COVID-19: The New Invisible Man

Creating Safety.

In theaters recently was an updated version of the Invisible Man. It was impressive with superb acting, effects and reasonably explained tech that satisfied this life-long science fiction reader. Horror is not my bag, a comment which reveals my late 70’s upbringing. You get two options and both involve death.

I stopped watching anything with a hint of scary after a short time period of sibling bonding over early Godzilla and other gory flicks. The images left me panicked at night for months. To be fair, my Mother had five children within a seven year span and was reasonably unaware of the oldest two watching early morning tv on the weekend.

Recently, after a day of much productivity, my spouse and I decided to check out available movies. Action tropes make me skittish like I need to simultaneously be on a treadmill alongside the running heroine and romantic stories’ unremitting tension and longing is a strain. Nothing else looked interesting at the local theater. That leads me back to the Invisible Man.

sibling bonding over early Godzilla flicks.

The characters fight against an unseen enemy which involves wild punching and lashing out into apparent emptiness, usually with a knife. The fear is palpable and attempts at self-protection seem ineffectual. This beast of a virus, Covid-19 works similarly. It is unseen, hiding in plain sight, and kills people. So, how do I stay sane and safe in this universe?

I recognized that creating a safe haven started in my mind. Below is my plan of action. Yours will be different based on your specific circumstances. My goal: make decisions that decrease stress. It’s about honoring what you need to feel safe. I review daily up to date information from trusted sources, like the CDC, but I limit the time spent. I look for useful information that changes my plan of action, not inundate myself with repetitious and stressful images.

Viruses are tiny, replicating and mutating quickly, but they have their weaknesses. You have to be exposed to a certain amount of viral particles to cause disease and have a body that is susceptible to that particular virus. Many live on surfaces for 72 hours and their entry into bodies is through orifices: eyes, nose, mouth and hands as the freeway delivery system. So, I guard my entry points. I consider my hands “contaminated” until they’re washed and face unsafe until it’s covered. You also wear a mask as a courtesy to others, so you won’t spread your stuff around. Don’t be the carrier that makes the susceptible person sick.

I’ve decided to make my body stronger so it can protect itself better by using with the data that is known: add veggies and greens. All around the world multiple studies show this, but how? I hide my veggies. Dr. Wahl’s (Wahl’s Protocol,TM) cooks amazing skillet meals with onions, garlic, oil and handfuls of greens and veggies. Yum. I put handfuls of spinach leaves in my coffee smoothie – can’t taste the greens. I can’t stand squash but after heated and pureed into spaghetti sauce, I don’t notice a thing. I make hearty, easy meals. Check out online Powerhouse Foods, by Jennifer DiNoia. Add in the good stuff. Yes, I have cravings and I tell myself, “don’t stop and get something you’ll regret”. You can find a healthy version online.

Complicated systems create stress. During a conversation about how best to protect yourself, a friend was nitpicking about all the choices she makes in deciding when and where she should wear a mask or wash her hands. I simplified things. I leave the house; I wear a mask. I make sure my mask is comfortable and secure, so that I don’t have to fuss with it. I don’t move the mask unless I wash or sanitize my hands before & after. I wash my hands (front, back, in between fingers and nails) regularly with soap that is gentle, so it doesn’t rip up my skin. You get into a routine, then don’t have to think about it. It’s a good practice anyway.

You may ask: everything is opening up; is it safe? I personally still wear a mask and practice the same precautions until we are truly in the clear. I will review new cases to determine when I am comfortable not wearing “gear.”

This pandemic also got me thinking. What if we all wore masks and religiously hand washed every winter (Flu Season)? Perhaps the thousands that die from the flu yearly wouldn’t need to, because the carrier to susceptible transmission rate, us, was blocked. What do you think?

COVID-19 may seem like the frightening Invisible Man lurking silently in plain sight, but we don’t need to be consumed with fear of it. A cloth mask and some plain old soap and water are proven weapons in defeating this tiny foe. Healthy eating provides that extra layer of armor.