Saturday, March 21, 2020

We Can Do Hard Things, Saturday 3/21/20

Hey there, from sunny California! How are ya'll doing?

A couple of years ago -- or was it last? -- I read an article about the best masks to wear should the fires in California grow worse and our already full of particulate air get even worse, and I bought a box of those N95s right on Amazon. I balked at buying them because they were more than $50,  but I'm good (or bad) about impulse shopping so when they came I put them in the earthquake kit and forgot about them. My friend Heather posted on Facebook about a news conference in front of UCLA with doctors and nurses pleading for masks -- for the people who had bought and hoarded them in the last few weeks to donate them to area hospitals. I called one of my neighbors whose husband is a doctor at one of the most prestigious hospitals in LA and told her that I had a box of N95s and would he like them and she said yes! and then she walked over to my house and rang the doorbell and I reached out with them to where she stood, 6 feet from my doorway. She said that her husband would be taking them to the ER. She said that the hospital is ghostly, that all elective surgeries have been cancelled and that several people were on respirators in intensive care and everybody else is waiting.

We are all waiting.

My uncle has tested positive for The Virus. He is nearly 84 and lives in an assisted living/retirement home here in Los Angeles. He has no symptoms but is quarantined in his room.

I've always felt contempt toward the survivalist -- especially the rich ones who live behind barricades and have safe rooms or private jets or extra cars parked across bridges from Manhattan in case terror strikes again. People are making masks out of scrap fabric all across America as we speak.

I've thought it, but I've never written it: may that POS who is supposedly leading us drown in fluids filling his lungs, alone.


Here's one of my favorite poems by Jack Gilbert.

A Brief For The Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.


  1. Why did they test your uncle if he didn't have any symptoms?

  2. I think we are all survivalists in some way. It's in our genes, otherwise, the human race would have disappeared long ago. It's the degree of the thing that makes a difference. You bought masks because you wanted your children and yourself to survive in a certain situation. This does not excuse the behavior of those who use their wealth, their fame, their laptop celebrity to use up the resources with no thought of others.
    You gave the masks to someone who can use them in saving lives. Those who hole themselves up with their warehouses full of everything from Covid tests to toilet paper to food in luxurious, secure surroundings are still human, but they are not a part of humankind. Not as I define it.
    You done good, woman. I love you.

  3. It was so good of you to donate your masks. Medical personnel and their loved ones will thank you.

    When the current supplies of masks are gone at a major nationally known hospital here in daughter, an RN, tells me that she and other nurses will be wearing their masks for 5 full day/night shifts (12 - 14 hours a day) 4 days a week. After each day of wearing their mask they will put it in a paper bag and mark it with an X, the next day they take it out and put it on again for another 12 to 14 hours. and then bag it up again. It sounds so gross to have to put that mask into a paper bag after wearing it around sick people with the germs, air borne droplets of blood, and no telling what all else, and then get up and wear it again. Do the inside of these masks get damp from the wearer's breath? I didn't think to ask my daughter about that. If they are, that means the masks will just sit and marinate in all of the germs they have collected through the days, overnight in a dark paper bag until they are reused. I am so worried about my daughter and all of the other medical workers taking care of very sick people in these near primitive conditions. I'm also worried about all of the people that will undergo treatment by medical personnel wearing these contaminated masks.

    We all know that The President and any of his cabinet and most rich people would never be medically treated by any medical personnel wearing a mask that has been reused so many times with so many patients that the mask itself is dangerous. But everyday people will be treated by personnel wearing contaminated masks. That policy of reusing the masks is dangerous to my daughter and all of the patients she treats. As huge as this country is why can't some manufacturers start making some suitable masks for our medical workers. Cuomo has had some success getting a manufacturer to make them, hopefully other governors will too. We apparently can't expect that much of our President - as the federal government is not a shipping clerk.

  4. We are all waiting, you're right. It's like watching a train coming at you in slow motion and you can't get off the track.

  5. AWESOME! Good for you for donating your masks. And I'm sorry to hear about your uncle, but it's probably a very good sign (I think?) that he's not showing symptoms. I didn't even realize that was possible for someone 84 years old. I wonder how many of us would test positive and don't even know it.

  6. I’m glad your uncle is symptom free. May he remain so. How did he get a test if he has no symptoms though? I ask because a friend’s sister is very sick and unable to score a test. It’s insane.

  7. Donating your Masks was sacrificial and so needed at the Hospitals during these desperate times when our Government is abandoning them and not providing what they absolutely need to take Care of all of the Sick and Dying. Not just the COVID-19 Patients, but all of the desperately Sick and Dying they tend to every day! I am appalled that this incompetent Administration has not yet mobilized everything within it's Power to aide the Medical Community, every other Country is and they are watching and just 'waiting'... WTF?!

  8. How lovely, and loving, of you to give your masks away for those working tirelessly in the hospital. They, and many others on the front lines, are heroes.

    The ying and yang of life is most present today. The ebb and flow of delight and horror. It's a fine balancing act, to say the least.

    Many good wishes for your uncle's recovery. I'm glad he doesn't have symptoms. I expect many in nursing homes are all being tested so they can be isolated if need be.



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