Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sore loser hurts himself and the country -- Dec. 3, 2020 column

By MARSHA MERCER

On Wednesday, the United States reported nearly 3,000 people had died in one day from the coronavirus, and President Donald Trump released a speech on video.

It could be his most important speech ever, he said, but it wasn’t about the record loss of life for a single day or that as many Americans died of the coronavirus in one day as perished on 9/11.

Instead, the president railed for 46 minutes about “bad things” in the election, again making baseless claims about fraud, ballot “dumps” and conspiracy theories.

Trump is doing a disservice to the country and to his legacy with his continuing attacks on the electoral process. He will go down in history as a president who was impeached, lost his re-election bid and spread more conflict, distrust and hatred on his way out.

Unfortunately, many of his supporters believe his unsubstantiated claims. History shows repeating a lie often enough makes it seem credible, especially a lie from a trusted figure.

Trump has spun his web of deceit into a successful fund-raising effort that reportedly has reaped $170 million since the election. He claims it is for his lawsuits but could use it for the 2024 comeback presidential campaign he is said to be considering.

He is still being aided and abetted by many Republican members of Congress. And yet, some Trump allies and hand-picked subordinates are finally standing up and refuting his lies.

Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press Tuesday, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

That prompted Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, to claim there hasn’t been “any semblance” of an investigation into Trump’s complaints.

But Barr Nov. 9 authorized U.S. attorneys around the country to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities even before the vote tallies were certified, despite the lack of any evidence of widespread fraud. The Justice Department’s top elections crime official left the post after Barr sent the memo.

Trump badgers Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, as “hapless,” and urges him to use his “executive powers” to undo the election, even after the state counted, recounted by hand and certified the election for Joe Biden. Kemp rightly says he does not have such powers.  

Trump also tried to stop Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, from certifying that state’s electoral votes to Biden.

Ducey had made “Hail to the Chief” the ringtone of Trump’s calls, so he wouldn’t miss one. But when the tone played while Ducey was on live TV at the certification ceremony, Ducey put down his phone and signed anyway.

Trump threatened that Republicans “would remember.”

On Nov. 17, Trump fired by tweet Christopher Krebs, a Republican, Trump appointee and Senate-confirmed director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security.

Krebs had batted down the president’s claims that election systems were hacked or manipulated, saying in a tweet “59 election security experts all agree, `in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have ben unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’”

One of Trump’s legal henchmen said Krebs should be executed. He later said he was just being sarcastic.

Trump previewed his obstinacy long ago. In 2016 and this year, he insisted he could not lose unless the election was rigged. But because someone can’t stand to lose is not grounds to toss out millions of legal mail-in votes.

Courts around the country have shut down Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the election, citing a lack of credible evidence of fraud.

When U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann in Pennsylvania ruled Trump’s allegations were “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations . . . unsupported by evidence,” team Trump tried to discredit him as an “Obama appointee.”

Yes, but. Brann is a conservative Republican and member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. The state’s two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, recommended him to Obama for the judgeship.

We rely on free and fair elections to choose our leaders. Trump’s refusal to accept reality exacerbates the gulf between Americans and is dangerous for the future of our democracy.

If Trump wants to run again in 2024, that’s his business. Now he needs to put the country first.

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Make your voice heard -- again -- on Giving Tuesday -- Nov. 26, 2020 column

 By MARSHA MERCER

The election is over. Let’s get to work building a better world.

Americans made their voices heard in the election and can again on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, the annual day of global generosity after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Giving Tuesday encourages us to take a breath after days of consuming to reflect on what’s important to us and act on our values.

Charitable giving is more important than ever during the pandemic and recession as nonprofits have suffered a decline in donations and loss of in-person fundraising opportunities.

Wildfires, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters have wreaked havoc on our fellow citizens. Millions have lost their jobs, leading to higher levels of food insecurity. We’ve all seen the news footage of thousands of cars in line for food. 

Nearly 26 million adults – 12% of all adults in the United States – said their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days, the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey reported this month. 

Among adults with children, the situation was worse – 16% said their household didn’t have enough to eat, compared with 9% of those without children at home.

A federal moratorium currently prevents landlords nationwide from evicting renters, but the moratorium is set to expire Dec. 31. Food banks, shelters, health clinics and other social service organizations are straining to meet increased demand and would welcome your help.

You don’t have to give cash. You can contribute your time, energy or talent to a cause or a neighbor. During the pandemic, many organizations are seeking in-person or virtual volunteers. Check out volunteermatch.org to find opportunities in your ZIP code.

Giving Tuesday isn’t political; it neither accepts nor distributes contributions, and anyone can participate free. The idea is for each person to choose a charity, donate on the charity’s website and publicize the choice on social media with the hashtag #givingtuesday. Since Giving Tuesday started in 2012, it has spread to 220 countries worldwide.

Americans donated an estimated $511 million online on #GivingTuesday last year – up from $400 million in 2018.

If you have the wherewithal, there’s a new incentive to be generous. By doing good, you basically can reduce your taxable income in 2020.

In the past, only taxpayers who itemized deductions could take charitable contributions off their federal taxes. But the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security -- or CARES -- Act allows taxpayers who don’t itemize to take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions to qualifying organizations.

Qualifying groups are those that are “religious, charitable, educational, scientific or literary in purpose,” the IRS says. More details

Last year Americans gave almost $500 billion to charities, and about 69% of the total came from individuals, according to Giving USA 2020, a report researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

A recent survey found 40% of donors plan to give more to charity this year than last. The survey by Classy, an online gift processor, found that the pandemic was a big motivator for charitable giving, followed by the political climate and racial justice issues. 

If your inbox, like mine, is overflowing with Giving Tuesday requests, deciding which nonprofit to support can be daunting.

A word of caution, though. Scammers are also after your money. Experts advise against clicking on the handy links that come in emails. Instead, research the organizations, then go directly to their websites to give.

To make sure your donation goes to a legitimate charity, consult Charity Navigator, GuideStar (now Candid), the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or Charity Watch, which monitor charities.

One person can make a difference. Dolly Parton has received well-deserved praise for her long history of charitable giving, especially her recent $1 million donation to help develop a coronavirus vaccine. Her Imagination Library initiative has given 147 million books to children since 1995. She started it as a tribute to her father, who couldn’t read.

Few can sing or be as generous as Dolly Parton, but each of us can make our voice heard on Giving Tuesday.

© 2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

No thanks? Why we need this Thanksgiving -- Nov. 19, 2020 column

 By MARSHA MERCER

A few days ago, my neighbors added to their Biden-Harris and Ruth Bader Ginsburg yard art with a sign over their front door that reads simply: “Gratitude.”

Around the neighborhood, a few inflatable turkeys, pumpkins repurposed with wooden turkey heads and feathers, and cheery “Gobble Gobble” signs remind that  Thanksgiving is upon us.

But for many, Thanksgiving 2020 seems to have lost its luster. Some suggest postponing or canceling the holiday altogether. I get that in a pandemic and recession, we’re tempted to say, “No thanks,” that it’s easy to be more focused on what we are missing than what we have managed to hang onto.

No question, this has been a terrible year, a time of unbearable sadness and grief.  We have lost 250,000 Americans to COVID-19 and thousands more suffer lasting symptoms. The virus has devastated the economy, taking away jobs and the livelihood of millions of Americans.

But while this Thanksgiving must be different -- smaller and more poignant, virtual and outdoors around a fire pit or indoors with the windows open – we can still  practice gratitude.

We have rarely needed this holiday and the coming season of lights, music and cheer more than during the long, dark days of our plague year, our annus horribilis (Latin for “horrible year”), 2020.

Yet the Thanksgiving tradition in New World began in hard times. Virginia’s Berkeley Plantation claims the first official Thanksgiving in 1619, after the settlers had endured a year of unimaginable suffering and loss. English puritans traditionally gave thanks with a time of prayer and fasting, not feasting.

In 1621, pilgrims in Plymouth, Mass., shared a harvest meal with about 90 Wampanoag Indians. But calling the Plymouth meal the “first Thanksgiving”?

That was a clever marketing tool in the 18th century to boost New England tourism, says David J. Silverman, history professor at George Washington University and author of the 2019 book, “This Land is Their Land.”

President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving during the Civil War in the forlorn hope of drawing the country together after the Union victory at Gettysburg in 1863.

This year, many people seem to have skipped right over Thanksgiving and landed on Christmas. My corner drugstore in Alexandria installed Santas in its front and center windows before Halloween.

Before anyone tucked the first pumpkin pie in the oven, Christmas arrived on the plaza in front of City Hall in the form of a tall, stately white-lighted holiday tree.  A smaller tree brightens the riverfront. On King Street, white lights illuminate bare tree branches, and red bows and greenery adorn lamp posts.

Alexandria will even collect trash and recycling Thanksgiving Day, rather than take a typical “holiday slide.” That, though, was the choice of collection workers, who prefer to start their pickups at 6 a.m. Thursday so they can be home that evening and off Friday with their families, the city said in a news release.

The holidays won’t be the same this year. We will be distant, actually or socially, wear masks and wash our hands often.

But that shouldn’t stop us from remembering advice attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson to “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”

There are real signs of hope. Promising coronavirus vaccines are in the pipeline. Moderna said its vaccine was 94.5% effective in early tests, and Pfizer announced its vaccine is 95% effective with no serious side effects.

Scientists and medical personnel are true American heroes, going to work every day to save lives. Now we need President Donald Trump, Republicans and the federal government to step up and help President-elect Joe Biden plan for the vaccines’ distribution and the transition to a new administration.

Meanwhile, we can be glad not to live in the little town of Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, at the state’s northernmost point.

On Wednesday, the sun set there at 1:30 p.m. Alaska Standard Time -- not to rise again until Jan. 23.

That’s right – 66 days of what’s called polar night, when the sun does not rise above the horizon.

With everything else happening, we at least will have sunrises and sunsets and the hope of brighter days ahead. Find your gratitude.

© 2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Don't be a turkey on Thanksgiving -- Nov. 12, 2020 column

 By MARSHA MERCER

We need to talk about Thanksgiving.

Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” painting -- generations happily gathered shoulder to shoulder around the dinner table as the roast turkey makes a glorious entrance -- is many Americans’ ideal Thanksgiving.

But in 2020 that festive family dinner could be a COVID-19 super spreader event.

Friends and family members traveling from afar, hugging, helping in the kitchen, sitting together for a long meal indoors with the windows closed, passing platters family-style or helping themselves to a buffet using the same serving utensils – are a recipe for disaster.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, doesn’t care if we have pandemic fatigue. It’s not taking a holiday, and we can’t pretend everything is back to normal. We are months from having a widely available and effective vaccine to prevent and therapeutics to treat the deadly virus.

Older people and those with underlying health conditions are still more vulnerable to the disease, which is rampaging around the country.

Upwards of 100,000 new cases are being reported day after day. More than 148,000 cases were reported Wednesday alone. Cases are surging in almost every state, swamping hospitals and funeral homes.

More than 10 million Americans have been stricken, more than 242,000 of us have died, and hundreds of thousands more suffer debilitating effects that linger for months.

Several states have returned to more restrictive rules. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, limited indoor private gatherings to 10 people and closed bars and restaurants at 10 p.m. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, ordered restrictions on restaurant capacity and indoor gatherings and discouraged travel to hot spot states. 

“This virus is still alive and well and very, very contagious,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said Tuesday. COVID cases have soared in rural southwest Virginia and have risen in central Virginia. So far, Northam has left reopening rules unchanged.

It’s up to us to take personal responsibility and be disciplined and careful.

The Centers for Disease Control issued guidance Tuesday on how to make this Thanksgiving safer. 

First and foremost, wear a mask. It should have two or more layers to stop the virus spread.

The latest CDC research indicates a mask can help protect the wearer as well as those with whom they come in contact.

But no cheating: “Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face,” CDC says.

Many tips, like washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer when you can’t wash, are familiar.

“Stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you” (italics mine) is a variation on a theme.

Hosts and hostesses need to rethink their traditional plans and stifle their inner Martha Stewart.

Limit the number of guests and talk beforehand about expectations for celebrating together. Eat outdoors, if possible; inside, open the windows. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use, CDC says.

Guests: Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils. Avoid going in and out of the kitchen. Use single-use items, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable food containers, plates and utensils.

Better yet, just stay home. “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” CDC says.

Home is not risk-free, however. A CDC study found that people who carried the virus, most without symptoms, infected more than half the other people in their homes.  

Instead, host a virtual Thanksgiving with those who don’t live with you. Share recipes. Watch parades, sports and movies on TV or online.

 If you do need to travel, get a flu shot beforehand. This year, a flu shot is essential even if you’re not traveling. Carry disinfecting wipes and extra masks.

And don’t even think about crowding into stores for Black Friday deals.

We can get through this if we exercise caution this year. By next Thanksgiving, we should be able to resume our normal activities.

Let go of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving so we don’t unwittingly spread an unpredictable, deadly disease to friends and family. That’s something to be thankful for.

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Health insurance for millions in peril -- Nov. 5, 2020 column

By MARSHA MERCER

With the future of health care in limbo during the prolonged presidential election, the Supreme Court next week will take up a case that could yank health insurance from 23 million Americans during a pandemic.

On Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, which questions whether the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is constitutional. What the court ultimately decides could affect nearly every American family, not just those who buy their insurance through Obamacare.

Republicans have long argued Congress overstepped its authority when it imposed the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

In 2012, the court upheld Obamacare 5 to 4. Chief Justice John Roberts, siding with the more liberal justices, wrote that since the penalty was collected by the IRS, it could be considered a tax and Congress has the power of taxation.

In 2017, Congress zeroed out the penalty. A group of red states challenged Obamacare, arguing a zero penalty means there is no tax and the law is unconstitutional. The Trump administration backs the red states.

After rounds in federal courts, a group of blue states supporting the law asked the Supreme Court to review the issues. The House is also defending the law, which remains in effect.

This time, conservative justices hold a 6 to 3 advantage. In a sign of the significance of the case, the court has lengthened arguments from the usual 30 minutes to 40 minutes for each side side.

Tuesday’s arguments may give us a glimpse into the mind of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who said at her confirmation hearing, “I am not hostile to the ACA,” although as a law professor she wrote an article criticizing Roberts’s reasoning in the 2012 decision.

The current case raises the doctrine of severability -- whether a law can still stand if part of it is struck down. Barrett said she has not talked or written about severability.

The highest court could let Obamacare stand, abolish it entirely or do something in between. A ruling is expected by summer.

No one argues Obamacare is perfect. Many Americans bristled at being told they had to buy insurance, at paying a penalty if they failed to do so and at the cost.

But. Under Obamacare, insurance companies may no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions like cancer, diabetes or sleep apnea; charge them higher premiums, subject them to long waiting periods or cap their benefits.

About 54 million Americans under 65 – or 27% -- have a preexisting condition that, before Obamacare, insurance companies could use to decline coverage on the individual market, an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. In Virginia, about 1.3 million people under 65 – or 26% -- have such conditions, the report said.

Besides protecting those with preexisting conditions, Obamacare also prevents insurers from charging women more than men, permits children to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26 and offers subsidies to some customers to help pay premiums.

Most Americans get their insurance through their employers or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid, but no one knows when a job loss, divorce or other life event may require buying insurance on the individual or non-group market.

The pandemic and economic downturn prompted an additional 3 million Americans to seek help, raising the number covered under Obamacare to 23 million, according to the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.

In the absence of Obamacare, COVID-19 could be considered a preexisting condition, and survivors could be denied health insurance.

President Donald Trump has promised since 2016 to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better and cheaper but has never presented a replacement plan.

He issued an executive order on preexisting conditions in September that experts said was symbolic and had no practical effect.

Obamacare has withstood more than 70 Republican attempts at repeal in the House and many judicial challenges.

Before the election, when it appeared the Senate and White House might flip blue, both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they would work to strengthen Obamacare.

A Republican Senate led by Mitch McConnell makes meaningful change more difficult and raises the stakes for what the court decides.

Republicans and Democrats need to work together to write a law that works and people will accept. America will be healthier for it.

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Will nine justices in black robes be ultimate electors? -- Oct. 29, 2020 column

By MARSHA MERCER

President Donald Trump beamed like a proud papa and Republicans cheered at Amy Coney Barrett’s swearing-in show on the White House lawn Monday night.

The president and Senate Republicans had successfully rushed Barrett through the confirmation process as an associate justice on the Supreme Court before the election.

In one fell swoop, they bolstered their standing with GOP voters and took out an insurance policy in the event a razor-thin presidential election prompts legal challenges.

Voters should know Trump has long sown distrust in the electoral process and has laid the groundwork to contest the results if Democrat Joe Biden wins.

As in 2016, Trump refuses to say he will accept the election result, repeatedly claiming the only way he can lose is if it is rigged or stolen.

On Sept. 23 Trump told reporters he wanted nine justices in place because they may need to decide the election. He has appointed three justices, cementing a 6 to 3 conservative advantage.

Armies of lawyers on both sides are suiting up for post-election battle.

Without evidence, Trump continues to insist mail-in voting is ripe for Democratic fraud. Trailing in the polls in several battleground states, he is unwilling to let election officials take the time necessary to count mail-in ballots.

Most states require ballots to be mailed by Election Day, but several allow days or weeks for the postal service to deliver them and election officials to tally the votes.

In Virginia, mail-in absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by noon Nov. 6. Voters who haven’t mailed their ballots can hand-deliver them to their polling place on Election Day. Virginia results will be certified Nov. 16.

On Election Night in some states, including Virginia, localities will report in-person Election Day results first. Since Trump voters are likely to vote in person and Democrats by mail, Trump could take an early lead but lose it when absentee and mail-in ballots are counted.

That’s why Trump’s insistence “Must have final total on November 3rd” is self-serving and just plain wrong.

“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on Nov. 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Everyone wants election results as soon as possible, but we all need patience so the process works fairly.

A week before Election Day, more than 64 million Americans had already voted, with about half of the votes in the dozen or so competitive states that will decide who wins the Electoral College, The New York Times reported.

So how could the election come down to nine justices in black robes?

Many younger voters won’t remember 2000, the too-close-to-call presidential race in Florida and the recounts, lawsuits and intense scrutiny of “hanging chads” that followed.

Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote nationwide, but the Electoral College is what counts.

With Republican George W. Bush ahead in Florida by only 537 votes, the dispute went to the Supreme Court, where a 5 to 4 vote on Dec. 12 halted the Florida recounts, essentially delivering the state’s 25 electoral votes and victory to W. The five justices who ended the Florida recount were nominated by Republican presidents. Democrats cried foul.

Trump now hopes the court will smile on him. His campaign and the Republican party challenged ballot deadline extensions in several battleground states that were favored by Democrats because of coronavirus concerns.

Before Barrett joined the court, justices blocked a deadline extension in Wisconsin, where a federal judge had said mail-in ballots could be counted for six days after Election Day if they were postmarked by then. The justices said counting must end Election Day.

But the highest court Wednesday rejected GOP requests to overturn ballot extensions in two other key states, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where the extensions came from the state Supreme Court and state elections officials, respectively.

Barrett, whose first day on the job was Tuesday, had not had time to review the cases and did not participate.

Voters, the time for dilly-dallying is over. In Virginia, in-person absentee voting ends Oct. 31. You can still vote Tuesday. Just do it.

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Getting a leg up was pandemic prep -- Oct. 22, 2020 column

 By MARSHA MERCER

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said in a lecture the earliest sign of civilization is not a clay pot, iron, tools or agriculture.

To her, the earliest evidence of true civilization was a healed femur, the long bone in the leg. A healed femur showed that someone took care of the injured person – hunted on his behalf, brought him food and served him at a personal sacrifice, she said.

“Savage societies could not afford such pity,” surgeon and Christian author Dr. Paul Brand and co-author Philip Yancey wrote in the 1980 book “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.” Other authors over the years have also cited the story, although when and where Mead gave the lecture remains unknown. She died in 1978.

The story may be apocryphal, but it rings true to me.

A year ago on Oct. 23, I was out for my morning walk when I slipped and fell hard on a charming, but treacherous, brick sidewalk in Old Town Alexandria.

I got my first ride in an ambulance that day. An x-ray at the hospital revealed I had fractured my right femur in three places. I had never before broken a bone.

The orthopedic surgeon said more than once it was a shame the break hadn’t been an inch or so higher. Then, I could have had a hip replacement, which, he assured me, would have been a speedier, easier recovery than I faced. I never dreamed I’d wish I qualified for hip replacement.

The surgeon put me back together with a long steel screw, a plate and four pins and said it would be a year before I felt like my old self. I spent a couple of days in the hospital and a week at a hospital rehab center, learning to coax my right leg to move. At first, lying in bed, I couldn’t raise my leg at all.

I learned how to get in a car by sitting first and then picking up and moving my right leg. I reversed the procedure to get out.

A couple of weeks after it happened, I wrote in this space about my mishap. After covering health care policy as a reporter, it was eye-opening to be on the receiving end of care. I was, and am, impressed by the dedication of health care professionals.

An anniversary is a good time to reflect on what’s happened and what we’ve learned. My mishap, as disruptive as it was, helped prepare me for life during a pandemic.

When the novel coronavirus hit in March, I already knew what it felt like to be plucked from the reality I knew and dropped into a world I did not know.

I could not drive for eight weeks and learned to rely on other people. My mishap made me grateful for not only for medical personnel but for family and friends who cheered me on.

I arrived home with a walker and in a few weeks graduated to a cane. The cane, though, became a crutch and I gave it up months later only because the surgeon said it was time.

At first, a nurse, physical therapist and home health aide came to my house. For a couple of weeks, I felt uncomfortable taking a shower unless someone stood right outside the door, in case I needed help. Fortunately, I never needed any.

Life during a pandemic also makes you aware that risks lurk everywhere. Health officials continue to insist we’re safer at home. I already worked at home, but sometimes we have to go out.

I’d never feared falling before, but danger loomed large.

In my three-story townhouse, stairs were a challenge. For the longest time, I held onto the banister tightly and took the stairs one careful step at a time.

In December, once I was cleared to drive, I went to out-patient physical therapy. After the pandemic hit, I moved to online PT and then to exercise videos.

After a year, I’m glad to say my femur has healed and I’m practically my old self. I’m back to walking four miles a day. I take the stairs without holding on. I even walk on brick sidewalks.

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.