What? You Want to Live Forever?

 

If you die within the next six months, it will not be from the Coronavirus. Caveats for septuagenarians with pre-existing respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems.

I cannot top @cliffordbrown or @rodin at racking and stacking the statistics and infection data about this virus. Instead, I find the all-American freak-out worth remarking on. One can hardly blame the Great American Public for its trepidation. The reporting by our junk-bond, partisan, hysterical press is one more piece of evidence for the contention that we have a garbage media. I understand that “if it bleeds, it leads,” but the hair-on-fire, doomsday plague reportage impedes our citizens’ ability to perform a decent assessment of the situation.

All that, though, is not the source of my frustration. We’re Americans; a full-fledged freak-out over a rooty-poot virus is unseemly. As quantified on other Ricochet posts, the swine flu, the bird flu, and the M1A generic, seasonal flu reap lives in numbers that are orders of magnitude greater than the Coronavirus.

There is a profound lack of perspective evident in the freak-out. Every morning when you wake, and you haven’t died in your sleep is a gift. Every morning, as you prepare for your day, you should be cognizant of the myriad ways you could face an untimely requirement to shuffle off this mortal coil. Some of the risks can be mitigated. Many can come out of the blue, and whatever risk mitigation measures you’ve employed, you’re going to wind up deader than fried chicken.

Most people, I think, are intellectually aware of the fact that they will die. Too, most are aware that their ticket might be punched far earlier than they would wish. That is a myopic view of life. One needs to accept mortality on a visceral level.

Not accepting, and contemplating, the uncertainty of life prevents a full appreciation and celebration of the gift of life we’ve been given.

Every dawn we meet hale, whole, and hearty is a cause for profound gratitude, and every sunset should evoke the same. I don’t like the term carpe diem, because it hints at an excuse for wanton hedonism (now, carpe per diem is a whole different proposition). But, one should treat each day as a gift, love family and friends as much and as hard as we can, and be ready to meet our Maker.

There is some wisdom to be gained from the philosophy of the samurai of yore. That wisdom is limited, in that upon the initiation of the Tokugawa shogunate and the melding of Zen Buddhism and Shinto, the samurai became members of a pseudo death cult. Still, I found this quote to be relevant.

Every morning a warrior should recommit himself to death. In morning meditation, see yourself killed in various ways, such as being shredded by arrows, bullets, swords, and spears, being swept away by a tidal wave, burned by fire, struck by lightening, dying in a earthquake, falling from a great height, or succumbing to overwhelming sickness. An elder warrior said, “Once out of your front door you are surrounded by death. Once you leave your gate you are surrounded by enemies.” This saying is not merely a parable, but a way to prepare for your fate.

Don’t forget to put life into living.

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  1. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Excellent perspective, and I really like the quote.  Fortitude for the day.

    • #1
  2. John Park Member
    John Park
    @jpark

    Every day is, indeed, a gift. Use it up, wear it out, and repeat, if given the opportunity.

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    BUT MAH TOILET PAPER!!!

    Seriously, excellent and timely post. I have given up watching any news stations, Twitter, radio, etc. I also have the urge to stay away from here, but at least one can choose which topics to read. Still playing golf and reading good books.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    80,000 deaths from the flu in 2018. Remember the panic-buys of toilet paper?

    Me neither.

    • #4
  5. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    The media panic –  CORONAVIRUS,  ahhh, we are all going to die!!!! – has me already turning off the morning news (I really only watch for the weather and traffic reports). I get the prep, but the US has the best health care system in the world. Can we just tone it down a little? I guess I don’t understand how one parent with a confirmed case of COVID-19 immediately leads to a shut down of an entire school. We don’t shut down schools when 15% of the students are out with the flu…every winter. Is this virus really that far out of the norm?

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Juliana (View Comment):

    The media panic – CORONAVIRUS, ahhh, we are all going to die!!!! – has me already turning off the morning news (I really only watch for the weather and traffic reports). I get the prep, but the US has the best health care system in the world. Can we just tone it down a little? I guess I don’t understand how one parent with a confirmed case of COVID-19 immediately leads to a shut down of an entire school. We don’t shut down schools when 15% of the students are out with the flu…every winter. Is this virus really that far out of the norm?

    Part of my morning ritual is to turn on the local news for weather, traffic, and sports. If I can get through ten minutes of the stupidity of the regular news coverage without rolling my eyes so far that I can see my brain, I figure that I can get through the more mundane stupidity that I’ll face at work with a straight face.

    I’ve had to reduce that down to five minutes, or I’d never leave the house.

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Juliana (View Comment):

    Is this virus really that far out of the norm?

    There is reason to think that it is.  

    I don’t know if you saw this thread, but it has some informed opinions in the comments.

    http://ricochet.com/730518/covid-19-and-exponential-growth/

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Janet/Quilter’s death has made me viscerally aware that I am mortal. It has also made me aware that every day is indeed a gift, and that at some point I will stand before God’s great judgement seat, and answer him with what I did with the talents He lent me. 

    My plan going forward is simple. 

    1. Enjoy the gift that each new day offers.
    2. Add to my best ability to the stack of stuff I intend to present to counter any claim that I buried my talents in the garden to keep them from getting lost.
    3. Avoid, to the extent possible, adding to anyone else’s pile of grief.

    Instead of worrying over the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, I am looking for the benefits I gain from it. One example: my commute to work has dropped by 5-10 minutes each way this week. (Although that might rather be due to spring break. On the other hand, a big drop occurred in the middle of the week after the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo prematurely closed its doors for the year.)

    • #8
  9. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Actually, I do want to live forever.  I know it is not in the cards, but I still don’t view it as a good thing.  Obsessing over death can rarely if ever delay it, so why bother?

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Here’s my problem Boss.

    How would you feel if your commander sent you into a fight with a rifle but  no ammunition,  no shoes and no helmet.

    That’s how us health providers feel.

    We don’t have anywhere near the protective gear we need to keep from getting sick so that we can work our a##s off seeing very sick patients in the next month or two.  

    We are still having a problem getting tests.  I was just informed we can’t test at my clinic.  Very limited supply, hospital is getting them first.  Local Health department is giving bad and conflicting advice.  

    My first patient today was a 68 yo woman with 3 days of dry cough causing chest pain, fever, body ache and head ache.  She tells me she never gets sick.  No high risk factors.  Flu test negative.  Did a chest X-ray which was negative.

    Now what? 

    I would have tested her immediately if I could and told her to self quarantine at home pending results.

    But I can’t.

    It didn’t have to be this way.  But the decision was made early on to put a happy face on this and hope it went away.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The biggest problem with coronavirus is that it has a name.  “The flu” and “a cold” don’t scare anyone, but Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, and Ebola do.  Even though coronavirus is actually a sequel (Covid-19), “coronavirus” has a ominous sound to it.  Were any of its 18 predeccessors worse?  We’ll never know because coronavirus is the crisis de jour, so nothing must distract us from being scared to death.

    @bossmongo is right:

    Boss Mongo: If you die within the next six months, it will not be from the Corona virus. Caveats for septuagenarians with pre-existing respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems.

    I’m more likely to die from homicide than coronavirus.  Case in point:

    Wife:  Does this dress make me look fat?

    Stad: No.  Your body makes you look fat.

    Wife:  Blam!  Blam!  Blam!

    Daughter (walks into room):  What’s going on, Mom?

    Widow: Just getting in some target practice.

    Daughter:  Nice grouping.

    • #11
  12. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Kozak (View Comment):

    How would you feel if your commander sent you into a fight with a rifle but no ammunition, no shoes and no helmet.

    That’s how us health providers feel.

    We don’t have anywhere near the protective gear we need to keep from getting sick so that we can work our a##s off seeing very sick patients in the next month or two.

    @kozak, copy all.  I’ve been, uh, privileged to get the nightly frustrated download from the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo as her hospitals brace for the storm.

    If there’s any silver lining to this goat rope, it’s that those who foist the rules, regs and obstacles upon our medical providers may be prompted to take a long, hard look at the house of cards they built. 

    If “we” are smart, we’ll use this as an opportunity to gather lessons learned for when the really lethal corona-ebola-zombie virus leaks out of China and presents a truly lethal pandemic.

    • #12
  13. Acook Member
    Acook
    @Acook

    One of my thoughts after the Nashville tornadoes was, I wonder if any of those folks who died were freaking out about the Coronavirus?  Life is weird. 

    • #13
  14. OldDanRhody, 7152 Maple Dr. Inactive
    OldDanRhody, 7152 Maple Dr.
    @OldDanRhody

    Good perspective and good post, but in any case I’d promote it just for this line alone.

    Boss Mongo: I don’t like the term carpe diem, because it hints at an excuse for wanton hedonism (now, carpe per diem is a whole different proposition).

    • #14
  15. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Stad (View Comment):

    Wife: Does this dress make me look fat?

    Stad: No. Your body makes you look fat.

    Wife: Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! (drops mag, reloads) Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!

    Daughter (walks into room): What’s going on, Mom?

    Widow: Just getting in some target practice.

    Daughter: Nice grouping.

    FIFY (assumed a single stack .45 with one initially in the pipe).

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Here’s my problem Boss.

    How would you feel if your commander sent you into a fight with a rifle but no ammunition, no shoes and no helmet.

    That’s how us health providers feel.

    We don’t have anywhere near the protective gear we need to keep from getting sick so that we can work our a##s off seeing very sick patients in the next month or two.

    We are still having a problem getting tests. I was just informed we can’t test at my clinic. Very limited supply, hospital is getting them first. Local Health department is giving bad and conflicting advice.

    My first patient today was a 68 yo woman with 3 days of dry cough causing chest pain, fever, body ache and head ache. She tells me she never gets sick. No high risk factors. Flu test negative. Did a chest X-ray which was negative.

    Now what?

    I would have tested her immediately if I could and told her to self quarantine at home pending results.

    But I can’t.

    It didn’t have to be this way. But the decision was made early on to put a happy face on this and hope it went away.

    Here’s my problem.  When was this supposed decision made to put on a happy face?  Precisely what decisions were made that prevented you from having immediate access to a test kit?  I know nothing about the preparation of such kits, but I assume that there is a limited supply, and it seems that this is necessarily the case, as it seems impossible to me that we could have had millions of kits standing by, 3 months ago, in case there was an outbreak of a new disease that (as far as I know) did not previously exist.

    So the hospital is getting the test kits first, rather than a clinic.  Doesn’t this make sense?  How else would one distribute test kits, if there were a limited supply?

    I realize that you face a frustrating situation, but I don’t see any details of how anyone could have done better.

    • #16
  17. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    If there’s any silver lining to this goat rope, it’s that those who foist the rules, regs and obstacles upon our medical providers may be prompted to take a long, hard look at the house of cards they built. 

    If “we” are smart, we’ll use this as an opportunity to gather lessons learned for when the really lethal corona-ebola-zombie virus leaks out of China and presents a truly lethal pandemic.

    Testify, brother! This is what I’ve been telling anyone who asks me my thoughts (coming from my previous CBRNE background). The best way to approach the current situation is to treat it like a real-time live-fire exercise. Do we have sufficient first-responder PPE on-hand? (No.) Do we have adequate bed-space on-hand, or the ability to generate it quickly? (No.) Do we have the industrial infrastructure to quickly ramp-up production of anti-virals, or even the antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections? (No.) Have we ever trained for or practiced activating and mobilizing the Reserve Components to sustain a domestic epidemic requiring an eight-week sustained surge capacity? (No.) Lastly; is it really all that smart to rely upon China (China!) to produce 98% of the materials we need to properly respond to an actual outbreak? (Maybe not so much…)

    • #17
  18. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    If there’s any silver lining to this goat rope, it’s that those who foist the rules, regs and obstacles upon our medical providers may be prompted to take a long, hard look at the house of cards they built. 

    Nah. Won’t change a thing they do, because they have no incentive to change. The difference between a willfully stupid military officer and a willfully stupid civilian government bureaucrat is this:  A willfully stupid military officer who makes sufficiently bad decision at least has a risk of getting killed in combat due to the consequences of his decisions.  A willfully stupid civilian bureaucrat who makes sufficiently bad decision  is likely to get promoted out of the position they are in just to get them out, but will not lose his job or suffer any other consequence. 

    That is the reason the military – one that fights – is usually more competent than civilian government bureaucracies. As Samuel Johnson once observed, “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” The officer, even a stupid one has a reason his mind  gets concentrated, and if he ignores it, Darwin takes over. Civilian bureaucrats not so much.

    All we can really hope for with the CDC is that the coronavirus meteor kills enough bureaucrats to clear out the dinosaurs. That is the only thing that will prompt a hard look at their rules, regs, and obstacles. 

    • #18
  19. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Here’s my problem Boss.

    How would you feel if your commander sent you into a fight with a rifle but no ammunition, no shoes and no helmet.

    That’s how us health providers feel.

    We don’t have anywhere near the protective gear we need to keep from getting sick so that we can work our a##s off seeing very sick patients in the next month or two.

    We are still having a problem getting tests. I was just informed we can’t test at my clinic. Very limited supply, hospital is getting them first. Local Health department is giving bad and conflicting advice.

    My first patient today was a 68 yo woman with 3 days of dry cough causing chest pain, fever, body ache and head ache. She tells me she never gets sick. No high risk factors. Flu test negative. Did a chest X-ray which was negative.

    Now what?

    I would have tested her immediately if I could and told her to self quarantine at home pending results.

    But I can’t.

    It didn’t have to be this way. But the decision was made early on to put a happy face on this and hope it went away.

    Here’s my problem. When was this supposed decision made to put on a happy face? Precisely what decisions were made that prevented you from having immediate access to a test kit? I know nothing about the preparation of such kits, but I assume that there is a limited supply, and it seems that this is necessarily the case, as it seems impossible to me that we could have had millions of kits standing by, 3 months ago, in case there was an outbreak of a new disease that (as far as I know) did not previously exist.

    So the hospital is getting the test kits first, rather than a clinic. Doesn’t this make sense? How else would one distribute test kits, if there were a limited supply?

    I realize that you face a frustrating situation, but I don’t see any details of how anyone could have done better.

    And as for protective gear, why isn’t it always stockpiled at every hospital, clinic, and medical office, or at the suppliers of these facilities?

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Kozak (View Comment):

    We are still having a problem getting tests. I was just informed we can’t test at my clinic. Very limited supply, hospital is getting them first. Local Health department is giving bad and conflicting advice.

    My first patient today was a 68 yo woman with 3 days of dry cough causing chest pain, fever, body ache and head ache. She tells me she never gets sick. No high risk factors. Flu test negative. Did a chest X-ray which was negative.

    Now what? 

    I would have tested her immediately if I could and told her to self quarantine at home pending results.

    I’m not a medical professional, but I don’t get the freakout over the lack of test kits.

    Assume you tested the patient, and the test came back positive.  How would you treat her?   Why can’t you treat her that way anyway, even in the absence of the test?

     

     

     

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    And as for protective gear, why isn’t it always stockpiled at every hospital, clinic, and medical office, or at the suppliers of these facilities?

    One thing to keep in mind in evaluating this: The resources you put into that will be resources you don’t put into something else. 

    • #21
  22. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    If “we” are smart, we’ll use this as an opportunity to gather lessons learned for when the really lethal corona-ebola-zombie virus leaks out of China and presents a truly lethal pandemic.

    Excellent article this morning in The Federalist

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/11/what-the-rest-of-the-world-can-learn-from-taiwans-success-containing-coronavirus/

    • #22
  23. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I have myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disease that attacks the soft muscle tissues and with me was caught early enough that it was restricted to my head (cross eyed, trouble chewing and swallowing, slurred speech) and shoulders. I take 2 drugs to supress my immune system (and 3 to protect me from the side effects). I am part of a clinical trial for a new drug to treat my ailment so I see a neurologist every 2 weeks. 

    His advice has been washing hands and generally practice good hygiene which I have always done as the germophobe I was raised to be.

    I agree about carpe diem and my level of concern and willingness to take risks are about where they were before. That willingness was less than prior to contracting MG but is generally unaffected.

     

    • #23
  24. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    If there’s any silver lining to this goat rope, it’s that those who foist the rules, regs and obstacles upon our medical providers may be prompted to take a long, hard look at the house of cards they built.

    If “we” are smart, we’ll use this as an opportunity to gather lessons learned for when the really lethal corona-ebola-zombie virus leaks out of China and presents a truly lethal pandemic.

    Testify, brother! This is what I’ve been telling anyone who asks me my thoughts (coming from my previous CBRNE background). The best way to approach the current situation is to treat it like a real-time live-fire exercise. Do we have sufficient first-responder PPE on-hand? (No.) Do we have adequate bed-space on-hand, or the ability to generate it quickly? (No.) Do we have the industrial infrastructure to quickly ramp-up production of anti-virals, or even the antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections? (No.) Have we ever trained for or practiced activating and mobilizing the Reserve Components to sustain a domestic epidemic requiring an eight-week sustained surge capacity? (No.) Lastly; is it really all that smart to rely upon China (China!) to produce 98% of the materials we need to properly respond to an actual outbreak? (Maybe not so much…)

    That’s because first responders were practicing for the zombie apocalypse.

    https://www.usfa.fema.gov/operations/infograms/053019.html

    • #24
  25. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Rule 1: When you see a Boss Mongo post, stop scrolling and start reading.

    I don’t think I should comment on the current public freakout because of rampant self-interest. I am blessed to have a job I can do entirely at home, and thrice blessed to be living in the home my grandfather built that I have loved since childhood. Telling me I have to work from home and shouldn’t go anywhere because I’m well over 60 and asthmatic is like saying to B’rer Rabbit that you’re going to force him to stay in the briar patch.

    • #25
  26. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    There are a lot of very good reasons people are extra worried right now.

    I don’t think people are afraid of death per se. They are afraid of losing control. Second to that, they are afraid of the pain in the experience of getting to the other side of the line between life and death. :-)

    And they are afraid of being interrupted. They have things to do, people who count on them. Can I keep my promises?

    I have never lived through something like this epidemic. All the rules I have in my head for how to take care of my family and friends don’t apply. My dependency on the healthcare system–doctors, hospitals, labs, drugstores–is complete.

    Americans complain about the healthcare system, but it’s been keeping most of us and our families and friends going since we first stepped foot in this world. But now, that is what is threatened. And we are asking the very people we are dependent on to assume a risk that is way beyond the call of anyone’s duty.

    We are entering a situation very similar to the chaos in post-Katrina New Orleans. I recommend the book Five Days at Memorial for a good look at what happens when the local hospital cannot function normally.

    I don’t even know how to be helpful in the face of this current epidemic.

    People will soon adapt and figure out how to live with this type of virus on the loose. But it will be a bumpy road on the way to that new “normal” place.

    • #26
  27. JamesSalerno Coolidge
    JamesSalerno
    @JamesSalerno

    Boss Mongo:

    There is a profound lack of perspective evident in the freak out. Every morning when you wake, and you haven’t died in your sleep is a gift.

    Really puts things into perspective, Boss. Words to live by!

    • #27
  28. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    JamesSalerno (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo:

    There is a profound lack of perspective evident in the freak out. Every morning when you wake, and you haven’t died in your sleep is a gift.

    Really puts things into perspective, Boss. Words to live by!

    Dying in your sleep is a gift, too! It’s all perspective, or lack thereof. 

    • #28
  29. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck
    @JimBeck

    Afternoon Boss,

    This is more of a philosophical question.  How did you come to have the view of how fragile life is,  and how this awareness is not depressing but enhances gratitude?  I worked at the IU med center next door to neuro-surg.  In talking to the nurses and the docs I learned that they never tell a patient exactly how long they think they will live, it is always something like 2 to 8, or 3 to 5.  When they tell patients a more specific date, the patients tend to get depressed and cease to have interest in the days they have left.  I agree that understanding how fragile existence is does enhance one’s appreciation and gratitude, but many folks actively avoid thinking about death because those thoughts seem to darkly color the rest of their lives.

    • #29
  30. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I’m not a medical professional, but I don’t get the freakout over the lack of test kits.

    Assume you tested the patient, and the test came back positive. How would you treat her? Why can’t you treat her that way anyway, even in the absence of the test?

    I’m not either. Everything that follows comes from recent reading.

    The freakout over test kits is related to asymptomatic transmission of the virus and community spread (i.e, someone whose infection cannot be ultimately traced to infection from a person who travelled to affected places like Wuhan or Italy). If we can’t test, then we can’t know who’s positive for the virus. And if we don’t know that, we don’t even know who to target for infection control–which people to focus on not only for treatment, but also for quarantine or isolation which are necessary to prevent them from passing on the virus to others.

    Indeed if we knew where the pockets of infection are, it would make it easier to have more localized lockdowns or narrower quarantines of affected individuals, rather than broad, sweeping lockdowns.

    • #30