There comes a time when you decide you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns and banging your head against a brick wall starts to hurt. When I was a kid, and complained to my dad that something hurt when I did this or that to it, he always had the practical response “stop doing that, then.” I decided to take Dad’s advice.

Kathy Flaherty

So now I turn to coping with … all of this.

I intentionally told the testing story at someone’s suggestion – because I could, and because the Mirror gave me a place to have it published. I have appreciated the response from so many people, friends, family, and strangers alike, who have shared the piece and my frustration at the process.

I have appreciated the people who have revealed who they truly are by what their response has been. I should have followed Maya Angelou’s advice “When people show you who they are, believe them” a little bit sooner with regards to some of these folks, but it’s getting followed now.

I have the best friends. So many people have stepped up to offer help (especially now that my far better half has to isolate at home as well, but it’s been a week since I started showing symptoms and he still isn’t so maybe he’ll be okay to go out and about as long as we are vigilant about maintaining our distance in the house… that’s something I’ll check with my PCP later today) and it’s so funny the way they do it. People have offered to throw things out of the car window as they drive down the street, I’ve been offered homemade soup (which will hopefully be frozen because our fridge is stocked for the moment) and, miracle of miracles, one of my friends found distilled water so I don’t have to worry about my CPAP machine.

Anyhow…coping. Connecticut doesn’t always do well with change, but I am amazed at how quickly some systems are adapting.

A lot of people are keeping a lot of plates spinning in the air. I am grateful to all of my colleagues at my office and at legal services offices and at other organizations around the state who are working to ensure that the systems recognize the needs of Connecticut residents who are underserved and marginalized. I salute all of those workers on the front lines: grocery store employees, delivery people, first responders, and health care workers.

That last group is why I decided to just give up the request for a test. They are stuck working within guidelines. In my frustration yesterday I railed “Don’t you think these guidelines are ridiculous? Don’t you think we need to be testing more?” and every medical professional I talked to said yes – we should be testing more. But we can’t, because the system capacity simply isn’t there.

One of the new priorities is testing health-care workers who have been in quarantine because of possible exposure of someone else in their family so they can get back to work. They need the tests for people who are admitted to the hospital because of the severity of their symptoms. The people who can isolate and recover at home are sent home. There would be no difference in her recommendations for treatment based on test results – their recommendations are based on symptoms.

One of my best friends from college, who is like a sister to me, sent me this link  and asked if it would work for me to get a test. Sure, it might … but have you SEEN those humongous Q-tips that they shove up people’s noses at the drive-through testing centers? Anyone who thinks I’m shoving one of those up my own nose….hard nope on that. Plus, I’ve read elsewhere that there’s now a shortage of the testing media…because the main place of manufacturing is Milan, Italy.

All of this … what’s happened already elsewhere in the world and what is happening now here, and whatever comes next … will give all of us the opportunity to display who we are. Let us hope that we are worthy of the challenge ahead of us.

Until next time.

Kathy Flaherty lives in Newington

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