We are living through a time period of great uncertainty. Many of us watched the Oklahoma and Atlanta bombing. We lived through the notorious Columbine shooting; we watched the twin towers come crashing. As we became adults, we saw the mortgage bubble burst and the economy grow weak. Several viruses came and went, some freighting like Ebola. Mass shootings, the list goes on. Now here we are in the year 2020, quarantined as we fear COVID19.
I remember reading through my history books about the Kent State shootings, measles, polio, oil shortages, hostages, the Spanish flu. I read those and thought, that’s a life I would never want to live through. Yet, here we are reliving history, perhaps worst, depending on who you talk to. We have changed in the sense of better with healthcare and ways to stay in communication. I dare say we at least have that going for us.
So, during this time period, we are walking around with face masks, gloves, disinfecting sprays, daily press conferences and news stories. Our economy is crashing, and some cities can’t keep up with the patients being rushed to the hospital as they can’t breathe. Our nation is arguing over how this has and should be handled in the future. The unrest is palpable from those who want to open back up for normalcy, while others want more time to pass before we can combine ourselves in one area. The healthy want the latter and those who are vulnerable want the restrictions.
This piece isn’t about who is right, but how I feel in general given my circumstances. Today marks my 89th day of quarantine only to step foot in the hospital, stay in the confines of my home or go for a walk. I haven’t seen a store since mid-January except through the television that shows people lined up by the herds waiting to buy their toilet paper. My doctor appointments have become telehealth. It’s convenient yet doesn’t feel the same. I joke, but it’s not funny, that my stroke happened at the right time. Regardless of the situation, I would still be at home, but perhaps some of my walking would involve stores. I’m going stir crazy as the rest of the world, but I’m glad I’m not missing out on gatherings and events.
Does someone in my condition with SAH and hydrocephalus meet the requirements of high-risk? Yes and no. I’m high-risk at the time being because my body has been through surgeries and my immune system is still too low to fight something off. Had this happened 10 years ago, I doubt I would fall under this category. There are many people in my community that wonder if they are. The resounding response depends if you have an underlying medical condition. With more information coming out, I don’t know how I fit aside from the temporary lowered immune system. I have a heart condition and now they are stating that it attacks your cardiovascular system. My blood pressure, which was once normal, borderlines on the high side these days. So how long do I stay-at-home and fear this? I have no answers. My work has graciously allowed everyone to continue to stay-at-home and work. They will reconvene at a different time to decide when and how we will come back. Am I going to feel safe? I’m not sure yet. Time will only tell when the date comes rolling around how we all feel. My fear isn’t isolated to work but going back to the stores or engaging in group activities. This little fear will still be in the pit of my stomach that I could get it and it would be catastrophic. I can’t live forever like this, however. Eventually when the world opens and I see how it pans out, my comfort level will return. I have to different thought processes that plague me: 1) So many medical professionals fought hard to keep me alive- why would I want to risk that and 2) So many medical professionals fought hard to keep me alive so I could enjoy my life. That’s the problem that I’m faced with. Bunker down or live my life- either way people fought for me to stay alive.
I don’t think personally, anyone should speak out on another's behalf on their comfort level of jumping back in the pool. This is a serious pandemic we are living through, and each one of us have our own fears or no fears for various reason. We can’t project those reasons as an overall blanket for society to abide by. We can tell our own personal reason on how we feel and that’s about all we can do.
To tie this back to the beginning, we should look back at all those things in history. They were traumatic, uprooted lives, changed the trajectory of how we live. The commonality for this, we eventually healed and moved on. We learned our lessons to a degree and came up with new ways of prevention. Did they all work-no. I do hope that like me, kids one day will read this event in their history books (or tablets) and want the thirst to make sure this doesn’t happen again at the pandemic degree which has brought on mass hysteria.
Until the time comes, I will nestle safely in my home, being a productive member of society, and wait for the outcome as things begin to open back up. What you choose to do, is on you and I have no argument against it. As I said before, this is my personal journey having major healthcare issues living through this pandemic.