More Personal Comments on the Coronavirus Crisis

I want to avoid discussing the coronavirus crisis in my regular weekly blog posts (at least while the crisis is ongoing) – so I’m going to say some things now.


During shelter-at-home, I’m learning things I never knew about my parents before. Such as this:

Dad: I haven’t told your mother, but I think I have a cataract in my left eye.
Me: Uh… [I was thinking that this came totally out of the blue]
Dad: It’s like looking out a really dirty pane of glass.
Me: Oh.
Dad: The last time I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed, they made me look at that eye chart on the wall, and I had no problem reading the letters with my right eye. But with my left eye, I couldn’t tell what the letters were.
Me: [trying to remember when my dad last went to the DMV] Wait, this has been going on for that long??!!
Dad: [sheepishly] I was in denial.
Me: I don’t think you can get treatment for that now.
Dad: No, I probably can’t.

Hopefully, both of my parents will survive the current crisis, and thus live long enough for my mother to go all $#!@%$^$%$# on my dad when she finds out that he’s been keeping a visual impairment a secret for years. (If my dad is clever enough, he’ll imply that the cataract started during the coronavirus crisis, and that he didn’t want to stress her out about it during the crisis when there was little possibility of treatment). (No, my mother doesn’t read this blog). (Though if she is reading this blog after all, I’m probably going to find out very soon).


I am glad that I currently live in a household with other people right now, though I am keeping on eye on possible opportunities to physically isolate within the household. That’s mainly because I’m at low risk, and do things like run to the hardware store to get a replacement for the plumbing part that wears out NOW of all times, whereas my parents are at high risk. It would be safer if I could go outside for necessary tasks like ‘get plumbing thingy from hardware store’, and then be isolated from them in case I somehow got infected in the hardware store. But it is hard to isolate when there is only one bathroom, which makes other efforts to physically isolate myself within the household seem potentially pointless.

(Is okay that I was secretly pleased that the thingy wore out so that I had a really good reason to enter the hardware store, where I got a few things other than the plumbing thingy? Maybe if I lived in physical isolation, I’d feel comfortable with going to the hardware store for errands less important than an urgent plumbing problem.)


I mean, I also go out for walks at least once a day, but it’s much easier to keep physical distance when I’m not entering a building or other confined space.


I now wear my dust mask when I leave home. I don’t believe it’s effective for blocking the virus. I do believe it’s effective for making other people feel a little less comfortable, and thus more inclined to keep physically distant from me.


During the horrible smoky days of the Camp Fire in 2018, the medical center near our home opened up its stockpile of N95 masks to the public. I took one of their masks, and used it whenever I went outside during that crisis. Since hardware stores were generally sold-out of N95 masks, I’m not sure I would have gotten a mask otherwise.

I don’t know how effective the N95 masks are at protecting people from wildfire-polluted air, but if they are effective, that distribution has almost certainly prevented future polluted-air illnesses. Maybe it has saved me from a future polluted-air illness.

Now that same medical center is asking for donations of unused N95 masks.


The medical center is also asking for donations of blood.

If lived in physical isolation, I would go ahead and donate blood. I know they are taking precautions to prevent spread among blood donors, but it’s been confirmed for more than a week that some healthcare workers at this very facility are testing positive for COVID-19. This place might have the highest concentration of coronavirus in the entire city. I believe the risk to blood donors is low, but if there is even a slight chance that by donating blood I’d get infected, and then pass it on to my parents who are more than 70 years old … no.


Many of my relatives work in medicine.

At least one of them has tested positive for COVID-19.

His wife and children haven’t been tested, but they are also sick.

He says that their symptoms have been mild, and that his own symptoms are already improving. They are optimistic about their recovery.

2 thoughts on “More Personal Comments on the Coronavirus Crisis

  1. I’ve also postponed a cataract operation for a while, a couple years in my case. I’m a bit young for that, but it’s apparently common for very myopic people like me to have cataract issues. I was scheduled for the operation in mid-March, then April 1 for the other eye. I canceled when I saw the virus coming down on us.

    It’s only bad in one eye. I can still correct it, more or less, with an extra strong contact lens in that eye (pretty much the strongest they make). Somehow the cataract has made the eye much more myopic.

    It doesn’t seem like *that* big a deal to me. So far. And the operation, while 99% safe, it’s still a little bit scary. I know of one other guy, in his 70s, who has been postponing doing this for a long time. Because he’s scared.

    Just FYI, one somewhat ignorant person’s take on it. Maybe can be used in defense of your dad in case of need 🙂

    • I know hardly anything about cataracts, so compared to me you’re an expert.

      I hope that your eyes do okay during the crisis, and that you’ll get safe and effective treatment when that’s an option again.

      I suspect that my dad might have revealed this now to me precisely because treatment isn’t a practical option now, so he’s not under pressure to make a decision.

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