My brother is a building contractor who has always provided masks and hand sanitizers for his workers.  Two weeks ago he managed to overpay for a box of hand sanitizers that he was very happy to get.  He then traded two bottles of the sanitizers for a box of N95 masks.  He sent masks to our close and extended family and we are very grateful for them.

A woman I knew when she was a child and haven’t seen in 38 years recently became a Facebook friend.  Her husband is an ER doctor on the east coast dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.  He wrote a frightening piece about the shortages and having to re-use his masks for several days when you would normally change a mask after each patient.

I asked my brother if he would send some masks to this hero doctor.  The doctor had to turn down the offer.  Believe it or not, you cannot bring your own equipment into the ER, even if they don’t have enough!  They have to be CDC approved medical N95 masks.  This might change when the death toll triples this week, but right now he can’t accept or wear the N95 masks my brother has offered.

The woman was so moved by my offer of the masks that she informed me that she has rheumatoid arthritis and has been on hydroxychloroquine for decades.  She ‘s not taking it anymore, saving it for her husband and others.  And she offered it to me and my family if we need it.  An amazing offer I hope we never have to accept.

Thank you Arlene, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series: