Posted by: Ziah
Posted: 7th May 2020
Life will never go "back to normal" for me, or my mother-in-law. We are both permanently immunocompromised, and cannot leave our homes until and unless a safe and effective vaccine is freely available. If it doesn't happen, we will never be able to leave our homes again. Neither of us can risk getting C-19 - it will be a death sentence for her, and possibly a death sentence for me (yes, we are that at risk). Online shopping for groceries will be the new normal for both of us, telehealth will be standard, getting blood tests will be an issue we have yet to find a solution for, and long gone are my happy days spent browsing my local thrift stores looking for new-to-me items or items I can use in my upcycled creations. I will never again get to wander through a store to see the specials - I will have to rely on the stores to make sure they put ALL specials online (which many do not). Our overall cost of groceries has already gone up because I am unable to chase the specials every fortnight, and we are already having to cut things out to afford what we most desperately need. I am having difficulty getting supplements that keep me alive due to the manufacturer having health issues with its workforce (and there is no acceptable replacement). I won't ever be able to go to my niece or nephew's birthday parties ever again, or cuddle them, or hug my brothers or other family and friends. I won't be able to work outside the home ever again. Or go to the movies. Or travel interstate or overseas - or at all. But I will be alive and I won't get sick - however, is it too high a price to pay to stay away from this virus? Is it it really living or merely the absence of death?
I have kept supplies of sanitiser in my bag./car/home for decades - long before people thought it was "cool". And wet wipes. And sanitised the car regularly. And practiced "social distancing" before SD was even a thing. The joys of being immunocompromised.
As for "after covid"? There's no such thing for me. It will always be here now. Once the immediate pandemic is over, it will remain endemic in all societies, just waiting for the right moment to attack again. Just like the flu, but worse. But my one resolution is to stop feeling guilty about self care and taking care of my mental health (which is unbelievably precarious right now) and doing what I have to to get through this in one piece without having a total mental and emotional breakdown... I need to stop feeling guilty that my coping mechanism is to play video games or spend the day reading non-covid social media and avoid covid news as much as I physically can, or doing jigsaws, or pottering in my garden rather than doing zoom yoga or online workouts or zoom meetings with family/friends, or doing fancy photography projects, or learning a new skill, or doing online study, or looking for a job I'll never get or be able to leave the house to do, or plan a trip I'll never get to take or plan the renovation or new house we'll ever be able to afford. I need to resolve to be gentler on myself, and at least as forgiving of myself as I am with other people who I have frequently encouraged to engage in self -care and utilise their own coping mechanisms. I have refused to lay any guilt on anyone else for what they choose as their coping mechanisms, but I feel the disdain from those who are learning languages, instruments, skills, doing online degrees, writing books, learning new photography skills, doing online exercise, yoga, workouts etc when they respond to what I do to try and cope - and the guilt runs very, very deep in me. I am grieving a lot of loss due to this virus. People with healthy immune systems and without multiple chronic illnesses have no idea, and cannot imagine having to give up the outside world in order to survive. I heard someone say they'd rather die than stop going out. I for one can't imagine laying alone in a, ICU bed, dying of this disease, gasping for air because I went outside...I don't even want to think about the pain for the people left behind who couldn't be there to say goodbye and the gaping hole left in their lives because someone ignored the danger. I don't want to be that person.
So my home will now forever be my world and my safe place.