I was practically pushed out of the office on Tuesday. They threw a laptop at me and said I should work from home. Not that I was angry, but the mixed feelings were certainly there.
I knew why they wanted me to leave, but it still felt like a personal attack. “Your diseased and therefore at risk,” was all my brain could put on repeat. Though nearly every time a bad illness went through the office I never got it. I knew this was different than those times though. So I went.
Still, the days leading up to it were a struggle. People were avoiding me not just to practice social distancing, but because they were afraid. Afraid I would die from the virus. Afraid that I would catch one thing and then another and another. Afraid I would catch the virus elsewhere and give it to them mostly. They were afraid to have me around, and while I could appreciate their fear, there was still that inner conflict within me of how much I stood out like a sore thumb.
I still find, even after 20 years, that I’m very insecure about my health. My health has not been in good shape for quite a while. I’m probably the worst diabetic on the planet, but I never want people to know that. Or even that I’m diabetic at all. Still, the apparentness of my illness has been made clear to those I spend most of my time with, including my coworkers. So they all know, and with this pandemic, they all freaked out.
My husband is no exception. He works at a grocery store. He’s constantly afraid of bringing home some kind of illness from work. He’s also anxious about people becoming violent at work and harming himself or his friends and coworkers. Things have been hard for him at with how crazy the stores have been trying to keep things in stock. He just wants to go to work, get his paycheck, and come home not worrying about bringing home a virus that might kill his wife. I deal with a lot of guilt and shame because of his fears…but most of my guilt and shame comes from my own mind.
Part of me wonders how this will all shake out. Will they start realizing that pandemics can happen? Will they start realizing that cures for autoimmune diseases may be worth opening up to the public more? Will big pharma finally get its head out of its ass and release the cures we’re all pretty sure they have already after this? Probably not. That would mean not only letting go of millions of dollars, but admitting they were harboring those cures away from the public in the first place…and might lead to some morality issues and arrests.
We could hope, but what good does that do? Money gets to win in the end.
At least the virus doesn’t discriminate. Money doesn’t save you from getting sick in a pandemic. Sure you could be a millionaire but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get the virus. That doesn’t mean all the millions are worth the traveling and exposure. The industry doesn’t go quiet. It keeps moving. Making money. Making calls. Making decisions. Making us ill. And those of us who can’t afford to be ill are the ones who get it first. The bankers. The grocers. The blue collar workers. But so do the millionaires. The money. The doctors and lawyers. Suddenly the playing field is level, and we know who the real martyrs are. The real hero’s. America’s backbone.
The sick stay home, but the carriers keep working. Worrying. Afraid that while bringing home the bacon, they brought home the virus too. This is where we have reached. The fear factor that keeps us all in line, but doesn’t mean the world stops. We still have to work. We still have to make money. The economy is tanking, but it’s still going to be there to tank another day. But will I?
I try not to think about it. I refuse to be afraid. Sure I stay home, but I like to stay home. Sure I work on a computer on my couch, but how is that any different than any other day? It’s not. My normal really doesn’t feel like it’s changed much. I still got my flu shot. I still have all the same fears and concerns of my health as any other day. Today is no different. Today I’ve still washed my hands a number of times. Just like any other day. I still pushed out package designs for clients just like any other day. I still clocked in and out at my usual time like any other day. I still snuggled with my cats and made dinner like any other day. I still kissed my husband like any other day. I still have my allergies giving me my late March sinus infection. Nothing much has changed, and yet all of it has.
Just like any other day.