A Moment of Strength in All This Uncertainty
The world has turned upside down around us. It’s like we’re actually living in one of those low budget, high-intensity apocalyptic movies.
Now, I honestly never anticipated writing about the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis because I’m weird and don’t like talking about things that everyone else is talking about. (Case in point: I was totally into the TV show, Lost, because one of the main actors was also in Lord of the Rings; but, EVERYONE was obsessed with the show and I lost interest.)
Coronavirus and chronic illness
I changed my mind and took a minute to crawl out of my isolation hole because I saw the immunosuppressed community getting anxious. I wanted to remind you, a chronic illness warrior, that you are strong and will get through this.
The fight to stay healthy everyday
Yes, if we get COVID-19 we will experience the worst it has to offer but, that is the case with any illness we contract. We fight to stay healthy every day of our immune-compromised lives. And, we will continue to do it now.
Let me backtrack for a second. I’m self-isolating and while confined to my room with my five million pets (read: four), I watch a constant stream of videos of people becoming more aware of not going out when they are sick, not openly coughing/sneezing in public, not needlessly touching every surface, washing their hands, and cleaning their houses…
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Oh yeah, we already do that because we could get sick from the simplest of bacteria. We are already pretty cognizant of how to minimize risk.
Living with a chronic illness
I sit at my computer watching these viral videos and memes and shake my head in disbelief. These guys have completely lost the plot. The people with the privilege of perfect health are all running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
They’ve watched one too many movies and probably believe we have to dig bunkers and hide underground for months.
These are precautions we take already
Why aren’t you freaking out about the self-isolation and risks of quarantines, Monica? Maybe I’m not taking this as seriously as I should or maybe, this lifestyle is not all that new to me. I know not to go to very crowded places, especially after taking my immune suppressant medications. I know not to see my friends when they are sick, or keep my distance from others when they are coughing and sniffling. I know how to self-isolate if I start feeling even a tiny bit ill and I already practice social-distancing by not standing right up next to people.
I want to remind you: you know this, too, and do it well. How many times have you heard, “Why are you so paranoid?”, “Why are you standing so far away, it’s only a cough?”, “Why do you wash your hands so much?”, and other variations of those sayings.
A moment for people with chronic illness
This is a moment of empowerment for us, the immune-compromised. Now that the media is behind us, pleading for the healthy demographic to think of the “at-risk” groups, we can speak up and show that we are not invisible, that our conditions are not invisible, and educate others on what we deal with every day!
More awareness of people with chronic illness & their needs
There would never be a better time for them to hear us. Now that they, the healthy, are experiencing firsthand the risks and accommodations we, the chronically ill, make to live in this pretty gross world.
And, just as a reminder as we try to navigate this new world:
You are strong, you are competent, and in this context, you are way more capable of coming out the other end. You, a chronic illness warrior, were made for this very moment. You have been prepared for a crisis just like this ever since you took that first medication.
You know how to stay healthy and you know to do it gracefully.
And you know what, it might actually be easier now that the rest of the population will stop sneezing and coughing on each other, make sure tables and other frequently touched surfaces are sanitized, and are just plain aware of how quickly and badly people can get sick.
You’ve got this.
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