Once discharged, her then-boyfriend Rodger was respectfully distant during visits. As he was leaving one evening I asked "aren't you going to give her a kiss"? He figured I was kidding until I pulled a sheet of plastic wrap I had stashed by the front door. Even PJ was trying to be safe, versus trying to scratch it off his head. He sensed something was awry with his human; you can see it in his eyes. (yes, we sneaked him in one evening per her doctors suggestion).
Fast forward to March 2014: After learning to wear a simple surgical mask when going out in public between chemo cycles to avoid risk when immuno-compromised, it was time to travel to Boston for some Proton radiation. Following that, the second of three major surgeries; each requiring post-surgical intubation on a ventilator. Yep, again.
Now then! Let's now touch on...
Madison chose to wear a mask following chemo treatments when out of the house. For 40 days and doses getting nuked in Boston, she was strapped to a table a much harsher mask was secured, the risks were huge. How do you find joy during that?! The radiation techs would playfully greet Madison every weekday and she would chose blaring country music some days, rock on other days. While this may sound repetitive or you may see where I've been going, covid is not OK, most in utter disbelief that America is at where we're at; this is not OK, nor do I accept it. Wait, what?! Acceptance is not agreement, right. Right! No, many people still defiantly refuse to be bossed around passing out the stink-eye judging others for wearing a mask, and the people who wear masks... judging those who refuse.
So I gotta tell ya, if you're a mask skeptic or flat-out non believer, Madison would tell you unblinkingly "don't be a selfish dickhead', then she'd explain why. As her dad, I echo that. People are frightened on so many levels; I am too with so many economic, health, and when-will-this-end uncertainty. We Martians don't cry as far as you know, nor are we allowed express any fear or uncertainty... so un-manly. I also see Venetians and matriarchs frightened out of their minds too, numb to he fact that is my reality... nobody is immune to covid. Realistically if I caught it I'd likely survive. That said, Angela and I were at my mom's house last Saturday: at age 83, could she survive it? If for example I was an asymptomatic carrier and gave covid to her last weekend, might she be in ICU in a month on a ventilator unable to speak while an overworked nurse holds a phone next to her ear with me explaining "mom, it couldn't have been me... it had to be Shannon (my sister): I think I heard her coughing a lot when we spoke last...
...on the phone 400 miles away.
I get that as covid testing capacity increases, so will case counts, symptomatic or asymptomatic. My gauge for the medical and economic exposures for any large city or small county is with associated hospitalizations, ICU beds counts, and then freezer trucks. Speaking of Shannon...
...so she called several weeks back and I also spoke with my niece Mallory, who told me about a card that Madison had sent her many years ago: she read it to and asked if I could receive a text while on my phone...yes I can. She had read Madison's words from her arm, and I could see instantly that was in Madison's handwriting. Mallory had taken the card, had the image enlarged and projected, then tattooed. Touched me to my core, as I suspect Madison touched her.
In closing I'll suggest to mask-resistors that you call your grandpa and tell him you love him while he can still say it back because far to many people still defiantly refuse. This is all close to impossible to process, so people fallback on freedumb being violated. Me?! If I give it to my mom, I'll just blame my sister or Angela while a busy ICU nurse wearing a spacesuit holding a phone to my mom's ear, who can't speak because of the tube in her throat. That, or I can wear a mask and remain socially distant when I'm out and about... seems simple enough. Cancer is not OK; covid is not okay, nobody approves. Wearing a mask is not concurrence that covid is OK, or that you're weak or afraid. For people actually subscribing to the fallacy that this as a hoax with the ludicrous dismissal and unscientific theory that 'this will just disappear like magic by Maytember', perhaps concede that you're frightened too... all of the ramifications are a lot to unpack and process; short, near, and long term, life or death, employed or not.
So some unsolicited advise if I may: be like Madison through challenging times in your life: protect yourself and others avoid blame, find a sense of peace and even some joy in something and embrace that. Plan something fun, with a date TBD. Stay off CNN and FOX, and don't overthink anything to the point you're stewing in your juices, and take this seriously a day at a time, a week at a time, etc. Madison went through hell in 2014, and 2020 is no picnic for us mortal here on planet earth.
All that said nobody knows how many Madison's you may walk past in a store or restaurant, so I'll ask all of the Karen's politely: please put on your big-girl pants and wear a fucking mask.