Sometimes it has a silver lining

Neil Snarr - Contributing columnist

Dick Mitchener

Dick Mitchener

In retrospect, there is little to be grateful for during the year of the coronavirus, but that does not keep us from attempting to conger up benefits – and some of them are real.

Local resident Dick Mitchener has a real-life personal story to tell, but first we might look at what others see as benefits in the midst of tragedy.

One such benefit touted by commentators is that received by the environment. After delineating several short-term benefits such as the reduced production of Chinese industry and subsequent huge drop in their pollution, and the benefits to over-visited Venice has realized with the drop of tens of millions of annual visitors, a commentator’s tone diminishes.

He sees this as a temporary fix and, “My guess is that humanity will soon forget this lesson and continue on its former way: Business as usual.”

Another approach to benefits is a focus mostly on interpersonal relations. One article sees six such paybacks: Extra family time together; doing nothing without guilt; avoiding daily commute to work; breathing in cleaner air; getting to know your neighbors; and, listening to the birds sing.

Are these worth the millions of persons worldwide who have succumbed to the virus?

These benefits do call into question the silver-lining hypothesis. But Dick Mitchener has a personal story which is of a different sort.

Feeling extremely tired, he went to his doctor, who sent him to the emergency room. After much hesitation he followed his physician’s orders and was given the news that he had the coronavirus.

“After several medications put through via IV and more prescriptions, I was sent home. I was to stay at home for 10-14 days and after that if I showed no symptoms — I could go out. I never had a fever, loss of taste or smell, but so tired…

“He told me after looking at the MRI he believed that there was possible cancer in my upper colon.”

Dick was sent to a surgeon, but was convinced that surgery was unnecessary; however, the evidence was simply too compelling. The surgery was done on February 25.

“Being tested positive for COVID December 14 and finding the cancer, we had it taken care of in just over two months.

“Four hours on the operating table and four days in Clinton Memorial, I returned home with little pain and was able, at 86 years old, to stay by myself and recoup. After this writing I am able to play golf and music. If I had not had COVID-19, the cancer would not have been found, and it could have taken my life.

“In a little over two months, I beat COVID-19 at the age of 86!”

Neil Snarr is Professor Emeritus at Wilmington College.

Dick Mitchener Mitchener

Neil Snarr

Contributing columnist