Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD
There’s nothing like a little time travel to give an outsider perspective on a current issue. For me, the current is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has caused more deaths, more cases and a longer U.S. stay-at-home order than any other infectious disease in history.
I was just two years old when the Spanish flu killed 50 million people in 1918, when America was at war with the world. I remember watching the news coverage of the “dawn of the modern world” as a little girl in a big house in a small village in rural Maine. The news anchor on that station showed photos from the front lines at the beginning of World War I — the slaughter of babies in Belgium and the trenches of France. The news anchor had a reporter stand in front of the camera to explain the difference between the influenza virus and the “dawn of a new world.”
Those images are still seared in my memory. The reporters didn’t say this — only that the world had changed forever. It was more like a warning from my wise doctor. “When the world changes, you need to change with it,” he said.
In fact, in the last week, I lost a little girl and a brother to the Covid-19 virus. I lost my best friend and a friend in my brother’s life as a result of this pandemic.
But here’s the thing. All those people who’ve died in other wars, the flu, the cholera, the plague — I feel more connected to them than I do to the millions of Americans who’ve died because of this virus. I lost my home to the virus. I lost my husband for more than a month to a virus. The pain and agony of losing both of my parents to cancer in different parts of the country at different times in my life has made me more aware of the fragility of