OPINION: Which way is up?

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Jack Chandler

By Jack Chandler

Friends, probably your first thoughts when reading the title of my article, is “in what respect is he addressing ‘up’”? Well, let’s address what that means about ours and many countries of the world. 

We’re addressing COVID-19. So, let’s move forward. First, “up” can be used in many respects, and one is flying. I have been a pilot for many years; I know what “up” relates to, and down being the other. So, where can we find ourselves “up” individually and collectively concerning the virus?  

Now, addressing “which way is up?” is based entirely on our philosophy of how we view what constitutes “up.” We use “up” in many ways, but let’s use some current examples, which relate to the virus. First, we are fixated, and horrified, by the continuing increase in those diagnosed as testing positive relative to the virus, and further the continuing increase in deaths attributed directly to the virus. And, let’s face the reality of the fact there are not yet cures for the disease and no vaccines that can prevent the disease. Hundreds of scientists are working 24 hours a day, around the world to try to develop a solution to these issues. More recently, a drug just being developed may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It has shown some success and is being pursued. Even so, only time and extensive testing will determine its effectiveness. It is a start. So pray it, or a corresponding drug, will move us forward.

So, in the meantime, we have been given guidelines by the government as to the protection of ourselves – wearing masks, gloves and providing a distance of six feet apart from others – while in public. And, attempting to stay away from public places except when necessary. I am, obviously, personally observing these guidelines as I view these protections as a court of last resort. Fortunately, I am seeing many others adhering to the same – obviously with some exceptions, unfortunately. The other factor the government advises is to “stay at home” unless you’re a member of one of the wonderful teams, who are risking their lives to help protect and assist us.  

Now, it is obvious “stay at home” has limitations. Such as you must leave home to secure items such as groceries, pharmaceuticals, and things you must have to maintain a safe and healthy life. It has been highly recommended when you arrive back home after having been in areas where there are, and have been many individuals, you remove your clothes, place them in a plastic bag and immediately wash them – and take a shower. Now, recycling of plastic gloves is another issue. It is strongly recommended you dispose of the gloves, as the coronavirus may not be entirely removed by washing, and it’s just not worth the chance.  

Some suggestions about “stay at home”: if you are an active individual who is accustomed to moving around outside and in public places, shopping in stores, attending social activities, meeting with friends and others, your life is now changed. So, what do we do? If your lifestyle focuses on being active, or semi-active, your body isn’t going to be happy if all of that is suddenly changed. 

Now, for the active individuals, you must develop a routine to keep your body in the same condition, assuming it is in as good condition, as it was before all of this started. If you don’t have any gym equipment at home, then improvise. That includes walking stairs, and if you don’t have stairs, try walking room-to-room, stretching, using something that simulates weights and watching your diet. In times like this, your television can be your worst enemy – you may become fixated by the many programs and your body loses its muscle – and you may find yourself consuming more “trash food” while you sit, or lie, watching. Now, I’m not including watching the news, as you need to keep your brain in gear. And, watch programs related to nature, as being trapped at home and seeing various outdoor areas may help. Look on the bookshelf – there may be books there you always intended to read, but didn’t. If you have a family, develop a routine of family exercise for those who can participate. This exercise is particularly important to those who have jobs of which you have been temporarily released, that require strength, agility and endurance. Again, from a family standpoint, you all can participate in the exercises up to a point. Again, watch your diet, and those of your family. All of this is an “up.”

As for your family, assuming you have a family in your home, get together and play games, and have everyone openly tell others how they feel about the virus – this is an “up.” If you don’t have a family, tell your spouse how you feel. And, if you’re alone, call your best friend and “open up.” Your call may relieve their need to “open up.” And, if any above may be scared, tell them to say so. This single activity has shown to draw individuals closer, and to relieve some of the fear that builds up in a crisis, such as we are experiencing.

Now, regarding symptoms, my wife, who is a nurse practitioner, points out some physical indicators of the virus she has researched are mild breathing difficulties; fever; after two to seven days developing a dry cough; stomach digestion issues; diarrhea; and general body aches. Now, understand these are only warning indicators, and they could relate to another medical problem not associated with the virus. These are, however, known and published indicators. So, only licensed medical personnel will make the final diagnosis. Watch for issues such as above, and if you experience one or more, contact your medical provider for a discussion to protect yourself.

Finally, due to the closing of many of the stores, restaurants and other businesses, many find themselves unemployed and in need of necessities such as food. A suggestion would be to contact churches in the area for possible sources and watch this newspaper for organizations providing assistance.

At this point, we are all deeply concerned about our futures, our friends and relatives, and our nation as a whole. With all of these restrictions, one point is paramount: we will tend to evolve back into our old way of life. Be careful, as, over time, we will become just plain tired of all of this, and expose ourselves unknowingly to the virus. We’re all in this together, so provide aid when possible, remembering your safety and pray. 

Friends, always remember there is light at the end of the tunnel. We must work together to reach that light, and we will, together.

Jack Chandler is a part-time resident of Little Switzerland.