This Is Not Science Fiction

A day in the life of suspected coronavirus.

Posted Mar 26, 2020

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay
Source: LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

Today marks the 11th day that I have had a low-grade fever, with temperatures hovering around 101 pretty regularly. I’ve pretty much been stuck in bed the whole time. 

My doctor, on multiple occasions, suggested against being tested for the now-ubiquitous coronavirus, partly because simply going out to the doctor’s office might lead to my infecting others. And partly because testing kits, like so many relevant medical resources, are in short supply. Stay home, self-isolate, hydrate, and rest—this seems to be the best medical advice going these days. So there’s where the U.S. healthcare system is today ...

With one exception, when I walked down the block and back a few hours ago, solo, I have not left my bedroom and have had virtually no direct contact with any other person (except for my super-helpful wife Kathy, who has gotten me food and tended to me, partly remotely, the whole time). 

Stir crazy is something of an understatement for describing my experience. 

I just read that one third of the world’s population is essentially under quarantine conditions. New York City, 80 miles south of our house, which is now the epicenter of this infectious virus, is completely closed down. Restaurants, bars, stores, theatres, museums, stadiums, etc. All closed down. 

The president of the United States and the governor of New York State are giving daily press conferences, partly designed to reassure us. With mixed effects. The numbers speak for themselves and, to be honest, they can be pretty dire. 

For instance, just today, apparently, the U.S. became the nation with the most corona infections in the world. And the number of cases, along with the number of deaths attributed to the virus, are on the increase.

The president, known for supporting business and a strong U.S. economy, is regularly talking about re-opening our nation for business as soon as possible. Many are concerned that such a move might obstruct the ability of our nation to effectively deal with this evil virus that is having such adverse effects on our worlds. Many of us are afraid that “opening our nation up for business” prematurely may be a death sentence for thousands of us. I hope that the president understands this point. 

I am keeping in touch with various Facebook friends and it turns out that the situation in my household is not unique. Everyone seems to know someone afflicted with the virus. And levels of anxiety and concern are, well, simply at an all-time high. Like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 50 years living on this planet.

Grocery stores around the nation are having a hard time keeping basic supplies in stock. Toilet paper, Tylenol, bottled water, etc. In cities across the nation, police and/or military forces are in place to control consumers who are hoarding basic supplies at unprecedented levels.

This Is NOT Science Fiction

The amazing thing is that writing this could not feel any more like writing science fiction. It’s not. It’s all true. And my “suspected” case is a “mild” case. 

Further, get this, they are saying that the “peak” of cases in the U.S. is forthcoming. Read as: Things are only going to get worse. And, amazingly, this is real life ...

Bottom Line

You know, I’ve published over 300 blog posts since I started blogging for Psychology Today in 2013. People have regularly commented on how versatile my posts are and how broad the range of topics is that I cover. I pretty much write about everything.

This said, if you ever suggested that I’d be writing a post, in March of 2020, while feverish in bed due to a suspected case of some highly contagious and often-fatal new virus that is wreaking havoc across the globe, I would have laughed and said that sounded like science fiction.

Well, unfortunately, the coronavirus, with its broad-reaching human implications, is not science fiction. It’s here and it’s real. And as I type from my bed, which I’ve been stuck in for 11 straight days, I cannot overstate how concerning this thing is for our entire shared future.

If you’ve been at all skeptical about the coronavirus or its impact, I hope that the lessons I’ve learned so far along my ride, partly spelled out herein, help provide some reason for you to pause and to do your part in helping stop this virus in its tracks so that we can all stop living this crazy science-fiction life and so that we can get back to life as usual, imperfect as it may be. 

Remember those days of typical imperfect life? Gosh, I miss them ...