History has its eyes on us

Ted S. Warren/AP: Judie Shape, center, who has tested positive for the new coronavirus but isn’t showing symptoms, opens a care package of art supplies from her daughter Lori Spencer, left, and her son-in-law Michael Spencer, March 17, as they talk on the phone and look at each other through a window at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle. In-person visits are not allowed at the nursing home, which is at the center of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the United States.

History has its eyes on you. That is a quote from the popular musical Hamilton, but as we are dealing with a global pandemic it also applies to all of us.

The year 2020 is going to be remembered some day in history books. How it will be remembered, is in part, up to us. Will this year go down in history as a time of great selfishness – with people hoarding masses of toilet paper and masks? Will this year go down as a time when we all came together to help our neighbors through this scary and uncertain time?

There are heartwarming stories of people in Italy singing from their windows at night. All these voices raised up together to bring hope and a small spark of joy. Even though they are separated physically by the quarantine, they unite in spirit and in song. In the United States there have been reports of neighborhoods that are connecting on social media to see who on their block needs resources. They assign “team leads” to check in with each family to see if they need anything. The “team lead” arranges for someone in the neighborhood to deliver groceries and medications to the doorsteps of the elderly or those quarantined.

Families are home eating together each night. Activities have been canceled and the normal day to day busyness has gone away. At my own home, board games are being pulled out of the closet, books are being read more, and family movie night is a regular occurrence. There is no rushing to get out the door to this activity or that event. In the midst of the fear and the uncertainty, I am trying to savor the quiet moments at home with those I love most.

Now is the time to re-connect with family and friends that you “didn’t have time” to talk with. Now is the time to send that text or email. Don’t hesitate to make that phone call or Facetime someone who is important, but previously was not high on your list of things “to do,” This past week I have had more phone calls and text messages from friends and family than I can ever recall before. That has been a gift.

Every day we write history. Today we get to decide what people will remember about this year. Let’s do everything we can to show how we can come together to save lives and overcome this disease.

Jill Kruse, DO, is part of The Prairie Doc team of physicians and currently practices family medicine in Brookings, South Dakota. For free and easy access to the entire Prairie Doc library, visit www.prairiedoc.org and follow Prairie Doc on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc a medical Q&A show streaming on Facebook and broadcast on SDPB most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.

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