New Reality of Living with COVID-19: by Maria De Leon

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The tiny seed knows that in order to grow it needs to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light.” Unknown

For me fortunately, the pandemic had not held a deep wrenching impact on my day to day life, as it has for many others around the country, until now. Although, it has left an emotional toll as many of my friends and loved ones continue to be in the epicenter of the pandemic. While some friends have been stricken by disease and forced into isolation, several are still fighting for their lives in the ICU as we speak. During this time, I have lost 2 dear friends yet have been unable to pay tribute as I would have wanted…

Yet, for all this emotional turmoil my home life had been stable. Having many years of practice living with a chronic illness staying home and avoiding contact with others had been a cinch. Plus having weather many complications in the past 13 years I am a pro at making life work even when confined at home and barely functioning. I have a work, sleep, medication, housekeeping and overall, well -being routine which my family has gotten used to over the years.  

My husband’s increased risk of contagion at work along with having my mom move in with us and daughter returning home from college put a hiccup in my well-oiled routine initially, but we settled in nicely after a few weeks.

However, as the coronavirus remains a fact of life to which we are having to adapt living with my fears and anxieties have just now begun to escalate. This is the case for many of my friends who are chronically ill. This is because the risk for us who are already living with a myriad of complex medical problems are at higher risk of infection as there are an increase number of carriers. While everyone was quarantined, I felt safe and secure I could manage the risks. Plus, there is some comfort knowing that even when down you are not being judged for not being socially active since none was socially active. Although, I have never stopped socializing with friends and relatives throughout these last few months.  

However, now that everyone is starting to get back to a “normal” life my normal will have to change again causing disruption for all involved. As everyone is feeling free, I am feeling captive. I am sensing the pressure of having to socialize outdoors and participate in social activities face to face with colleagues and friends while every fiber of my being feels the need stay isolated for a longer period. This is because as anyone who has been ill for years will attest that we will do anything to avoid hospitalizations. The mere mention of having to go to hospital sends a shiver up our spine. When you are as delicate as I am where the slightest contact with any ordinary garden variety bug can wreak havoc for months you too would think twice about going out in this present climate.  

I still remember the last time I got ill right before Christmas, I had been doing great and a friend was hospitalized with mycoplasma pneumonia, yet I still went to see her feeling I might be protected by my PPE’s. Two days later I was sick for two months. Now imagine the possibility of contracting a more aggressive virus for which there is no known treatment. The fear is real, and I am not willing to put my life at risk because others do not mind putting theirs on the line.

So, what are the options?

Live in fear- of course not.

It means that I will continue to practice safety measures as I have until now placing even stronger boundaries on who I let in my life. This means even close friends and relatives who are not willing to take safety measures are not allowed near me until there is a change.

I might have to continue to work from home, continue using social media apps to communicate with others, use telemedicine to do doctors visits, order food online, and schedule appointments for biweekly blood draws to minimize contact with others. I will continue to meditate, be creative, sing, dance, take my medicines on time, and advocating for others while I continue praying for a vaccine to be found soon. Finally, that we all come out from this pandemic better, stronger, more compassionate and caring individuals willing to work together for a better tomorrow.

@copyright 2020

All rights reserved By Maria De Leon MD (aka Parkinson’s Diva)

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