Wheaton’s Way

Panic is not the answer

It seems you can’t turn on the TV or browse the internet without coronavirus popping up somewhere. Depending on what news website you land on, it’s either nothing to worry about or the end of the world. There has already been a rush on recommended items, leaving store shelves bare, and it is easier to find Bigfoot than a bottle of hand sanitiser.

I was in a local pharmacy earlier this week and they said that not only were they out of the stuff, but the prices on Amazon were crazy. I took a look for myself, and sure enough, an 8-ounce bottle could have been filled with Chanel No. 5 for what they were charging.

I am a weird combination of person, in that this kind of thing doesn’t usually bother me, but if I get a headache, I think it’s a brain tumour. I’m a hypochondriac in some regards, and not in others. Fascinating, I am aware.

You know how they label it ‘Man Flu’ when men get a sniffle and carry on as though the end is nigh? That is me, times a million. I gnash my teeth, moan, whine and fret. My long-suffering GP, Dr. Richens, no doubt steels herself every time I walk in the door, preparing to hear about the latest malady and how I really need to write my will before it’s too late. Yet, considering the fact that I treat vegetables like they are Kryptonite, I am in remarkably good health.

One thing that has always fascinated me is how possibly the worst we’ll ever feel in our lives is completely avoidable. I am talking about the hangover. How is it that we learn very quickly that sticking our hands in boiling water or rollerblading without experience is a terrible idea, never to be repeated, yet we’ll indulge in cocktails a week after feeling like grim death? The pounding headache, the sweats, the nausea, the inability to form a declarative sentence … all are absolutely unnecessary, but part of the rich tapestry woven from a heady mix of vodka, rum, gin and whatever else was on special the night before.

I have felt so bad post-indulgence that I’ve wanted to be dunked in an ice bath the likes of which Doc Baker used to break a fever on ‘Little House on the Prairie’. Unfortunately, the pain fades like childbirth (I’ve been told) and suddenly we are all back on the horse that goes by the name of Happy Hour once again.

I am not particularly worried about coronavirus, although I do happen to be on medication that somewhat suppresses my immune system. I am therefore trying to take some supplements to help boost it and thanks to Lynne, my best friend and roommate, we actually have hand sanitiser in the house. She is very good about getting hurricane supplies each year – you know, before there is a possible threat and a run on the supermarkets. I remember when she brought home a Valu Pack in May 2019 and I mocked her for it. “Got enough hand sanitiser there?” I queried, probably from the couch with a rum in hand. Now I wouldn’t blame her if she charges me extra for a bottle or works out some dastardly barter system. “You can have a squirt if you clean out all the cat litter for a week.”

Yes, we should all take precautions, but panicking won’t solve anything. Who knows, maybe it will be a positive thing in the end.

As the pharmacist said to me this week, “Everyone will probably end up a lot cleaner.”

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now