This has been a bumpy ride for the whole of humanity as of late. I think we are all feeling the effects of it. What has me concerned for most of you is that panic and disbelief seem to be taking precedence over rationale and reasoning. For some reason, we think someone is coming to take our liberties away simply because our medical providers are asking us to stay home. What you don’t understand is that this is so the virus can be contained and will give them an opportunity to rest and get caught up.
So, let’s take a “walk” through what’s happening, from the perspective of someone who used to drive an ambulance for a living, shall we? I think we need to know what happens if we don’t self-contain and people continue to get sick. Keep in mind that there are only approximately 100,000 Intensive Care Beds in the entire United States (this number doesn’t include the beds already allocated for other types of patient needs and the ones currently used). As of this writing, there are 31,513 people infected in the United States.
You go out with your friends to play basketball. Everyone gets together to play on the court, it’s outside, you don’t think you will get sick. You’re a youngish, vital, and healthy person, you have nothing to worry about (you think). Playing basketball causes you to sweat. The Novel coronavirus spreads via water droplets from sneezing, coughing, saliva, or discharge from the nose. What do you think the chances of it spreading via sweat are going to be? Pretty high, right? Not only are you sweating, because you are really enjoying this game with your friends, since no one is going to tell you how to live your life, you are all fighting to get ball from each other. So what are you doing? You are touching each other, brushing against each other, falling on each other. Where do you think that sweat is going to go? What if you sneeze or cough? You are washing your hands between touching the ball, right? Sure you are.
So, you get home, take a shower, throw your clothes and towel in with everyone elses and go about living your life. Five days later, you get a tickle in your throat (keep in mind, it can take up to 14 days for this to catch up with you). You don’t think anything of it and keep on. Maybe you go to the gym this time, you shower there, maybe you go grab some lunch with your friends. The next day you wake up and your sinuses are stopped up, you think it’s just allergies. Guess what? It’s not allergies. The next day, you wake up having a hard time trying to catch your breath. Then you become panicked and seek help. This can mean alerting your mom, dad, spouse, friend, you get the idea.
You have gone from having a hard time catching your breath (think of the times you worked out too hard here). You are starting to lose oxygen, so now you are really panicking. Your body starts to go on alert, your lungs are filling up with fluid (have you ever been swimming and had a moment before?). You or someone else calls for EMS to help you because you aren’t breathing correctly. The problem is, EMS may be delayed getting to you right now because in that timeframe between when you thought nothing of playing basketball with your friends, you went out into the general public and so did the same friends you played basketball with. Now more people are sick. Some have become ill quicker because they were already sick to begin with.
Now the Emergency Medical System is overloaded with so many sick calls. Some requiring a higher level of care than normal. Someone like you may have to stay at your house for treatment while the paramedic coordinate a higher level of care for you because after your breathing treatment, the medic still wasn’t happy with your Oxygen levels and made the decision that you may need a ventilator soon. Is there a hospital available with a bed for you and a ventilator (because you may be intubated before you even get into the back of the truck)? No one knows. Not only is this stressful for you, but now it’s extra stressful for the paramedics and anyone with you. You see, you aren’t going to be stressed at all in a moment, you might be chemically paralyzed so the paramedic can intubate you if your breathing doesn’t improve while you are in their care. The bonus is anyone with you at the time, gets to witness the paramedic prep you for intubation and chemical paralyzation. You might even get a helicopter ride out of it, if they are available, and if your area provides it. It might be a fantastic and beautiful ride, but you won’t remember it. Your loved ones will. (Less oxygen equals less brain cells). Of course, this all depends on if there is a ventilator available since they can’t borrow one from the hospital now as they are essential to their operations during a pandemic.
Do you see how this is going? Once you get to the hospital, there is a very likely chance that you will go to a makeshift area of the hospital. If you aren’t intubated, but receiving a breathing treatment, you might get the luxury of hanging out in the crowded hallway of the Emergency Room or wherever else they have made room. This isn’t the healthiest option either, even if you didn’t come in with a breathing treatment, because now you are sitting with people who have confirmed cases of this virus. You will notice the staff is short on patience and compassion. They have been sleeping at the hospital. Some of the hospital staff have become infected and are also being treated.
Our medical providers, from the ground up are exhausted and stretched thin. Not staying home is contributing to the deaths and illnesses of others. For those that think official quarantine is coming to take your liberties away, I ask that you are mindful of others outside of your circle because you are putting them at risk, ultimately taking away their liberties. Do you see that? Maybe your rebelliousness and refusal to stay home is really a fear response. That is understandable and something that can be managed. We have plenty of resources at our disposal to help us maintain calm. Our medical providers and counselors throughout the country are more than willing to help us find a sense of peace while quarantined. It’s stressful for everyone. We are all having to leave our jobs, schools, and places we enjoy going to. This isn’t forever, it’s just for right now.
So, please, on behalf of our medical professionals and staff, stay home so they can at least catch a good HEALTHY breath. If you find you are mentally panicking, feel free to drop me a note and I will be more than happy to help you look for resources.
Right now is not the time to stand your ground. Be healthy and well. <3