Toilet Paper Panic
Toilet paper panic has probably been one of the more interesting and unexpected side effects of the coronavirus. It is a curious phenomenon that warrants further exploration. There are probably few of us who are unaffected. At my home we are down to our last 3 rolls. On my last 5 visits to the supermarket, I’ve not been able to buy more. But I’m a fit, healthy person with access to transport. And if it came down to it, I’d get by with soap and water… And stop shaking hands. Many of our patients at Mead are not so lucky. This week I’ve spoken to a heavily pregnant mum who doesn’t have the energy to drag her two year old around to multiple shopping centres in search of toilet paper. I’ve seen an elderly gentleman who relies on his carer to take him on a shopping outing for an hour once a week, miss out this week because there was no toilet paper to be found. Then there’s the 79 year old woman who urgently needs to prepare for her colonoscopy. But amidst these, there are also stories of hope, such as the 94 yr old patient who had a stranger with surplus, drop off a packet of toilet paper on her doorstep.
There’s no doubt we are living in uncertain times. The information (and misinformation) we receive about Corona virus changes on a daily basis. It seems inevitable that many of us will face a period of self-isolation. So it makes sense that you might want to have an adequate supply of toilet paper. But behind our wanting is a fear of lack, of not having enough. And this fear makes us small. It is a form of suffering that makes us want to hold on and grasp for what we don’t have. Panic buying can be seen as an attempt to assuage the fear, and to gain a sense of control in the vastly and rapidly changing landscape. However it fails to recognise that we are all in this together. We are community. We are connected. If some among us suffer, in the end, we all suffer.
I am inspired by the stories of hope and I invite you remember you are a valued part of our Mead community. I’ve brought one of my remaining toilet rolls and a basket to the reception area in our Kalamunda practice. I’d invite you to share the love… and the date roll or bog roll or whatever Aussie slang name you prefer to call it. Bring a roll to add to the collection. Please, if you have run out, take a roll, knowing that your community has your back… and your bum. With lots of handwashing of course.
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