But planning holiday travel is not the trip you should be thinking about. It’s the trip to the hospital following a potential Covid-19 diagnosis. Hospitals around the country are now bracing for a surge in cases that will hit ERs and ICUs once infections contracted during Thanksgiving travel have had time to incubate.
I took that trip to the hospital when I feared it the worst. And believe me: A hospital is not where you want to be right now. One nurse had to wheel me from the ER to another room, just to have enough space to physically put in an IV line. It was the “resuscitation room,” a space for reviving people who cannot breathe. It looked eerily like a coroner’s lab: stainless steel paneling and stretchers with crisp, white sheets.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently shared that her longtime partner was battling Covid-19, a battle that at one point looked like she would lose. Maddow endured the torment that millions of families have had to endure: trying to help keep a loved one alive, from a safe distance. We should all be so lucky to be loved so unabashedly, so — this is Maddow’s word — desperately, as she described her love for her partner of 21 years. Maddow tested negative, but remained in quarantine for the suggested two weeks.
As I said before, I’m fine. Tests run in the ER the day of my hospital visit showed no signs of heart damage, and no indications of a heart attack. By the time I left, my blood pressure reading was better than normal. I won’t need surgery or a stent or anything like that. In fact, one of the main things I have to be more diligent about is drinking water. My heart was working extra-hard partly because my blood was getting too thick. Just over half of your blood is plasma, and nearly all of that plasma is water.
This is a rough time to be in a hospital, medically or emotionally. The day I went to the ER, I put off calling my mother until I knew that I was being admitted to a regular hospital room. I was afraid of making her panic with the thought that I was just in limbo. The idea of forcing my mom to put the need to keep herself safe from Covid-19 over her need to see me through an emergency in person — I could not bear that.
Let me tell you something: Someone loves you, desperately, and they would be destroyed if anything happened to you. Especially something that left them feeling as helpless as Covid-19 has made so many of us feel.
Why would you choose to not protect yourself, and potentially destroy someone who loves you? That’s a question I found myself asking when seeing reports of the wave of holiday travelers. Many of us are suffering from the isolation of this deadly pandemic. Some are letting that longing to gather with family and hug their loved ones override the practical actions that will literally save lives.