The For-Bid(d)en verdict & covidsomnia

Published December 5, 2020, 11:09 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPE-VINE: OUR NEW ABNORMAL XXV

Philip Cu Unjieng

A) Like some petulant child who refuses to give up the melted candy stick grasped in his pudgy hand, or a ginger-haired Humpty Dumpty perched on the wall and overstaying his welcome, President MAGA is still playing hard ball. He’s refusing to accept the November election results and his dreaded For-Biden verdict, claiming massive fraud; and thereby, undermining the very democratic process which handed him the throne in 2016.

Is it only me; but the logic of his argument totally escapes me. He’s the incumbent Chief Executive, was the one appointing his people to all the key positions involved in the electoral process (ex. the Postmaster-General, when mail-in voting was the issue). The pollsters all predicted Biden winning by large numbers; so theoretically, all the Biden team had to do was to make sure their constituents voted on the day, and then protect the vote. If there was anyone who had to “cheat” and commit electoral fraud, it would have been the Republicans. Obviously, they didn’t “cheat” enough, or couldn’t counter the popularity of the Biden ticket.

And let’s face it, MAGA only has himself to blame. If only he had embraced his role as ‘President during the COVID-crisis’, and not ruled with abject denial; I’m pretty sure he’d have won the election. Enough people still believed in him despite his illogical, defying the facts of science & medicine approach; so imagine if you coupled those blind believers, with the Americans who were sitting on the fence waiting for the right presidential response to the global pandemic.

Plus it’s not like the 2020 election resulted in a rejection of the Republican Party. There were Republican gains made in Congress; and it looks like the Senate will swing on the slimmest of margins. So by claiming fraud, MAGA is actually jeopardizing the legitimacy of some key Republican local election wins.

It’s now a tiring, scratchy soundtrack that really has no business still existing. And the scary part is we can’t predict where this intransigence can still lead to in terms of civil disobedience and unrest. The Electoral College meets on December 14th to formalize the outcome; and who knows what dirty tricks MAGA still has up his sleeve after so many alleged fraud cases filed by his legal team have been dismissed.

And if he goes, will he go quietly? Some have even observed and predicted how, come January 20, 2021, we might have, for the first time in its history, a US presidential turnover with the incumbent absent from the ceremonies. Think about “sore losers” and “unsportsmanlike behavior” in picture dictionaries; and we may soon just use a picture of MAGA beside those terms – his sad legacy.

B) I didn’t coin the word covidsomnia! It actually exists, and has been used by Neurologists in explaining some of the afflictions that have befallen us during this very unusual pandemic year. All over the world, sleep specialists have reported a surge of reported sleeping disorders and disturbances.

If insomnia wasn’t already an acute issue for 50 million Americans pre-pandemic, the stressors caused by COVID have just drastically added to that number; this according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. One psychiatrist even remarked, “When people tell me that they’re having trouble sleeping right now, I tell them I’d be worried if they weren’t having trouble sleeping during these times.” True, but of not much comfort.

Strangely enough, at the very outset of the pandemic, with WFH and flexible schedules, several patients reported actually sleeping better. They could align their behavior and biological sleep periods more closely. But as the pandemic months dragged on, this positive trend sharply declined. Blame it on the additional stress and anxiety – as related to health, declining finances, and lack of social interaction. During the day, one of the coping mechanisms is distraction; but at night, we lose access to these mechanisms. Beyond the extreme measure of medication, the two M’s that are recommended to combat covidsomnia are meditation and movement.

To be honest, I appreciated reading the above and realizing I’m not alone. Sure I’m at the age where I’m used to getting up more than twice during my sleep to pee; but lately, my issue was falling back asleep. I’d be lethargic and feeling tired by the afternoon, on account of the lack of quality sleep; I even felt my immune system was being compromised.

And yes, it is mostly about anxiety and stress – it’s not that easy to “pivot” or gain new employment when you’re at an age that’s past retirement, and yet the financial requirements for maintaining a certain level of lifestyle and comfort stay constant. Plus it’s not like my responsibilities connected to money have decreased just because my earning capacity has spiraled down. So it is one of those lose-lose predicaments, and I wasn’t surprised to find it taking a toll on my sleep routine.

I can only guess how many of you out there are in a similar situation. I hear those in particular industries like hospitality, restaurant, and retail have all felt the pinch of this quarantine extending beyond a point we all were ready to foresee. Fortunately, there is a glimmer of hope with the vaccines that should be pipelined by early 2021.

In the meantime; spare a thought for your columnist, not just counting sheep, but counting herds of sheep, and goats. And if you’re looking for a fast wordsmith, eager learner, but frayed at the edges and shaggy of tooth…

 
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