OP/ED: Be a part of the solution


EDITOR’S NOTE: Amidst all the cancellations of events, there are voices of wisdom, truth and clarity that I often turn to, and my dear friend DeAnna Pearl is one of those voices. DeAnna was the Prevention Program coordinator here in Tillamook County in 2019, until she moved to an incredible position with the Cowlitz Tribe. I’ve been keeping in contact with DeAnna, and especially since the onset of COVID-19. Like many friends and family, DeAnna is one those in the “special” group – the vulnerable population, so her perspective is something that I think everyone will find helpful. Read on ….
By DeAnna Pearl
I woke up this morning, and like every morning for the last week, I have taken my temperature. I have checked in with my supervisor and gotten a heads up from local public health agencies. This is all prior to leaving my house for my 10-minute commute to work. I am not sick nor do I have any symptoms. But I am doing my due diligence in containing possible exposure because I’m part of the “vulnerable population” with a compromised immune system.

What has kept me calm are my efforts in preparing for a possible quarantine. I made sure RX were filled. Purchased extra dog food and cat litter. Made my own hand sanitizer and cooked up some immune supportive bone broth. With this little effort, I feel confident I am better prepared than most. However, not all people feel this way.
While some are worried about contracting the virus, they are also resentful that they must be “held captive” in their home. They worry about being exposed but are upset because their meetings, gatherings or conferences are cancelled. They want alcohol wipes, but they didn’t get them weeks ago because their thought process was, they could order it off Amazon. These shortages of wanted items, among other things, feed fear mongering and non-compliance. And the defiance of the naysayers contributes to the spread of the virus.
Why is it that we worry about getting something that can potentially cause harm or death, but then resent being asked to support social distancing and/or cancelling gatherings that can expose ANYONE who attends? The virus IS spread by sneezing, coughing and wiping onto any person, any surface and in the air for hours and days.
How about instead of feeding the resentment of self-containment, become part of the solution. Scientifically proven and supported solutions for the greater good of our family, peers and community at large. Yes, this is now a pandemic. It is very scary. In reaction, some are hoarding toilet paper. FACT: there is no scientific basis for toilet paper hoarding.
To wake up with reduced anxiety, I am fighting back feeling like a victim to becoming part of the solution: Checking in with my physical self, getting timely information from reliable sources and preparing for “what if” … The best advice I was ever given is to take inventory of yourself, assess your capacity to engage in an emergency crisis and shelter in place. If you do not have the capacity and you insert yourself in the emergency, you are now part of the problem.
Let’s reduce the burden of our first responders and medical staff: Sing happy birthday 2x’s while washing your hands; Wipe down surfaces often; And advocate for self-imposed quarantine when/if symptoms appear. These few, easy actions alone build confidence in our community and our personal efforts to reduce harm while supporting all those who are fighting on the front lines.
Yours in Health,
DeAnna Pearl