The new abnormal holding on to hope

When I was a student I always read the news every day at lunch. In January I saw a new alert of a mysterious Pneumonia spreading in Wuhan china. I was worried about it, but I tossed my stress off about it. I had always worried about virus's and epidemics. Since I was little I had been stressed from health scares from swine flu to ebola to zika. My grandmother and uncle had watched "Contagion" a movie about a new deadly virus that spreads across the globe from bats. When I saw the trailer on the TV it scared me. When my uncle told me about the theme I was scared.

Little did I realize I would live a story very similar to that film. For years I had heard health experts warn about the next big flu pandemic from news channels to nova specials. In late February my attention was focused on the virus again as i heard it was spreading in Italy. When I went to New York for diner I washed my hands with Purell after I touched door handle. Every time someone coughed in a room I moved to the corner or moved away and ducked it. My mom was a health care worker and was increasingly worried about it. We decided to stock up non perishable foods such as Soup cans coffee oatmeal. I knew every time there was a emergency like this there was a panic for food and supplies. We went to the stores to get the dwindling bottle's of hand sanitizer on the shelves. My mom told me in the hospital she asked to see masks and PPE and the hospitals had nothing except simple surgical masks for kids. She got some masks. She then only went to the grocery store in the early morning to avoid crowds. We stopped eating out in the last week of February . We were now eating in the car when she came to pick me up she made me a lunch. My school was holding our special school olympics when we heard about the first case In the neighboring town.MY mom made me stay home one day. My mom was hesitant to let me go she gave me a mask to wear for a portion of the ceremony in the gym and Purell. When I wear that mask I was the only one and kids mocked my and pretended to cough on me which I though was not funny. When I came home I had to come in on the side egress were our mudroom slash washing machines were. When my grandma came to pick me up I had to spray my backpack and books with Lysol. I was always told to wash my hands but now i really was doing what i was told. I was the only kid talking about it. Many teachers were apprehensive and telling s we may use our computer for a virtual school. Every teacher was using lysol and purell and offering it to the students. I wore a mask for the last day of school and brought lysol wipes to wipe for my computer and my desks in different class's. I then heard we were closed for Friday march 12. I got a pit in. my stomach and heard about more cases in the US. I live with my grandma who had pre existing condition and was elderly and I lived with her and I was worried for her.

Those weeks were so boring and my family all had low grade depression, Our great family friend went to the grocery store for us. We thought people were catching it in the grocery store. My mom went to clean the grocery with Purell wipes and gloves wiping off packages and metal containers. It was hard to get food, as panic shopping had left very little at grocery store and we were scared of going. My mom had lost her job she wanted to help and assist has a frontline worker but she could not abandon her family and her mother.

She was a health worker during the Aids crisis and a brief medical scare with tuberculosis. In the weeks of quarantine i heard ambulances from the nursing homes a mile away. Ambulances all the time it was demoralizing and depressing I had never heard so many. The neighborhood next to us which is a minority community had ambulances raging and it made me deeply sad to first hand see the racial disparities of this corona bug and medical crisis unfolding. The hospital in town over hit capacity with over 700 patients with covid.

It was Easter but we could not go to church and we could not eat meat for lent which was short in supply anyway. Finally Easter came and we streamed it on zoom, which we used for virtual school. We finally had the best meal after a number of upsetting homemade meals for the month. I had zoom school for the rest of the year seeing the kids on zoom we all looked like zombies, school was no that different ,we still got a lot of work but i missed the humans from my school. I didn't sleep I had terrible insomnia and lucid dreams of masks and I don't know why i had very strange dreams. It felt almost like it was 1940 and the second world war was raging. I really connected to the history of world war 2 and the connection to this new abnormal time. Each day I prayed for a vaccine optimistic we would be inoculated by the end of the year. As I write this the vaccine is days from being authorized and help is coming, the vaccine has been what I have prayed and hoped for this whole a time a beacon of hope that kept me going. In this time period I will always remember those ambulances and waiting with my family waiting patiently for hope. I can't believed i even missed my school i missed seeing my teachers and my friends to now see them reduced to faces on a computer screen, when going out to see people faces covered in fabric and my own all so weird i hope for a return to normal. I will always remember a quote from Lord of the rings that inspired me in this hard time of isolation "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us".