‘Daily Existential Dread’

March 13, 2020 1:52 p.m.
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TPM Reader OM offers the perspective of being immuno-compromised and living with the threat of COVID-19:

COVID-19 has hit at a very strange time for me.  …

I had a liver transplant on Jan. 22. 

One hell of a time to become immuno-compromised.

Setting aside the fact that this puts me at greater risk to be seriously affected if (when) I get COVID-19, there are a ton of ripple effects that have hit my fellow immuno-compromised compatriots and me that are very scary for us and utterly disregarded by most everyone else.

To wit, I rely on antibacterial soap as an everyday prophylactic against infection–any infection, not just COVID-19.  I was in a pharmacy yesterday picking up medications and had a bottle of antibacterial soap in my hands; a woman took it from me, just ripped it from my hands.  “My children are more at risk than you!” Now, let’s set aside that the statement is replete with misunderstandings. She looked at a youngish man (I’m 38) who appeared to be in good health, and just took the soap because of *reasons*.  I wanted to lift up my shirt and show her the huge mercedes scar on my belly, but I just let it go because I didn’t feel up to arguing with a mother looking out for her children (however misguided that attempt).

I suppose it’s natural for people to not be aware of how at-risk many people around them are.  It’s older people with comorbidities, certainly, but there are a shockingly large number of us who are every bit as compromised and “look” just fine.  It’s as though I have to prove to the rest of the world, every day, that I’m both seriously ill and recovering fantastically. It’s fucking exhausting.

I just hope I won’t be determined to be one of the Not To Be Saveds when the ventilators come to be doled out.  I went from nearly unlimited gratefulness and hope in the wake of my transplant to daily existential dread–and that fear is worse than pre-transplant, as now my fate is dependent on the reasonable behavior of my fellow Americans.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.

COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).

IHME Projections Site (COVID-19 epidemic model which has become the canonical model for many states and hospitals.)

Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).

Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).

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