D is for Don’t

Daily writing prompt
How have you adapted to the changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic?

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of don’ts, regarding masks, exposure, risks; there was a lot known in general about transmission and even more unknown about this new virus. Being a medical person, I was able to read and understand a lot of the recommendations, and also was well aware that such information is a continually changing and updating process. What is known and understood and the “truth” last month may be quite different this month or next. For many people, this was unsettling, and there was a group that used this as grounds for opposing anything they didn’t want to be true. Denial is a powerful instinct. If we don’t know what to do with something or it’s way outside our usual framework of understanding, the first reaction is often denial. No, it can’t be so.

Accepting that denial exists, and then allowing for the possibility that one’s brain or concepts may well need to change is part of the process of living. We adapt all the time. It isn’t easy, and its necessary. Nothing stays the same, we age, forever fantasies fade, we fall in and out of love, pets die, fashions and priorities change. So it has been with Covid 19. At least for most of us, the initial denial (it won’t be anything much, its just a cold or flu, it will be gone in a month or two) has faded.

Covid 19 is here, and likely to remain around, now shifting from pandemic to endemic (like influenza or colds). How have I adapted? Well, I’m more aware of where I go, when and with whom. I’ve never been a big one for crowds, and I’m less likely to hit crowded events now. Considering the circumstances, I may or may not wear a mask, whether for protection against Covid, a cold, or the flu. I’ve gotten ill enough times after flying that I may continue masking on planes. I’ve understood the benefits of masking differently than I once did.

This pandemic has informed my understanding of personal and communal risk, and I’ve adjusted my choices accordingly. When I was actively practicing family medicine, the ethos was that one worked no matter what, including when one was ill. I figured out early on that if I had my annual cold and took one day off to rest and recover, I was much more functional for the following 3 weeks than if I had sucked it up and just kept working. My partners and the office staff found this annoying, as it was never easy to reschedule patients and cover for me, but I realized it was healthier for me and my patients. I was a better doc if I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t exposing my patients to my crud. I’ve noticed that since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a societal change of not sending kids to school or going to work when ill. Of course, when one doesn’t have paid sick time, that’s a problem, too, and fortunately, that’s changing for some folks.

Don’t go to work or school or out to sing karaoke if you’re ill. And in my case, I don’t sing particularly well, so don’t sing karaoke applies all the time.

Do trust yourself to make choices that are right for you. Mine might be different than yours. Do respect other people and don’t put their health at risk because you don’t want to change your own plans or be inconvenienced. It’s that same old playground maxim of consideration of others which still applies.

Written for the ragtag daily prompt of karaoke, the wordpress daily prompt on Covid 19, and the Blogging from A to Z prompt of D.

17 thoughts on “D is for Don’t

  1. Bravo! I had to cancel a day or two of clinic when I got a cold, or else I would cough for six weeks. Then my body realized that I would cancel clinic for laryngitis, so every time I had a cold, I would lose my voice. Eventually I got the hint and would cancel the first day and rest and read novels and not even feel guilty. I did not want to give any bug to my patients and I can’t talk to a deaf 85 year old when I have laryngitis! I hope we have learned that lesson, that resting when sick is sensible and gives us a healthy school system and work force and protects people!


  2. After two vaccines, two MILD bouts with COVID, and two up-to-date booster shots, I struggle with wearing my mask in public places where it’s not strictly required. (I’m happy to wear it if asked.) I think this is a function of being “bullied” on the red state playgrounds at the height of the pandemic FOR wearing a mask while urging others to be considerate of those more vulnerable – and to get vaccinated as soon as that became an option. I have been YELLED at by complete strangers for wearing a mask, and have heard of others experiencing even worse abuse.

    I have to remind myself that I’m STILL doing it to protect the vulnerable – not JUST to protect the idiots who wouldn’t do a thing to help themselves or others avoid a deadly illness. And I do know, from having caught it TWICE, that even the vaccinated can still catch COVID. I know. But I can’t help but think there ought to be some reward for the years of isolating, mask-wearing, and enduring the discomfort of the shots (I have a phobia when it comes to needles, so…it’s a little more than “discomfort”). Yes, I want a cookie – and that cookie involves “no more face-sweat.” 🙂

    When I go to the doctor’s office, and it’s “optional,” I wear my mask in the waiting areas and take it off if the healthcare professionals aren’t wearing theirs, as long as we’re all feeling healthy. And it’s pretty easy to stay home, these days, if I’m not – I’m retired, now. Conveniently, that happened at the start of the pandemic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you on taking care of yourself. Its hard to do what’s right for you and then be yelled at for it. There’s a little of that around here, but not much in my immediate vicinity, and its interesting that there does seem to be a waxing and waning of the amount of masking going on in stores. More recently again, which is interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I live in Texas. I haven’t really seen an uptick in the mask wearing, but at least in the Houston area, there has been very little ugliness and mostly respect for others’ choices. I have not had anyone here tell me I should/should not get vaccinated OR wear/not wear a mask. Our politics may be a complete sh**show, but the people are mostly reasonable and kind.

        What I find difficult to respect is those who wear masks under their noses. Wear it or don’t, but wearing it ineffectively is just like giving EVERYONE the middle finger.

        It was in Florida that I encountered a carload of strangers – I was just walking down the sidewalk! – who rolled down their window and yelled at me to “Take off your mask!” What business was it of theirs? (I was born in Florida, love the state, but I’d be hard-pressed to move back there due to things like that – they don’t seem to be “the exception,” unfortunately.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to be somewhat isolated as a matter of course — during the pandemic, of course, and then due to cancer treatments. When I’m among people, it’s generally pretty easy to judge the risk — in stores I wear masks, in restaurants sometimes, in the outdoors, not at all! I’ve had several shots ( basic 2 plus extra for immunocompromised plus 2 boosters, plus the “new one,” but I’m wondering if it’s time for the next one! I’ve completely avoided having Covid or any of its variants — and will try t avoid it completely. I become pretty annoyed by those who forget that they are not the only ones who might be at risk!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. To me, this is key, “…respect other people and don’t put their health at risk because you don’t want to change your own plans or be inconvenienced.” I learned more about people during that time than I did about disease. But what I learned about Covid? When I got long Covid I learned that really no one had any idea what was going on. Scientists said as much, but, strangely, that’s not something I heard. In the day-to-day it’s not very meaningful, but in the long view?? Useful information. I’m not the same since having had Covid. I’m physically different. And I’m not the same since the pandemic hit and revealed all it did. I’m socially and psychologically changed. I’m a lot more assertive. I’m still friendly, but a bit more reserved. I’m trying hard now to pretend I don’t know about the politics of the people around me so I can be happy here again. I make a little progress. I have learned how important nature and my dogs are REALLY. I also understand the importance — to me — of my survival. Funny how we don’t consider that until we have to.

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    1. I’m not good at pretending. Compartmentalizing, denying, avoiding… some things, I think, should never have been “political.” I think that what makes me angry is knowing what some people will trade in order to maintain their association with a political party or personality. Who they’re willing to throw under the bus for what. That’s not what I thought politics was about, but I’ve learned differently since about 2008, and the pandemic just brought that to crystal clarity, once and for all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Me too. I realized there were people to whom my life meant nothing and some of them were friends. Now I think the less politically rabid among them were just denying what they surely must have seen was real (refrigerator trucks filled with corpses????). There are a lot of stupid people out there…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There really are. I have nothing against people who are not smart or who are truly intellectually challenged. And all of us are ignorant of many things, but that’s curable. It’s the selfishly, stubbornly, willfully, gloatingly ignorant people I despise.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Me too. I spent my life teaching in higher education. People who despise that have no respect for the millions of kids who struggled to have that chance or the older students who came back when they were finally able to catch up.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think it’s mostly envy, but a toxic expression of it that leaves me without an ounce of sympathy for them. Formal education is costly and may truly be out of reach for some, but learning is free. There are libraries, free online courses, generous people who will always help if you only ask.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yep. I had plenty of students who because of their poverty attended on the government’s dime. It might be envy but there’s a good reason that’s one of the “seven deadlines.”

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  5. Would it be nice if we could put life on “hold” until we were recovered? I remember how fast I recovered — even 10 years ago. Now, I don’t bounce back. Mainly I don’t bounce — and the world doesn’t wait. Everyone is in a hurry and while I understand why some things require we move at warp speed, many things can be paced much slower. It’s like all the supersonic speedy drivers on the road. The ALL act like they are on a life and death mission Maybe someone is but I’m pretty it isn’t everyone. If the world won’t stop for us, maybe WE need to slow down — even occasionally just stop and rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I live in a largely redneck area of covid deniers and “you can’t take my civil rights” people, so sometimes, I was the only masked person in a place! I’m also an essential worker, teaching preschool kids who were too young to mask and who needed to see our faces for effective communication (don’t even get me started on what covid did to their overall social-emotional development).

    I also think that taking a day off to rest when you begin to feel ill can help to prevent the illness from getting worse AND exposing others to it, but it’s hard to do when short staffed, and I feel guilty if I know I’m leaving everyone in a lurch (and all those masks I made sure come in handy for times like this!). I also fervently believe we should take mental health days when we need them, but it’s often harder to explain your need for one of those than for one where you are considered legitimately “sick”.

    Liked by 1 person

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