Thursday, March 19, 2020

We Can Do Hard Things, Thursday 3/19/20

Hey, Reader, how's it going today? I confess to feeling an uptick of rage. It started about an hour ago when I heard about someone I know testing positive for the virus. (How are we going to write this word? Virus? Corona Covid? Covid-19? Should we be clever or ironic or matter-of-fact and terse? Maybe the uptick started last night when I went to bed and read a few emails from our old pediatrician's office. He's a private doctor who treats a lot of very wealthy families and celebrities. I "picked" him over 23 years ago because he was willing to work with my babies' vaccination schedule given Sophie's seizure disorder and the suspicious way it started. That's another story and we sure as hell aren't going into that now. I'm telling you this so you know why I took all three of my children, through their childhood, to a ridiculously expensive pediatrician. Don't get me wrong. I love the man and his staff.  Fortunately, we made very few visits to the pediatrician, but I can honestly say that in nearly every single instance,  I spotted a familiar golden face.

You know what? Forget this story. It's about self-tests for The Virus, how they were available for $250. How as soon as the newsletter went out, first come, first serve, another newsletter arrived and all the tests were gone, accounted for, paid for, etc., as if those tests were toilet paper, frantically purchased and hoarded.

Capitalistic concierge medicine.

My uptick of rage is related to my son announcing that several Lakers have The Virus or have tested positive, and I've been reading accounts from FRIENDS that they haven't been able to get a test despite having symptoms of  The Virus. So, all I'm going to say about this is the same thing I've been harping (that's a fine word, isn't it?) about for all the years you've been reading this shit that I write and that is that we can not call ourselves a great country when the country has such a huge disparity between those that are obscenely rich and the rest of us. Where celebrities and pro athletes and rich people have access to healthcare while regular folks do not.

Let's not even get into the disabled issue.

Read this.

When all of this is over, I think I don't want to hear another word about a celebrity or a pro athlete or really anything related to vast sums of money or adulation of those who have vast sums of money.







I did have a good morning teaching my dear students. One made a video for his final project related to the great Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find." I practically fell on the floor in a state of shock and awe when I watched it. Honestly. This 14-year old kid got that short story and created something original, weird and incredible. I wish I could share it with you and will let you know if he makes it public on Vimeo.

I also spoke with my therapist in a telephone session, and that helped me a lot. We compared notes on coping, talked at length about how we can do hard things, how helping others helps ourselves, how caregiving is a form of meditation and damn if I'm not grateful for the people out there working so hard to ease the suffering of others.

Thank you doctors and nurses and all those who help in the healthcare world.

Here's a poem by Lynn Unger:

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.


  1. Thank you for a very helpful and kind post. Particularly the poem. Yes, to see it as an opportunity rather than deprivation.

  2. As I wrote in a comment to someone I know whom I think is being incredibly foolish and selfish in taking his children out shopping for entertainment and justifying his actions by saying he's studied the "coverage maps"- until there is widespread testing coverage maps are useless. And why does he think that so many celebrities are testing positive? BECAUSE THEY ARE ABLE TO GET TESTED.
    Even as we are seeing much kindness now, the essential nature of humans will not change. I truly believe that.

  3. Did you see that the NYT did a story on the issue of testing access for the rich & famous?

    I can't wait to see your student's video on the O'Connor story. Isn't it amazing when some kid GETS it? I hope he makes it public.

  4. This is what enrages me too. It's also the source of my anxiety, the knowledge that some people will be able to access the care because of money and privilege and some simply wont. I cannot tell what my friend is going through trying to get a test, and she has symptoms. Or right, I don't have to tell you. You already know. Rage on, my love.

  5. Thank you for posting frequently. It helps me stay connected to normalcy and sense.

  6. That Poem is Beautiful! Yes, when shortages are happening the scant few resources will always go to whoever can afford them and mebbe doesn't even need them as desperately as someone less wealthy and connected. When they start having to choose who lives and who dies, that's when it will be most apparent who is valued most by this Society. I have no delusions we're low on that Totem Pole so we Sheltered In Place long before it was suggested to protect ourselves as much as we could and stock up on what I knew might be panic bought once Arizona had the same stats as Cali and Washington State... not to mention Asia and Europe, which were our first Clues this was going to be very, very bad and if we paid attention we could be better prepared. I was mocked for taking it very seriously early on, nobody is laughing now... and honestly, I wished they all would have been more serious and not listening to the Orange Menace downplaying this whole thing and believing his lies and the spin he tried to put on it. This may be the first thing that man ever has not been able to Con his way out of!

  7. There is so much frustrating bullshit being highlighted by this (I call it C19 for short). Most heartbreaking to me is that when they should have been taking steps to prevent death, there are members of Congress (and lets be rea, and likely some Trumps) that sold millions in stock instead. Our country will be better in some ways after this I think because more people have reached their capacity for bullshit.



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