Listen, do you hear that sound?
It’s the sound of people panicking.
The cause of their panic? The coronavirus.
It’s difficult to avoid the topic as it’s constantly on the TV news, on the front pages of every newspaper, and all over the internet. It’s the subject of jokes and conversations at work. We’re reminded of it by the sight of long lines at stores and in public restrooms where people are washing their hands with soap for much longer than usual — at least 20 seconds if they’re being diligent and following official instructions.
That sound we hear is in our imagination because that’s where panic sets in. Our imagination is the place where we project and see and hear into a future that may or may not happen. That sound is in our minds preparing for what might happen with the coronavirus in the future.
As much as I respect that there is a public health situation unfolding, I am unfazed by it. When your wife and daughter have terminal illnesses — they were diagnosed with Huntington’s in 2018 and 2019, respectively — I have come to grips with what a serious health risk means.
Since then, I have lived with the knowledge that horrible sufferings are in store for them. And after the initial shock of that knowledge petered out, I have been left with the absolute preciousness of life. I appreciate that every moment we are alive is a blessing. What matters is not that they will end up being severely limited by their disease, but how awesome it is to share as many moments and memories of love and laughter together as we can. In other words, we’re just going with the flow.
By way of contrast, panicking is a way for people to try to control their lives. One way is through panic buying, which results in people loading up on masks, hand sanitizers, and toilet paper. Panicking is also a direct emotional response to the unseen, the unknown, and the scary. In this particular case, panicking is tied to healthy people not wanting to become unhealthy.
The two most important people in my life know what’s going to make them unhealthy. This knowledge, as horrible as it is, makes us focus on what we can control.
Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of my wife, daughter, and me laughing and not panicking.
Life’s too short and too precious to panic.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.
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