You have heard from the experts, the doctors and the conspiracy theorists. You have heard from the politicians and the people who will have you think everyone else is hysterical and the reasonable ones will go on as life is normally occurring.
We each have a piece of the truth. Here is mine--a death doula who feels some of our principles of caring for the dying may apply here.
A Doula’s Guide & Promise During Coronavirus Times:
1. Care for ourselves and others. I will follow the CDC and WHO guidelines during the next month especially. This is the time where this will peak in the US.
2. Plan. I will make a plan with our vulnerable people in my family and friend circle in case one of us should contract the virus. Who will care for our person? Do each of our families have the basics for the next 2 – 3 weeks while this virus scales?
3. Generosity of spirit. I will not hoard toilet paper, food, supplies and other things that my neighbors need as well as me. We are all facing this together and need to share resources.
4. Connect and offer support. I will call and connect with the people in my world more frequently by phone and social media as this virus is creating fear and isolation. Let my mind focus on how I can help another and relieve anxiety right now.
5. Personal responsibility. I will realize that even though I am not in a vulnerable population, I may be carrying this virus and have no symptoms. In light of that, I too will follow the CDC and WHO guidelines to do my part for my fellow humans.
6. Love. During uncertainty (and certainty) showing love to ourselves would look like taking good care of ourselves by sleeping more, eating good foods, cleaning well and improving our immune function as best we can. Showing love to others would look like deeply listening to someone who is afraid, not hoarding, reaching out to others who may be lonely, taking food or supplies to the vulnerable, understanding others who are thinking and acting differently than us.
7. Prayers and respect for the tireless effort of our caretakers. To all the healthcare workers who will not abandon their jobs because they are afraid, just like the rest of us. To all the caregivers who are tending to their family members and friends and neighbors.
It's Not Life As Usual.
Life is not normally occurring right now. We normally are not managing an aggressive virus such as this.
Regardless of how you feel about the coronavirus and how everyone is handling it, it is here. It is uncomfortable to deal with and so much easier to pontificate about.
The truth is we won’t really know all about this virus and who actually has it and how it will affect us and our ICUs, urgent care centers and health care workers on the front lines until more time has passed.
If we are careless during this time frame--the next 2 – 3 weeks--we may add suffering to our family, friends and fellow humans whom we don’t know but are still responsible for.
Please keep in mind the following:
Our hospital ICUs and ERs are taxed on a good day often. There is an issue of not having enough equipment and beds for those who may become deathly ill from this virus. So it is imperative that all of us do our part to stay away from as much public contact as much as is possible over the next 2 -3 weeks.
We want the people who will need the ICU equipment to be able to receive that level of care. So, taking this seriously and doing our part for the whole, will help all of us.
We are all in this together and may we support each other with compassion, love and understanding.