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2020 came in like a wrecking ball for many of us that is safe to say. At the beginning of every year, we are all so hopeful that this will be THE year. This will be the year we lose weight, find our perfect match, or even change the world. When in reality we will really be lucky to keep things the same they were last year. To somehow manage not to backslide and lose whatever ground we had made. Never would I have thought at the beginning of the year that I would be spending the year at home.  

This year has been uncharacteristically hard. The first four months was one illness after another. Influenza A, Influenza B, COVID. I somehow managed to pick up all of it within weeks of one another starting the first week in January.  So far the year was definitely not spent putting plans into action, and focusing on myself. 

Instead of being able to focus on all those great goals that I had in place, I had to figure out how to live with COVID. Just like every single one of you reading this. We all had to figure out what COVID was and how we would react. For me, that meant retreating inside my house and only leaving when medically necessary. But let us be honest, that isn’t all that different from what I do normally.

In a good month, I may go to the grocery store a couple of times. Or Go out to dinner with a friend. But most months I do what I am doing now. I order my groceries for pickup, go to doctors’ visits, and infusion appts. But mainly I stay home. Which is just like many others who are chronically ill!  While the world is complaining about having to stay home and avoid most public places. The chronically ill communities are thinking “Welcome to our world!”

At times it has been hard not to laugh at the way the ‘healthy” population was acting about being quarantined. You would think that they were told they would never be able to leave their homes again. Not that they just needed to stay home for a few weeks to help flatten the curve.

Throwing fits and protesting? That is the adult way of dealing with being told to stay home in order to protect you, your children, and the immune-compromised? Nevermind asking people to wear a mask when they are in populated places. That is a whole different story.

In all seriousness, this situation has been hard! It has been hard on everyone. Even though most don’t take it seriously, those living with chronic illness find it terrifying. This kind of infection could actually kill us. Our immune systems can’t withstand a hit like this.  So we do what we have to protect ourselves. Because it has become quite apparent in the last few months that we can in no way depend on anyone else to do their part.

The able bodied community will begin to return to normal, but those of us that are immune compromised or seniors have been told to stay home, to quarantine.  We have experience with this.  What does it look like for us?  It means even more we will no longer go out for dinner period.  Those rare times we did go out are eliminated.  We know that those times when we hung out with out friends at the cafe having that precious cup of coffee is now completely off the menu.  (No punn intended.)

We can’t risk the possible fever of those around us or the cough that could be the infection that places us in a critical position.  Oh, and that once in a great while moment when we have a precious moment at the spa; maybe a manicure, pedicure, or massage is definitely not allowed.  Those small things that used to give us a moment of joy or stress relief are now forbidden on every level.  

The able bodied community could not last for a few weeks without these things.  The protestors, the anger, the complaining; yet we will lose these for months on end as we wait for a vaccine or treatment just in case we catch this.  There is an element, intended or not, that we are disposable.  That seniors and immunocompromised, those with other health conditions are not important.

 

The “normal” or able bodied get to return to normal; but those of us that carry medical conditions that place us in high risk will not get normal or any semblance of life.

Maybe the next time, you as an able bodied person stop to think. Check on a friend that is in that high risk category that won’t be able to leave.  Ask what you could bring to them, check on them, see how they are doing, ask what you could do for them.  Chances are they aren’t the “OK” they are telling you.  

 

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