Corona Diaries, by, BarbaraRoseBrooker-(Quarantine stories in a series:
For a month I’ve been self-quarantined. To get fresh air and sunshine, I sit by the window, my face up to the sky, soaking in vitamin D. For exercise, I run miles in place. I make pasta, throw in foods that have been in my freezer for years. I zoom with friends and family I haven’t spoken to in years. I havedates on Zoom, and am looking for love. I wear a mask to empty the garbage in the basement of the apartment building I live in.downstairs. I do everything right — clean drawers, closets, go to bed early, anything to avoid the deadly virus.
Then, last week I get a diverticulitis attack: cramps, bloating, diarrhea, the works. After a video chat with my doctor, she instructs me to take the antibiotics for ten days. Then the trouble starts. The pills are sickening; I feel sicker than ever. Am I going to die on my Ikea bed, with the wrinkled heating pad on my stomach? With no love? The cramps get worse. My doctor insists that I go to ER and get a CT Catscan. “Better to be safe than sorry,” Dr. Kwon says.
Terrified, wearing a mask, hat, dark glasses, my will on the table, I call a taxi. The driver is not wearing wearing a mask, he doesn’t believe in masks, or, the virus. Plus, he’s lost. He doesn’t believe in maps. “I feel my way,” he says.An A thin scrawny man, wearing a red Trump cap, he rants that the Americanos are “pussys,” until he stops in front of the hospital.
Two nurses wearing masks, with exhausted eyes, lead me along a hallway, past people lying on gurneys, moaning, and crying. I feel like I’m in a war zone. Is this real? I ask myself.
I’m wheeled into the Xray room, and two tired technician, take the X-Ray. As I slide in and out of the machine,the technicians are whispering how exhausted they are and one is coughing. All night they have been at the hospital working. “People are dying like flies,” they say.
“Oh my God. Am I safe?” I ask, my breath puffing the mask over my mouth.
“Breathe deep! Don’t Talk! We’re starting.”
Finally, I’m back in the room. Soon after the doctor, looking exhausted, comes into the room. She has “good news.” I sigh relief.
“No abscess, vitals good. Relieved isn’t the word. I’m about to pounce off the bed when she says: ‘However the radiologist noticed an infection on your right lung, and you should see a pulmonologist. “You need to take care of it. It’s deadly.”
“Uh huh, great. Yes, Will do.”
“Also, now that you’ve been exposed to the infection, you need to self quarantine for fourteen days.”
At home, I drop my clothes in the laundry basket. I bathe in lilac bubble bath, wash my hair, scrub my raw hands and wonder why I still have abdominal pain and nausea?
Later that night, in bed, watch the rest of Handmaids Tale, then the news, shouting obscenities as Trump yells at another reporter. I wonder if the roses are blooming in front of my apartment?
To be continued-