Written Feb 6, 2021 by Dr Alice Vo Edwards
How many like me, are pack animals, cut adrift in this sterile new reality? How much of our mental health struggles could be resolved with more 20-second hugs? Maybe two? One in the morning as you start the day, “Just breathe, you’ve got this.” Another at night, whether you triumphed or failed, to celebrate with you, or comfort you, as necessary. I wish the doctor would proscribe hugs. Imagine the news, “A hug a day keeps the doctor away.”
Doctors have long known that babies need human touch to thrive – without it – they die. How then, do you calculate the cost of lost health, vigor, and lives lost, not to the virus, directly, but to this forced, extended isolation?
Do you count it in hours lost to insomnia? In number of anxiety and depression meds taken? In blood pressure increases and new prescriptions? In cases of domestic violence? Or worse yet, in lives lost to suicide?
I wrote this poem, reflecting on the sense of aloneness that comes from COVID-19 related isolation.
It’s a Covid-19 bad day
When you’re tired and stressed and likely depressed –
Nothing that a good hug and cuddle and someone, like mom, to talk to wouldn’t cure –
But mom won’t come in touching distance.
Will not touch you.
More afraid of the potential Illness
That could be caused by an invisible virus
Than your current, mental illness.
Don’t give in, when that sardonic inner voice
Whispers that she’d have no problem kissing your corpse.