The closest thing I can remember is when my high school had a mini out-break of Chicken pox. It was sort of a big joke to us, all these teenagers getting this little kid disease. No one took it very serious. It was just something that was going around. No big deal.
Then I got it.
I got it really bad. Bed ridden bad. I spiked a very high fever and had pox all over my body. I was miserable.
My mom took me out of school, put me in her bed and took care of me as she slept on the couch. I remember her putting her cheek to my forehead to check my temperature.
Social distancing isn't something moms do.
She sacrificed so much to nurse me back to health.
But Chicken Pox isn't Covid 19.
We do need to, quite frankly, take heed.
Jump ahead to now.
My mom, who is now in her 80s, took a nasty fall a couple months back at her Florida home. She was hospitalized.
This event seemed to lead to a long list of discoveries within her health that has kept her from rehabilitating and returning to her home where she lives alone.
As of now she resides in a rehabilitation care facility that, because of Covid-19, is closed to visitors. I cannot visit her or comfort her the way she did for me countless times when I was a kid.
I wish I could be there, but I can't.
This virus is incredibly serious. When I think of my mom's situation I grow more and more tired of people taking this pandemic lightly and calling our fears and Governor Wolf actions an overreaction.
When I read posts and comments on social media in which people compare the virus to the flu, or say,"It's only the elderly and those with weakened immune systems that are dying" - I get angry.
I question their compassion.
Do the people posting these comments picture their own beloved grandmother or mother?
Do they realize they could be carriers who could cause someone to become terribly ill?
Do they think their perceived invincibility makes them immune from causing stress, worry, and illness in others?
Do they care that I worry about them being sick or that they give it to me?
Do they realize their actions could even lead to my mom becoming sick?
That they could lead, through the chain of community spread, to my mother dying from this?
This world, and I want to emphasize WORLD, not just a small town, state, country, but world, is taking a Mike Tyson lights out blow to the chin from this virus.
Even President Trump, who first wasn't overly concerned about the virus (as little as a month ago,) has now declared a national state of emergency as we not only enter a health crisis but a tumbling economic meltdown.
Is everyone willing to take it serious yet?
Are we still overreacting?
I'm so tired of still hearing people say this.
Currently my family is trying to assist my mother from hundreds of miles away. But we're helpless. I was lucky enough to see her shortly before the crisis ramped up. During that visit I held her in my arms as she cried from pain, frustration and fear. Now she is in Florida without any family to comfort or visit her.
I think about this all day long.
So when I read callous posts on social media, forgive me, but you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
It is essential we take great care of ourselves for the benefit of others more now then ever. It is downright dangerous to be cavalier about this.
Even if the doors are open to my mother's facility tomorrow, I still can't, in good conscious, go visit her.
I'm feeling OK. My temperature is perfect. I'm not coughing today. But what if I had contact with someone not taking this seriously? What if I am carrying the virus even though I am taking precautions?
Putting my cheek to her forehead could kill her.
That's the perspective I have when Governor Wolf basically shut down the state; and the president declared an emergency.
Across the state the number of cases rises daily and the location of the confirmed cases continues to get closer to where I live and work. As I write this, a case was confirmed in Mercer County.
At the paper, we are spending a lot of time doing stories about closures and tips for staying healthy. We are focused on providing the most up-to-date information about this virus we can. We present a lot of lists and numbers to help people know what is going on.
All good information, but information is useless unless we take heed and do our part.
But a lot of what is being reported about this incredibly fast moving story are numbers and sometimes we lose track that those numbers are human beings, members of someone's family.
Let me emphasize this.
Each number is a child, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, best friend, dad, or - a mom.
Earlier this week I met a family in Franklin. The parents voiced concern about the virus, but they said they were getting the house clean and building strong family connections as a result of school being shut down. "We want to come out of this stronger," the dad said.
We are human beings together in this fight for our health and quite frankly, our lives.