'I can't afford to get sick,' Sapphire woman pleas
PEOPLE are beginning to ask Shirley White where she bought her face mask, but not as many are wearing them as Shirley would like.
Shirley was diagnosed with a common virus in November last year. Two nights later, she woke up at 1.30am suffocating. It was pneumonia.
"It's instant," she said. "You just can't breathe."
She was hurried to Emerald Hospital, insisting to her nurse that things weren't getting better.
She knew if she were left there, she would die.
"The staff were all excellent, but they couldn't control anything. I was having heart attacks.
"I said 'You're calling the doctor, because if you don't I'm going to die. And I'm not letting you go.'"
So the Royal Flying Doctor Service sped Shirley to the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, where she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"It'll get worse as I get older, and I'm already 78."
She made it back to her Sapphire home in December.
But now there's another danger: if Shirley catches COVID-19, she'll be at mortal risk.
Shopping this morning at Woolworths in Emerald, she was surprised to see nobody else protecting themselves.
"I nearly died so many times. That's why I'm wearing my mask today.
"People are saying, 'If you're not sick, don't wear your mask,' but I can't afford to get sick at all."
Shirley managed to get everything on her shopping list, some shortages notwithstanding.
Her approach to the coronavirus is pragmatic, with a hint of apprehension.
"It's not so good I've got to get up early in the morning," she laughed.
"But I'm not in a panic about it. All you can do is wear the mask, keep your hands clean, don't touch your face.
"In six weeks' time, who knows? How do we know?"