HOW I BEAT CORONAVIRUS IN 4 WORDS

For those of you who do not know, my name is Neil Panosian and I was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 18th. As of right now I am all clear and recovered. Still getting back to tip top physical shape after 3 weeks of inactivity, but that will come. I am no longer contagious and depending on the day, I am considered to have some sort of immunity. Every day I wake up I am so grateful my symptoms were not worse and that I made it through. 10,000 people in the United States so far were not that fortunate and my thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family.

I want to share with you what I believe was my secrets in making it through. The interesting thing about the 4 words that I am about to share with you is that they not only got me through this virus, but they are the same formula that gets me through many challenges of life. If you are as unfortunate as me and become infected with this virus or know someone who has, please share this information with them. If you are spending time at home as we all should be, you can put these 4 words into practice in your own life to conquer whatever challenges you may be facing.

The first word that I used was preparation. Was I actually preparing to get a virus? Not exactly. I was taking all of the steps you were supposed to. I washed my hands often. Did my best not to touch my face. It is amazing how much you do this without ever noticing. As we did karaoke Margie and I wiped the microphones with disinfectant wipes. (Although someone at our Friday show did use half of our container to clean their hands after eating wings) Still, working with the public and at the Postal Service somehow I managed to get it. What is important to note is how I lived my life prior to coming down with this virus.

My way of living includes going to the gym here in West Allis, where I live, roughly 5 days a week. Some weeks it might be 4 times, sometimes it might be 6 but I go there on a regular basis. When I am there I actually am one of the people working out, not texting while sitting on a machine. I do it for the stress-relieving benefits. After a hard workout the other challenges in my life seem a little easier to deal with. The side effect of all this running, lifting and stretching is that I can enjoy my beautiful lady’s cooking without gaining too much weight. It also means I am doing my best to keep both my heart and lungs strong. Being that I have both asthma and heart issues, this is a big plus. I also do my best to eat right (sans the occasional pizza) and take a few vitamins. Before bed every night I meditate and follow other self-care routines. Couple these with my loving relationship with Margie and you can see I live a fairly healthy lifestyle.

When the virus hit me I was in decent physical shape. My asthma was controlled the best it could be and my heart was as strong as it gets. I liken this to learning to swim. The best time to learn to swim is on the safety of the shore, not when the ship is sinking. If I had waited until I got sick to try and be healthy I believe the virus would have had a far more severe impact on my body. That is why it is so important to use the time we have to prepare ourselves for challenges before they come. The better we are prepared to meet challenges, the more likely we are to overcome them.

The second word that I used to beat the coronavirus may be the most important one. That word is purpose. While waiting for my test results to come back I asked myself 2 very important questions. 1) How can I use this? and 2) What is good about this? I knew if I indeed had the virus I would share my journey here on this website. I would do so with an attempt to calm a lot of the fear that people may have facing this situation. I guess the good would be that having the virus would allow me to speak from experience. I would be going through it. I would struggle with the shortness of breath, the cough, ,the lack of smell and taste and the dizziness. I could tell everyone how tired you would get walking from the kitchen to the living room. If I tried something and it worked to help my symptoms, maybe it might help someone else?

One of the biggest things since I have recovered from the virus is attempting to donate my antibodies to help critical patients. If I can donate plasma and it may help save the lives of two other people, I would be selfish not to do that. I am still waiting to hear back from a few of the places that I called. I guess this process is still a little fluid. Being able to potentially save 2 lives, if not at least help them recover quicker feels like a true blessing. To think of the joy this would give their families and hopefully save them from the sorrow of losing a loved one fills my heart with happiness and gave me a purpose to getting better.

Word number 3 in my healing journey was persistence. When I was not feeling so good, especially the first week, I was tempted not to share my journey. I certainly did not feel like setting up my laptop, or making myself remotely composed enough to go in front of a camera to shoot a YouTube video. When this happened I thought of all the preparation I did that allowed me to be able to keep the symptoms to a level they were at. Most importantly, I thought of my purpose. Why I would use this virus even more than it was using me. I thought of the people who were out there that were scared watching the news and hearing nothing of the people that recovered. I thought about those who would fear what would happen to them if they got the virus. I thought of those, who like me, already had the virus. They may feel alone and scared. Having to be away from family and friends with a sickness that we know so little about. If, by logging on to my website or seeing my posts on Facebook, it helped them to see they are not alone, then I had served a purpose.

With every blog post and every video came not only well-wishes that I was extremely grateful for, but questions. I knew if I was home scared and had a question I would want it answered as quick as possible. This allowed me to persist in logging on every day and answering those questions. I once heard Earl Nightingale say “Persistence is another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.” If there was one thing I had through this, it was faith. I am not sure what you believe in, God, the Universe, the divine power, to that end it doesn’t matter to me. What I did know is the creator had me get this for a reason and I believed that reason was to help others. That faith translated into persistence on days when I was tempted not to post or answer questions and just spend the day in bed.

The final word in my healing journey was perspective. Like all of us this virus and the challenges it has brought with us has also brought with it a change in how we see the world. Recently, I went for a walk in the park. This experience was appreciated more than ever. After roughly 3 weeks in the house I cannot explain how good it felt to be in nature. After not being able to do my 5 days a week in the gym, it felt so good to get my heart pounding and my lungs working. Every neighbor, or at least most of them, seemed to say “Hello” or some other greeting as they passed. It is not that I look friendlier than your average person, but I think everyone is just grateful to see new faces. Perhaps they were as grateful as I was to be out in fresh air. I watched the geese, ducks and seagulls on the lagoon and thought how blissfully unaware they were of all the societal drama unfolding around them. I watched the squirrels running around gathering food and attending to their usual spring preparations with a greater regard for something routine.

One of the biggest changes in perspective was how I viewed all of the news. I rarely saw stories of people going through the virus and how they were coping. There were not even that many stories of what to do once you had the virus. I was one of the fortunate ones that made it through, but all I heard were numbers of cases and deaths. Rarely would there be anything about those, like myself, who made it through. I knew it was even more important to share my story and to give people hope to help balance out the fear. As I return to work at the post office and am dealing with the fallout from my illness there, I feel it will be important to share this story too. That way something may be done to protect those workers who face uncertain reactions from both bosses and coworkers once they return.

Preparation, Purpose, Persistence and Perspective. These four word were the key to overcoming the virus for me. They are also my keys to overcoming the daily challenges we all face. I encourage everyone to take a look at there own lives and apply these four words as well. It may very well be the difference to falling victim to a challenge verses having the strength to overcome one. Next post we will look at a secret ingredient that also played a big factor in allowing me to beat the coronavirus. It also allows me to live a life filled with joy each and every day, whether sick or healthy. Be sure to look at that. As always if you have any questions about the virus, my formula for dealing with it or self-improvement in general, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I am here to serve.

IS MY CORONAVIRUS JOURNEY OVER?

This is me holding a copy of my book during a video shoot for a position I am applying for. As you can see I am also wearing the amazing smiley face shirt that my lovely Margie bought for me. The attention to happiness is not only for the video I was shooting, but it is also because I believe my journey with coronavirus is almost at an end.

Tragically, I heard the news was not so good for a different local family. A young lady lost her battle with this virus. It really touches home when someone in your community loses their life to the very condition you also have. I am so grateful my symptoms did not develop into something more severe. As I forge ahead with finding out the details on where I go from here I will make sure to keep all of you posted.

The health department told me I would be cleared 3 days after displaying no symptoms. My primary care doctor has cleared me to go back to work on the 31st. It is strange that there is no actual test to clear you. Instead we are to rely on time elapsed since my symptoms were first shown (14 days) and since I last experienced them (3 days). I have also learned that 2 of the countries who displayed some of the lowest mortality rates with the virus (Germany and South Korea) have done so through extensive testing. On a personal level, I find that our country being one of the wealthiest in the world has no excuse for not having more tests available. It is my sincere hope that we have all learned something very valuable with this crisis.

On a professional level, I hope we have learned to take care of health care workers by making sure they have the right protective equipment and medicines they need to diagnose and treat those infected. In the same light, I hope we come to better appreciate the ‘essential’ workers such as grocery store employees, gas station workers, people involved in the shipping industry and others who still had to show up when others were at home. Next time we go out to eat or even just for a drink or cup of coffee I hope we leave a little extra tip for these folks whose income was eliminated when businesses shut down.

On a social level I hope we better appreciate the time we spend with friends. Going out for coffee with those you enjoy will become something you treasure instead of something you take for granted. Seeing the smile on a friend’s face in person and being able to give them a hug will feel more like a gift and less like something that happens every day. May we take the time to gather more often and relish those times more when we do.

On a personal level may we have come to discover, or rediscover the beauty and wonder of those we share our house with. Not only does this strengthen the bonds of our relationships, but it certainly beats being cast for a reboot of The Shining. In my quarantine with my beautiful Margie I have been reminded what an amazing cook she is. I have enjoyed some of the most tasty dishes as she helped me regain my strength. I also found so many different ways in which I find her beautiful to me. Just last night she demonstrated what talent she has at drawing. This is something she rarely has time for. Even the frustration of having to maintain ‘proper social distance’ from each other made us appreciate how much we enjoy each others touch.

I hope when we look back on this period of time years from now we remember the many things we learned. It is my sincere hope we also reflect on the appreciation it gave us for the many things, and people, that we might have taken for granted. It has taught me that even having a potentially deadly virus can be turned into the blessing of helping others if you approach it the right way.

BEST NEWS SO FAR IN MY JOURNEY WITH CORONAVIRUS

That’s me rocking the quarantine look. Today is roughly day 6 since being diagnosed with coronavirus. It is the best I have felt so far. Shortness of breath is hanging on, but getting better. As an example, last Monday I took out the garbage and didn’t even get back to the house before feeling winded. Today, I took out both the garbage and recyclables and was just a little short of breath when I got back inside. This may not seem like a big difference but I sure felt better. The dizziness is also getting better. It seems less intense and certainly less frequent. Also, my sense of smell seems to be returning slowly. This symptom is the worst. It affects your sense of taste as well. I am hoping it continues to get better every day.

People are asking me what Margie and I are doing during this time. We are doing the same as many of you. We take turns watching movies, we play games and are creating and enjoying meals together. We also have read to each other. Margie has a hard time staying awake during reading so I usually read out loud to her. I rather enjoy this as I feel it is an activity that brings us closer together and we both get to learn something in the process.

One of the books I read during this time was How to live to be 100…or more. It was written by the comedy legend George Burns. I was never a big George Burns fan until recently. Not only does his humor amuse me, but in many ways his relationship with his wife Gracie Allen reminds me a fair deal of Margie and I. People ask how we can work together, live together and sleep together without killing each other. This quarantine time was not that big of an adjustment for us because we do spend a lot of time together. (about the only time we are apart is when I am at the post office) Doing so takes a great bit of effort and comprimise. I am sure a lot of you are discovering this as we speak. I think it is a great way to get to know your partner and strengthen your relationship.

Today we also left the house for the first time. We both walked around our neighborhood. It felt good to get some fresh air. My shortness of breath would not have allowed me to go much further. It is funny to think that just 2 weeks ago I was running on a treadmill and now it is tough to walk a few blocks. It makes me grateful for my health. I am also grateful that my symptoms were mild enough I could breath, especially with my asthma. It also made me grateful for the neighborhood I live in. Margie and I live on a busy street, but the streets behind us is a rather closed in little neighborhood. It is a shame we do not take the time to walk there more often. I hope these coming days will get us a chance to see and meet more of our neighbors (from at least 6 feet away) and say hello. I recall a conversation I had with a former alderperson who said the best way to improve your neighborhood is get out in it. I couldn’t agree more.

Speaking of getting out in your neighborhood, I aim to do that as soon as possible and I encourage all of you to do the same. When this world regains a sense of normalcy, I encourage all of us to get out and support the local businesses in our neighborhoods. They are certainly going to need our help. It is not just the business and business owner (who is often a neighbor) that you will be supporting, but you will be supporting all of your neighbors who are employed there. Small businesses are what drive the economy. It is important to take care of them. By doing so we are taking care of our neighbors and our neighborhoods. Mr. Rogers would like that I dare say. If you are reading this and you live in my neighborhood, Margie and I look forward to meeting and getting to know a lot more of you. So if you see us out supporting a local business please come up say hello and introduce yourself. Let us use this challenge we have all faced to build a better world.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING

ME AND THE VIRUS – DAY 5

Here I am rocking the quarantine look. Usually I am much more clean shaven than this. Today is day 5 of this virus and I being partners. It is frustrating that certain aspects of it seem to cling on. The breathing issues, which tend to be worse at night, are improving slightly. I still have bouts of extreme dizziness. As an added bonus, when I returned home from being tested I noticed something else. My sense of smell was off. Margie was cooking hamburger with garlic and onions. Something normally that makes my mouth water. I could not even smell it. I just read that could also be a symptom of the coronavirus. Gratefully, my sense of smell seems to be returning every so slowly.

Speaking of being grateful, I wanted to take a moment and give some genuine thanks to a few amazing people. Melissa from the West Allis health department has been amazing. She calls to check on both Margie and myself on a regular basis. Today she even dropped off a little care package on our porch. (see photo below) This is much appreciated and she is certainly an asset to our community. That takes us to my next point – my community. I have been sharing my journey in our West Allis community page on Facebook. The response has been overwhelming. I did so to reassure members of my city and take a little of the fear out of this virus. In doing so, I have not only met a great deal of new neighbors (virtually of course) but received such kind words and encouragement from them. Margie and I are so grateful to live in a city filled with such wonderful people. Then there are our friends from our DJ shows. They have checked in and offered to help us. I cannot not begin to convey what a great deal this means to us. Even had a great early morning conversation with our friend Kurt.

In the coming days and weeks I know they are planning on ramping up testing. This makes me happy to hear. I cringe when I think about how I would have been back to work now trying to ‘make it through’ the symptoms. Meanwhile, I would have been spreading it to my coworkers. When these additional tests are given it will obviously increase the number of positive cases as well. This is something that I want us to all keep in mind. When they tell you “cases have doubled overnight!” Before cowering in fear consider the fact they may have doubled the amount of tests they gave and are just getting better at identifying cases that have been out there.

When will this all end? Nobody can say for sure. Are we making a difference with all of the measures we are taking? I believe so. Doing our best to practice physical distancing is the least we can do. Staying in touch with and helping out our friends as we are able also makes a great difference. I look forward to being out in the world again and I know all of you do as well. Let us be patient and remember those like Anne Frank who had to hide in an attic and remain almost silent for two years to avoid persecution of her and her family. We can just relax in our homes, order take-out, surf the web, watch movies and play games. This is certainly not an easy time for any of us, but let us be grateful it is not much worse.

If any of you have any questions in regards to how I am feeling, what I am doing to treat this virus or how the symptoms seem to be progressing, please do not hesitate to ask. I am sharing my story for that purpose. So that all of us can not only have an insight into this virus from a person perspective, but limit our fear while increasing our caution.

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL? DAY 4 OF MY JOURNEY WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

This was a post I began writing under very different circumstances but I find the meaning still holds true. My idea then was to write about how this virus has us looking at different aspects of our lives with a more grateful perspective. Then I was informed that I, indeed, had the virus. I used a tool I use with most challenging situations that occur in my life – I asked myself two very important questions.

1. How can I use this? and 2. What is good about this?

You may think that being someone who has several high risk symptoms (asthma and a bad heart) that it was difficult for me to find something good about this virus. Certainly, nothing is good about having one’s health compromised. Right away that was one good thing. It gave me a whole new appreciation for my health and how important it is that I do my best to take care of myself. Making the 5 days a week spent at the gym worthwhile. It will give me something to keep in the back of my mind as motivation when I return.

The next question was how could I use this. Without a second thought I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my journey and hopefully help keep people calm while showing them a real person behind the virus. If, by sharing my struggle I can help bring peace and answer questions for many others it will be worth suffering through the days of feeling like I can’t breath, coughing, fevers, getting tired just walking from the kitchen to the living room and being so dizzy I feel like Captain Jack Sparrow without the rum. This may all sound a bit frightening but I am making it through. What is helping is all the well-wishes I am recieving from the community and even complete strangers. This is but one of the many joys this virus has brought to my life.

I always enjoy meeting friends for coffee at great local places like Urban Joe’s. If you have never had that pleasure let me encourage you to do so as soon as we get through this. Breakfast at West Allis Cheese and Sausage? Very hard to beat. These places are run by great local people in my community such as Curtis and Mark respectively. Although I always enjoy them, I will cherish such experiences far greater the next time I have that chance.

Of course there is this wonderful lady. My beautiful Margie. I am grateful she has not displayed many symptoms. I feel bad because of me she has to be quarantined as well. If I have to be stuck at home for two weeks I could not pick a nuttier, funnier, sweater and more wonderful person to be stuck with. Although the social distancing has been a nightmare for two people who love each other as much as we do, we have been finding ways to pass the time. Like, for example, arguing whose beard has grown more in this period. I am kind of jealous of hers, but don’t tell her that. She is an amazing cook and I have never had so many good meals! Even though we can’t be as close as we like, seeing her face lighting up the next room still puts a smile on mine.

As the days tick on by I watch numbers for positive cases continue to climb. This makes me think of two very important things. First, we must continue to work hard at practicing physical distancing. Yes, I did say physical distancing. Just because we have to be geographically apart, does not me we have to lose our sense of community. I have met many great neighbors by sharing my journey than I knew before. I have found new ways to bond with and love my lady than I knew before. Now more than ever we need to use the technological tools we have at our disposal to lift each others spirits. Local community pages, like the one we have for my city of West Allis, can be a place to gather virtually and encourage one another. We can use Facetime to connect with friends and family. Even take the time we have to call our elderly relatives to not only check on them, but let them know we love them.

This crisis has brought together many who otherwise stand on opposite sides. I hope we can continue this sense of unity once we have overcame this virus. It has challenged our sense of normal but caused us to appreciate the mundane. It may have kept us away from those we care about but has us missing and loving them so much more. There are many things about this virus that are frightening and terrible, but let us dig out what blessings we can discover to keep the light of hope burning in these dark times.

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!

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.