I’m an older person so I get to shop at the store at privileged times. That’s cool and/or not since it’s from 7 to 8 am and I like to sleep in. BUT if it comes to that… Someone complained on Facebook about young people showing up to shop at that time, and I thought, “There are a lot of people out there with invisible disabilities.”

I’m one of them. I have AERD, Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease. Aspirin will kill me. It will throw me into anaphylactic shock, close my airways, compress my lungs. Not just aspirin, though. All NSAIDs. Anything that is overloaded with salicylic acid. The disease causes nasal polyps another enemy to breathing. Another symptom is hives. I’m lucky because it’s been controlled pretty easily. Other people have it much worse. Doctors don’t diagnose it easily; many have never heard of it and don’t think of it. I was lucky to have found a great ENT in San Diego who sent me to a brilliant allergist. That was after two years of very scary moments in which I literally couldn’t breathe.

It’s impossible to know if the young person shopping during old person’s hour is suffering from AERD, or Lupus, or any number of other invisible illnesses that make him/her vulnerable if attacked by any random respiratory illness. This virus is especially dangerous because hospitals don’t have the equipment they need.

I found myself incredibly angry at Offal today. Reading that he’s offered help to North Korea when he has done little to help the people in his own nation sent me into a quiet rage. He knew about this MONTHS ago (we all did) and only an idiot thinks a virus respects national borders. MONTHS ago he should have been ramping up the production of ventilators, pushing for a vaccine (and not by trying to co-opt a German company), and producing tests that would make the daily statistics meaningful.

So I’m being careful. Not rabidly careful. I realized, from the process of educating myself, that one could, in order to protect themself from this virus, spend every moment of their lives cleaning something. While that might be the vaunted “abundance of caution,” if I’m going to die from this, I’d rather have lived a little life during this time. My care is pretty much limited to just avoiding people and staying at home, venturing out only to wander in the Big Empty. Thank God there’s a lot of it here.

My next trip to the store is a week from today. No one will object to me taking my old self through the front door early in the morning. I just think it’s important to remember that a lot of people are secretly, quietly, invisibly, messed up.

Anyone who votes for Trump this November after this, is, IMO, an enemy of the people.

24 thoughts on “Careful

  1. i can identify with everything that you said here, with the exception of your severe allergy. i’m glad you were able to identify it, and can live life accordingly. be well

    • Thank you. Strictly speaking it’s not an allergy but really what difference does that make? My allergist identified it because I have only one allergy — penicillin. Everything else was negative. She literally said, “OH! I know!!!” She had a Eureka moment…

  2. I saw that headline about Trump and had to read it twice. This is one of his ‘love letters’ to North Korea? What an ass.

  3. Be very careful when you go to the store — if a younger person offers to go for you, let them! I am just as resentful as you, though without the impairments you have. I really resent that I cannot live these last few years of my life as I want to, but have to be careful of everybody around me! Stay well, stay safe!

  4. The “over-60” shopping hours at our local grocery store are 5:30-7AM – like that’s ever going to happen for me to get out the door by then. But I agree, it needn’t be age restricted for risks lurk in every age group. The news conference this evening about dealing with the crisis got to the point I had to mute the television. And read the close captioning when I was up to it. The incompetence is mind boggling. North Korea? Seriously?
    Thank goodness you found the right allergist who could think outside the box for you. I wish there were more doctors like that!

    • I’m very grateful to that allergist and the ENT. I’d be dead without them. I read that the reason “we” get the early hours is because the stores are cleaner and the shelves have been stocked. But 5:30 to 7:00 am? Wow… I don’t know. That’s buying into the stereotype that older people can’t sleep 😀

      • You may be right. Except they forget that we got rid of those alarm clocks. And if we can’t sleep, we may be too tired to see straight that early. I know I can’t. 🙂

  5. I am trying to be philosophical about the world and my place in it, but it’s not working well. I feel very dislocated. Out of place. I am grateful to my little garden and the dogs and the birds and the flying and non-flying squirrels, not to mention our little family of raccoons. All of that keeps me from thinking too much and everything I think about feels really BAD and brooding about it will not make me or anyone else feel better. And I wonder if I should get another dog.

    • I have good days and bad days. Today has been not great but clarifying. Sometimes I think I need to get uncomfortable to know how I really feel about something. The good I see coming out of this is nature getting a chance to take back some of what we’ve stolen. “Just GO HOME, you’d done enough already!” 😉

  6. Why do I feel guilty taking advantage of the “senior” shopping hour at the grocery store (here it’s 6-7 am)? I guess, despite being 63, in my mind I’m still 40, forever forty.

    I agree, nature is the only winner here, getting a break from humans’ disdain for its bounty and delicate balance. I just wish the lessons we’re learning would stick and change behaviors going forward.

    If we were divided over politics before, the response to this pandemic has only drawn the lines more boldly. I, for one, am happy to point to that line and not let people forget which side they stood on at this critical time. I have the memory of an elephant for such things.

  7. not being a senior yet, I really felt for them here in Tasmania at my woolworths in Huonville. There was nothing on the shelves, that they could get that most needed such as flour, longlife milk, sugar, cereals, toilet paper, there was plenty of fresh milk I am not so sure why this was not being sought. It turns out Tasmania being an island reliant on shipping produce we do not grow or produce here is required usually through mainland Australia. What with industrial action by the people who load ships for Tasmania and other locations and the fact that the warehouses in Tasmania where stock to fill all supermarkets is stored were caught napping, all supermarkets and other businesses have had delays in getting products to restock. Now is is coming in dribs and drabs. I think that our supermarkets being the furtherst away get sent what ever is left. sigh . I am ok. but not sure how the early aged disabled and vulnerable shoppers are. I do hope the supermarkets are putting things aside for them.
    may we all be ok. I have yet to read anything about your muppet and north korea.

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