Side Effects

I’m not quick enough to answer my phone, so I wait for the voicemail to complete. My mailbox is full again, so I hear only, ” Trish, this is Kendra. I’m sorry to call you after school hours, but Ma…” and nothing more. I have a premonition. After all, I have just heard the latest, that travel between Europe and the United States will be severely curtailed, that NCAA and other contests will be played with restricted fans.

I had been scheduled to substitute for a teacher at the middle school who was to attend a two-day conference beginning today. When I return Kendra’s call, she confirms what I suspected. The conference has been canceled. At the end of March, I was to fill in for a teacher who was taking a student trip to Italy. Obviously that was postponed two weeks ago.

When people talk about direct and indirect effects of a pandemic, I am honestly hopeful that most of us will only experience the indirect. Judging by these small personal examples, I can see how no one will be unaffected. I trust that those who know are not overreacting, that the choices leaders make do not exacerbate an already fraught situation.

I have a brother who struggles with pulmonary complications. He has had difficulties with breathing for several years and has just recently begun real treatment to improve his quality of life. He is one who should be seriously vigilant, yet when I talk to him, I don’t hear that. Work goes on as usual for him. As an independent contractor, if he doesn’t work he doesn’t get paid, and he needs to get paid. He even chuckles as he tells me that the first case of this novel virus closed the school near where he is currently on site. I worry about him in earnest while others stockpile toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

As we close our telephone conversation, he urges me to reconsider my husband’s and my anticipated trip to a wedding in New Jersey in April. “No one should be getting on a plane right now unless they absolutely have to.” I hear him, but I do wonder what advice he gives himself, and I cross my fingers.

What else can I do?

6 thoughts on “Side Effects”

  1. So many concerns right now! We also have family members that are not in good health to begin with, and husband is traveling right now as well. He had two international conferences booked and canceled, so I am grateful that he’s not traveling internationally at least. Good luck to you.

  2. We are living in the age of anxiety for sure. I’m not certain what will happen w/ lots of planned travel and worry about the economic sides effects. I suspect your brother doesn’t want to pass on his worries to you. Maybe he asks what else he should do if he’s not working. He might be safer on his job site than many are in closed areas given the nature of construction. And about the question of how many posts you’ll see about the virus: I thought about that as the month started, knowing it would be a popular topic, so I wrote my first post about COVID-19 in March 1. I think I was the first to post about it, too, and I’ve read many since.

  3. Yes I didn’t want to write about this topic at all, I didn’t want it to be a slice of my life! I never imagined that getting to our daughter’s wedding was anything more than booking a couple of international flights….how wrong I was! Hope your brother is fine, I like his approach to life!

  4. This is the subject of many of my slices, too. We are all affected in some way. I hope that everyone in your family remains safe and healthy. Please take care.

  5. We are all living in a state of uncertainty. How much of what we here is truth and how much is hype? What are we not being told? All we can do is live our lives and take precautions.

  6. I thought the beginning of your post, where you talk about the indirect effects, was really interesting to think about, and then I got to your ending, and it packed such an emotional punch! This line, in particular, got to me: “I hear him, but I do wonder what advice he gives himself, and I cross my fingers.”

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