Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dry Stretch

In a weird stroke of luck, no more people have come up ill. As my gut gets closer to a hundred percent, I'm spending more time helping out where I can. No small amount of it is in the clinic, giving relief to the dangerously overworked people tending to those who need it.

By any reasonable measure New Haven has been luckier than we have any right to expect. Two doctors live here, one nurse with a truly ridiculous skill set, and a smattering of people with training and education that spans everything in the healthcare field from basic nurse aide training to combat medicine. Evans and the others have spread what they know among many others. There isn't an adult in New Haven that can't stitch a wound, but more importantly there isn't a person who can't use their brain to come up with an alternative if a needle and thread aren't available.

That's a huge part of why we've managed to beat social entropy since The Fall. As survivors we've had to learn how to think just as much as we have to gather new knowledge as we go along. The medicos here are a slice of that idea--not just teaching us to treat wounds but to consider the possibilities for any given circumstance. Creativity is the keystone upon which our survival rests.

And that is just a smaller part of the flexibility we need to function. The world we live in is ever-changing as it always has been. The changes just happen faster and to greater extremes than before.

I mean, take the last day or two as an example. We were seeing people fall ill regularly for several days, which put us into damage control mode. We planned out contingencies for the worst scenarios we could come up with. We totally changed the work schedule to account for sick people. Our priorities shifted to stockpiling food on the chance our workforce would fall to the disease.

Then, nothing. No new cases to report, so we halted some of the changes and reset workers to doing other things. The best thing about the people of New Haven is that excellent ability to handle change with grace and intelligence. I'm fiercely proud of my people for not just being up to the task, but for doing what they're asked to the limit of their abilities. Whether it's learning medicine or guarding a lonely section of wall, they put everything into it.

I'm just as proud that so many of our citizens have learned to laugh again. We live hard lives full of pain and regret, but people here have managed the impossible: normal lives. That's relative, of course, but still impressive. We go to dinner with each other, play cards, make music together. We find the small joys and squeeze every drop from them. And we truly appreciate them, I think far more than we could have before The Fall. Contrast is a hell of a thing.

I'm sitting up in the watchtower, seeing people move about on their many-times-amended schedules without a word of complaint. Some of them are attending classes, some are about to harvest food. Whatever is asked of us, we do. Strange how universal our support for each other is. It pushes us to be better than we are, which can take us to strange places. Tomorrow may bring more illness, but today is beautiful. Today I'll take in some of the happiness around me, ignore the small negatives, and learn something new. Being better is good for me, which is good for all of us.

Let's hope this respite keeps going for a good long time.

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