DAY 2 WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

My second day with the CORONAVIRUS seemed filled with phone calls. I spoke with the West Allis health department. They sent me a quarantine contract. Basically, saying that I agree to stay home until I feel better. The local CBS affiliate interviewed me and allowed me to share my story.

In regards to symptoms, they seem to get better and then get worse. My shortness of breath seems to stay strong. My headaches are less frequent and less severe.

In terms of medical advice, everyone seems ignorant as to what the next step is. The more questions I ask, the more I hear “I don’t know. ” which is to be expected. One strange plus is when watching the news I feel almost distant. All the conversation on the news is avoiding getting the virus. Once you have it… that really doesn’t apply.

Breathing through a mask is rather challenging. The fever aspect is also coming and going. I have been taking some vitamin C, garlic and elderberry. Drinking hot tea and coffee as they recommend. It doesn’t seem to make too much of a difference either way.

Looking toward the future, I’m dreading going back to work where I’m sure my boss will continue to blame me for “all the trouble I’ve caused” That is a worry for another day however. Right not my focus is finding new ways for my beautiful love and I to entertain ourselves without being too close.

MY FIRST DAY WITH CORONAVIRUS

Today’s post was scheduled to be about appreciating all of the things we took for granted before this coronavirus started. Can you imagine walking into a store and not having to worry about what was in stock? How much thought had we given to toilet paper before this? All of this will be touched on Monday.

Reason being I discovered that I, myself, have the coronavirus today. I want to share with you a sort of day to day production of what happened in hopes it will help put to rest a lot of fear that is out there. I will share with you my journey through this crazy condition. With that in mind I put on my Winnie-the-Pooh onsie and a mask and went to work typing this. So, sit back and I will tell my tale thus far.

The first thing people ask is usually “How did you get it?” If I knew that I would have chose not to get it I suppose. As far as I knew I was around nobody who had symptoms or who had traveled. Between the work at the Postal Service and being a DJ not to mention just being out and about I could have picked it up anywhere. What made me get checked was this. It began with sniffles, which actually went away quickly. It could’ve been part of it or not. Really not too sure. Then I began to feel run down. It is really important to stay rested and well so your immune system stays up. Something I should pay more attention to. Then on Monday I took out the garbage and was out of breath. It is like 20 feet from the house to the dumpster. I knew something wasn’t quite right. Being that I have asthma, I took my inhaler. This normally helps but only seemed to make things worse. I called the doctor who told me because of my bad heart and asthma I was too much of a risk to come in.

The next day was more of the same. A second call to the doctor yielded the same results. “Just stay home and see if you feel any better.” I was told. By then I had to call into work. I did so out of concern for my coworkers. If indeed I had anything I certainly wouldn’t want them to get it. Somehow our complex automated system of 25 questions you have to answer when you call in sick (because there is nothing one wants to day than shout “YES!” to an automated system when you are ill) scheduled me for having the following day off as well. I decided to take this as I was still not feeling better. I would feel tired walking from the kitchen to the living room. Finally my doctor gave in and told me to go to urgent care.

Arriving at urgent care I asked for a mask as I was instructed to do. Ironically, I was the only one in the waiting room with one on. When I finally was called back the nurse in what looked like a hazmat suit took my vitals. She was very nice and informed me everything looked good. No fever, blood pressure normal etc. Then I went for a x-ray on my chest. This was given by a lady with a face shield and other protective equipment. This also came back looking great. They were about to send me home when I mentioned I knew someone who had been to California. They seemed healthy but it was enough to give me the test.

Early this morning I was greeted with a phone call from my boss chastising me for making people nervous about me being sick. I never mentioned being tested for the virus but I guess a silly picture of me in a mask in the waiting room was a bit much for people. There was no wishes for a speedy recovery, just complaints that I shouldn’t make people nervous. This was followed in 30 minutes by a call from my doctor informing me I tested positive. I guess people had a right to know I was sick. I thought long and hard about how best to inform everyone I had been around without causing too much more panic. In the end I decided to post on social media.

Despite the misgivings of my boss, I felt this was the responsible thing to do. That way those who have come in contact with me could get tested if they had symptoms as well. I was truly thankful I had not returned to work after I had begun to feel under the weather. I received helpful information from my doctor as he was able to provide. I have also received many well-wishes from those I am friends with on social media which I am truly grateful for. On top of that, I am at home with my lovely Margie, the most beautiful woman on the planet to nurse me back to health.

I decided to share my journey here so all of you can know what it is like and perhaps I can help to remove some of the fear behind this virus. One very important note is that I have not had any digestive issues, so you can all stop buying so much toilet paper now. I did, however, purchase a water filter pitcher and am very thankful as you are supposed to consume a lot of liquids during this time. There will be daily posts to keep you up to date as to what I go through. If any of you have questions or may have gotten it yourself I welcome you to reach out in the comments below. We will all get through this together~ Keep your heads up my friends.

THERE IS HOPE

Today is the first day of spring. It is perhaps my favorite time of the year. I am really not of fan of winter and having Seasonal Affective Disorder does not help matters anyway. What I really enjoy about spring is the general sense of renewal and hope it brings. Seeing the first song bird that has returned from its winter migration, watching as the piles of snow begin to shrink and disappear and seeing those first few flowers pop up through the brown grass fill us with hope and a sense of what is to come.

In the past 8 years, my posts have centered around that theme. Today, as I write this the world is a different place. It is a world not filled with hope, but one filled with fear. Much like the seasons, this too will change. I have heard everything from warmer weather helping to make the virus less likely to spread, and medicines and vaccines being worked on to be ready as soon as they can be.

All of these things are like the flower coming up through the once barren ground. It may not transform the landscape, but it is a sign of good things to come. Just like spring often toys with our emotions going from warm sunny days to ones with cold and snow before returning to warm up once again, so will this worldly situation. Just as the weather may seem to go up and down, eventually, we know the warm up is coming. As we fight to get a handle on this terrible virus, things may get worse before they get better. In the end, however, we all know spring will come and we know this disease will be controlled.

Both the exact time the weather will warm up for good and we can go back to living our normal lives remain a mystery. We know with certainty, both will eventually come. In the meantime I encourage all of us to do with this virus what I do to make it through the last of winter. Yes, there will be plenty of barren brown ground to look at. News of continued spread of the virus. Death tolls and how they keep getting bigger. If you think about it, they really couldn’t get smaller. This is like staring at what remains of winter. Instead, do something that will give you a feeling of hope. Spend time each day looking for those flowers, look at the melting piles of snow. That may be the news they have successfully isolated and grown copies of the virus in Canada which will help develop treatments, vaccines and tests. Instead of focusing on how you can no longer visit your favorite watering hole (or coffee shop) for a beverage, focus on the quality time you can spend at home.

There is one more very important thing you can do. When you find those things that give you hope. When you see that rare article of good news, be sure to share it with others. Spread hope in a time of despair. Be the light in a moment of darkness. Let us fill the world with as much light for those who are struggling as we can. If you cannot find the light, be the light. Thank a worker stocking the shelves at the grocery store, as my beautiful Margie did. Call to check on an elderly relative. Donate or help out at a local homeless shelter. Be the one to share a story of joy and encouragement. We are all in this together, and that is the way we will get out of it – together.

THE POSITIVES OF THE CORONAVIRUS

In recent weeks these pictures, which I took at my local grocery store, have become an all to familiar sight. In addition to products being hoarded, unnecessarily I might add, there has been panic in the faces of shoppers. There have been stories of not business closing…but cities, states and entire countries closing up shop in hopes of containing this virus. There are scary numbers of infections and death numbers on our tv screens and the screens of our computers and phones everywhere. It is certainly a much different world than we are used to living in.

Myself, I am home with some sort of respiratory infection and unable to see a doctor because I am considered a ‘high risk’ person due to my asthma and heart issues. Rather frustrating and a tad scary I must admit. All of this news seems dire. Economic circles are forecasting doom and gloom. People are losing their jobs or at the very least having to make some severe adjustments. Even places where we go to escape from all of this madness such as taverns for some and houses of worship for others have closed.

All of this may have us thinking how terrible the world is at this moment. In some ways things have certainly taken a turn for the worse, but there are wonderful signs of hope and humanity everywhere you look. I would like to share a few items here that this crazy virus and the steps we have had to take to control it have brought to light. These stories I believe are proof that when the chips are down, humanity and goodness prevail.

One of the first major disruptions that occurred in this country was professional sports leagues calling it quits or suspending seasons. This, of course, was the smart and prudent decision to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. When this happened a lot of people were quick to lament their loss of entertainment. A few even pondered the loss of income for television stations and their advertising. Some wondered how it would affect the salary of professional athletes. Very few may have initially considered how it affected the workers at the arenas. The single parent who works the consession stand. The janitor who makes a living cleaning the arena after rowdy fans leave the building. Not only are they filled with fear over the disease, but many are left without a source of income.

Here in the city I live in we have a professional basketball team called The Milwaukee Bucks. On that team we have a star player Giannis Antetokounmpo. That is him pictured above. Yes, he is out of work it would seem for the moment as well. Let us say I do not he has to worry about how to pay bills or day care for his new child. What he did realize is that the workers of the arena still did. He personally donated $100,000 to help pay their salaries during the work shortage. The team as a whole said they would match players donations to do the same. I think this serves as a great example of people paying back a community that allows them to earn a living.

Add to this things local businesses are doing. I have heard of distilleries making hand sanitizer and giving it away. I have heard of extra donations to local food pantries and people waiting in line at the local humane society to foster animals during this time. Two stories I think that really stand out to me are stores, such as Sendik’s Food Market here locally, as well as others, setting aside certain hours for seniors and those who may be high risk to do their shopping. I have also received many emails from businesses from restaurants to movie theaters keeping me posted on everything that is going on in their business. One that stood out is Meijer. They mentioned doing their best to stay open 24 hours to make sure those who need supplies can get them. They also mentioned the steps they are going to take to make sure their stores are safe and clean. Then they mentioned things, we as customers can do to help, such as avoiding panic buying and hoarding. Do you really need 50 rolls of toilet paper? I sure hope not. One thing they mentioned that many businesses did not is acknowledging the role their employees play and the risk they put themselves in just to make sure the rest of us can buy what we need. I thought that was really cool. They also encouraged people to compliment and be patient with their workers. From everything I saw grocery shopping this past weekend, I would have to agree. As a bonus, they pledged to donate $2.2 million to more than 400 food banks. That makes me want to shop there more! (Margie is actually there as I write this)

I am sure there are many more examples of people helping people. I have heard in Italy, neighbors began singing together from their porches. Being that we are the only house on the block and that my singing would probably not lift anyone’s spirits, I may pass on that one. I would love to hear what positive things you have heard of or are doing in what has become a dark time for a lot of us. Do not only share them in the comments here, but please share your ideas on social media and with family and friends. If ever inspiration and positivity were needed it is at a time like this!

I AM THAT

Sometimes finding simple definitions of who you are can really help. I rather fit into that statement above. By knowing who we are we can find other like-minded souls to complete our tribe. Also a sense of identity will help us steer our own internal moral compass. Think of how you feel when you act out of character? Maybe you do something unkind and think to yourself, “Man that is really not who I am.” We have all done it. Unfortunately, I do it to this day. That is why developing a good definition of the kind of person we would like to be is so important.

Think of how easy it would be to turn away from temptation if you had a definition of who you are. Would it be easier to walk away from those doughnuts in the breakroom if you consider yourself a healthy and conscious eater? Would it be a little more difficult to ignore a friends troubles if you wanted to be considered someone who cares deeply for those around them? Sit down by yourself and think about who you really want to be. Then create a short, concise statement encompassing what you have come up with. Carry it with you and let it guide your daily speech (especially to yourself) your actions and your thoughts. Before long you will have become the living embodiment of what you have on that piece of paper.

STOP THE FEAR

With all of the recent issues to become concerned about it is understandable that people are upset. There is the coronavirus, the stock market taking a tumble and even people running out buying more toilet paper than they will use in the next 6 months. A lot of this fear is fed by mass media. There are sensible precautions to take such as washing your hands, staying home if you feel sick and exercising some common sense. It is good to see major sports are taking precautions as well.

The trick is not to go from precautious to living in fear. If you are running low on toilet paper or even think you may need to spend 14 days at home, but enough for 4 weeks just to be safe. If you are feeling ill, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms. Remember the chances of us getting this terrible illness are slim. Even if you are unfortunate enough to contract such a condition, remember that fear and stress lower your immune system. It is best to confront any illness with a positive attitude and thoughts of healing while taking the necessary steps to heal. I have 2 conditions (asthma and a bad heart) that make me a person who could have problems. I am aware of that. I take precautions and live my life accordingly.

What about the financial fallout of this virus? Yes, stocks are falling. However, now is a good time to invest. Prices are low and as the formula goes – “buy low and sell high”. As Napoleon Hill once said, “Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” Invest in toilet paper companies. Invest in airlines and the travel industry, their prices are also taking a hit. Most of all, look for opportunities to serve. When people are struggling it is when we can help the most.

When you turn on the television to hear how the sky is falling or some other crazed chicken little statement, turn off that television and remember to take care of your corner of the world. Feel free to look up such information as How to protect against the coronavirus. Then take those actions and know you have done the best you can do. Do not become part of any mass hysteria. Instead, take a calm, sensible approach to protecting yourself and others, look for ways you can help and remember to keep a positive outlook. We are all in this together and that is the only way we will make it out.

BUILDING THE WALL

A quick disclaimer. This post has nothing to do with Donald Trump, a border wall or any political opinions. What is does have to do with is how to build a successful life without a mountain of stress. I think that is far more useful than the afore mentioned.

Most people do not know this about me, but I listen daily to other success and motivational videos. I am continually learning and growing myself. When I come across something particularly useful I come here to share it with all of you. In this case I was listening to a video by Will Smith. He told a story about his youth that I believe all of us can put into practice in our own lives. When he was young his father told him and his brother they were going to build a wall in front of his fathers store. When they began, his father gave both of them this incredible advice. Do not set out trying to build the best wall ever. Start out with trying to lay the perfect brick. Make sure that brick is placed as perfect as a brick can be. Do the same with the following brick. You repeat this over and over again. If you do this with every brick you will have built the perfect wall.

Some of you may not see the amazing power of this advice. In our lives we hopefully have some grand goals. Perhaps we want to start our own business? Maybe our goal is to finally get in shape and lose those unwanted pounds? Another popular goal is to get our finances in order. All of these are great goals and I commend anyone who has them on their list.

The problem many of us run into is the overwhelming nature of all of these problems. In other words we try to build the perfect wall. Changing our eating, going to the gym every day and meditation? Instead, do your best at the gym…today. Eat healthier than you did yesterday. Perhaps try to be more mindful than the day before.

Trying to get all of your financial affairs in order? Instead, pay $5 extra on your credit card bill. Make coffee at home once a week instead of going to the coffee shop.

Starting the perfect business can be difficult to say the least. Instead, search logo advice on YouTube. Maybe draw up a business plan. Order business cards.

In other words, focus on one brick at a time. Instead of attempting to solve the problem in its entirety, work on one aspect of the problem. This will not only prevent overwhelm, but give you many moments of accomplishment.

WHY CORONAVIRUS CAN HELP US

Coronavirus has grabbed headlines across the globe. In countries like China, Italy and Iran have had devastating results of this terrible new disease. At the point of this post thousands of people have lost their lives because of it. There have been stranded cruise ships. There have been cases of prices being raised to insane amounts for products like hand sanitizer. Travel has become difficult and entire industries such as airlines are beginning to feel the economical fallout. Stores have seen shelves run bare of the most basic items as people fear quarintine. There is an increase in fear in everything from eating out at a restaurant to shaking hands.

None of these situations are ideal. The media has latched on to this and only increased the amount of fear that we are experiencing. According to the China CDC, fatality rates are 2.3%. Even that number is skewed. For example, death rates amoung those 80 and older is 14.8%, however, it falls to 0.4% if you are in your 40s and 0.2% in those ages 10 to 39. Even at 0.2% it is something to be concerned about no doubt. Thousands of people across the globe losing their lives to this disease is serious. Losing a lot of our elder who hold wisdom and guidance that would help our future is also very tragic.

How can any of this help us? What positive can we possibly take from a global pandemic? These are all great questions. According to the CDC, the above practices can go a long way to helping prevent you from contracting the coronavirus. Let us look at them one by one. The first is obvious – wash your hands. Do so, however, for at least 20 seconds using lots of friction. How many of us have really paid attention to the effort put into washing our hands? Not only can this help prevent the current issue we are concerned about, but several other health concerns as well. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. This is one a lot of do unconsciously. I know I often rub my eyes or stroke my beard when I am lost in thought. Covering your cough and sneeze with a tissue and then throwing that tissue away is also very important. Do not put it back in your pocket or leave it somewhere for someone else to throw away. Avoid contact with people who are sick and staying home when you are sick yourself. How often do we push ourselves because we have that project due at work, or worry about missing an important social engagement? I get it. I’ve been there. Sometimes we must practice some self-care to get back on track. Lastly, cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces. Again, this is something that should happen all of the time and would reduce the spread of a lot of health concerns.

The important positive you can take away from all of this is how to use the fear coronavirus has caused. Instead of causing us to go into a panic, let us use to remind us of maintaining or in some cases enacting healthy habits we should have been doing all along. Make a concentrated effort on personal hygiene. Make sure our work areas are clean and disinfected. Speaking of work, when we are sick make sure to take time off if we need. It may end up saving the use of sick time in the future. Let us be reminded to live a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise so that our immune systems are as strong as they can be. Develop an emergency plan with your family that includes what supplies to have on hand and looking after the sick and elderly. Remember to take needed precautions when traveling.

These are all things we should be doing but it may have taken an event such as the coronavirus to remind us how important they are. Fear can be a servant or a master. It is up to us to put any concerns that we have about this new illness to use for us and not against us. What I think the most important thing the coronavirus has reminded us of is the fact we are all human. In the last few years politicians, governments and leaders of all kinds have been trying to convince us that this group or that group is better than another. What a global pandemic such as this teaches us is at the end of the day we are all in this together. We are all human. It does not matter what city or country we come from. It does not matter what color we are. What matters is that we look out for our fellow humans. By doing so we will not only help contain this virus, we will also realize that important rule that helping other will end up benefiting us in the long run.