I remember a hospital stay with Samantha. She had a temp of 102. She could not hold her oxygen. Her lungs were junky so we consistently had to take a tube that was attached to a suction machine, stick it up her nose and suck yellow glop out of her sinus’ into a canister attached.
Note to reader…… Are you eating? I hope you’re not eating…..
Cough. Go ahead right now. Give yourself a good cough. Make sure you cough into your elbow and wash your hands after- because, well COVID-19. But after you do that, think about all of the muscles it took to cough.
You inhale, deeply. Inhale into your strong, capable lungs. Your diaphragm tenses up, perhaps along with your abdominal muscles. Your throat muscles close your glottis while chest muscles exert pressure. Your glottis opens back up and expels whatever ick seems to be residing in your chest cavity.
Whew! That was a lot. Now imagine living in a body with a compromised diaphragm. With a respiratory system that cannot force air out properly so all of that ick pools back into your beautiful lungs, perhaps damaging your tiny, precious alveoli.
I remember wrestling with Samantha and the suction machine; neither was cooperating. The doctor came in and said, “Your daughter has the Rhinovirus!”
“Oh my God,” I said. “Not the Rhinovirus. What do we do? This is horrible!” I then paused, turned off the suction machine and said, “What is the Rhinovirus?”
“It’s a common head cold.” He pointed to his nose. “Rhino? Nose?”
I looked around at tubes and the machines.
“All of this for a head cold?”
“Well, yes. When your body cannot expel the nastiness collecting in your lungs, all of this for a head cold.”
“What can we do?”
“Nothing, its a virus. Lets get her stable and her fever down. We can send you home with a suction machine.”
I learned how to suction like no one has ever suctioned before, well, except for my friend Maria, she could suction her son Jacob with a skill and finesse that really was quite impressive. In fact, all of my mito moms can suction their Loves with ease. Because being able to cough is a big deal and not being able to cough is an even bigger deal.
The common cold became my Corona.
And now, ten years later, I read the current news updates. Tonight I cancelled an event with friends. I do not condemn medical professionals for what they are doing nor do I think we are over reacting.
I do think the toilet paper thing is odd. But that’s another topic.
Here is what I do know. Our medical system is taxed on a good day. Don’t believe me? Go sit in an ER during flu season. Hang out in an ER room for 36 hours because there are no rooms available inpatient. Wait. Because there is nothing else you can do.
We have a medical system designed to get patients in and out of hospital beds as quickly as possible. Empty beds mean money wasted- want to cut costs? Remove beds. And so our system has done so.
This is not a criticism of our system, it’s just fact.
And for you, healthy, beautiful person with strong abs and a functioning glottis, this is no big deal. You might get sick. You might not. It might suck. It might not. Regardless, I hope I never, ever have to suction you.
But think about every single person you come in contact with today and what they might go home to.
Health is our most precious gift. More precious than the stock market. More precious than that Spring Break trip. Be so very grateful for the lovely, functioning coughing body you have.
And in that gratitude, please be respectful and aware of those who do not.
And Wash. Your. Hands.