Monday, March 23, 2020

I Am the Face of Potential Coronavirus – And It Does Not Feel Good


I am Peter Gorman. I have been writing for the Fort Worth Weekly since 2004, not long after I moved from New York to Texas for family reasons. I am 69-years-old. I’ve just gotten out of Huguley Hospital after a 13-day stay. It was my sixth time in the hospital in four years, all of the stays due to issues that cropped up from my second job, which is as a guide and medicinal plant collector in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Those recent stays include time for dealing with a flesh eating virus that took three hospital stays, an exploded intestine that took three operations, and just last month, sepsis when my kidneys failed, my bladder collapsed, my legs reinfected, my heart went into severe arrythmia, and a host of less life-threatening problems.
   It is just the way things are for me and I have not changed over the last 35 years and probably won’t. I love the Amazon jungle, even though it will finally get me. I live with that.
   What I did not expect to live with was coronavirus. I am the perfect age, and currently dealing with several severe conditions, that make me the perfect candidate for this virus. Should I get it, I don’t know if I will survive. It would be awful to die of COVID after I’ve survived the jungle, but the reality is there to deal with daily. On the other hand, I can only run so much.
   I clean my hands. I wash canned and packaged goods before I use them. I go to the store with a friend daily but stay in the car and listen to music while he or my daughter fill my shopping list for dinner. And I make spectacular dinners daily – the only job I’m permitted to do. Well, that and cleaning the kitchen.
   But my friend Devon and my daughter Madeleina are still in touch with people in the supermarket. Madeleina’s friends Adrian, a fast-food delivery guy, and Patrick, who works at Target, still come over. My friend Matthew H, with whom I am writing a musical, is in touch with people but over at the house several times a week. We wash, we clean, but we’re not perfect. My younger son Marco comes over to hug me and eat dinner a couple of times a week. And then I have doctor’s appointments two or three times a week, and a home-nurse and physical therapist here several times a week.
   You get the picture, right? I try, but life goes on, even if mostly in quarantine. You avoid what you can, but you don’t roll up and sit in a fetal position. At least I don’t.
   What I miss most are the other members of my family. My ex-wife, generally over for coffee most mornings, is afraid to come and expose me to infection. Her two new daughters have not been here since I’ve been out of the hospital. My oldest son, Italo, and his wife Sarah, along with my two grandkids, Taylor Rain and Teigan Grey, have not been here either since I left the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I am used to seeing them a lot and miss them enormously. Sarah called and asked for a couple of dozen eggs from our coop –- Including half-a-dozen fresh organic duck eggs – and I have to leave them on the front porch for her to pick them up tonight.
    I am not looking for sympathy here. Things are what they are. A lot of people are in much rougher spots than I am. Meals on Wheels was killed a couple of years ago. ow How will those folks get good food now, and how will they stave off the virus without it? Where will people living on the street eat if they can’t dumpster dive because the restaurants are closed and the dumpsters are empty? What will people like me, of the right age and sick, do for food if they have not friends to buy it for them. Will they risk it and shop for themselves?
   This is a huge issue, everyone. I hope you all make it through.

4 comments:

spiral347 said...

Has there ever been an event like this that is simultaneously so big and so small? So big that it reaches all over the globe from China to Europe to North and South America but so small that each of us individually are feeling the effects in our own lives, like being confined to our houses or not being able to find toilet paper or other essentials. The world is getting stranger by the minute. Maybe Terence was right about history but he was just off by a few years.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,

iain from scotland

AR said...

Stay safe man. I read one of your books on my last deployment to Africa and it really struck a chord. Currently quarantined in San Diego. Stay safe man...no shame in wearing a mask when people are around if you can find one.

Unknown said...

Recently, I watched the documentary 'More Joy Less Pain' and have much respect for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and pray for you, Peter. You will get through this, you are a tough New Yorker (like me), we have had it all ova here!
Sending you healing vibes ~*


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