Merkel's COVID address and our latest closures

I’ve been avoiding 99.9% of coronews out of self-preservation. But the Chancellor of Germany gave a rare televised address last night on the measures they’re taking here, and more importantly, WHY they’re taking them, that I thought showed refreshingly clear, honest, and stable leadership (remember that? it can still be a thing).

Here is the official English transcript, for my US friends and family especially, since I KNOW you’re facing the same threats but not getting the same messaging. Click through and read it — it’s not terribly long — if you’d like a little official straight-talk on the topic.

For context, here are some of the restrictions we’re now living with in Germany generally, Hesse and Frankfurt specifically that she is referring to:

  • Closure of the borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Requested stoppage of all elective travel, both domestic and international. Turning away incoming travelers at Frankfurt airport.
  • Closure of all schools, from preschool/daycare through university
  • Our transit has switched to running on the lighter summer holiday schedule. Which is just as well, because they have
  • Closure of ALL: Bars, clubs, pubs; Theaters, operas, concert halls, museums; Trade fairs, exhibitions, cinemas, leisure and animal parks and providers of leisure activities (indoors and outdoors), special markets, casinos, prostitution facilities, brothels; all public and private sports facilities, swimming pools, fitness studios; all other retail outlets not mentioned elsewhere in this document, and Playgrounds.
  • Nearly everyone who can work from home has been asked or required to.
  • Prohibition of all gathering in clubs/sports/leisure facilities as well as taking advantage of offers in adult education centers, music schools and other public and private educational institutions outside of school as well as travel by bus; also gathering in churches, mosques, synagogues and the gatherings of other religious communities.
  • Hotels should not be used for tourist purposes, only necessary business.
  • Restaurants may only open from 6am to 6pm, though it might be possible to do pick-up/take-out later/delivery later? It’s changing every day.

What’s still open (for now)?

Doctors offices and hospitals, obviously. Groceries, weekly markets (they’re like farmers markets), pick-up and delivery services, beverage stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drug stores, gas stations, banks and savings banks, post offices, hairdressers, dry cleaners, laundromats, newspaper sales, construction, horticultural and pet supplies markets, probably hardware stores.

That’s it.

And it’s hard, because we ARE all used to more choices, more freedom, more clear guarantees and end-dates when we make compromises.

It was nice to hear Merkel acknowledge that, even as she told us what we already knew: that nobody can make any guarantees, that there are no knowable end-dates, but that maybe MAYBE our sacrifices can help shorten the time needed to live under these conditions.

Even so, I’m 100% sure it’s going to get worse before it gets better — curfews and electronic surveillance, like we’re seeing in other countries, maybe even violence. Those genies are harder to get back into bottles than just holding a grand re-opening sale.

Viral load: full

Realized today I’ve reached maximum Corona saturation. Which means I really topped out weeks ago, but seeing as I consume information and oxygen interchangeably, I was not careful to notice when too much was too much.

They say your gut is your “second brain,” though, so after the sixth(?) day of this IBS runs, (haha! oh how we laugh!), I had to wonder what was up. (Also, Corona panickers, stop fucking hoarding toilet paper, some of us need it right now.)

But considering that since the beginning, I have not actively sought out ANY information on the shit besides the breakdown on the ages catching it and the mortality rates, I’ve still been absolutely bombarded with everything I didn’t want to know about it at every fucking turn in at least two languages on every possible platform and outlet. For months.

And today, it was Too Fucking Much.

The Norms have started panicking in earnest and I just do not have the energy left to carry one drop of water for them or their fears.

See, I don’t like to brag, but I don’t ever have the privilege of walking through the world feeling even modestly invincible — not against health systems which are not set up for patients like me, with chronic and complex needs, during the BEST of times; not against economic systems that push those health systems farther out of reach during the BEST of times; and certainly not against microscopic invaders lurking anywhere/everywhere, ready to wreak havoc in my immuno-modulated body.

Maybe it’s maybelline, or maybe it’s the lifelong complex trauma history, chronic illnesses, a good eye for patterns, chronic pain, a chemo-customized immune system, being a long way from home, going through menopause and puberty at the same time…

Maybe it’s all of it, or none of it.

But from the first mention of this novel threat (which came in addition to the annual seasonal influenza threat, against which I cannot be effectively vaccinated), the question was never really

“oh no, what if I get Corona?” or “what can I do to keep from getting Corona?”

the question was always just

“How long until I get this?” and “Will this be one I can get better from, or the one that gets me?”

I don’t have the luxury of panicking.

Anxiety is the fear of fear, and panic is anxiety turned up to 11. You don’t panic in front of a firing squad; the inevitability precludes it. You might panic when a plane experiences turbulence and bounces around, but have you ever read survivor reports about what happens when one really crashes? It’s often eerily quiet, not screamy like in the movies, because once the uncertainty vanishes, so does a certain degree of the anxiety/panic.

And it’s not just me feeling stuck between damned and doomed. I WISH it were just me, so I could take my little whiny worry and wrap it up and bury it in a hole somewhere and sit on it until this thing passes, but there are so many others in the same or worse situation. Nicer people! People with jobs, and pretty smiles, and polite children, and bright futures! People who serve their communities, in spite of pain and limitations! People who are basically the polar opposite of me in every way, except they are also more likely to catch this fucking virus for no fair reason, and it could very well kill them.

So many valuable, vulnerable people out there who, in addition to all their other lacks, also lack the luxury of panic about this new threat. They can only add it to the stack of all the old threats — maybe build a cabin one day? Or at least a nice bonfire? I’lm brng mrfmrllws, I say through a mouthful of marshmallows.

In the meantime, I’ve muted my local grouptexts #indefinitely. I’m spending more time drinking (I mean, if these are the last days, I want them to be good ones), starting now. Well, 30 minutes ago, here’s mud in your eye.

I think self-congratulatory”social media fasts” are silly, but I’ll probably log in less for a bit — those who know me IRL are welcome to reach out directly in the meantime. I’m trying to avoid the public firehose, not real people who really matter.

18 Aug 2019, CVS pharmacy, Georgia, USA. But yeah, TOTALLY ready for this threat.

I’m finally in the 1%

While the number of patients with annual [drug] spending above $50,000 was just 0.2% of patients, the amount of drugs they and their health plans or employers paid for accounted for 16% of total spending…

via Drug Costs Top $50K A Year For Half Million Americans – Forbes.

yeah…one of my drugs alone (a biologic) costs about $156,000 a year.

It comes with no guarantees. It will not cure my disease. It will not save or extend my life and in fact, carries the “rare but serious” potential side effect of taking my life.

The rest of my meds are older, cheaper generics, largely prescribed to help deal with the shame of taking a drug that, in one year, costs more than my house.

More than most of the houses in the world.

Even Kitty Genovese had two people call the police on her behalf

He called the video “probably one of the most disgusting, repulsive, sickening things that I have seen this year on Panama City Beach, and I have seen a lot of them.”

“This is disgusting,” he said. “We have got to get control of our beaches, it is not safe for our children to be out there on the beaches when these animals are out there.”

via Sheriff: Hundreds watched ‘gang rape’ in Panama City Beach in broad daylight, did nothing to stop it |

Two thoughts spring to mind:

  • A broad-daylight gang-rape one of the worst things he’s seen “this year“? Holy shit. [Update: in this story published since, he elaborated that “‘This is not the first video we’ve recovered. It’s not the second video. It’s not the third video. There’s a number of videos we’ve recovered with things similar to this, and I can only imagine how many things we haven’t recovered.'”]
  • And “it is not safe for our children to be out here”? It’s nice he wants it to be kid-friendly, but how safe is it for the WOMEN BEING RAPED? Maybe we could start there?

American infrastructure takes another hit

Engineers said even though the bridge was hit, it is safe.
“It’s just a little section that broke out of it,” said Dana McCrary, with GDOT. “And the column had some patch work done on it and it knocked some of the patch work off.”

Glad to know our patchwork transportation infrastructure is still hanging by the thread it was hanging by the last time something like this happened.

via Truck loses massive tanker at Buford Connector |

Today I lost a bet with myself

I’ve had a pool going for a couple of years now as to whether Georgia would first recognize gay marriage (aka “marriage”) or legalize cannabis.

With the Supreme Court likely to rule soon in favor of enforcing the former, I’m intrigued that a bill just passed to also begin the process of making way for the latter.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday said he would sign into law a bill that would make the Peach State the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, continuing the rapid expansion of cannabis into the Deep South and underscoring a dramatic shift in pot politics for social conservatives in the US.

I was the only participant in my pool, so financially it’s kind of a wash. But historically? 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year.

via How ‘marijuana refugees’ brought legal cannabis to Georgia –

Keep Your Laws Off My Body? MS Edition

I hear cannabis can really be of benefit people with neurological conditions like my own, and those fringe hippie wacko slackers over at the American Academy of Neurology agree.

I’m too sick and tired to get my hopes up, but boy, passage of a bill like this sure would restore some of my faith in our elected officials.

Well, not MY elected officials, because my candidates never win. But somebody’s elected officials, bless them.

“The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I — with heroin and LSD — is ludicrous,” Cohen said in a statement Tuesday. “I am pleased to join with Congressman Don Young in introducing this important bill to bring the federal government in line with the science and the American people, respect states’ rights, remove the threat of federal prosecution in states with medical marijuana, and help our citizens access the treatments they need.”

via Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum.