This past weekend we had another lockdown exhibit on Instagram! This time we had a theme and it was “bodies.” I give you: lung tissue on a microscope slide (or an artistic interpretation of it).
I think a lot about my own mortality lately. I wonder whether I would be one of the lucky many who can tangle with the coronavirus and move on, maybe not even knowing I had it. Or, would I be one of the unlucky smaller number, who would get very sick and maybe die?
I had severe asthma as a child. I remember many nights in the ER with my weary parents. When I was nine, I had pneumonia and was hospitalized for a week, three days of that in the ICU. At eleven, I had one of my worst asthma attacks an hour away from the nearest hospital while camping in Northern Minnesota. I had another about four summers later after having an allergic reaction to penicillin.
I have never had to be intubated, which is what happens when you are put on a ventilator to help you breathe. I count myself lucky for that. I am also lucky my asthma is well controlled now and I have not visited an ER for many years.
I had thought those days of fighting to breathe were in my rearview mirror. But this pandemic has brought it back to the front of my mind. Every day now, I think about getting sick, having to go into the ER, gasping for breath, being hooked up to machines. Only this time, instead of having my family with me, I would be all alone.
So, I think about these crucial organs. I think about them more than anyone should. I was happy to read recently asthmatics may NOT be highly represented among the very sick, unlike diabetics and heart patients. Still, when some in the U.S. talk about an “acceptable number of deaths” in reopening the economy, I can’t help but think I would be acceptable collateral damage to them (me and countless others, including the elderly).
I think I’ll just stay at home until sanity is restored. I recognise it is a privilege just to have that option. I feel thankful for the deep breaths I can take in this moment and how good the air feels going into my body.
Pictured with this embroidery are two others I did of the novel coronovirus, SARS-CoV-2.
I never expected to get into scientific images, but I find it impossible these days to think about much else.
But while I am stuck at home making work, it is nice to have social media and the internet to connect with other artists and show my work. I probably would not have undertaken this lung embroidery if it weren’t for the prompt, so I am very glad I pushed myself to finish it!
If you are at all interested in the whole exhibit, all the works for multiple artists who showed on Saturday are still visible with the tag #lockdownexhibition2 on Instagram. Here’s a teaser: