Containment

I received the following information from an ER doctor in my family.  It is the most up to date information available regarding this pandemic.  Please be sensible, rational and responsible.  Panic is making this pandemic worse.

So much confusion, misinformation and denial is bouncing around on social media about the coronavirus that I thought I would try to explain, in plain language, why the experts see this as such an emergency.

You will see the claim online that this virus is a lot like the viruses that cause colds, and that if you get it, it will probably just seem like a bad cold and you are very unlikely to die. Depending on who you are, these statements are probably true. But they are incomplete, and the missing information is the key to understanding the problem.

This is a coronavirus that is new to the human population, jumping into people late last year from some kind of animal, probably at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. It is related to the viruses that cause colds, and acts a lot like them in many ways. It is very easy to transmit through the respiratory droplets that all of us give off. But nobody has ever been exposed to this before, which means nobody has any immunity to it.

The virus is now moving explosively through the human population. While most people will recover, about 20 percent of the people who catch it will wind up with a serious disease. They will get pneumonia that causes shortness of breath, and they may need hospitalization.

Some of those people will get so sick that they cannot be saved and will die of the pneumonia. The overall death rate for people who develop symptoms seems to be 2 or 3 percent. Once we have enough testing to find out how many people caught the virus but did not develop symptoms, that might come down to about 1 percent, optimistically.

This is a large number. It is at least 10 times higher than the mortality rate for the seasonal flu, for instance, which in some years kills 60,000 or 70,000 Americans. So just on that math, we could be looking at 600,000 or 700,000 dead in the United States. But it gets worse.

Older people with existing health problems are much more vulnerable, on average. The mortality rate of coronavirus among people over age 80 may be 15 or 20 percent. It appears to have 7 or 8 percent mortality for people aged 70 to 79. Here is the terrible part: If you are a healthy younger person, you can catch the virus and, without developing serious symptoms yourself, you can pass it along to older people. In other words, as the virus spreads, it is going to be very easy to go out and catch it, give it to your grandmother and kill her, even though you will not die yourself. You can catch it by touching a door knob or an elevator button.

Scientists measure the spread of an epidemic by a number called R0, or “R naught.” That number is calculated this way: for every person who develops the illness, how many other people do they give it to before they are cured (or dead) and no longer infectious? The R0 for coronavirus, in the absence of a control strategy, appears to be a number close to 3 – maybe a bit higher or lower, but in that ballpark. This is an extremely frightening number for such a deadly disease.

Suppose you catch the virus. You will give it to 3 other people, and they will each give it to three others, and so forth. Here is how the math works, where you, the “index case,” are the first line:
1
3
9
27
81
243
729
2,187 (US cases 3/14)
6,561
19,683
59,046
177,147
531,441
1,594,323
4,782,969
14,348,907

So, in just 15 steps of transmission, the virus has gone from just one index case to 14.3 million other people. Those 15 steps might take only a few weeks. The index person may be young and healthy, but many of those 14 million people will be old and sick, and they will likely die because they got a virus that started in one person’s throat.

The United States is not at this point yet, with millions infected, as best we can tell. We don’t really know, because our government has failed us. We are many, many weeks behind other countries in rolling out widespread testing, so we don’t really have a clue how far the thing has spread. We do know that cases are starting to pop up all over the place, with many of the people having no known exposure to travelers from China, so that means this virus has escaped into our communities.

We do not have approved treatments, yet. We do not have a vaccine. The only tool we really have now is to try to slow down the chain of transmission.

This can be done. In other words, R0 is not fixed – it can be lowered by control measures. If we can get the number below 1, the epidemic will die out. This is the point of the quarantines and the contact-tracing that you are hearing so much about in the news. But the virus is exploding so fast that we will not have the labor available to trace contacts for much longer, so we have to shift strategies. This has already begun, but we are not doing it fast enough.

It is now likely that the majority of Americans will get this virus. But slowing it down is still crucial. Why? Because the healthcare system has limited resources. We only have about a million hospital beds in America. We have well under a million ventilators. If millions of Americans get sick enough to need treatment, we will have a calamity on our hands. What will happen is a form of battlefield triage, where the doctors focus on trying to treat the young and allow the older people to die.

This is not theoretical. It is already happening in Italy, where people over 65 are being left alone on hospital gurneys to suffocate to death from pneumonia. They basically drown in their own sputum. There is simply not enough medical capacity to take care of them. The United States appears to be about two weeks behind Italy on the epidemic growth curve.

What do we need to do now? We need to cancel all large gatherings – all of them. You have probably seen that the N.B.A. has postponed the rest of its season. Other sporting events, concerts, plays and everything else involving large audiences in a small space – all of it needs to be canceled. Even if these events take place, do not go to them. No lectures, no plays, no movies, no cruises – nothing.

Stay at home as much as possible.Stay out of restaurants. I would cancel any travel that is not absolutely essential. Work from home if you possibly can. You may have to go buy groceries and medicine, of course, but make the trips quick and purposeful. Wash your hands assiduously after you have been in public places, for a full 20 seconds, soaping up thoroughly and being sure to get between the fingers. Sunlight and alcohol will kill the virus.

And please stop passing around statements on social media claiming that the situation is not serious or is being exaggerated. This is a national crisis, and conveying misinformation to your friends and family may put their lives in danger.

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Supernatural Sammy

I rescued her in 2007 from a shelter.  She’d been there for a year after being taken from a home along with 152 other cats.  Some not living.  Horrible.  But I guess the woman meant well.  So often our intentions are good and we can’t see we’re making a hell for others.

Animal or human.

Sammy looked nothing like the photo above.  She was one solid mat ball of fur.  And, wow, she stunk…. real bad.

Oh, but she was a sweetie.

 A loving, affectionate mess of a cat and I had to have her… my husband (at the time) is a “designer” kind of guy.  At least he was then.  Everything he owned had to make a statement of excellence. We argued.  “But she’s a mess!” he cried.  “Yeah? Well so am I!” I piped back at him.

I won.

Turned out she really only responded to me.  She was actually quite feral but slowly she began to trust and we healed together.  You see I had rescued Sammy right after I was released from the hospital.  Locked ward kind of hospital thanks to Lexapro.  Four weeks into it, it triggered a manic psychotic episode and then a downward dive into a suicidal despair.

So Sammy and I, we were both a little off at the time.  Both traumatized by life.

My sweet 20 year old kitty is not well.  Dr. Bernie thinks it might be lymphoma. I know I’ve given her a wonderful life and I have no words for what she has given me.  Pure love and joy….and healing. I guess those are words but they seem so inadequate.  I’ve never had the bond with another animal that I have with her.  She is truly supernatural.  I sometimes wonder- she seems part dog, part human with a little cat thrown in.

I can’t fix this.

I just don’t want her to suffer.

Please pray for her peaceful passing.

🙏

I am so very grateful to all of you.  This incredible tribe of sober warriors.

 

 

 

3rd Sober Christmas…

So yes, third Christmas, no alcohol.  Truly a miracle.  Almost feels like I’ve never even had alcohol in my life…if it weren’t for the memories.

As Belle would say, “You never know when Wolfie will show up at the door.” Revisiting those memories comes in very handy at those times.  Me thinks I’ll hang on to them.

I’ve not written for a long time (as you know) but I am doing lots of other therapeutic work.

And praying my way through it all.

So much has changed.

Inside not out. Becoming who I was created to be.

This year has been the hardest of my life.  And the absolute best and  victorious in a personal as well as professional way.  This hard work is coming to fruition… I’m finally fully alive…. loving, laughing, living, giving, receiving, creating.  And crying….mostly tears of joy for the grace and mercy bestowed on me but also tears of suffering as well.  The suffering of others when I look out the window. This world.  What’s different is the suffering is not all consuming. I’m not drowning in it.

I can now hold joy and sadness in the same moment. 

Most of the time anyway.

I know what’s mine and what’s not.  My responsibilities… and what I have not an ounce of control over.  The lines between my being and the rest of the world are clear. Firm but loving boundaries. Amen.

Those of us in early sobriety- and I still consider myself in early sobriety considering the time I spent drinking, are in what my sister called the “Fertile Void”.  Isn’t that great?

The rewards will come.  Guaranteed to come if we hang in there and do the work.  Everything is better without the drink.  Stay strong.  For yourself and for the world. We need you.

I thank anyone who’s still following this stale site- I’m hoping to write more in the year to come. And Nadine, thank you for coming to find me.  I hope and pray we get to be smile to smile one day.  Much love to you and Tree.

Have a Blessed, Joyous and Peace-filled Christmas.

May God Bless us all.

 

 

 

Emotional Sobriety — Message in a Bottle

Paul S. was one of the first blogs I read when searching for sober blogs.

What is emotional sobriety, and why is it so important in recovery? It’s been called the “next frontier” of recovery by Bill Wilson, and simply put, is being able to experience, confront, and accept all emotions, even the painful ones. It doesn’t mean “turning a frown upside down”, but it does mean having a healthy […]

via Emotional Sobriety — Message in a Bottle

Full Circle Forward

I’ve had some moments of inspiration but have not wanted to remain writing only of sobriety. So…. I have a new creation. Even newer than yesterday when I originally posted here of the change.  Of course I decided to change the title of the blog and now can’t seem to reblog the post here as I had done yesterday.  So tech challenged.  Anyway, haven’t done much with the particulars such as theme, about, etc.- all that will be a work in progress. I felt getting the words down most important. And while I continue to limp along and find out what I’m doing wrong, you’ll need to click on Full Circle Forward to find me.

One and done. Farewell…for now

I began WTW because I had a desperate desire to put down the alcohol; not because I wanted to write.  But I began to witness this amazing sober community of strength and support and (mostly) non-judgemental attitudes.  And these people were doing it!  Living sober.  And some had been living it for years.  AND…..they were happy.

So I wrote.

I felt it might be my last shot.

Well here I am with 1 year and 2 weeks today.  Unrecognizable at every turn.  I’m at peace with who I am in sobriety and who I am becoming. I am full of hope and look forward to pursuing my remaining years as a sober woman.  By God’s grace, I will pass from this world to the next sober.  One of my goals is to be a kinder, gentler version of myself.  Emphasize the positive traits, temper down the character flaws and defects and mix well with a lot of love!  I’m down 15 pounds although part of that was leaving the cheese shop! I love my job now and the people I lead.  The gratitude most days is overflowing.

I don’t even blink now when someone asks me why I don’t drink-  so rude to begin with.  I just look deadpan at them eye to eye and say “Oh you go first and tell me why you do.”  Usually there’s an awkward silence and then some mumbling.  Gets ’em every time.

  Should someone ever actually take me up on it and list reasons, they’ll be listing all the reasons I don’t.

I do not need to drink anymore.  Not that I’m cured, oh no way.  But way deep down inside of me I feel like a non-drinker.  If it weren’t for the lifetime of wretched memories, it would feel like it’s never even been a part of my life.

BUT…..

you all know we all have “those” days.

That’s why it’s so important to work hard to develop those emotional/mental/spiritual muscles and strong self-care routines early on.  The healthy habits will help pull you through those times of tests and trials.  Along with lots of support from those who’ve gone before you.

So…..

this will be my last post for the foreseeable future.  I’m leaving the blog in place should I feel inspired.  Right now though the thought of writing is painful.  I want to enjoy it- not feel burdened by it.  It’s just not happening for me now.

I will leave you all with two things:

The first is a link to one of my sober heroes latest blog post.  This year did not come easy for me.  I started to become a chronic relapser.  Her posts are always uplifting and in this latest she writes of why it’s so hard to get/stay sober.

Tipsy No More

The second is something I read during my morning prayers last week.  I immediately thought of this sober community.  It is written from one Christian sojourner to another;  someone he’s never met.

“It is not surprising if, despite being far apart, we are present to each other….because we are members of one body, we have one head, we are steeped in one grace, we live on one loaf, we walk on one road, and we dwell in the same house.”      St. Paulinus of Nola to St. Augustine

Peace and Love to you all and may you be blessed.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!