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We're Really Sick!Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 3:13 PM
I went into the pharmacy area of our local CVS to pick up a couple of items.
My goodness, it has changed in just a few short weeks!
It was packed with people. There must have been double the usual pharmacy staff and all of them were quite busy. Behind the counter is an area where filled prescriptions are waiting to be picked up. Each letter of the alphabet is now divided into several bins (there were four different divisions among just the letter "W") and each bin was full with sack after sack of medicines.
And that's when it hit me.
All the news reports about oncoming illnesses and new flues must be accurate. We really are entering an epidemic.
I've read where people can do very silly things in the midst of certain types of crises. My grandparents (who helped raise me) told me stories about the great flu epidemic of 1918. People were frightened and refused to leave their homes for weeks at a time. Any mild cold became suspect of being a killing agent.
I never believed her but my grandmother even told me that they ran out of soap during that period, such was the hand washing that caught on with everyone. People were scared, heard the worst, and suspected the harm in everything.
Its ninety years later and I'm wondering if we've really changed as a culture. We now have our newer medicines and I doubt we'll experience a massive wave of deaths as our world experienced with the 1918 flu epidemic.
Yet, we're still very afraid. At a recent public sporting event I noticed that families sat apart from others. Everywhere people are coughing and sneezing and you can't help but worry about what you might be catching from the general public. And I remember back in the spring when it was impossible to find hand sanitizer!
We want to live by this myth that we're immortal, that we'll never die. Sometimes it takes an epidemic to remind us of our being human. We want to live by the assumption that nothing bad will ever happen to us or our loved ones. And, in my case, I've wanted to live with the belief that the news folks were simply blowing out of proportion all the fears and worries about this new health scare.
Being in our local CVS pharmacy changed my mind. Seeing the visual reminders about the realities of our day also reminded me of the difference between fantasy and reality. We do have good health care these days.
We have wonderful drugs and medications. We have pharmacists and nurses and medical folks that are well prepared. We've had an abundance of good information regarding good health practices that will keep this season from becoming the "killing season" it might have become in another day and age.
We have some serious days ahead of us.
And, we're ready!
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.