I live with two unrelated roommates even though I’m 51 years old, I have multiple day jobs (nursing, and working with high school students) that support my art (performing comedy), and until two weeks ago I hated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a stunning array of well-thought-out political reasons but now I’m not sure whether I’m in love with him or want him to be my dad.
In other words, I’m a typical New Yorker.
Despite my 15-plus years in the five boroughs, there are days when my Wisconsin-born soul unexpectedly ― and quite inconveniently I might add ― intrudes on my Brooklyn life. Like last week, when I found myself leaning against a stretcher gasping for breath in a local pediatric ER turned COVID-19 ER. I felt not just the substantial terror of “Oh shit, this is serious” but also the embarrassment of “Can we please not make quite such a big deal about this? And also, “PS, can you please quit looking at me?”
It’s a Midwestern thing. Making people worry feels like bad manners.
But I’d had a bad cough for a few days and then had grown steadily more short of breath. I hadn’t initially suspected COVID-19 since I hadn’t really had a fever. But red-faced with the embarrassment of, OMG, needing something and blue-lipped with lack of oxygen, I headed to the Manhattan hospital where I’ve received extremely competent medical care in the past.
I walked in with a red flannel button-up shirt tied midlevel around my face. If any of the initial assessment staffers thought I looked like a...