Louis Fowler’s Pandemic Journal: Vulnerable Population

Pointed out by far better satirists than I, the absolutely cruel response by the far-right to this pandemic has been, I’m sad to say, expected. From local marijuana lab owners to the Lt. Governor of Texas, it seems as though those in power have deemed the more vulnerable of us—translation: the impoverished, the handicapped and, most of all, senior citizens—not worthy of even a chance at survival from the Coronavirus.

But it’s all for the economy, of course.

Just as wholly despicable are those that are quick to point out that most of the viral dead were cursed with previous maladies, such as diabetes or heart disease, to begin with; my favorite, though, has to be their eugenics-laden dog-whistle of “They were obese!” to their rabid followers. Anything to fit the narrative.

Lately, I’ve been worrying about the people that are in—or will soon be in—a hospital in Oklahoma, as well as across the country. Though we’re not at capacity—yet—I have spent a lot of time in the health care system, confined to an uncomfortable bed that seems to exacerbate every ache and pain, the constantly changing temperature of the room leaving you wanting to rip your skin off.

And this was before the Coronavirus; it’s got to be a hundred times worse now.

What I remember most of all, however, was the loneliness. Laying in the dark, counting down the minutes until a nurse came by to check on you, just to remind you you’re still alive. Now, with new guidelines in place regarding hospital visitations and quarantines and so on, that alienation and desolation will be deeper than ever. I don’t know if I could do it again.

But, in case I get the virus, just remember I died because I had heart problems. Or kidney issues. Or, as I’m sure will be noted, because I was fat.

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I haven’t seen my gal-pal Jodie in a few weeks.

Keeping an acceptable distance, we met for lunch at one of the only places open anymore, the El Rey taco truck down on N.W. 10th—Mexicans: they’ll always get the job done!

After waiting in their somewhat long line, we walked down to an area park to enjoy our more than welcomed eats, me a torta and her some pollo asada. There were more people than I have ever seen at this park; kids were on the playground while a couple of women sat under a tree. A group of dudes sat at another picnic table, feasting on their Styrofoamed lunch.

Heaving a plastic fork full of beans and cheese into my mouth, I felt a tug on my pants-leg.

It was a little chihuahua—I think—begging for something to eat. I gave him the rest of my frijoles, as well as some tender bits of lengua from my sandwich. I wanted desperately to take him home and be his new best friend, but by then, he was at a different table, getting scraps from another guy in love with him.

You know, dogs and cats may not know what is going on right now, but I’m willing to bet, collectively, they truly love all this human attention. I wonder if that chihuahua is still there. I would have named him Taquito.

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 Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.