By Cal Orey
While I write health books and articles, there is a light COVID-19 angle to some of the material. But since the media covers it 24/7 -- I keep my distance a bit. I'm talking writing about depression, immune system, superbugs -- is how I indirectly connect the topic with what is happening now.
When the pandemic began, I started getting calls from the UK. That's when I got a flavor of how bad it was and would get here in the U.S. Lockdowns were part of the reading. Some callers had the attitude that it's normal, others were more candid and shared more...
Most readers will tell you relationships are the focus of 70 percent of our callers. And I've heard it all.
I'm talking domestic abuse, unrequited love, a lover with COVID-19 and another not understanding if they've been dumped or if their partner is really sick. It's not uncommon for me to zone into the region where a caller is calling... and then I usually can sense what they are facing.
* Job Loss: One caller has a good job but I sensed weeks ago the person would be laid off. The signs were there. I said, "Have Plan B" and I dished out hints. The other day when the phone rang I answered, "They let you go, huh?" My heart raced. "Yes." No I wasn't doing a high five with my dog but it feels good when your intuition is working.
* Love at a Distance: Another caller is separated from her new love. I knew she was in denial about the C virus. After all, she resides in a hot zone and her friend is now sick in bed--hot zone even worse. She didn't seem to get it. It was like in the film "Contagion" with Matt Damon's character is told by the doctor they couldn't save his wife. He wants to see her. He was in shock. My caller is like that, a bit. "Why isn't he texting me?" and "Did I do something wrong?" Uh no, he is sick. He told you that... all the cues: Loved ones hospitalized, man of color, immune-compromised. She doesn't get it. I didn't take her calls yesterday. It is too depressing.
* Fighting Like Cats and Dogs: A long time regular is stressed out. After all, the couple loves their freedom. They have lasted for two decades. When she works, he's at home. When she is at home he is out. It was fine. But put these two independent, strong-willed people in an apartment and the tension soars -- like a riot in prison. What did they fight about? Potato chips! He told her she had two months -- find a new living arrangement. I predicted since it wasn't a bad fight it would blow over. The next day I got a call. A hit. She cried. He caved. And they live in quarantine happily again.
Author Prefers to Write, Not Chat
Honestly, writing books and articles is challenging but not stressful. Taking calls during a pandemic is a daily drain. Chamomile tea can only go so far. Some days, I can take it. Bring it on. Yep, I've read for people who are scared to work at their jobs. Yesterday, one woman told me she loves working at home and is scared to go back to work. Another caller, a train conductor asked me the question, "Will I get promoted soon?" I picked up she was in a Northeast hot zone and she didn't want to be on the trains anymore. I told her I saw a delay. I don't lie. I call it like it is. She hung up.
And so it goes. Do I like working the networks during a pandemic? Sort of. It's fulfilling when I can help provide a sense of calm and voice of reason. I get it. After all, I'm the health author, right? But, I must tell you, I am a hypochondriac so some days I stay away from the networks for peace of mind.
Ringing Up My Go-To Reader
Last night I caved and called her. "Am I going to Alaska or Canada in the fall?" Pregnant pause. "No." She knows me. She has read me accurately for a long time. So, a second wave is coming and I will get cabin fever again. But hey, maybe I'll start playing the stock market. Today, I got a message that would be like the casinos. Since in the fall and winter we'll be doing this pandemic game again it's a no-brainer which stocks to pick... Toilet paper! I looked it up today -- Kimberly-Clark is doing well. And so it goes.
For now, I'll answer the phone. It just rang. And tomorrow I'll write up a story on a vitamin we all need to boost our immunity. You know, I think I can do this pandemic insanity -- it's like a video game getting to the next phase. Or not. Today, I got spooked going to the store. Only half of the people I saw wore masks. A group of millennials hugged, laughed -- no masks. I dropped my mask from my face to dangle around my neck and my younger sibling went inside the store for me. The year is young. And I am an intuitive. Read: Caution ahead.