So much has happened this week. We have reached the tipping point of this COVID-19 pandemic in Northwest Arkansas. It’s like watching a tsunami coming at us in slow motion.
At one point this week I was on the phone with a man who knew he was supposed to be on quarantine, had traveled to an area of high COVID activity, and had been sick with flu-like symptoms for a week. During that week he had gone in to work in an open office with hundreds of employees and worked while sick. When I was speaking to him I could hear the turn signal in his car. This man knew he was supposed to be on quarantine and yet he was out picking up his kid from school. At this point in my conversation with him, my mind’s eye was seeing his sweet germy kid laughing and playing with a classroom full of kids, going through the lunch line, spreading virus laden droplets everywhere.
We, as Americans, do not like being told to restrict our freedoms. It’s antithetical to our cultural identity.
My son’s girlfriend’s dad had a fever and cough. He told me it was allergies. I couldn’t take a chance. My son is not happy with me for keeping him home. But it is the responsible thing to do. It might be just allergies. I told my son that being responsible often means doing the hard thing because it is the right thing to do. He didn’t like that either.
My 18 year old went to work tonight at a restaurant, against my recommendation. I worry about that small business because they will inevitably be affected by social distancing. But I also worry about my son spreading the virus by touching all of those used utensils and dishes.
We are at the tipping point of this pandemic here in Arkansas. We can see it coming. There are critical decisions that need to be made like yesterday. Ten days from now we will wish for the days when we could speculate about the one patient who was out in the community spreading this virus like wild fire. Ten days from now we will most likely have a hospital full of COVID-19 patients. We will be exhausted from the workload. Our health care workers will become compromised. Our supplies will be short. We will be pulling together community resources to help those people in our towns who work in the services industry who can no longer afford to pay their rent or buy food because people are not out in the bars, people are not out in the restaurants, people are not out getting hair cuts, getting their nails done, getting massage therapy.
Our community is amazing though. I love Northwest Arkansas because it is beautiful and safe, because there is a university here which means there are progressive thinkers here. But mostly I love the people and the community that holds us all together. I’m afraid that I am going to lose a lot of people in this community I love.
If you haven’t discovered it yet there is a Facebook group whose mission is to help get aid to people in our community who have been affected by COVID-19.
Feel free to get on there and see how you can help others, or if you need help you can post that as well. Aside from social distancing, washing your hands and stop touching your face. All I can say (besides throwing a whole bunch of CDC resources at you) is hang in there. It’s going to be hard. But we’re going to work through this together.
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Much love. Much respect.
Wendy Finn is an Infection Control Nurse at a local hospital, the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, runner, cyclist, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist, a massage therapy educator, and a student pursuing her Masters in Public Health. She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.