The following is the opinion and analysis of the author:
The coronavirus pandemic is a much bigger deal to me than the typical “you” can possibly comprehend.
My daughter cannot fight off lung infection, which is what this virus is. It will go to pneumonia. She will need a hospital. She will need medicines and oxygen. Maybe even a ventilator.
If the hospitals are overloaded, like they were in China and now in Italy, she will be passed over. She will not meet the criteria doctors must use in deciding who to spend their time, energy and equipment on.
Just stop and think about that for a minute. Stop for one minute, and live in that reality. Live in my reality.
Do you see things differently now? Do you understand why extreme measures are taking place? This is the why of all the closings. This is the why of the cancellations, the postponements, the social distancing.
It might not make a difference in your life. You will likely be fine if coronavirus comes knocking on your door. All this might just be a temporary inconvenience for you. But in my life, it is perhaps the only way to save my daughter.
A bed needs to be open and waiting. A ventilator needs to be collecting dust with no one else in line for it. A doctor needs to not be required to examine the details of my daughter’s cardiac medical records, her genetic makeup, the capacity of her tiny airways, and have to mathematically calculate the value of her life in order to determine if she is the next one worthy of saving. Because those calculations would read “not worthy.”
Please do what you can to slow down this virus, because someone you infect might end up “not worthy,” too.
Christina Tonelli is the Tucson mother of a 12-year-old girl born with trisomy 21 and a heart defect, which resulted in three open-heart surgeries in the first three years of life and a leaking valve currently.
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