One Angeleno’s Coronavirus Pandemic Diary: Day 17 – Shifting Perspectives

Screenshot of L.A. County's new COVID-19 dashboard
Screenshot of L.A. County's new COVID-19 dashboard

Day 15 of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of midday March 25, there are people infected/deaths: worldwide 471,744/21,151, U.S. 64,522/933, CA 2,853/64 , L.A. County 799/13

Day 16 of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of midday March 26, there are people infected/deaths: worldwide 526,913/23,710, U.S. 81,977/1,186 CA 3,718/78, L.A. County 1216/21

Day 17 of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of midday March 27, there are people infected/deaths: worldwide 568,238/26,769, U.S. 93,105/1,539 CA 4,459/90, L.A. County 1465/26 (see also new county dashboard)

Today is the sixth entry in a series of occasional journal-type posts about what’s happening regarding coronavirus in one SBLA editor’s neck of the woods.

This week was the first time I seriously thought about my own mortality in this pandemic.

I had thought of coronavirus as a threat to folks older than I am: my in-laws, my siblings’ in-laws, my elderly neighbors, and many other elders.

I know I have a lot of privilege – I have a roof over my head, an income, health insurance, supportive family, etc.

But, if I am being honest with myself, I am in a group that is at risk for dying of COVID-19.

I am 56 years old. As a person who gets around by bike, I get more exercise than most folks my age. But I am overweight, and need to work on that.

I am generally in good health… but… I have a heart condition, called atrial fibrilation. For some, afib can be debilitating, but for me it has been asymptomatic. It was discovered on a routine check-up. I can’t tell I have it, though it means my heart has some diminished capacity. It’s something I need to keep an eye on, as, if I am not careful or lucky, it will degrade over time.

The night before last – while watching streamed TV in bed with my partner, I had a short coughing spell – maybe a dozen coughs. I wasn’t feeling sick. But I did go to sleep thinking about it.

Yesterday afternoon, I had another short coughing spell. I made myself a cup of tea, took a vitamin C, and reached for a thermometer. As I was taking my temperature, I began to second-guess all the contacts that my family and I had had this week. It was fewer than one per day – one store, one restaurant, one hike, and some social-distanced interactions with next-door neighbors… but now I was thinking about me getting sick and how this might have come about. I thought of myself dying – what it might be like for my family, for projects I am working on that would never be finished, my possessions…

A minute later I read my temperature. It was normal. I didn’t feel sick. The morbid thoughts tapered off to near nothing.

I haven’t been coughing since then. My temperature is normal today. But in the space of a few coughs, I went from thinking “coronavirus happens out there – to somebody else” to realizing “it could happen to me.”

And every minor symptom these days seems fraught. Is my daughter’s cough the start of something bigger? Is my partner’s oddball back pain a possible COVID-19 symptom? It’s difficult not to be apprehensive. But so far, we’re all doing well.

Be careful out there!

Today’s recommended reading:

Image/Video of the day:

I wanted to share this Dr. David Price video but its settings don’t allow me to embed it here. It’s a long watch at one hour, but New York City intensive care physician Price gives grim but reassuring advice on what he’s already seeing and how everyone needs to be vigilant to take key precautions to keep COVID-19 in check.

COVID-19 Transit Map by xxx - h/t Kenny Uong
COVID-19 quarantine transit map by TPS – h/t Kenny Uong

On the lighter side, I can share this L.A. quarantine transit map created by The Place Space. It’s similar to several other COVID-19 transit maps from other areas.

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