“I want you to listen” ~Kimberly Rex

From my facebook page today. It seems like it should be here too in the days of this pandemic. 
I’ve pretty much been staying away from posting any Covid19 news other than snapshots of how we’re trying our best to shelter at home.
As most of you know, my 94 year old mom lives with us…. if you know her, you know Chris Miller will probably outlive us all!
You may also know that my husband Rich has been on a rather interesting journey with cancer since 2003 which ramped up in 2014. Our experiences can be found at [our website] Suffice to say, his return to health has not been without some twists and turns. Ones that put him even further at risk. Heart, kidneys and immune system all compromised. An asthmatic since the 70’s to boot. And yet, he has continued to live to the fullest.
To say these times are scary for our little household is a great understatement. I’m scared shitless. Which is probably good since toilet paper is hard to come by.
We may have passed the writer of the letter below, Kimberly, in the halls of the hospital or maybe the cancer center at Northwell. Her letter was posted on their page. Her story is our story. And in many ways the story of those of you who know or live with someone at risk.
And right now, EVERYONE is at risk. Day by day, the definition of a vulnerable population is changing.
Whatever your political affiliation or belief, please read this with an open mind and an open heart and hear, really hear, what this woman is saying about the increased fears that my family and I live with every second of every minute of every day.
The only way we can all end this pandemic is to shelter in place. Take the precautions that the CDC is outlining.
Protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Protect those who are on the front line.
If not for you, for them.
Stay home.
Be well.
“An Open Letter To Those Still Ignoring Social Distancing Recommendations
What one at-risk woman wants those choosing not to follow COVID-19 guidelines to know.
Kimberly Rex, Writer
Right now, you’re still lucky. You’ve never been sick. Not really. You’ve never lain curled up in a bed at home or a hospital and tried to remember how it felt to be well. You’re healthy. You always have been.
Your heart is not like mine. It doesn’t struggle to beat the right way or need a pacemaker and four medications just to be strong enough to send the oxygen you need through your veins. Your heart can handle this.
Your kidneys work all on their own. You don’t need a machine to do their job. You haven’t had a recent stroke or heart attack. Your body isn’t still fighting the effect of the toxins you breathed in at ground zero, when you were told the air was safe. Your lungs aren’t still deteriorating 20 years later.
You have a strong immune system. You’re not in treatment. You haven’t had powerful chemicals coursing through your body, fighting like hell to kill the cancer cells but poisoning the healthy ones too, robbing you of the ability to fight illness. If you get COVID-19, it’s likely you won’t die.
You’re young. You’re not soaking up every last minute with your grandchildren while your age fails you little by little. If you get this virus, you may not develop acute respiratory distress syndrome. If you do, your young, healthy respiratory system will hopefully recover. It won’t “shut down under viral assault.”
You think this virus won’t kill you. Recent numbers from the CDC say that you are most likely right. But though the numbers are low, there is still a chance that you could have severe complications. You could need to be hospitalized. It’s possible.
And I see you. I see as you still go to parties and gatherings. I hear of mall parking lots still filled with cars and long, twisting lines at nonessential stores. I see you plan playdates for your children and take pictures of them pressed against their neighbors and friends. I listen as you complain about the inconvenience of it all and claim it’s all a lie. I read when you proclaim your refusal to panic, as if panicking and being smart are the same. As if we should care more about our reputation than others’ lives.
You see, you’re lucky now. But there had to be time when you weren’t.
There must have been an instance when you were part of the small percent, when you depended on the choices of others to make sure you and your family were safe.
Maybe your child has a severe allergy. Maybe you trusted in the other parents at your school every day to follow the recommendations and keep peanuts out of the classroom, away from the child they can harm.
Maybe you love a first responder. Maybe when Hurricane Sandy raged through your community, you trusted those who were told to evacuate to do so. You trusted that your loved one wouldn’t have to risk his life to save someone who didn’t listen.
Maybe you’ve sent your child to a home that has firearms. And you worried but believed you could trust the parents to do the right thing, to listen to the statistics and the experts to keep that gun away from your son or daughter.
And yet, you have not listened as expert after expert has said that social distancing is our only real defense, that we must limit social interaction to slow the spread of this disease and flatten the curve. You seem to think that having to go to work or knowing that the supermarket is open for business means any gathering is fine, but limited means limited. It means stay away from others whenever you can.
You haven’t listened as scientists have explained that this is all about the numbers. That the more slowly the disease moves, the more effectively we can combat it, that the more often people get together, the faster it will spread, and that the faster it spreads, the more overcrowded our hospitals will become and the less capable they and our brave doctors and nurses will be of treating patients. You haven’t seemed to accept the fact that too many patients means not enough beds and not enough respirators and just not enough.
And there still will be car crashes and other accidents. There will be aneurysms and emergency surgeries. There will be new diagnoses. You may need treatment too.
Reach into your memory. Remember a time when you were at risk. Or your mother or your father. Your kids or your spouse. What would you want the healthy people to do? What would you want from the lucky ones?
I want you to listen. I want you to care that your actions will affect my health and the health of the other people at fatal risk from this virus. I want you to care that if I contract COVID-19, I can die. I can leave my 8- and 4-year-old daughters motherless and miss most of their lives. And there are many more like me and others much worse off than I am.
I want you to know that it’s you, the healthy people, who will determine what happens next. You are the ones still out there. It is you who may be walking around without symptoms. You, who may have spread the virus to someone else and someone else and someone else.
Only you can make a difference now because people like me are already staying home. They’ve already closed their doors to visitors. They’re washing their hands and washing their hands, and disinfecting every surface and every item over and over again. But what if they already have the virus? Their lungs could already be filling up, each breath already strained. When they reach the hospital, will there be enough beds for them? If you are one of the few younger, healthier people who need a bed, will there be enough for you? I hope so. Because I hope that we will all have listened, done our part, and cared enough to save each other’s lives.”

2 thoughts on ““I want you to listen” ~Kimberly Rex”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I do wish more people will take this seriously. Colorado just made it mandatory to wear a mask when we go outside. Also, only essential travel ( to and from medical center – food shop as infrequently as possible). We’re home for the duration. To stay sane I blast my musical soundtracks. I pray your family stays healthy.


  2. I’m so glad to hear the precautions where you are. For some reason that hasn’t been mandatory here at the epicenter. And I find people are going to the markets way too often. We’re hunkered in for the duration.
    Be well Debbie, take advantage of all the streaming musicals and sing proudly!


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