The Best Way to Help

It’s day 15 of my isolation. On Friday, March 13, my friend Vicki took me to a doctor’s appointment, and by noon, I had begun my part in fighting the Coronavirus. It sounds strange to use an active verb to describe doing nothing, but I heard an interview with a doctor who said that the doctors a other medical personnel work tirelessly for us, and what we can do for them in return is to stay home.

Immediately, I was reminded of what my dad would say to me when I, as a little girl, would ask him if I could help with whatever project he was working on. “The best thing you can do is stay out of the way,” he’d say. I didn’t like that answer, but now I understand its wisdom.

For most people who were used to having their freedom of movement, who could jump in their cars and run up to the store, go to a movie, visit friends, take in a ball game, or attend a concert whenever they

felt like it, staying home is going to be a hardship, especially if they live alone. But for those of us who have a disability and can’t enjoy those freedoms, it’s not much different from our everyday lives. We need to have someone else to drive us or accompany us to places that we can’t get to on our own, so even if we did try to ignore the orders to keep our distance from others by at least 6 feet and not to join even small gatherings of people who could possibly be carriers of the disease, we can’t.

So far, being alone with only my dog to keep me company has not been such a hardship. Fortunately, she is mature enough now not to have to be playing with me all day, so I can get some work done, and fortunately for her, I am still active enough to take her for long walks every single day, even in the rain. It’s important for her health as well as mine.

My mental health is just as important, so I am busy much of the day with writing, reading, listening to the news, scrubbing surfaces, corresponding with friends via email, and talking with friends on the phone. Normally, I am not a phone-chatter, but during this time of isolation, I am making it a point to call someone every day just to talk and check on their health. Other people have been calling me too, especially my kids, so the day is filled with communication. Yesterday, my next-door neighbor came over to the fence to say hello, since we hadn’t spoken since last fall. We were still 6 feet apart, but it was the first time I had spoken to someone face to face in 2 weeks, and I have to say, it was refreshing.

When you hear the horrific numbers of people who are hospitalized and dying, you know that most of those cases could have been avoided if only the people who are not sick would stay home. As possible carriers, they are running around spreading the disease and not knowing it. It’s a small price to pay to just stay out of the way of this terrible virus and let it fly away. If we all avoid contact with a person or a thing that could be a resting place for it, those of us who aren’t sick yet can live and enjoy having our loved ones live too.

We even can attend meetings and church services and enjoy free virtual tours of museums and watch millions of hours of cute puppies on YouTube,

90,000 troops were supposed to be deployed, but now they have to be quarantined for another 2 months. Surely a few weeks of quarantine in our comfortable homes with all these diversions is not that great a sacrifice.

Mary Hiland

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available on Amazon or at

Dldbooks.com/maryhiland

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