I Am Worried About My Mom
We arrived home from Mexico late Thursday night, after an 18-hour panic attack through two international airports. (Denver International had bright shiny new posters, not even faded, warning against BIRD FLU and MERS. I wish I'd taken some pictures for you, but my hands were full of daughter.) I was in a low-grade panic, because I didn't want to bring coronavirus home to my 81-year-old dad. "Leave it," I told my daughter as she went to return the yellow teething ball the baby in front of us had dropped. "Leave it. Leave it. LEAVE IT!" I had seen so many comforting pictures of empty airports; neither of our airports was like that at all. I think everyone was trying to get home at once after Trump the night before started shutting down travel. But at least we got home before this ...
Thank you for the vacation, dear ones who pay my salary. It was wonderful, until the end.
Friday morning, my mom — this is my mother — got the results of her biopsy and news that her surgeon would be happy to take her breast off this coming Wednesday. She doesn't mind the breast. It will make it easier to shoot arrows, like an amazon. She lives alone, out in the country, on the 13 acres she bought to retire to after she got her then-57-year-old schoolteacher ass kicked by a proud member of the Manhattan Beach PD. She needs me to be with her. And I've just traveled internationally, and there are no tests.
I shouted at my senators, Jon Tester and Steve Daines, on the twitter machine. I need to get down to my mother. There are no tests. Tester's state director, Pam Haxby-Cote, called me within an hour; their phone lines were all being forwarded to two numbers since the Senate went to recess. They had just taken 43 messages off their VMs. She knew that I knew that I have no symptoms; she knew that I knew I haven't been in contact with anyone who's tested positive, because nobody has tested positive, because there are no tests. She chatted with me quite a while considering she had 42 other messages to return. She was pretty wonderful, truly. She knew that I knew she could not help. Montana has 1000 tests. We have to make them last.
I just wanted to know that I had gone to the top, and the top had listened. I mean, not Steve Daines. Obviously. That guy's a choad.
We will stay here for 10 days and then complete our self-quarantine for four days in the RV as we get to my mother. In addition to the breast cancer, she's worried it's spread to her spine; she had a TIA a month or so ago; her heart is fluttering so hard that when she lies down on her bed, the bed shakes like one of those "magic fingers" sex motel beds. She is having some bleeding. She's a perfect storm.
And now the news says asymptomatic people could be shedding more of the virus than people with symptoms. And two weeks honestly isn't a long enough quarantine. And there is no way for me to see if I am bringing my mother a warm bath of death.
There are no tests.
Shy read me the news that the Utah Jazz — the visiting team! — got 58 of Oklahoma's tests that day last week after that young man, with the hubris of all the dumb young men, touched everyone's microphones and then turned up sick. Oklahoma, according to USA Today, has 250 tests left.
Neither of my parents watches Fox News; they've got the MSNBC or the CNN on all day. But it still wasn't until I got home that they started listening about how serious this is. I thought the cable nets were on panic mode? Or just "contradict the president" mode, which I guess is the same thing. No, Dad, after today you can't go walk dogs at the shelter anymore or go to your Friday AA meeting. No, Mom, that doesn't mean you have to live your life not even looking at strangers (though I have a vague wonder how many of our Dark Ages started with a plague and a concomitant fear of the other); "social distancing" means just ... keep your distance. But we all have to stay home for now, just for a few weeks, to keep it from spreading. My mom yelled at me, upset. I let her. A few hours later she called me back, soft and sweet. She was sorry she'd been mad, but she was just worried.
I'd made her worry. I should not have made her worry. I should not have made my mother worry. I shouldn't have.
"You obviously know more than we do, and you get the information faster," she said, correctly. "When ..." she asked haltingly, "when will there be tests for anyone who wants one?"
I laughed, hollow mordant laughter.
I told her Mike Pence had promised a million tests by the end of the week, however many eons ago that was in Trump Time, and some time after that we achieved about 10,000. Then he promised four million tests? And maybe we're at 20,000 now, I don't know, the lies keep coming, and I only know they're lies. I told her Elizabeth Warren put out a plan seven weeks ago on public health and testing, and a second one a week and a half ago about public health and the economy. I told her that Trump said that "four weeks ago" nobody had any idea this was happening. Time is a flat circle. I told her it was a tossup whether we refused the World Health Organization's tests "to keep the numbers low" or because he was invested in the lab that got the contract. I had only seen one woman report it; Snopes says it's false because he sold the stock which he did indeed own; Snopes does not consider the fact that DJT Holdings (his trust) provides zero information to the public and that he's more breathtakingly crooked than anyone we've seen in our nation's history. I'm not an investigative reporter; I don't know how to follow up on it; I just don't know. If venality (putting Mike Brown at FEMA because he'd raised money), laziness, and willful ignorance caused Bush to ignore Katrina, I can't even begin to sort out the 50 strains of shit that make up the whirling miasma that is Trump's response to COVID-19.
So we're sitting tight for the next 10 days. The Walmart was wiped out of canned goods (the Mexican foods section completely intact) but Safeway was totally normal. And this is where I ask you for money. Not to buy me a trip to see my mama, or to pay for my belated prepper syndrome; you guys pay me a salary for that.
This is where I ask you for money because far too many of us are about to be laid off. Our waiter friends, our events friends, anybody who works with the public. Walmart is cutting hours in its 24-hour stores. Everyone will be cutting hours soon. A big hit is coming to our economy, to our friends, to their livelihoods. And so for us, your Wonkette, which some of you need now more than ever (and if you are taking a mental health break from us, I get that too!), we need to spread the cost to more of you, two or five or 10 bucks a month across many more thousands of people, so the people who need to cut us out of their budget don't have to feel bad about that too. They've got enough to worry about without feeling guilty about five dollars for fucking Wonkette.
Evan and Dok and Robyn and SER and Liz and Jamie and Michael and Shy and I will be here for you and with you, working as always safely from home, to entertain you and inform you and keep you company. Except when I'm working from the passenger seat of our RV.
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