Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Stay Home/Stay Safe

I'm not trying to make enemies here but if you don't wear a mask in public, aren't staying home, and staying away from people who aren't quarantined with you, I'm very disappointed in you.
Even if  you live in a place where COVID hasn't really hit hard, all it takes is one silent carrier to infect everyone if they sneeze. Or if they spoke loudly in air space five minutes before you walked through that same space at the store.
Gathering with family members or friends outside your quarantine group expands the possibility you might contract COVID. It might not take your life. You may just be a silent carrier. But you also may pass it along to a vulnerable loved one and consequently be the cause of their hospital stay with a ventilator best friend, or worse.

I've been holed up in my house and backyard since the second week in March along with my husband and two children who are 23 and 18. The only time I've left the property to go to the doctor's, hospital or grocery store, I've worn a 3-layer mask and been fastidious at hand sanitizing and not touching my face. Same with my kids who would rather be out with friends, enjoying summer, dating, partying, being young adults. Can you imagine how hard it is for these diligent young people? They're watching their friends gather at the lake for parties and won't go because they're trying to save their father's life. And be good citizens.
My husband hasn't seen the inside of a store since March but he has seen the inside of the hospital operating room. In May he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma after two surgeries, the first to see inside his chest, the second to take tissue samples. His type of rare cancer is not curable but we're hoping he can live with cancer cells that have invaded the lining of his chest wall, or that the chemotherapy keeps the tumors from growing and spreading. In this time of COVID, we are faced with his mortality. I've gone from not sleeping with worry about us all dying of a virus, to not sleeping from worrying about my husband's cancer.
Long story short, he's been getting his chest drained of mystery fluid since January, waiting for the hospital operating rooms to open back up and was diagnosed with cancer in mid-May. Are we furious that our government did not act on containing this virus immediately so he could have surgery sooner. Of course. But we can't dwell on that. Are we furious that people around us continued life as normal during the quarantine, not taking it seriously. Yes. While COVID took root in our community (the beginning of the virus in America) we waited while his lung specialist was able to get him in the OR to confirm her suspicion of Mesothelioma. Three months, we waited, praying it wasn't what they thought. It was. Stage 3 Cancer.
So when I say that I resent ANYONE not wearing a mask in public because it lengthens the time this country must stay in quarantine and increases the possibility of my vulnerable husband getting the virus, I mean it. I don't care if you don't know anyone in your town or tight circle of friends who's had COVID, or that you truly believe no one in your community has it. You don't know if what you think is true. And just like having to stop at stop signs while driving, we need to be following basic rules and laws to be part of a lawful and courteous community. I liken this mask wearing debate to sitting in a classroom, waiting for a small group of kids to stop talking so we can all go out to recess.
Shut the F up!
Just follow the rules, whether your good judgement tells you differently or not. Stay home, don't have those summer barbecue parties this year and we can all get back to normal sooner. I know you don't know my husband, nor do you care deeply for my kids and if they grow up with a father, but this is what's at stake, people. I'm one of many people with a vulnerable family member. So while you gather with friends and family maskless, we are hunkered down in our house and backyard waiting for you to come to your senses and see what's happening in America. You are contributing to the problem if you aren't staying home, staying safe and masking in public.
When we come out of this nightmare, I will never again trust any friends or family who didn't take this seriously enough to mask up and stay away from other people because you prolonged this by being selfish. Your need to keep life normal was more important than the nations need to get this under control. And indirectly, you put my husband's life more in danger.
The news tells us every day that if we all stayed in Quarantine and wore a mask in public, we wouldn't be the only country in the whole world with millions of cases who can't get the virus under control.
Please consider cancelling that summer party, that book club, the gatherings at church and at clubs that spread the virus to the vulnerable community. Do your part.

KIM HORNSBY is a USA Today Bestselling Author and Screenwriter who lives in the Seattle area with her husband and children and dogs.

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