The COVID pandemic has been difficult for everyone in a multitude of ways. Although for the most part, I believe I am doing a decent job of keeping my spirits up, I recently became very weighed down by the culmination of many things occurring in my life. All of these struggles were made worse by the central difficulty of our current global challenge. After a week of several miniature breakdowns I had an absolute epic meltdown while riding my bike, and fortunately managed to start turning around my emotions and attitude with the love and support of those around me, primarily through their small gestures. Over the years I have found that it is these small gestures of love and kindness, like a pat to the hand, a hug, a smile, a phone call, drawings from my nephews, and of course flowers, which have the greatest power to turn the tide of sadness to its very opposite.
A few days following my epic meltdown, my mom went to Trader Joe's to stock up on food for the upcoming week. It seems whenever she goes there, her and the employees end up having some sort of conversation regarding the various attitudes people have in response to the necessary protective precautionary measures that we all need to participate in. Her and I both have incredible appreciation and respect for the people working in grocery stores, they are risking themselves by being there so that the rest of us can gain access to essential goods. It saddens me to know that some patrons are reluctant to do their part in protecting the men and women who are risking themselves in order to help the rest of us.
In any case, on this particular day, she somehow started sharing with the bagger that her daughter was stuck at home, having hardly left for several months, due to my increased risk as a ventilator user. He asked her if she could meet him up front, and once there presented her with a lovely autumn bouquet. Informing my mom that they were for her daughter, something to brighten her day. Thus, upon her return my mom came into my room with the flowers and promptly informed me that they were not from her, but rather from the bagger at Trader Joe's.
After sharing with me the story of what transpired in order to inspire the gentleman to send me these flowers I sat down and started writing. This is not the first time that a stranger has randomly presented me with flowers on an occasion when I was wallowing in my own sadness. On both of these occasions, not only did I find a reason to smile in that moment, the kindness offered by a stranger reminded me of the incredible kindness to be found in a world where there is often much suffering. It is humbling, and reminds me that whatever I am suffering, the person next to me, or during COVID metaphorically next to me, may be suffering far more than I am. This is why I always try to offer smiles and courtesy to those around me when out in public, because we are all suffering in this life together. So, thank you, to the guy at my local Trader Joe's, for being a gentleman during a time when many are inclined to think only of themselves. You did in fact brighten my day, and did so much more brightening my soul during a dark and difficult time. I hope that when my house arrest has finally been lifted, that in my excitement over liberation I will not fail to remember to engage meaningfully with those I encounter. Moving out of quarantine we will all need to make a conscious effort to engage in society socially and with consideration for those around us, so that our time in isolation does not disrupt the social discourse which is essential to our humanity.
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.