, and 208,000 deaths worldwide, each one of those unfortunate souls beginning their journey’s end in a doctor’s office or a hospital, I think for a second about her question.
Abso-f***ing-lutely, I’d be more comfortable in a Skype than breathing sick people air and eventually becoming a number on a COVID chart. What kind of messed-up f*****g world is this where the president is suggesting injections of Lysol into Coronavirus patients and where doctors are inviting you to their offices!? Even my chickens are now participating in Zoom calls with family and friends! But not my doctor?! WT*?!
But I don’t cuss. I’m an English teacher with a highly refined filter and vocabulary. I only think it sometimes. Sometimes more than other times.
“Yes, that would make me more comfortable,” I answer the doctor’s assistant.
We schedule the Zoom call for tomorrow during my distance learning lunch break.
* * *
The reason for my call was that a couple ailments have afflicted me in the last few days. I’m not one to run to the doctor every time I get a paper cut, but there’s a gland or something under my left armpit that has become swollen and painful.
It’s not to the point of the screaming emoji with sweat spurting from its forehead on the doctor’s pain chart, but it woke me up a few times last night, and I’m ready to be over it. I’ve got a deadly pandemic to worry about, you know.
The other thing is my cardio health. I know everyone is suffering a little from lack of doing just about anything. However, I’ve been running on my treadmill and working out just about every day. No, I don’t think it’s giving me much benefit to my appearance; I’m not one of those people who are going to emerge from this quarantine as a blond Hilary Swank. It’s just about balancing out the lack of normal activity… like walking to my car or around my classroom or running to the copy machine between classes. So, I’m thinking that a normal work-out routine in my home gym would allow me to keep sitting virtually every other minute of the day without any “seafloor spreading.” I also thought that my normal routine – 5 minutes walking, 15 minutes running, 5 minutes cool-down, 30 minutes of various strength exercises – would be just about fine.
But that’s not the case.
For the past week or so, I’ve only been able to run for a few minutes before my heart hurts, and I have to slow back down to a brisk walk. When I try to run again, same thing. Two or three minutes then I feel like releasing all the words caught by my filter in the past 12 years as a teacher.
But even so, you’re not going to find me any time soon in the office of my doctor, located adjacent to the hospital. Even if there are only 77 cases in my county, there are still 77 REPORTED cases in my county. That’s almost 1 case per mile marker if you discard all the key fills and uninhabited areas. Assuredly, someone with COVID-19 has been in that doctor’s office. Possibly within the past 5 days.
Then I wonder about the irony. Why is this trusted and respected healthcare professional bringing people into her office where people have been sick… where people may be sitting next to me in the waiting room for Coronavirus diagnoses?
I wonder now why she ever did… why any doctor since the invention of Skype ever did.
* * *
A few days ago, our Stupid Robot (what we call Alexa so she doesn’t interrupt us mid-conversation) told us that Georgia was the first state to reopen some of their businesses. The reporter had interviewed this barber with a heavy, southern accent who vowed to wear gloves and a mask if he had to in order to comply with government regulations. He’d rather do that, he said, than stay closed because he had to feed his family and pay his bills.
Ok, cool. You go first. Good luck with dem peach trees!
I just fear we may be next. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the curve is flattening and we should start phasing back into a physically interactive society soon. But I look at the curve. It doesn’t look like a curve. It’s looks like one of those things that measures your heartbeat and beeps when you’re about to die. A spike up. A spike down. A spike a little higher. A spike a little lower. Then to the middle. Then to the top. Then to the bottom. Then a nice, smooth prediction of a curve, gently sliding to zero mid-June like the big rug slides at the carnival.
I don’t know. I don’t know what to believe. The number of cases, deaths, projections… it all kind of feels… fake. I just don’t know in which way – for the good or the worse. Nobody does. All I know is that my armpit hurts, I have to walk around as if my shoulder is in an invisible cast that causes my elbow to bump into door frames, and when I run, my heart hurts just as bad as my armpit. I also know that at no day between now and the foreseeable future will I be visiting a doctor’s office on my own accord. That’s for sure.