“Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe, and to love you.”

That’s a line from an old song by the Hollies, recorded back in the ’70s. I can’t remember the last time I heard the song on the radio, but that line popped into my head recently. And though it comes from the chorus of a love song, I started thinking about it in relation to something that is not nearly as romantic and that has been on the radio a lot lately: the coronavirus.

In particular, I’ve been thinking about the people who were quarantined on a cruise ship after some of the passengers tested positive for the virus. We now know the situation was handled poorly, causing many people to become infected by being in such close quarters with – and breathing the same air as – those who had the disease. Some of the interviews I’ve seen involve married couples in which one of them was infected, with the other one waiting on test results.

It gave a whole new meaning to the line from that song, and generated a number of “What if?” questions in my mind. The kind that make me uncomfortable when I relate them to my own life – although it may just be that I’ve read and watched too many science fiction books and movies involving deadly diseases and viruses, alien matter, or failed scientific experiments that have escaped from the lab into the general public.

Either way, I find myself wondering what I would do if I ever developed a deadly and contagious condition that put my husband – or others in close proximity – in danger. And what I would do if I were the one in close proximity to a loved one who was already infected. Especially if breathing the same air is how the disease spread from one person to another. I like to think that if I were infected, I would send my loved ones far away from me in order to keep them out of danger. I’d also like to think that if they were the ones infected, I would insist on staying with them – taking proper precautions, of course – to help and support them through the ordeal.

We never really know what we’d do, or how we’d react, in a situation like this until we’re actually in one, and I hope I never have to find out. In the meantime, though, this is a good time to remind everyone to take standard and common-sense precautions against any contagious conditions – including seasonal colds and the flu. Also, to offer what we can – including prayers, comfort, and support – to those who are dealing with any type of affliction. And to offer extra prayers and healing thoughts for the thousands of people around the world afflicted with, or affected by, the coronavirus – in the hopes that very soon they, their loved ones, and all of us can breathe a little easier.

February 23, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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