Your COVID19 Turning Points #8

May 6, 2020 11:46 a.m.

From TPM Reader IS

Like the professor who first was so wrapped up in his move to France that the reality of the whole situation didn’t hit him right away, our family was so wrapped up with some big changes that initially had no connection at all to COVID 19 that we too didn’t connect it with what would happen just a few weeks later. We are the parents of a 37 year old daughter who has Stage 4 breast cancer.

Around Christmastime she began to have more issues with her disease and in mid January I took a trip to Madison and realized that she was much sicker than just a few weeks earlier. She and I spent most of the visit looking at apartments for her dad and me to rent. We found one starting in March and I went home to start packing. We have a small sheep ranch and moving meant doing a lot more than it might have if we lived in a simpler situation.

Throughout February as we packed and arranged for a friend to ranch sit, COVID was in the near background but it still had not hit Colorado that we knew of. Our other daughter and her husband in Seattle were both now working from home. Our nephew in San Francisco and his partner were talking about staying home and SF shutting down. Our other nephew who lives in France was trying to decide whether to postpone a trip home to Colorado with his French wife and their son in April. We just kept packing and drove to Madison at the end of February with plans to go back to Colorado every month or so to keep up with the ranch. Our daughter in Madison flew to Seattle for a long weekend to visit her sister and take a road trip to Portland and the Oregon coast. We had zero idea of what would actually happen.

During our first two weeks or so in Madison, we began to actually feel the impact of the virus in the US but for us the turning point came when UW Hospital no longer allowed patients to have people accompany them to appointments at their clinics or have visitors when they were admitted to the hospital. Now they treated everyone as possible COVID patients until proven otherwise. The hospital and its clinics, which are usually filled with patients and staff coming and going now felt like a huge maw swallowing patients up into the unknown. Then there were no more normal in-person appointments. It was either a phone appointment or a trip to the ER. To deal with a problem that required a doctor meant that our daughter had to be dropped off at the ER, questioned about COVID symptoms, tested for COVID, and then wait for test results in the COVID area until the tests came back negative and she could be given a room in the general or oncology areas. The hospital now felt like an ominous place where people who were already sick were in even greater danger when they stepped across the threshold. The possibility of losing her was made even worse by the possibility that she could die alone. One evening when I went to pick her up I had to drive past the Capitol where a large demonstration against the governor’s safer at home guidance was winding down. And today as I drove over to her house, I had to listen to one of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court’s worst justices whine on NPR about the health dept. impinging on Wisconsinite’s freedoms. I had to shut off the radio. Life looks a lot different when someone so close to you is so vulnerable and one political party thinks that wearing a mask or keeping social distance is a huge imposition on them. Where we go from this point forward is absolutely unclear to me.

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