We are living in uncertain and unfamiliar times. Sure, there have been other coronavirus outbreaks, but they have not elevated to the pandemic scale we now find ourselves in. Yes, the CDC and WHO have published recommendations on precautions people ought to be taking, but the reality is nobody really knows what the best practice or policy is right now. Despite scientists worldwide striving to understand the virus and develop a vaccine, much of its behavior remains largely unknown.
What we do know is that society has been disrupted as people quarantine to avoid the spread and lives are being lost worldwide in staggering numbers. The facts are frightening for anyone and a worldwide ventilator shortage has companies pooling resources in attempts to meet the soaring demand. As people wonder if their infected loved ones will be one of the lucky individuals with mild symptoms, or be amongst those who require ventilation support in order to survive the battle against this virus, the need for ventilators has become widespread affecting every man, woman, and child. Yet, for some, this type of support is not an acute need, but a daily part of their reality. What are the people, like me, who are already using ventilators, for whatever reason be it neuromuscular or disease related, thinking and doing?
I can only speak for myself and share some of the thoughts that I have had as I attempt to process an incredible input of changing information, statistics, and the daunting prevalence of widespread suffering. As much as I strive to remain calm and keep a positive outlook, the incredible influence of sensory information surrounding COVID-19 sometimes becomes overwhelming and I have to let the emotions out before being able to continue to process rationally.
Regardless of whether I find myself in a rational or more emotional frame of mind, processing the impacts from the pandemic have become a heavy burden. The dichotomy between what most people will experience with mild or no symptoms and how extreme the conditions are for some makes it difficult to balance optimism for one's own safety against concern and heartache for the victims of this virus. I struggle to reconcile my peace of mind that I will be fine at home, already using a ventilator if I do become ill, with the fact that worldwide this is changing the landscape of our world and society at a tragic cost.
So, what can I do? What am I doing? The only thing I truly can do, staying tucked away not only for my safety, but so as to not unknowingly play the role of Typhoid Mary spreading that which will remain silent for most, but is devastating for far too many. As death tolls continue to climb and quarantine periods are extended, it feels as though the end is not in sight, however, though it may not seem like it, this too shall pass. While I mourn the pain, suffering, and loss I am trying to remember that while we may currently be physically separated, if we unite for the common good, we can minimize the deficit and humanity will come out the other side stronger and more united.
The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.