I often think of Albert Einstein’s quote, ‘Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.’
And then I think there cannot be that much stupid as f*ck (SaF) contained in just one person, group, or political party, and not to forget, their anointed sycophants.
Yet, here we are.
Here we are
Plenty of SaF to go around.
As such, I’ve had it with some people’s coronavirus apathy. As a result, you’ll find more cathartic curse words in this one article than there have been in the last nine years of writing IMSM. Why now? People’s meaningless line of indifference towards societal norms & the greater good in some people.
Case in point, this disorganised, disgraceful lot.
Ireland. The UK. The US. Italy. France. Spain. Belgium. Sweden. Australia. Even New Zealand, that far away duet of vibrant islands and symphony of 600 other dots in the Pacific Ocean that was once home to cellulose hobbits, Rivendell, Orcs, Gollum, the Nazgûl, Mordor, and the one ring that turned you into something non-precious if you were not careful.
But, without pointing out the pink elephant in the room, how is that carefully planned reopening of the economy going in your country?
Were roadmaps lacking guts from the very beginning?
Did people just grow bored hearing of an illness they thought they would never get?
Or, is your country on a downward spiral so fast, it would make anyone nauseous?
And lastly, was COVID-19 something duly elected leaders were trying to sweep under the plush carpets of ministers’ seats?
If you’ve been here for a while (as in here on IMSM), you know that I have an acute sense of urgency eating me up inside each time some form of abuse or discrimination happens when ripples in the disability community bump into the world of national policies and executive leadership.
Right now, that feeling automatically extends to the ineptitude of a certain political governance in Ireland. Just like Fianna Faíl plunged Ireland into a deep 8-year long recession in 2008, their radar is again firmly fixed on monetary loss over the wellbeing of people, this time caused by COVID-19. In the meantime, my political radar and that of ‘my kind of people’ look for the beating heart in its electoral register and ensures they are cared for in a dignified manner.
It is, therefore, quite fair to say I have no love lost for one party now partly running the show in Daíl Éireann. Being an atheist, I hate to drag an unassuming, unhelpful deity into this, but by the grace of God, after last January’s election, Fianna Faíl -the money party- was forced to form a rotating coalition with Fine Gael. The latter, under the watchful eye of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, had been in government for the last 9 years, and in fact, did an excellent job managing the coronavirus pandemic.
What was heard from Fianna Faíl in their first few weeks in the coalition in respect of the coronavirus, were garbling, regurgitating, lamenting calls that sounded like “we are worried, afraid; waiting for the scientific data; monitoring other countries; or recommending this, that or the other about what this SARS-CoV-2 thing is.”
In short, under the new leadership of Taoiseach Micheál Martin and minister of health Stephen Donnelly, the task force was dragging its feet by stalling and not realising that a resurgence of COVID-19 was possible, partly because of the lack of social impulse control. Or, if you believe the coronavirus is still a hoax, you can find out which myths are real or not.
So, what has all this to do with multiple sclerosis? You can find some answers in Your lockdown is over, but ours has only just begun.
If you’re not up to it, these are the parameters:
Multiple sclerosis + elevated risk of superbug infections + ignorant immune system = three months of worsening pain; urgently wheeled into surgery; one week in isolation; no family, no friends, only doctors, nurses, and a chaplain.
How could I forget the chaplain?
As much as it has to do with every other person caught up in the fangs of COVID-19, whether you were diagnosed with the damn thing and lived to tell the tale; whether you lost a family member or other loved ones, or whether your loved ones are abroad but unable to travel to be with you.
My heart is with you.
Being an expat and daughter with an unpredictable neurological illness that needs careful attention and management, my family and I are equally bound by our country’s travel recommendations and restrictions. Possibly Christmas alone. Woohoo. The Christmas tree all too myself!
Easy it is not…
But it is the right thing.
I have talked with so many of you about people who just go on living as if the coronavirus never even existed. It makes me as angry as you. To vent, the daring and rewarding benefits of advocating is knowing that, while politicians forget about the hoi polloi who put them in office, it is us, patients, carers, you and I who need to stand up.
We need leaders of coronavirus task forces around the world to understand this:
We urge you to find a way to inform the public that people with comorbidities and elderly people can be recurring COVID-19 carriers when others refuse to wear masks.
We are not the undergrowth; we are sadly what keeps health departments running. However, we are often not taken into consideration even though we can help your cause in a meaningful manner.
And, it is also us who demand more from our government because COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t look at you as a VIP or a homeless person, it doesn’t determine whether you get to survive based on your college degree or looks. COVID-19 just arrives in the dark, unnoticed, and unwarranted.
When push comes to shove, and when doctors in hospitals are forced to choose who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t, your ownership of a Mercedes when you’re 75 will not take precedent over a younger construction worker who cycles to work.
This global, medical emergency is six months old. Everyone elected to lead a country should by now recognise that this virus is more than unpredictable, more dangerous to those with comorbidities and elderly people. Yet, the vulnerable group of people effectively go into self-imposed quarantine while the healthier ones can go about breaking rules and risk factors by wiping their feet on guidelines drafted by medical experts like Anthony Fauci, researchers, health organisations, etc.
Consequently, task forces should include people who belong in the vulnerable category so they can tell them how real-world experiences are impacted by rules made up in neat, minimalistic edifices.
What the elderly and those with fair or poor health, including disabling conditions need is for policymakers to find a stricter way to inform the non-vulnerable that they too deserve recognition instead of being forced into medical disparity. In the meantime, people just don’t give a hoot. No masks. No social distancing. And while local businesses try to accommodate the needy, governments do not make this an enforced directive with the result that vulnerable shopping hours, for example, are broken by the healthier ones in the world.
As such, the “being worried” stage is not a valid reason anymore to sort out party-related scandals first while sending out vague promises and infeasible measures to charities, medical and primary care organisations.
As your prime candidates for COVID-19 infections, we know it is hard
In Ireland, a country of just 5 million people, the Daíl should have much better answers than ‘being worried’.
As the vulnerable part of the hoi polloi, plenty of us are tired of seeing people -wherever they are in the world- just not having that bit of empathy to do what is required, and what needs further regulation:
So, wear that bloody mask.
Wash your hands as your Mam taught you as a child.
Keep your distance.
Be smart about where threats may occur, watch the news, read trustworthy information online.
Whatever deity you believe in, it will not keep you safe, only science will do that.
And by gob, do not think the coronavirus will never hit you or your loved ones. You are not that special.
Lastly, use your common sense and educate those around you, as it will determine whether you will outlive this pandemic.
Am I angry?
I sure am.
Imagine you having an immune system that freaks you out each time a virus or bacterial infection calls around.
So, yeah, there’s that.
Now you get on with it.
No, it’s not like we haven’t been there before
For more info about COVID-19 in Ireland and abroad:
World Health Organization (WHO)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
Coronavirus (COVID-19), Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Latest updates, Health Department, Government of Ireland
Updates and information from across government, Health Department, Government of Ireland
Public health measures in place right now, Health Department, Government of Ireland
COVID-19 Health Surveillance Monitor (Ireland), Geohive Health Surveillance Monitor (Ireland)
COVID-19, Health Protection Surveillance Centre Ireland (HPSC)
2018 Winner Best Blog Post with ‘3443 Needles’, Blog Awards Ireland, Ashville Media Group, Dublin, Ireland
◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blogs to Follow in 2020
◾ MyTherapy: Multiple Sclerosis Blogs: 10 of the Best in 2019
◾ Feedspot: Top 50 MS Blogs to follow in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blog of 2018
◾ MyTherapy: Best MS Blog for Simplicity 2018
◾ Ireland Blog Awards: Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and irelandms.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.