“Do you wonder what thoughts go through the mind of a chronically ill individual during a worldwide health pandemic? Many have been saying Covid-19 will not be serious for a healthy person, and only those with underlying conditions or the elderly need to worry. You know, the not so healthy and the elderly do not appreciate that statement and do not see it to be a positive thing. We matter, too.
Personally, I have many underlying health conditions/chronic illnesses. If I were to catch the virus, there’s a chance I could be one of the more serious cases and end up in the hospital. The virus produces Cytokine storms, or a surge of activated immune cells, in the lungs. One of the conditions I have also does this. So, a double whammy could mean serious problems.
I am doing my part to keep myself and others safe by self-isolation and social distancing. But you know what? Self-isolation and social distancing are not that much different than my normal everyday life, even when there is not a global pandemic due to a highly contagious virus spreading around the world. I wear a mask to protect myself when I’m at the hospital or doctors office. Due to medical conditions, I am reliant on IV therapies to live.
Mast Cell Activation syndrome and Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia are conditions I live with everyday. These conditions cause an overload of histamine and mast cells do not act properly. Therefore, allergy types of reactions are present a lot of the time. Things you would never imagine become a trigger for a reaction. Scents like cleaners, perfumes/colognes, essential oils, and air fresheners cause a reaction in my body. This make going anywhere in public difficult and nerve wracking because fragrance is EVERYWHERE. Our world has become so scented! I have to be very careful if I go anywhere to prevent life-threatening allergic reactions from occurring.
Those who are chronically ill typically have weakened immune systems as well. So year round, when the flu, stomach bug and cold are most prevalent, most people still go out and infect others. There isn’t any social distancing in that case. People are in doctors offices, grocery stores, workplaces, malls and so on. Catching any of those illnesses can also be dangerous for me as a weakened immune system makes recovering from the cold or flu even harder.
So, my message to the abled and healthy: ‘If I am forced to self-isolate a majority of the time, due to the danger humans typically propose to my health, you can self isolate for a few weeks or months while everyone else is doing it, too!’ To those who are still on spring break and saying, ‘it’s just a virus,’ you may be able to fight it off with no issues if you were to contract it. But guess what? It’s not just about you! It’s about everyone. It’s about keeping your parents or grandparents safe. It’s about keeping a friend with an underlying condition safe. It’s about keeping the WORLD safe. My wishful thinking is the healthy and abled take into consideration what some have to deal with every day of their life. I would love to be able go somewhere and not be overwhelmed and triggered by your cologne or perfume. I wish my life wasn’t always a lot like the self-isolation your are currently experiencing due to Covid.
Covid-19 and it’s repercussions have been absolutely awful and heartbreaking to witness. My hearts go out to all who’ve suffered from the virus and to all those who have lost their lives. It has also demonstrated how selfish and inconsiderate some people can be. Stockpiling groceries, necessities, and medical supplies which people like me need everyday. Hoarding supplies the health professionals need. These people are risking their lives every day to take care of those who are ill. So please, don’t buy all the medical supplies you will likely never use. Save them for the people who actually need them.
On the other hand, we have seen good in people. Each day as countries enforce rules, we are seeing more and more people come together to try to take care of one another. People are doing this by following the social distancing rules, buying groceries for someone who may not be able to make it the store due to their age or health condition, and so on. This is a beautiful thing. Maybe the Coronavirus pandemic will teach humanity a positive life lesson. Maybe people will be more compassionate, less self centered and we will become better humans, even when this is all over. Humanity needed a reminder to the healthy population, we all have to do our part and most importantly, be kind to one another. As the legends Queen and David Bowie say: ‘Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night.'”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley. Follow her on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more Covid_19 stories from those with chronic illnesses here:
‘I see you refusing to give up your nights out with friends, your weekend bar visits. I see you, and quite frankly, I’m fed up. My life is on hold.’: Woman with chronic illness says ‘we are vulnerable and we matter’
‘Did you think we were ‘lucky’ to stay in bed while you go to work? Reach out to us.’: Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva warrior says, ‘Check on the people you know who have to stay home for disabilities’
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