Tag Archives: learning

To MASK or Not To MASK

7 Aug

A globe entangled in barbed wire

Covid-19 or “Chinese Virus” as named from the derived location of such virus has consumed us. On social media and the news, the world, and especially the USA, life seems to be coming to an end. “Turn it off” my husband says. I’m a writer and I want to be as informed as possible. Politics is an idea, the idea of looking out, being fair and voting for your area and elected official to office, to improve upon an already wonderful, though imperfect at times country would be icing on the cake. To mask or not to mask has become the “to be or not to be” Shakespearean question.

Back in March with the uncertainty of it all had most people wanting to do the right thing. Staying at home, homeschooling, masking, hand washing, and social distancing were a small problem compared to the projected 2 million deaths predicted by the CDC. One watched in fear as Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx predicted this outcome. It was on every news station. We all paid attention. Everyone became campers in their own home huddled by a huge fear. We were back in 1918 when the Spanish Flu killed millions. The news said it escaped from a Chines Wuhan lab and they knew about it. We were now in the dystopian novel many writers had already written and the movie was now being filmed. When would the guns come out? More fear. Can you hear your heart beat? Hold your kids close! The grocery stores were cleaned out in those first two weeks. In the south we know that process-happens every year with the forecast of a snow. It could be a dusting on the pines, or ice covered landscape that shuts everything down for a week. Dusting or disaster we never know until it hits.

The world watched as Italy suffered greatly, with American states New York and New Jersey, too. More fear. President Trump selected the CDC and NIH officials to join him with Vice President Pence to give televised updates. Some information is better than no information. I believe they truly wanted to help American citizens entering a pandemic. One would think the CDC should know best about disease, diagnoses and outcomes. America always steps in to help for the greater good. Very sweet people indeed. I saw many people volunteering with food drives. Officials wanted tests. Remote work became the thing. Imagine that. Home school would now be in vogue. Sports was cancelled. Netflix soared. Booze sales went bonkers, guns too. And many people found that freshman fifteen again. Fin.

After two months when the dust began to settle, the economy which had shattered record highs a month earlier, tanked. Wall Street plundered. New York and New Jersey had the majority of deaths and were truly overwhelmed. Someone didn’t receive the memo not to return old folks sick with the virus to others. But the CDC got it wrong with the projected deaths. We relied on them over the years in Atlanta with expert advice. I personally don’t always agree with them on vaccinations/immunizations and possible connections to autism. They are the experts, they handled Ebola, etc. We are thankful their visuals did not come true in number of deaths for this pandemic. Seriously. New York was given tremendous help from the president with a ship in port and a makeshift hospital with all the ventilators one would need. Only a business man would have pulled this off so effortlessly. I knew as a nurse that 40K vents would not be used because that would require personnel beyond belief. So many people talking that don’t know what they are talking about. It would require 10-20K nurses. Not doable.

Blood pressure device on table

Governors were given a daunting task, rely on who they could trust, experts, themselves, or both. Twenty-twenty has such a nice ring to it but my goodness it’s been an evil year. Printing money helps, I suppose, but then arguments arise as to who deserves it or not. Do college students deserve to make more per hour than last year’s summer job? Do older retired folks with paid off mortgages deserve money they won’t even go out and spend? Do corporations with high profits deserve money? Do rich artists deserve payouts? I thought it was the service workers living month to month that suffered the most. Could they even eat was the question? I haven’t heard one sports player complain about anything this year nor the singers or actors. I guess they are set. If they did receive funds I hope they gave it to the starving artist, restaurant, bar workers, low paying jobs etc. I bet governors wouldn’t close so many businesses if their own salaries dried up. The worst was a 7K fine and a week in jail for a hairdresser! Are you kidding me? The system already takes from these individuals in taxes, licenses, and fees. It’s a wonder they stay in business. I should know I’m a cosmetologist and I opened a salon suite last year quickly losing 5K in rent with little walk in business. I was done. There was a time in May when people smiled, came together (social distancing from afar) and looked forward to summer knowing it wouldn’t last. But the spectrum of people’s fears, choices, and character would surface and it became very ugly.

Just so you know I am not a scientist or government official. I’m educated and informed and like to question what is directed towards me. Especially because I’m a registered nurse. Twenty four years at the bedside, as a manager, and in the ICU open heart teaches you many things about people and medicine. What May and June should have done is clear up this Covid-19. Instead lawlessness came out in the form of BLM protestors after a terrible incident. Was everyone feeling pent up?

I guess you could call 2020 “The Perfect Storm” or terrible tragic storm. Like we needed one more thing to fight about. Let’s see … war brings peace and rioting cures racism. Of course, we all despise the knee to neck on George Floyd, killing him over eight minutes and wanting justice yesterday. Cameras catch many things. Besides the addiction we have to our phones and information at our fingertips, we have these videos to help us circumvent injustices. That may be a great thing. A great thing for Steve Jobs.

 

Classroom with empty wooden desks

Empty classroom with no students

Now we have opposing ideas about back to school, business openings, etc. More fear. I am not afraid. Why? Maybe because I am a nurse and I’ve been exposed to numerous infections, viruses, etc., over the years. If two million or even 500K deaths had occurred, you can bet I’d be worried. You cannot pin every Covid-19 virus to a death. People die every year, let’s make sure they were comfortable and not in pain. You should talk with a nurse, everyone knows a nurse, and he or she can comfort you and keep you safe. Do your best-that’s it. Then don’t worry. The numbers are not there. I have twin daughters-one got it and the other tested negative. They live together. You see. America is a country that bends to many under the rule of law. We must pay our taxes, obtain a driver’s license, put our kids in school, and obey the laws to peacefully coexist. Other than that we have many freedoms which we must keep, to pursue happiness and keep America great. Fight back in a peaceful way.

My suggestions are that we wear a mask voluntarily, social distance during cold and flu seasons or until we achieve herd immunity thru antibodies or a vaccine. And that immunocompromised folks don them as they know when they need them. Usually they have been told by a physician if this is the case. Schools should open, recommended by the CDC, and not place undo amount of fear in these kids. More disinfectant and cleansing is a good idea anyway. I think children spend way too much time sitting down at a desk all day. In person school and homeschooling should be the norm. Possibly school choice might be progressive and great! If you never try this you don’t know. Art, music, sports and useful skills are equally important to math and science, etc. Remember we are all different. Let’s celebrate that and showcase our uniqueness. All students should receive an associate degree from high school ready for business or a job, and two years of college should net you a BS degree in your specialty. Everyone saves money and time. What a concept! These progressive ideas may move us forward to be less stressed, feel more at peace, and have time for sports, true talents, and happier kids!

My recommendations based upon an American citizens view from a healthcare background who has three children: age 60 and over with medical conditions wear a mask and social distance as desired; school choice of in-person, home-school, or use government $$ for your choice; open up sports and venues socially distancing and/or mask use for three months. Discontinue mask and social distancing for all except elderly with underlying health issues. No fines. Let’s not be afraid to live joyfully. Your body is making antibodies, antibodies are a good thing, you are stronger!

Caroline Clemens

Novelist, poet, nurse, and mother to my three exceptional children. Am living my best life. Ha ha. Writer and citizen journalist from Atlanta discovering the world one day at a time. This article sent to New York times, Washington Post, and USA Today.  Marketing my novels and currently writing a parallel sequel to thriller “Three King Mackerel and Mahi Mahi” titled Magenta Fleurs, both set in the south.

Three images by I-Stock Photos.

Pearl

26 Mar

Montserrat 16

For some reason I visited the bloggers sites yesterday after reading a post. I discovered a series of photos from a photographer. They had been discarded and rediscovered. I looked through and found that several touched something in me. I sent an email as such. He said I could have some if I liked. I picked many and found my favorite, only knowing that the lady reminded me of something, several things.

The elderly woman I shall call Pearl (the name of the magazine I hope to start this August). Pearl was my grandmother, very near and dear. My other grandmother lived on an island way up north. She was a very hard worker, kind of like the lady shown. There’s a third element I’ll save for the end. Who cares about these ladies? I do. I listened to their stories over the years, over and over. I spent numerous hours within their care and guidance. That’s what happens when your mother has five children. You become the babysitter or end up at grandma’s house. I count that as a blessing!

Endless hours of coloring books, making brownies, watching cartoons, running up to the corner drugstore buying whatever you want, like candy. The other grandmother lived so far away you had to spend the summer there. Wow. I was on my own. I had to learn to cook, to fish, to milk cows, bail boats, raise the flag on the pole and take it down securely and properly with pride. Then there was church-that’s a segment by itself. You see I had no complaints growing up; I was too busy. I loved it.

I wonder about the lady in the picture. Where is she going? Is she off to the market to buy a fresh catch? Or has she just been to church and given little of her little cash worth? What story has she told her grandchildren? Does she have any? Who cares? I do. We need to care about these ladies who have weathered everything. They have little money, little things, but pride, oh yes. And stories to tell if you listen. We’ve moved away so our youth have very few elders to help them and make them feel empowered by ones that love them. Day care has walls and strange faces, at first, anyway. Family should take care of family when available. Impressions are being made on your little humans wherever you plant them. Love them good.

You see my own mother lost her husband to a tragedy while pregnant with me. What did she do? She went back to work and hired a nanny for my sister and I. They tell me I had a black nanny. I don’t remember. But possibly my brain remembers and that’s why this picture touches me. I wonder what stories she told me? I have a connection as I started out in life and it was a person of color that affected and touched me. I’m sure of it. She spent every day with me while my mother worked. That and the purse. While that woman in the picture holds onto her purse my very own grandmother had one of her own.

My beautiful Pearl clutched onto her purse with her money in it after she sold her home. She lay bedridden for many years prior but had bought and sold her home herself. She had worked her entire life and the money lay in her purse for a little while anyway. These are the threads of life in all of us. These are our connections. They’ve been there all along we just become numb through others not telling us the correct stories or are out for our money, or prevent us from getting ahead through inequality. The picture above is my Pearl, not my biologic Pearl, but the story of who we are. She had legs that took her places while my grandmother did not. But they both had the purse. And I care about that. Pearl is a great name for a magazine I think. What do you think?

You never know when inspiration will strike. And boy did it strike me yesterday. I am actually on hiatus as I’ve just released two books, one in December and the other a few weeks ago. Why am I on hiatus? From writing? Because I’m selling my home. That’s big business with going through everything from a lifetime, to cleaning, to Goodwill and beyond. Oh yeah: the windows, the gutters, the carpets must all be cleaned, and of course, the storage room and garage, too. We must make it look glorious for a prospective new home owner!

Put the sign in the yard. What for? We have the internet. Take the pet with you when you leave to show the house. Details. I’m headed for that simpler life. How on earth did I do it all?

By Caroline Clemens

Photography by APMcGrath

#pearlseries

#photocredit

#apmcgrath

#carolineclemens

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