Roger Marolt: I want to help my mother
It has crossed my mind that I might be better off to catch the coronavirus right now, as in immediately.
I have not gone so far as to wish for it. Years of warnings about being careful about that have had an impact. While I am not afraid of getting sick, I am not looking forward to what I feel is the inevitability of it. I will be ill with many things in the future, all the more if I am blessed to live a long life. None of it will be enjoyable, but it is better than the alternative. I will survive all of them, except for the last.
My guess is that there is a degree of stupidity in this thinking; not in that I am planning to head out into the danger zone seeking infection, but only that this thought itself has not been carefully enough vetted by my better judgment. Perhaps it’s only my ignorance of the potential consequences. I am likely naive and missing the finer points. I would do my best not to infect anyone else. It happens according to this plan only in a perfect world; that is not now.
I want to be there for my elderly mother. Getting sick and getting past this is the only way I can think of to do that. I would like to be with my mother in-law, too, should she need the helping hand of a family member for anything. To do that, I would have to be able to travel to Texas. These two people who are so close to me in my life are on their own in isolation as long as the rest of us are potential carriers of this dreadful virus. While I will most likely feel really lousy after contracting this sickness, the same pathogen could be deadly to them.
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I don’t necessarily want to get sick. I want to have the disease so I can build up immunity against it (at least until the next mutation of the virus), no longer be a carrier of the bug and be able to be close to these people physically, even if only for emotional support.
Since the death of my father 17 years ago it has been a great blessing of my mother to have all four of her children living within an hour’s drive from her. Now, in what may become her greatest moment of need, we are so close but also so far away.
We have people, health care professionals, to look after my mother, but they live in the same world we do and they might be the ones who carry the virus into her living room. Practically speaking, it would be better for them to do this than for me. If they inadvertently introduce the virus to my mother’s environment, it would be a terrible tragedy. However, if I did it, the pain to me would be as deep as it might be everlasting. It’s obvious that at this point, the pros should be the ones taking care of her. But, if I was stricken and then recovered, I could take over more safely than they.
I have fantasized that maybe there could be a program where we might possibly apply to be voluntary victims under close supervision of a medical emergency team. We could be infected under watchful care and in complete isolation. They could learn more about the disease and test systems for the coming onslaught of naturally occurring cases.
I recognize the inherent moral hazards in this type of human experimentation. I could not possibly recommend it due to the chances of collateral psychological damage it could cause to all involved should things go haywire and not turn out as planned. And still, the idea persists in my mind that won’t sit still.
And so I am left to hope, even if with great trepidation, for the immediate certainty of catching the coronavirus, which I statistically have probably less than a 50% chance of getting naturally. I have this desire to navigate into the eye of the storm while also hoping to avoid the worst of it. We are all traveling without the aid of a map here. I am not looking for a shortcut. I only want to move forward in the right direction, even if that ends in a destination that is different than others.
The long and short is that the huge turn of events over the past week has riled up in me a great desire to do something, anything, rather than stand still and feel helpless. And still, I want to help, not make things worse.
Roger Marolt needs more to do and less to worry about. Email him at email@example.com.
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