I don’t regard myself as a hypochondriac; in fact in years gone by I’ve adopted a rather cavalier approach to my health believing that it – whatever it was – couldn’t happen to me. But that is being tested at the moment because C19 is everywhere. It’s a pandemic of news. No paper, no TV channel, no bulletin, no Facebook scroll is without some mention of the virus; it’s a story that’s not going to end any time soon. So now, every time I cough I think: was that a dry cough? Is it a symptom? Every time my head twinges I think: is that a C19 headache? And so on. I’m taking all the usual precautions, handwashing, not shaking hands, avoiding large gatherings (not that there are any) and on the whole I’m not worried but it does make you think: if I did catch it and if I were at risk of slaughter, how would I deal with that?
Most of us in the West are not in danger of dying, on a day-to-day basis. Unless we do something exceptionally foolish or are unusually unlucky, we are safe, free to walk the streets, drive our cars, discuss, vote, go to public meetings, air our opinions etc. There are of course many exceptions to this but the point is, most of us do not have to confront our mortality on a daily basis. We’re not going to get the plague tomorrow and be dead in a week. We’re not Solomon Grundy. So how would I deal with the threat of imminent death?
The truth is, I’ve no idea, but I expect it would involve massive amounts of panic, resentment, self-pity, regret that I didn’t live to do all the things I still want to do, anguish that I’m not going to see my grandchildren grow up, fear that I’m going to leave OH behind to cope alone – and absolute blank terror at the prospect of extinction. I’d like to think I’d be calm and stoical but in reality I’d be pinging off the walls like a headless chicken.
Anyway, thankfully I’m not in one of the at-risk groups so instead of confronting my own mortality I’ll just be washing my hands from now till eternity, like Lady Macbeth…
How are you coping? How is it where you are?