When Living Becomes Harder Than Dying

I never thought I’d live through something like this, and I hope it doesn’t get worse.

The coronavirus was first reported December 30, 2019 in in the city of Wuhan, China, just three short months ago. Now it’s March and precautions to contain coronavirus (COVID-19) have escalated the most in just the past few days; a very short space of time. My husband suggested I chronicle the next few months, because truly we are living in a period of time that not doubt will go down in history. When was the last time a serious crisis plagued the world? The only event that comes to mind is 9/11. So many things changed after that tragic day, and for us civilians airport security changed forever. I am lucky that I can remember a time before 9/11 going on trips overseas with my parents when I was young. Now it seems everything is going to change again for the world.

Almost everything is shutdown in every country for the next several months: schools, restaurants, libraries, the list goes on. Why just today March 17, Midway Airport announced it will be closed until travel is considered safe to resume; a major airport! Luckily my parents made it back from their ski trip in Aspen, Colorado yesterday before the travel ban went into effect. Ski resorts around the U.S. are closed for the rest of the season of course.

Grocery Shopping During Coronvirus

It feels like we’re living through the beginnings of a bubonic plague, or a flu epidemic like the one that happened in 1918, 102 years ago. It’s recommended to not go out unless you absolutely need to. Luckily some things are staying open, like grocery stores, and many restaurants are accepting carryout and takeout orders.

One of many almost bare shelves at Jewel-Osco. I took this photo at the one on 94th Avenue and 159th Street in Orland Park.

At the grocery store today, my stomach felt like it had butterflies at certain points. Subconsciously I must have been getting a little nervous. Shelves were empty, signs indicated that you could only take one of an item, the store wasn’t very busy, and those of us shoppers who were at Jewel were afraid to be near eachother. Social distancing is one of the preventive practices doctors have recommened to avoid contracting Coronavirus. People gave eachother sheepish, slightly worried looks as we all tried to avoid being too close going up and down the isles.

The Outlook So Far

It is estimated that life should return to normal by August, at best July. The quarantine of Wuhan, where Coronvirus was first reported, began January 23 and is still in place. Most people won’t die from Coronavirus, but the fear is that the virus can mutate and build a resistance as it is passed from person to person. But physicians like Dr. Drew say don’t panic. Even my daughter’s physician Dr. Oliver said it’s still ok to come to her annual wellness check-up next week, but that if Geoff and I felt concerned that it is ok to postpone it.

As a mother I feel strong and somehow worry free, but I find myself needed less sleep and having some bad dreams. Of course something like this pandemic would on a subsconscious level be affecting someone. But I am doing everything to protect my family and focusing on what I can control.

I wonder what it felt like for people in the past who went through difficult times like the plague, world wars, the Great Depression, etc. News didn’t travel as fast as it does now, but today our media environment can hype the dangers of everything from Russian-generated Facebook posts to Arianna Grande licking a donut, and bombard us continuously if we don’t get off our smartphones and limit what we watch on TV. I want to believe Dr. Drew and other physicians and experts who say not to panic, I do.

Is It Possible To Still Have Fun In The Time Of Coronavirus?

Being homebound will be especially hard for families with young children. The last time my daughter was out of the house was last Friday when we went to Gymboree, which we usually go to at least three times a week. And with her birthday being this weekend I wanted to also take her to Sky Zone! But what is nice is that being stuck at home, save for the occassional walk outside (sadly the WHO recommends not going to playgrounds as of March 19), is giving all of us an opportunity to really flex our mental muscles to come up with ways to stay entertained and not bored by interacting more one-on-one like how it was before television, video games, the internet, radio, etc. And in many ways, it’s like we’re reliving those two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s again.

One sacrifice people are making is postponing things like birthdays. The young lady who I discovered last year who has a home-based cake making business Dria, she cancelled all her orders for the next two months to be safe. And we were so looking forward to her birthday cake creation for our daughter; it was going to be Frozen 2 themed.

I’m sure I’m not the only mom who feels a little guilty about postpoing their child’s birthday party. But at the same time, a lot of families do just do small intimate parties. Eileah will have to wait to get her presents from the rest of her family, but she’ll definitely get her presents from my husband and I. And our dog Samantha too! Our dog is a very descerning shopper.

There’s this scene in a comedy that is really good called Blast From The Past (1999) where a family that is locked in a fallout shelter is running very low on provisions and supplies. They try their best to give their 35 year old son (who was born in the fallout shelter) the best birthday they can. His mother has just enough ingredients to make a bundt cake and a few candles of different types to place on top of the cake for her son to make a wish. Very modest, think the Cratchits from A Christmas Carol. Ironically enough we have half of the bundt cake we had at our St. Patrick’s Day part last weekend. Oh I know, we have more than most in the world, but I guess this feeling is a product of how priveleged we are in this country. And even if my daughter Eileah was old enough to understand why her birthday party with her family is postponed, this would be a teachable moment and it certainly will be when we tell her when she’s old enough. Humans have come so far, we take for granted sometimes how much we have. The little luxuries of presents, big birthday cakes, etc. aren’t what make a birthday special.

I am happy to say that we were able to have our annual St. Patrick’s Day party. It was literally the day before President Trump and other countries announced the international travel ban and for businesses to either close for the time being or reduce their services to remotely (suc as online or via other telecommunication), pick-up, or delivery.

The day of St. Patrick’s Day, yesterday, Tinley Park parents organized a Shamrock Hunt where kids craft a paper shamrock or what have you and place it on a window in their home that people can easily see from the sidewalk. Then we all going walking around our neighborhood, observing social distancing, and count how many we spot.

Eileah coloring her paper shamrock.

I will say that I am very happy that our Internet provider Comcast is letting people have unlimited data usage until the world can return to business as usual. This is really helpful to us because we have a little one who likes Disney+ and my husband and I work from home running our internet marketing business Geoffresh (prounced: jef’ – Fresh). If you’re a parent or someone who just subscribed to Disney+, you know what I mean about running dangerously close to the edge of your internet data usage limit. Disney+ really needs to improve that, we never encountered that using both iTunes and Hulu.

So much about thie coronavirus time is a teachable moment. It’s preparing us to be more prepared if something like this happens again. And hopefully once we get through this time we will take less thigns for granted and remember to be “better for each other because of the worst;” great quote from Laura Kelly Fanucci.

Obviously the worst thing that could happen is we become extinct, that coronavirus destroys all life. That’s the super dark worry I have in the far reaches of my subsconscious that I try not to worry about. But what we really should be concerned with is people’s livelihoods financially. Most employers are allowing employees to work from home, and I hope this period of time will change the norm about working remotely. It not only is good for the environment, it’s also good for people in terms of saving money, time, and keeping moral and quality of life good. So many benefits to letting employees work from home more often. But many people who don’t have essential jobs are not earning a salary. Only crucial industries are still operating, like doctors, engineers, etc. Another Great Depression does not need to happen. If there’s one more teachable moment from this coronavirus period of time it’s that America needs to change things concerning our money system because if we don’t take care of each other, well…life will be very sad if something dramatic like coronavirus happens again. By the sounds of it countries like Sweden’s capitalist system with welfare programs is very successful.

Coronavirus is effecting people’s ability to get the care they need for things like mental health, screenings, etc. This tweet shocked me.

Wouldn’t it be great if the world was like how Gene Roddenberry imagined it in Star Trek?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard : The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century. 

Lily Sloane : No money? You mean, you don’t get paid? 

Captain Jean-Luc Picard : The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”

Scene from the movie Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

One thing that I keep seeing pop up a lot on social media is ‘Blackout.’

No, not that Blackout! Apparently spiritualists, Shamans, Psychics, and the like apparently predicted that something significant like this virus would happen that would fix a lot of the things humanity has been putting off resolving.

Here’s what I found, I thought it was interesting:

You know that “Age of Aquarius” song? Well it comes from something astrologers postulated long ago, and if this “Blackout” is dark before the dawn of that progress the song talks about, well that certainly is encouraging.

Will We See A Baby Boom in 2023?

There will be a baby boom in 9 months.

And in 2033 we’ll witness the rise of the quaranteens.

On a lighter note

This tweet from Dad Jokes lifted my spirit earlier in the week.

Do you think there’s a baby boom going on, and in 2033 we’ll witness the rise of the quaranteens? Comment Below.

What Tinley Park Is Doing During The Coronavirus

Tinley Park has been organizing a relief committee of residents who can help delivery groceries to people’s homes, like the elderly who are one of the most at risk populations of dying from Coronavirus.

To stay up-to-date, you can visit the Village’s webpage specifically devoted to Coronavirus: https://www.tinleypark.org/government/departments/emergency_management/covid-19.php

I promise my future posts won’t be as long as this, but so much happened in the past 3 months, I had a lot of thoughts collected. I’ll try my best to post everyday and chronicle this time in history.

Take care,

Stephanie Pyrzynski

Stephanie Pyrzynski

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