New Year’s Eve… page 180

Day 291 – 12/31/2020

Better news yesterday, therefore it was a better day, cold but sunny. Little happened, and sometimes that’s the good news. Still waiting to hear on a COVID test (not mine), but it’s likely that a bullet has been dodged, and now we all find ourselves on the cusp of a whole new pack of challenges. I remember how we couldn’t wait for 2019 to end so there’s no such wild-eyed optimism on my part today – 2020 couldn’t have been dreamed up if we’d tried, and 2021 will no doubt leave a mark as well.

For starters, we’ll still have to suffer Jim Jordan and his buddies…

Do wrestling coaches not take history classes?

They’re all still out there and they’re neither leaving nor shutting up, so it’s up to me to wrap myself in a few protective layers to counterbalance what they’re putting out into the world – their lack of humanity is too toxic to allow inside. A good beginning would be to disown all the guilt in the universe that isn’t mine, and then ditch any guilt that IS mine, starting small and working my way through the heap.

DECEMBER 31, 2020 MISSION STATEMENT:

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Yup, tacos today… page 179

Day 289 – 12/29/2020

Slept until almost 9am and two hours later I’m still trying to wake up. I fell asleep last night with a circus going on in my head, and molasses-walked my way through an endless dream totally lacking in resolution ’til morning, leaving me thick-headed and fuzzy around the edges. We had freezing rain sliding down the windows this morning and now it’s just gray, cold, and wet. Looks like 30s and 40s weather for a few days now, with maybe some snow showers. A few heavy snowfalls in January and February would be nice – the Missouri River running through KC is as low as I’ve ever seen it and the countryside looks crispier than usual.

As the world turns, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, ya’ know. Sun comes up, sun goes down. Life happens. Life goes on. Life ends. All about where you are on the spectrum, which is broad and all-inclusive – the human experience. Poets and philosophers have gone mad trying to distill the reality of human existence down to its essence and make it graspable, so I in my humble state should simply stand down from the discussion, but the dialogue about human values never vacates my head. And on a gray rainy day there’s no looking away from the fact that the same lies and arguments and roadblocks and stonewalling that were raging on November 4th have found no resolution on December 29th. Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed for COVID vaccines is severely warped, the incoming administration is being denied transition materials and resources, and PEOPLE ARE DYING. Two days ago we learned that 1 of every 1000 Americans has now died as a result of the coronavirus… and there’s zero urgency on the part of the current administration to change the trajectory. DJT is golfing every day and Pence, our “Virus Czar,” is skiing in Vail, after which he’ll head off on a European jaunt. They’ve both individually abdicated all responsibility but won’t let the adults into the room, either. Pretty much everybody’s going to lose someone they love to this before the end of next year and each of those people will wish it could have been different somehow. It could have. But it isn’t. Because incompetents simply threw up their hands and said, “Herd immunity, that’s our answer. Let it do its thing and wear itself out.” And now they’re immersed in death over their heads. And DO.NOT.CARE.

In the ninth month of a pandemic, hearing that someone you love is ill with COVID-like symptoms is the worst, and I can think of nothing else this morning. All of us may have a scare or two before we come out the other side, if we do, and it’s the most sobering thing in the world – Christmas has come and gone but our supply of peace is not renewed. The limbo state continues…

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Still alive… page 178

Day 288 – 12/28/2020

I’m back, Diary friend, did you miss me? Whatever it was that hit me after Christmas took me out of the game for a while. Saturday was a no-sleep night due to body pain, and yesterday was a wash, but I’m none the worse for wear this morning. It felt like a reaction to Wednesday’s SI-joint injection – she gave me the max dosage this time and the pain was mostly waist to toes with off-the-chart readings in the tush area, but Rita had nearly the same experience the day before Thanksgiving minus the steroids, so how would I know? There’s stuff out there everywhere, things happen, human schematics are complicated, and I’ve lived with a wonky system since I first saw daylight, so just another anomaly to ponder.

Obviously, sickness of any kind is never a welcome guest, and less so now, especially until it shows its credentials. “What are you and where did you come from? What’s your intent? Don’t be COVID.” Waking up to sunshine this morning, back to whoever I am most of the time, called for putting the four walls in the rearview mirror for a while, so I put on real clothes, meaning top, bottom, plus bra and shoes – and we took the red flyer for a run to blow the cobs out. Saw another actual human and carried on a three-way conversation – a total delight even with masks… starting to forget how things were. Had a good drive, absorbed that free-as-a-bird vibe again, cracked each other up, picked up lunch and brought it home, and I’m calling this a good day at half-time.

When you’re staring life in the face, which seems only prudent, staying in touch with your inner Pollyanna is a benefit rather than a detriment. She may be an idealist and a cockeyed optimist, but she ain’t crazy and she’ll get you through.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 12/27/2020

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The day after… page 176

Day 286 – 12/26/2020

Wild ride today… got up at 7:00, ate part of my breakfast, realized things were wonky, went back to bed at 8:30 and slept for 3 & a half hours. Chills, body aches, nausea, the strength of a kitten. Better now after passing out for a while, and I don’t think it’s anything but stress and fatigue so maybe I’ll get my legs under me again before the day’s out. Poor anxiety-driven system.

Cold this morning but up into the 50s now and Kim’s heading out for another walk. Don’t think much else will be shakin’ for the foreseeable.

On the day after, I’m thinking of these guys… we were last with them 2 & a half years ago. Various circumstances have kept us from going to Atlanta, and before COVID they were busy going places, such as Amsterdam, and after COVID hit had to cancel a trip to Paris in March for John’s birthday. So it’s been a while since we could coordinate plans, and my heart feels it.

Think I’m gonna go wrap up in a blankie…

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Christmas Day… page 175

Day 285 – 12/25/2020

When you’re feeling old, tired, and beat up there’s much to be said for simplicity, and after the butt-wippin’ known as 2020, the simpler the better. Subscribing to that point of view, Rita made a yummy breakfast casserole and brought crescent rolls and champagne, with fresh raspberries for muddling. Kim made a skillet apple crisp served with vanilla bean ice cream and warm caramel sauce. Delicious, fun, and clean-up took mere minutes. Preston was not in a mood to be adventurous and get out of the car, even for a potty break, so Rita took him home around 2:00 and now they’re napping. Elma FaceTimed her while she was here to show her all her gifts and I got to see and say hi to Matt. It’s been a sweet day, a little microcosm of connection.

John’s habit since he started his nursing career has been to work on December 24th and 25th to allow a colleague with kids to be home with them, so that’s where he is today. I miss him so much my heart feels shredded, but he’s right where he needs to be and it’s all okay. He made sure to have his own celebration, which makes this heart a little happier. Missing lots of family… the holidays bring it to the surface in ways you can’t say no to and I’m sending a little prayer out into the universe that Christmas 2021 won’t feel like this one.

We create our own happiness, our own sweetness, our own peace, and we did a good job of that today. Rita always brings the joy, and great food, and the love. Life is good. 💙

As we get ready to close out a year we can’t wait to see the backside of…

A silent salute to all we’ve lost in 2020…

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It’s Christmas Eve… page 174

Day 284 – 12/24/2020

Yesterday was cold and windy, and today started out frigid… first morning in a long time that Kim’s given up his morning walk. And now Christmas is upon us, wonky but reliable.

I had a lumbar injection yesterday morning, SI-joint. If it works, great, if it doesn’t she’ll do another epidural. And if we get some more warm-ish sunny days soon maybe I’ll be ready to walk with Rita for real. I was already feeling better by last night, and this morning’s promising too, so hopefully we’ve got it whipped again for a few months.

Annnnnd… at 3pm it’s been a lazy and totally cozy day, exactly how I like my holidays. It’s sunny but deceptively cold outside so here by the fire is where I wanna be. Just leaving this entry here for posterity as evening approaches… 🎄❤️

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Christmas Week… page 173

Day 282 – 12/22/2020

Sunshine again this morning – always a sweet hook to the day. I have enough laundry to keep me right here for the foreseeable so I’m glad I got out of here yesterday – it was time. Rita and I caught each other up on such news as there is, and then she loaded sleepy Preston into the car to snooze in a safe spot while we walked for an hour at the old sports complex/arboretum out near Clinton Lake. And by walked I mean I kept stride with Rita for the first 500 yards or so before Left Hip said “Who authorized this shit?” The next 500 saw the pace totally FUBAR’d… then there was a bench! After that it all went pretty great, in that I arrived back at the car under my own steam, still standing. Next time we’ll start with one of the little lakes at the arboretum… then on a third walk we’ll add the other one. Smaller bites. Some of the sidewalks were leaf-dappled and in a shadowed spot Rita stepped on a fat round twig which flipped her heels over head, whereupon she landed expertly turtled-up on the concrete without scraping anything or hitting her head or hands. It looked like a soft landing but her tush-bones and an ankle might be sore this morning. I was horrified but impressed with her mad skilz, holy moly, that was an expert tuck & roll.

Kimmers and I didn’t walk out into the dark last night, although we could have… but somehow you feel it.

And now we begin our roll to the sunny side, knowing this is when winter actually starts for us, and looking toward spring again… the greening of life.

Meanwhile, the tantrum at the center of government continues unabated but doesn’t merit the time of day…

Shameful and terrifying.

Holding my breath until the inauguration… ready for the grown-ups to steer the ship. I’m navigating on a raft woven of Christmases past… and we will feel safe again.

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The halfway point… page 172

Day 281 – 12/21/2020

It’s the Winter Solstice already… and here in the bleak midwinter we’re getting a handful of nice days. Kim’s likely to play at least four hours of PickleBall today between the two parks, so his Monday’s looking good. I just might put on actual clothes and go hang out with Rita for a while…

Mr. Dan Rather and I are entirely on the same page today. Seeing Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, et.al., step to the front of the line for their COVID-19 vaccinations has been odious when millions of frontline healthcare workers, living in the midst of the virus for nine months, have not yet been protected. Same for teachers and ALL essential personnel. The person in the presidential seat of power, despite his denial and chicanery… I’ll begrudgingly give you that one. Incoming electeds, for sure. But these congressional a-holes who consider it their god-given right to always be first have shredded any willingness on my part toward forgiveness, let alone respect. They’ve done nothing but obstruct, cut funds, cut corners, blatantly lie to America, remain silent to this day while the virus wreaks havoc in the nation, but have the gall to say “I’ll take mine NOW.” They’re beneath contempt.

Or, in Jeff’s words…

Apropos… Marco Rubio quotes scripture incessantly on Twitter and elsewhere… and that’s pretty much all he does.

The ignorance, willful or otherwise, of those who continue to stand behind them, top to bottom, is stunning. Soul-crushing. How have we not realized the depth and width of the divide until now? It took a madman to show us who we are, and half the country is happy about it. Really scary.

Yup, definitely going to Rita’s…

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Sunday sunshine… page 171

Day 280 – 12/20/2020

We weren’t far into the weekend before it started coming back to me how hard it is to ignore reality for more than a few minutes at a time. My major malfunction is that I’ve never found the off switches for my brain and heart, so they just go right on cookin’ and they convince me I’m at their mercy. Kim’s planning to play at Lyons Park in a while, so if the tears will stay put ’til then I can get it all cried out before he gets back and I won’t bring his day down too. The small wins count too.

The world is made up of contradictions… we hurt to feel better… tears are for happy and sad and everything between… we put our hearts in somebody else’s hands in the full knowledge that they could end us… the optimists among us wake up ready to wipe out the traces and start over every morning, only to see by evening that once again our best attitude has failed to have any effect on the world. It all accrues to a great loneliness for us humans… am I invisible, does anybody know I’m here, can anybody hear me? That yelp for companionship and understanding must be universal among feeling people – as solitary as some of us are, we weren’t meant to live in total isolation, even the scaled version we’re adapting to now. The suicides that have happened throughout this crisis should be counted as COVID deaths – they’re as much a result of the virus as any other victim. My heart hurts for the people who don’t know how to self-soothe, how to be their own advocate, how to say what they feel and ask for what they need, and have no one trustworthy to turn to for help. What, then, are they to do? The safety nets are almost nonexistent at this point, widely-spaced, and full of holes. Putting my faint whines down in words keeps me in touch with people whose lives are on the knife-edge and always have been, the people who are the front line of *expendable* when a pandemic hits, or a financial crisis, or a political crisis, or the gods forbid, everything at once. They’re without a prayer.

Always with the thinking, Diary, but you know the adage about the unexamined life… and also this bit of truth:

Jeez, what if I were responsible for more than just me through all this upheaval – pity the poor soul, young or old. This girl knew all about it, I’m sure…

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And SaturYay… page 170

Day 279 – 12/19/2020

Kimmers was out early again this morning for a solitary walk in the semi-dark where he listens for the whispers of Mass Street. And again with the frigid fingers on my neck when he got back – from Zen to zing!

I’m way out of practice corralling my thoughts. I no sooner decided yesterday that I was tuning the world out for the weekend than I found myself posting stuff all over Facebook – gurl, what ARE YOU DOING? Much like breathing, it just happens, and it takes vigilance to keep from absorbing all the vibes.

Ignoring reality leaves me two primary options: escapism and introspection. Relative to the latter, I like this analysis of friendship styles:

SPOILER ALERT: I am most definitely the alien, minus the “very charming” part.

So yeah, just enjoying the season… having a Saturday, doing Saturday things… moving on from introspection to escapism now…

My t-shirt, a gift from Joy, says OPTIMIST across the back so I should at least try to uphold truth-in-advertising today and I’m off to a good Saturday start…

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Friday smiles… page 169

Day 278 – 12/18/2020

I slept through the sun’s bold appearance this morning and by the time I opened my eyes everything had faded to gray – early bird gets the pageantry. Kim came in after his walk and threatened me with icy fingers but this lump of Zen was not having it. He played PickleBall outdoors at SPL yesterday and they’d planned to do that again today, but the wind’s coming up so he might be trapped… yikes. We may be forced to have another nice soak just to put the day on track.

It’s Friday, which is always fairly stunning now… the days are sometimes endless but the weeks and months disappear like smoke. So… the weekend. All the same stupid, scary shit that was out there yesterday is still there today, only more so, having bred and multiplied overnight… but I’m deciding to subtract it from my conscious existence until Monday morning. I’ll see things, I’ll read things, they’ll simply be none my bidness ’til I say so.

The Jayhawks won last night… by 1 point. They’ll forever be the Heart Attack Kids – they’re like Mr. Patrick Mahomes, who undoubtedly did ALL his book reports on Sunday night before the school quarter ended. Energizing, to say the least.

We finished The Queen’s Gambit… reluctantly… last week, and I’m ready to watch it all over again NEXT week. Stellar production, best overall series in a long time, just too brief.

In the interest of strengthening my resolve to keep on the sunny side, I raided my California-by-way-of-North-Dakota friend Steve’s timeline again…

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Hello, #lfk weekend… let’s do this.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith, Kaw River, 12/18/2020, no editing

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Just saying… page 168

Day 277 – 12/17/2020

I should stay off social media in the interest of good health… but who am I kidding, those are the only people I talk to outside of about three for real. So I’m romping through Twitter and I see that Tucker Carlson, who apparently has a BA from Trinity College and is therefore always right, has declared Dr. Jill Biden, our soon-to-be First Lady, a woman who earned two masters degrees and a doctorate while raising a family… to be illiterate, despite her having been a professor of English for the past couple of decades.

Tucker, I wish you could have a cordial sit-down with my friend Tanya, who says…

“Tucker Carlson is a hack who was so utterly eviscerated by Jon Stewart he had to disappear from public eye for a while (too bad it was not permanent). The utter fear these folks have for intelligent, educated, and kind women (and men) who use their privilege to better society vs tear it down for their own benefit is palpable.”

Meanness comes from a knowledge of your own inadequacy. And from stupidity. And from having your twisted goals thwarted by your superiors. If people like Tucker could realize how transparent they are they’d never step in front of a camera again.

This was out there, too, and the proverbial lightbulb over my head did its number because I see clearly how the term antifa… anti-FA… anti-FASCIST became an epithet. Anything conflated with a Democrat will eventually come to mean *enemy* and here we are.

A friend thanked me on Facebook yesterday for being brave, but I had to tell her it isn’t really about that… it’s that if you don’t speak up you start dying. It feels odd at first to be vocal about what matters, but once I realized that nobody on this earth holds anything over me that can hurt me it was obvious that I have to use the time I have left to say what I know. Somebody could take my birthday away, I guess, but that will eventually happen anyway and staying silent while I live would kill my soul.

It will all sort itself out and life will go on… for the living… but now Lumpy’s saying he doesn’t plan to leave the White House and I have to wonder if there’s anybody left on his side who will finesse the ending. Doesn’t matter, he’s going because LAW & ORDER, but just a bit of backbone would have gone a long way, long ago.

And then there’s this, no extra words needed… other than “those filthy immigrants.”

Some mornings I wake up and it simply isn’t worth chewing through the restraints. And then I remember that I have you, Diary, and the day gets better. 💋

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Touching the past… page 167

Day 276 – 12/16/2020

Kinda frosty this morning – Kim’s hands were icicles when he got back from walking, despite gloves. Now Frosty the Snowman and gingerbread are on my mind, not because I want to DO ALL THE THINGS!! again or go back to an era when that was a big part of life… I just want to remember it all for a while. There’s very little from those times that remains untouched, unsullied, unbroken, and I need to pay homage to that remnant of Christmas joy.

The concept of *HOME* is extra-heavy on my mind today after hearing news from Dodge City, America, my old proving ground… (back-arrow returns to blog post)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/i-do-not-feel-safe-kansas-gop-mayor-resigns-after-n1251334?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR0UVHatp9DkrPhRDOZo_PJVVVSCbb_m09DDzLdm_TykEPPZWaqbBx-8Oow

Things like this shouldn’t happen to people like Joyce and Bill Warshaw, end of story… and revealingly, the threats and ugliness are coming primarily from the church people. Warshaw’s Men’s Clothing Store was part of Dodge City from before my memory and I knew Bill’s parents, Max & Dona, who contributed to the life of the town in positive, memorable ways. America’s idiots are destroying what’s best in the country, and Dodge City is losing two stellar citizens. The sadness that grows from the giant rip in the fabric of our society feels like death, illustrated in macabre fashion by the relentless toll from the virus. Things are being carelessly shattered, with no avenues left open for eventual wholeness, no provision for healing. That’s scary – it kind of says there’s no way back. And after some of the comments I read, the only way I would ever want to see the town again is in my rearview mirror, which makes me sad – Ford County was home to the Wagners from 1905 when my grandpa, 19 years old, rode the train from Indiana to Dodge City, Kansas, bought a cow and some provisions, and walked the twelve miles west to his claim. That whole part of the country is in my DNA… but thanks bunches to my mom, the extremism and racism never made it past my skin. People we thought we knew are ripping their masks off now… and we see the faces of strangers looking back at us.

When this is your aim and you’re virtually run out of town on a rail for it…

We so easily lose sight of the most important things:

What was the pivotal moment when half of America’s population stopped sparing a thought for the other half? Was there some event? Has it been a gradual loosening of moral pinnings, too subtle for notice until here we are? Or were we always like this but never had to admit it until now?

This morning I’m saying thank you to every person working in a medical capacity during the pandemic, many of them since March – for hanging in, staying on the line, shift after shift, week after week, month after month, while they watch people die in spite of every effort to keep that from happening. They have my full focus through it all, and my arms are always around them. I’m grateful that they haven’t yet abandoned us to our own misery, although they must be sorely tempted every hour. I thank them for being who they are and doing what they do, head-on, straight through, because the task is in front of them, they’re trained for it, and they each started out caring mightily about ALL of it. I’m sorry the ignorant stubbornness of so many humans is kicking the care out of them for now. I’m sorry an already impossible job has been complicated and escalated by humans, the race they’re working to save. I’m sorry this has cost so many of them their own lives… I’m so sorry.

Each square in this solid mosaic is a photo of a life lost to COVID-19 in the medical community.

Relative to Mayor Joyce Warshaw’s experience with the anti-mask contingent, this would be my recommendation in all such situations:

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Tuesday’s connected to the… page 166

Day 275 – 12/15/2020

It was just as cold early this morning as yesterday, but Kim geared up and went walking anyway, bringing back this totally #lfk pic snapped in South Park, and a bagel. Quiet morning… he’s been playing guitar for the last hour or so… I’m spaced off reading and drinking coffee. It’s a Tuesday in December, pre-Christmas, pre-New Year’s, pre-resolution, a gray, cold, breezy day that calls for telling myself “Nothing’s really going to happen today, so just roll with it some more.”

The 2020 election has been certified by the votes of the electoral college, but unlike in any presidential race that I know of, other than Bush/Gore, that fact hasn’t settled the matter. While we wait and hope civil war won’t break out, I’m trying hard to peer through the windows on the other side and arrive at some state of comprehension. As usual, my Twitter friends are helping with that…

The Proud Boys were out on Saturday night, terrorizing Washington, D.C., but they met with a police force determined to protect the city, raising the obvious question, “What are the Proud Boys proud of? Being Meal-Team Six in skirts?”

His mama must be proud, but what time does he have to be home before she locks the basement entrance? That catchy motto clearly means with EACH OTHER.

Then there’s this. People really believe these things and it takes my breath away…

So yeah, I wouldn’t want Uncle Joe either if I thought he was all about THAT shit. A serious problem I see in all this is that the average American can’t define and delineate among the concepts of communism, socialism, fascism, and capitalism. It’s a fuzzy jumble in their brains and “the only possible right answer is capitalism, so just shut up about the rest and stop scaring us. Give us what we think we want.” Fortunately, it looks like they won’t get that, but we do know one thing…

All I want today is peace – from the knowledge that the nation is righting its course, the people I love are safe and well, and the future still holds possibilities for healing. That would be entirely enough for now.

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Hey, it’s Monday… page 165

Day 274 – 12/14/2020

It was 16º out when Kim got up so he postponed his walk and turned the heat on for the first time – the fireplace has been handling it okay ’til now but the cold made it all the way inside overnight. It’s the height of privilege to sit here in my little world with a silent space heater keeping my toes warm while I commune with friends online, read the latest news long enough to raise my heart rate, sip my coffee, and stay outta everybody’s face while Kim fills the spa tub. My self-orbit affirms that we humans really aren’t worth all the effort.

Sweet surprise this morning – Katie (cousin) called to wish me a Merry Christmas, catch up a little, and ask for directions. Emily & Savannah (daughter & granddaughter) are in Dodge City, America, of all places, on their way west and want to find the farm where Katie’s and my grandparents homesteaded and where I grew up, along with the family cemetery. Confusion and hilarity ensued for 15 minutes as Katie, in Florida, typed directions into her phone while I reconstructed the miles in my head. I think we ended up with a usable map but I’m also pretty sure Savannah will Google Earth it and they’ll be golden. Can’t wait to hear the………. rest of the story. And hopefully see some pics – I don’t know when I last saw the old neighborhood.

A cool find this morning – we had relatives in Sheboygan, and after visiting there when I was 3 or 4 years old the name became a treasured part of my vocabulary. Sheboygan… so delicious to say.

Strong waves at the lakefront, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Sheboygan, Wis.

Routine used to be a four-letter word to me but with only upheaval everywhere I’m seeing its better side, which is comfort. Today’s Monday so I know what we’re having for lunch and that The Voice 2020 wraps up tonight and tomorrow, which is Tuesday so I know what we’re having for lunch then, too. The Amazing Race finale happens Wednesday night, and I’m not bothered by the fact that I have no idea what food I’ll be stuffing into my face that day. Space… options… comfort.

Comfort… that would be this man right here. I posted his picture the other day holding an elderly patient who was crying for his wife. Everyday heroes taking it to the stratosphere.

This is my 274th day isolating, starting in mid-March. For every one of those days I’ve spent in my perfectly great space whining and fretting, with tiny forays to see Rita or keep a doctor’s appointment, this human being has been at the hospital. His license plate reads CVD HNTR. Dr. Joseph Varon, a 58-year-old physician and chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, has been hunting covid-19 for 270 days straight. He has not had a single day off since March. “I was meant to do this,” he says.

From The Washington Post: “Born and raised in Mexico City, and with specialties in pneumonology, intensive care, internal medicine and geriatrics, Varon was particularly well-equipped to wage war against a virus that has killed more than 290,000 Americans.” [Now over 300,000, post-WP publication.] His personal experiences, he said, prepared him for this moment.

In 1985, he was working as an intern in one of Mexico City’s largest hospitals when an 8.1-magnitude earthquake leveled the building. He watched many of his colleagues die that day. “I have seen disaster up front all of my life,” he said. “The only thing that scares me is corona” — a disease he calls “short-term AIDS” — and its unpredictability.

Mid-interview, Varon had to duck out. He followed up with a text: “I just admitted 6 covid patients in the past 60 minutes,” he wrote. “It is absolute madness.”

As the medical staff at UMCC witnessed the psychological effects of isolation in patients, Varon instructed staff to wear large photographs of their faces hung around their necks, so that patients could recognize the person who was caring for them behind those “space suits.” One day, he went in to see patients with a picture of Brad Pitt attached to his personal protective equipment suit, eliciting laughter from even those who were the sickest.

“Other doctors stay behind the lines, they do not get their hands dirty,” said Tanna Ingraham, an ICU nurse at UMCC hospital, who was also hospitalized with covid-19 for 12 days. “He is totally hands-on and treats every single one of his patients as if they were his family members.”

Everyday heroes… 💙

Today, December 14, 2020, clusters of everyday heroes are gathering in State Houses across the country to do the right thing on behalf of democracy, speaking in the prevailing voice of the American people. We will owe them our future and our lives.

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