CHOICE in the Season of CoVID

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WARNING: this article uses words that may trigger some people, including but not limited to (listed alphabetically) abortion, at-risk, beliefs, censorship, choice, CoVID19, depression, design, domestic violence, free will, freedom, Germ Theory, government, personal responsibility/accountability, rape, rational thought, substance abuse, Terrain Theory, vaccine, values, victim.
THE ANSWER (several answers, actually) occurred to me while walking my dog the other night—on pavement in an area that boasts its green spaces and dog parks. The dog park in our vicinity was gated, gated again 2 blocks away, with a security guard sitting in his truck blocking access to both locked gates. The situation was just so ludicrous, I laughed about it with another human out walking a dog. Answer to the first question, What in the World is Going On?!? The world is divided. I’d say it has lost its collective mind! Not over this CoVID19 virus; rather, the two dominant theories about what viruses represent. Ultimately, we have a conflict between two belief systems. This explains how intelligent people are looking at the same data, reading the same reports, talking to the same experts and coming to vastly different conclusions. "Plenty of data exists. Lots of research has been done—even on how belief systems drive research outcomes. So let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture…" On the one side, there is the firmly held belief that germs are bad (Germ Theory). The world itself is chaotic and dangerous, only the fittest can survive; therefore, we must play to the lowest/weakest common denominator to protect the herd and shut everything down lest the pestilence of CoVID19 (or measles or polio or AIDS, MRSA, bubonic plague, etc) eradicate us all.
Disinfect the cabinets and doorknobs, stay away from people, wear a mask to breathe in only your own recycled air, fear the unknown as an unwilling victim until someone else from the outside brings you “the answer”. In CoVID- 19 season (as with measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis, rotavirus, human papillomavirus, influenza…; the list grows ever longer), “the answer” for this belief system is most often a prescription medication. More precisely, a vaccine. On the other side, there is the firmly held belief that germs have been here longer than we have, no matter how you think we got here. Therefore, they must play some significant, even beneficial role in our lives. The world is chock full of wonder and experiences and natural laws we would do well to follow—like it was designed just for us.
We humans are also designed (I know—that word DOES make some folks cringe) to adapt to changing environments. Even what our parents and grandparents went through in their experiences on this planet informed our genes in their expression today (the study of epigenetics). Our immune systems are ready to experience the environment and adapt in the best way possible, according to natural laws. Some say that’s really all life is about—adapting to the environment, the circumstances we experience.
These folks truly believe that the best thing we could all do during this season of CoVID is to get and/or stay as healthy as possible (Terrain Theory). This is accomplished by touching things and one another. Interacting, as this is how the immune system gets information to act. Exercising—preferably outside. Being in nature enhances the immune system’s ability to function. Eating healthy foods that are the “right fuel” for the individual.
Drinking clean water. Continuing to develop natural immunity. Typically, these folks don’t take much in the way of prescription medications, even the public health recommended vaccines.
In fact, they may even speak out against mandated vaccines. This is a medical issue. And an economical issue. A societal issue. A political issue. A religious issue (medical intervention for some; prescription medication/vaccine ingredient list for many others).
Wow, folks—we’ve got ISSUES! At the base of it all, though, this is a philosophical issue, as it comes down to what a given person believes to be right and true and real and sane. What we believe drives how we behave. Example: Because I believe in the sanctity of life, I chose to not abort my unborn children. In the perfect world that I envision, people would think a few steps ahead of the decision in front of them and make a choice that wouldn’t potentially involve the taking of another’s life.
And before the pro-choicers start throwing stones at me for my beliefs and choices, please remember that this paper is about CHOICE—even if I would disagree with yours while you disagree with mine—and that less than 5% of all abortions occur due to the combined reasons of rape, fetal malformations, and life endangerment to the mother.
In this season of CoVID19, I will apply that future-thinking process—considering the next few steps so that I, as a rational adult making informed decisions don’t negatively impact other human being who has no voice, or is marginalized, weak, ill, aged. These are the most susceptible to having a more severe form of CoVID, potentially requiring medical intervention. There are FIVE basic groups of people: 1. Healthy and willing to take their chances of “catching” CoVID19. 2. Healthy but scared of CoVID19; unwilling to take risk 3. “At risk” of a more severe development of disease or negative outcome if they “catch” CoVID19 4. Unhealthy, yet desperately need to work lest their families suffer; willing to take risk 5. Asymptomatic carriers of CoVID19 Hold that in the back of your mind while you read this next bit… In this “lock down”, “shelter in place”, “flatten the curve” season, there are some businesses that are making choice as easy as possible: giving their employees the choice to work according to their guidelines, or not. Several folks I know working in grocery stores (“essential businesses”) are being afforded the luxury of taking time off with pay to consider what they want to do next, if they’re concerned about CoVID19. I’m told that union workers at Boeing can throw down a “red card” if they deem a work environment “unsafe”. And they can go home, still being paid. Not everyone was employed by an “essential business”, though. The “non-essential businesses” simply shut down, with employers and employees alike having no income. We aren’t actually all in this together. I mean, we ARE, but not equally. We have different ideas, beliefs, immune systems, health levels, risk levels, experiences that drive our behavior differently.
And the phrase, “CoVID19 doesn’t discriminate” isn’t really true, either. It’s hitting those in the lower socio- economic bracket disproportionately hard—the very folks who tend to have more chronic diseases and/or who may be at a higher risk for depression, domestic violence, substance abuse secondary to being out of work through no fault of their own. These can be hit worse than those in more spacious homes and yards with better quality food on the table. Any time a bunch of critters of any kind are crammed into a small space for any length of time, disease (and discord) is likely to spread faster. So, What are We Going to Do about This?
Here’s my answer to that question. What if… the people who were scared—because of advanced age or underlying lung problems, type 2 diabetes, heart issues, or other chronic disease; or just plain scared—stayed home? If they don’t have neighbors or family members or friends who would do their shopping for them, there are plenty of businesses that deliver.
Amazon delivers, DoorDash delivers, FedEx delivers, USPS delivers, the Midnight Cookie Company delivers….…and those who are unafraid-–because of a belief in human design/adaptability, nature lovers who feel invigorated after time spent outside boosting their immune systems and de stressing simultaneously, generally healthy, of sound mind and body, able to make informed decisions with their own rational minds and free will as American citizens; or just plain comfortable taking more risks—went to work? (Currently, these are your delivery drivers and workers in “essential businesses”, by the way. But know this—until testing becomes widely available, we have no way of knowing who the asymptomatic carriers are.) Stated differently: All those who would choose to go back to work, whether it be in their own entrepreneurial endeavors or as freelancers or employees, wouldbe allowed to do so. They would explicitly and implicitly accept the potential outcome of contracting a novel (never before seen in humans) virus (like we’ve been doing since the dawn of time). All those who choose to stay home to wait for the vaccine may do so. The government is already paying more to some people to stay home than they were making while working.
NOTE: No matter how you choose, there are untested asymptomatic carriers of CoVID19 (and all kinds of other viruses and bacteria, to be clear) making your deliveries and working in the “essential businesses”! Oh, but that raises another question, doesn’t it…What about the hospitals being overwhelmed?
Great question! Since hospital staff, doctors and nurses are being LAID OFF, that doesn’t appear to be an issue at this point in time. And the ventilator issue has been resolved—patients tend to recover better without being ventilated. Once the dust settles and we’re able to compare numbers between seasonal flu and CoVID-19, I believe we’ll see they are quite similar. More than 97% of the people exposed to CoVID-19 will experience no symptoms or mild-to-moderate symptoms. Far less than the deaths attributed each year to chronic disease (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, cholesterol issues….)!
Let’s see how each of the FIVE basic groups presents and accepts risk:
Healthy-Would choose to go back to work with those who would choose to do business in person. Willing to accept risk (personal responsibility/accountability, both directions/parties). Risk to SELF and OTHERS who CHOOSE to take that
Healthy but fearful-Would prefer to stay home until given the “all clear” from whichever source they believe to be trustworthy. May unknowingly be asymptomatic carrier, but since not going out, not a risk to anyone.
ILL -(with CoVID or other acute viral/bacterial entity) but feels compelled to go to work for fear of financial/family ruin. May be obviously ill in the eyes of those with whom doing business. Inherent risk to SELF and OTHERS who CHOOSE to take that risk.
AT RISK -of negative CoVID (or other pathogenic) outcome. Chooses to go out in public. Inherent risk to SELF.
ASYMPTOMATIC carriers-No way of knowing who this is! Inherent risk to OTHERS. (This means the yet-untested delivery drivers and “essential” workers, too!)
REMINDER NOTE: No matter how you choose, there are untested asymptomatic carriers of CoVID19 (and all kinds of other viruses and bacteria, to be clear) making your deliveries and working in the “essential businesses”!
I choose to eat the foods that are healthy for me (most of the time. Sometimes I deviate and eat ice cream, also a choice). I choose to exercise. I choose to take personal responsibility and accountability for my actions, including my self-care practices. I don’t picket or preach to others about their decisions—it’s their CHOICE.
I choose to not wait for nor trust in a vaccine for another coronavirus my healthy body can adapt to. It may be uncomfortable (so was pregnancy), but I do believe and trust in my body’s inherent ability to move toward a state of health.I choose to ask my patients and clients if they would like to meet in person.
I choose to take my dog to the spot the other dog walker mentioned to me from the blocked side of the double gated dog park. And allow my pup to romp with other dogs who have owners who are exercising not just their pets but their freedom and free will to choose how they will live their autonomous lives. I accept the explicit (obvious/direct) and implicit (indirect) risk associated with how I choose to live my one wild, precious life.
I choose CHOICE. If you don’t want it, there are many standing by ready to take it from you already.
Wishing you WELLness, Christie Fleetwood, ND, RPh, VNMI Monarch Natural Medicine
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