The Hand Washing

I’m trying to write a long-form piece a month, either at the beginning of or end of said month. I think that because I’m having enough fun with Instagram stories, and drawing, and knitting (I KNIT A HOODIE!!!!), my creative needs are being met.

So what’s new this month? An increased sense of responsibility which most definitely didn’t exist in 2003 when we were hit with SARS. I barely paid attention to it, and didn’t change a thing about my life, in order to avoid it.

SARS aside, I never paid much attention to the flu until a little over three years ago when it handed me my ass in Chicago. I traveled there to celebrate Noreen’s wedding; though I attended the masjid portion, I was quarantined for the actual wedding celebration the following evening.

My body was in a state of complete paralysis. I had a dangerous fever, and my roommate (who luckily did not get sick) rallied all of the aunties on our floor to collect all and any medication they had. Let me tell you, Aunties always have medication; I ended up with stuff from Pakistan that could calm an angry adult elephant. If this were a normal Friday night, I maybe would have called it a party…

Also, pretty certain I had either SARS or H1N1. Because this was no normal flu.

I was literally incapable of moving. It felt as though someone had taken a bat and beat the living shit out of every muscle in my body. When I write paralysis, I mean I couldn’t even speak. And when I write fever, I mean you could feel the heat radiate from maybe a foot away. My body just stopped functioning over the span of 24 hours. I would take an additional seven full days off of work, and The Cloud Cave became Ground Zero. Mariam, Poppy, and my aunt brought me food and left it outside my door. I refused to open the door because I didn’t want to risk anyone catching whatever in the fk this was. For nearly six weeks after that, I had a sinus infection that wouldn’t give me a break. I remember once blowing my nose so much that I got dizzy and nearly fell over. Sexy.

Which brings us to Coronavirus, 2020.

I was to travel to Paris and Brussels on Wednesday for a small vacation. Now that Italy is being hammered, they are preparing for everything to spill over into the rest of Europe. I have a real-time app (Inbox me if you want it) re the virus, and it is not looking good.

Here’s the thing. If it was limited to me, I would still travel and be extra cautious. InshAllah my body is strong enough to overcome this asshole. But there’s momma.

She’s hovering around the danger age-group, and danger-symptoms, and she still lives in The Cloud Cave. I cannot travel, then come home and quarantine myself from her for 2 weeks to do my best to safeguard her. Which means that travel will have to wait until she is back in her own home, inshAllah by end of April. (At which point Ramadan starts and so minimal movement from the house for a month, anyway.)

Also, all friends who travel? I am not seeing any of them face-to-face for two weeks post travel. And when I do, I am keeping myself in a bubble. I love you all, but not as much as I need to keep my elderly momma safe.

I carry alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer and wash my hands about once an hour when outside my apartment.

The only reason I’m not yet wearing a mask? It wrecks my lipstick. This is not a joke. You know how I am about my lipstick, and vanity is still trumping. For now.

Stay safe. Don’t use Coronavirus as a means to be a racist asshole. Wash your hands. Stop touching your face. SEE YOU IN MAY.

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