This is a copied post from a friend who live in White Salmon WA. A small town about an hour outside of Portland OR. It’s “Anytown USA” I’m sure there are thousands like this. Being told ‘don’t worry’, it’s not a big thing, then when you need the help and resources they aren’t there. Without Data there can be no plan. Without testing there can be no data.
I can only hope that none of us have to go through the experience this couple went through.
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
You may not agree with the religious or political views that I express here, but please read this so you know that the coronavirus ordeal is real, and now, and here.
What do you get when you mix a 75-year-old man who had heart by-pass surgery a few years ago; a psychotic, narcissistic President; FOX News; organized evangelical religion; and a deadly virus? The worst personal shit-show I have ever had the misfortune to be a part of or witness, and I’ve seen some doozies.
It all started a month ago for the 75-year-old, actually my next-door neighbor and friend, when he signed up for a big, three-day religious shindig (aka ‘Congress’) to be held in Los Angeles in early March. The event featured ‘workshops’ (think This Old House meets The 700 Club); speeches by over 180 priests, bishops, friars, ministers, child molesters and other godly devotees; prayer meetings and sing-alongs; over 380 exhibitors selling spiritual accessories (from Anthem Sacred Furnishings to Wells of Life, Inc.); and of course book signings by distinguished and heavenly scribes. It was attended by over 3,500 of the ‘faithful’ from 80 countries around the world.
Now this was in early March, right when the coronavirus storm was really erupting around the world. Almost everyone knew—or should have assumed—that something bad was coming. Events around the world were being cancelled as the pandemic spread, but apparently God sent a message to the organizers of the event telling them that everything was fine and that He would be looking out for them. So they came, flying into L.A. in packed planes from Spain, Italy, Iran, France, England, South Korea and, of course, China.
Apparently none of the conference attendees was worried. They mixed and they mingled, ate and drank, hugged and cheered, partied and prayed for three solid days. PRAISE THE LORD! (and pass the ventilators).
By the end of February most of the world was aware that the Corona virus was spreading fast. Many countries (some led by reasonable and intelligent governments) immediately took steps to address and hopefully mitigate the potential threat. But not the U.S. As late as February 28, when the virus had already killed over 2,800 people world-wide and was spreading rapidly, President Trump announced to a packed campaign rally that the whole thing was yet another hoax perpetrated by the democrats. His loyal troops hugged and cheered, safe in the knowledge that “everything is under control”.
FOX News, not to be outdone by Trump downplaying the catastrophe-to-come, repeated and emphasized his pronouncement that all American hospitals were fully prepared for a coronavirus outbreak, with test kits and ventilators for everyone. They played and replayed interviews with Mike ‘bobblehead’ Pence who stated emphatically that American’s had nothing to worry about just as the stock market took its biggest plunge in history.
So the stage was set for our next-door-neighbor, a devout Christian, ardent Trump supporter and FOX News viewer, to hop on a packed plane and head to LA for the conference. After all, how dangerous could it be if the conference organizers were still holding it (despite the fact that hundreds of other events across the country had been cancelled weeks before), the President and Vice-President were telling everyone that there was nothing to worry about and that everything was under control, and trusted ultra-right-wing FOX News hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin were busy railing against Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for pointing out that California had a rapidly growing coronavirus problem and might need some federal government help?
Among the conference faithful was an 80-year-old man from mainland China who wasn’t feeling too well. Fever, cough, general lethargy; but that didn’t stop him from taking part in this momentous gathering. When he flew home on a packed plane on March 3 he immediately went to the hospital. He died two days later. Cause? Covid-19. Duh.
On March 9 my neighbor returned home, complaining to his wife of a bad headache and feeling weak and achy. By March 12 he had a 103º fever and was having trouble breathing. My wife and I had just returned home from a two-week road trip when his frantic wife called to tell us of his situation and ask us what she should do. “Get him to the hospital to get tested for Covid-19 right away,” we told her.
She called the local hospital but they told her he couldn’t get tested unless he had all the symptoms and was in ‘critical distress’. I called the hospital to confirm and was told the same thing. The following day he was worse with his chest on fire, his temperature still 103º, and he had difficulty breathing. His wife called 911 and ordered an ambulance. At the hospital they told her that there was nothing they could do since he still didn’t have all the symptoms (he only had a mild cough), they wouldn’t test him, and sent them back home.
Desperate, his wife called us and I subsequently called the hospital to find out what the hell was going on. I was told that the hospital didn’t have any test kits and that they weren’t admitting anyone unless they were in absolutely ‘critical’ condition. The administrator apologized and said they were doing the best they could, but were under federal and state protocol guidelines, and their supplies for dealing with this situation were practically non-existent.
That afternoon, his wife, yearning to get outside after several days of taking care of her husband non-stop, took a short walk into the small (2,400 residents) town where, unbelievably, someone that apparently knew that her husband was sick, reported her to the police for being out in public. The police chief called and told her she had to stay on her own property or risk being arrested. He was only doing his job, but she, of course, was completely dumbfounded, thinking she was going to jail and no one will be around to take care of her husband.
Two days later his wife again called 911 when he could barely breathe, still had a raging fever, and was almost comatose. Seventy-five years old herself, and with a history of bronchial problems, she is petrified. The ambulance arrives and they tell her that the local hospital won’t take him but that the hospital in the next town might, so they spend an hour talking to the hospital administrator on the phone and finally the ambulance takes him away as she stands helplessly in her (our) driveway.
They end up sending him directly to a large hospital in the nearest city (60 miles away) where he is admitted to the ICU and put on an intubator (a rather crude ventilator), in critical condition. He temporarily stabilizes the next day, but then deteriorates rapidly as his various organs gradually give up; first his kidneys start to fail, then others. The doctors realize it’s a losing battle and they call his wife to let her know. Distraught, she asks them about some of the experimental treatments she has heard about (including Chloroquine, which Trump incorrectly announced was “looking very, very positive, a tremendous new drug…”) but was told that because of his potential heart condition he was not a candidate.
The next morning the hospital called. Her husband was going down quickly and they suggested that if she wanted to see him before he died that she come to the hospital immediately (even though she can only view him through a glass window). They tell her that he might live, but if he does he will never be the same, so she needs to make the decision whether to pull the plug or not. She called us with the news and was panicked about the possibility of getting arrested if she even tried to drive into Portland to see her husband of forty-five years before he died. I tell her not to worry, to immediately head in to the hospital. I, of course, am completely distraught that I can’t give her a big hug and drive her in myself, but the danger is just too much to risk since I’m no spring chicken myself.
She drives to the hospital, says goodbye to her husband as they hospital staff disconnects the ventilator, and comes back home later that night. She calls us with the news that he has passed on, it is God’s will, and says she just wants to go to sleep for the first time in several days.
We get in touch with her 45-year-old born-again-Christian daughter (with three kids by three different fathers) in Florida who quotes scripture and tells us she can’t come out to help. We try to get in touch with her other daughter (also with two kids by two different fathers) but she doesn’t call back. Unfortunately this daughter is an alcoholic with a drug-addict boyfriend, so will be of no support anyway. I text her daughter’s 20-year-old son thinking he might be able to help out but he never gets back to me either. Which leaves my wife and I to try to get her back on her feet and through the most difficult time in her life. We go to the post office and store for her, help her with bill paying, and bring her dinners since she still can’t leave her house for another week, even though, miraculously, she tested negative for Covid-19. Personally I find that test suspect at best, but I certainly hope it is correct.
Am I mad? You bet I am. But wait, certainly there’s no one to blame for this disease? Isn’t it God’s will? Isn’t this whole crisis going to end by Easter?
You know, if he had died from cancer I wouldn’t be mad. That’s something that attacks the body and, unless you are a heavy smoker, probably can’t be prevented—although exposure to many man-made chemicals can certainly be blamed.
No, I’m mad because from the start, virtually everyone involved made life-altering pronouncements and mistakes. Trump announced that it was not serious, would soon be over, and anyway, it was just a democratic hoax like his impeachment. And look! He is very, extremely, tremendously rich and his approval ratings have never been higher. Bobble-head Pence, who was put in charge of the pandemic because of his extensive medical experience as a ’born again’ evangelical Christian who thinks the world was created 6,000 years ago, stood by and did virtually nothing other than offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to address the pandemic.
I‘m mad that people watch, listen to, agree with, believe, and, worst of all, quote FOX News when the ‘reporters’ regurgitate patently untrue, irrational and outrageous assertions in a time of medical crisis.
I’m mad that the organizers of this religious event did not have the basic wisdom (or conscience) to cancel the event rather than take the risk (pretty much a 100% chance) of spreading the virus to their flock. But I suppose that losing the revenue from 3,500 attendees and 380 religious trinket exhibitors would produce more pain than simply losing a few of the faithful. Besides, Trump said it was all a hoax (until a week later when he announced that he knew all along that it was a pandemic).
Unfortunately I fear that this same scenario is playing itself out all over the U.S. (and the world). Political leaders making ill-advised or self-serving decisions, the media going in a dozen different directions, the hospitals and medical personnel being completely overwhelmed, and people dying.
I am heart-broken that my neighbor and friend of thirty years is dead. He was proof that even though we had wildly different views of religion and politics, we could still get along, still be friends, still be neighbors. I am heart-broken that there are good people like him dying while the true criminals in all this are on stage making speeches and protecting their own self-interests. Most of all, I am heart-broken because there’s nothing I could do about it.