It’s astounding to me that Italy has effectively shut down, no school, no businesses except groceries and pharmacies, shut down. I’ve been to Italy twice in my life, and been grateful for each visit. It’s a country I have a heartfelt kinship with although I don’t believe my DNA test revealed any Italian in my ancestry…hang on while I double check that. Whew, I wasn’t lying, no Italian. So, even though I’m unrelated to the people of the country, it’s a place where I’ve always felt at home and me, a person who can get lost in my own neighborhood, has never once gotten lost in Rome. It’s like a map of the city is written somewhere in my bones and becomes accessible the moment I arrive. Sigh.

My first trip to Italy I met a friend in Rome who did some touristy thing with me one day, and then we went our separate ways. The touristy things were cool, some would argue necessary, but my favorite parts of Rome were the things I bungled into: a piece of art on the outside of an apartment building that looked like a window with a woman peeking out, the cafe that made absolutely phenomenal coffee and beyond perfect cannoli, and my all time favorite, the crazy middle of nowhere restaurant that was practically empty when I arrived and where after the very best meal I have ever eaten in my life I thought I was going to be murdered or raped or sold a slave when the waiter/chef/owner insisted I follow him downstairs and where I was then shown an unbelievable train set of the entire city in perfect and minute detail.

I can’t imagine how many people had plans to travel to Italy in the next few months and now won’t get to go. I can’t imagine what will happen to the US when we eventually succumb to the same lock down, because it’s inevitable. The thing is, the entire world is going to be exposed to COVID-19, there’s no way to avoid it. We will all be exposed and we will all die or become immune, and then COVID-19 won’t be a problem for us until the next generation comes along, the generation that wasn’t alive when this first swept through and therefore isn’t immune. It won’t happen right away, but at some point, there will be enough new generations that haven’t been exposed that we’ll be primed for another outbreak. Unless of course a vaccine is developed before then.

What You Can Do

I was texting with my family about this today and the point I was trying to make is that we will all get it eventually, so there’s no sense worrying about getting it, you will, accept it. The point is that right now everyone is getting it all at once and there’s currently no way to treat all the cases erupting exponentially each day, so your best bet is to do all you can do for yourself and your family and your community to delay getting it as long as possible. Give the medical community a chance to figure out what we’re dealing with and how best to do so.

Take care of yourself:

  • exercise
  • eat well
  • sauna (if you can)
  • keep your immune system up
  • wash your hands
  • stay home as much as possible to avoid contracting the virus or spreading the virus (since you may already have it but not yet be symptomatic)
  • keep abreast of the truth by visiting only vetted sources of information, this is an excellent one: CDC Website on COVID-19

I was speaking with a friend today who, like my husband, has a weakened immune system, and we were saying how important it is for people without weakened immune systems to be aware that just because we can quickly and easily fight off an illness it doesn’t mean that others can. We have a responsibility to ourselves as well as to others not to go out when we’re sick expecting that others will recover as we do.

Mister Rogers’ mom said something beautiful like how even in the worst tragedies there are always helpers and to look for the helpers. I’d like to take this a step further and say look for the humor. Yes, this is a tragic turn of events, especially on the heels of all our political devastation recently, and still there is humor. There are brilliantly hilarious memes circulating and laughter is an important part of keeping your health and your sanity. Some of my favorite memes are the hand washing ones, like this from Imgur and DilligafDiva:

Labyrinth Hand Washing Meme Courtesy of Imgur and DilligafDiva
Labyrinth Hand Washing Meme Courtesy of Imgur and DilligafDiva

I wish you all the best of health now and always. Keep your chin up, and sense of humor intact.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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