Daily Life during the Pandemic for a Chronically Ill Young Adult

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Daily Life during the Pandemic for a Chronically Ill Young Adult

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I have felt profoundly emotionally impacted by this pandemic and its accompanying consequences, but I think that my day-to-day life has been less impacted than those of most other young adults. Due to a debilitating chronic illness, I’ve been relatively homebound for over a year now. Given that, the biggest change I’ve faced has been that nearly all my various appointments have become telehealth appointments. Also, I haven’t been able to hang out with my local friends who I had been used to seeing pretty often, so I have felt a bit isolated living alone with just my dog and cat. But, in a way, the shut downs across the country have opened up new avenues of socializing for me. For example, for a couple of months now, I’ve been joining members of one side of my family for a weekly ZOOM call. It’s been so nice to see many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins every week especially since they live all across the country. We usually only see each other at big family events. This family ZOOM call would have never happened if it weren’t for the pandemic. I’ve also reconnected with my childhood best friend who lives in another state. In April, we started meeting on Skype just about every week to play Boggle. The two of us have also joined in game nights with a group of our friends from the neighborhood we grew up in. Again, these gatherings would not have been happening if it weren’t for the effects of the pandemic. It feels wrong to say this, but I think my social life has actually benefitted in some ways from this shut down. On the other hand, there are a few challenges that perhaps have been more troublesome for me as someone with a chronic illness. For instance, when people started hoarding certain items back in March, I wasn’t able to find distilled water, which I needed for some medical devices I rely on. That was very distressing and concerning for me. Fortunately, I managed to get some within a few days, though. An ongoing struggle for me is grocery shopping. I’m unable to stand in long (or even short) lines to get into grocery stores. This has been a big problem for me and has contributed to me making some poor food choices when I haven’t been able to get to a grocery store for a prolonged period of time. (Some might recommend I go to the early shopping hours for vulnerable populations, but that’s not doable for me since I don’t function well so early in the morning. Plus, my illness does not actually make me especially vulnerable to COVID-19—thankfully!) Masks, too, are problematic. Wearing a mask exacerbates my symptoms. I will not go anywhere without wearing one, though, so I have to limit my time out very carefully. A less logistical issue that I run into every day is that many of my symptoms and those of COVID-19 overlap. I have found myself consistently anxious that the symptoms I assume are due to my chronic illness are actually due to COVID-19. I worry that I’ll unknowingly be symptomatic of the virus and then unintentionally spread it to whoever I come into contact with. All-in-all, I’ve been incredibly fortunate during this time. None of my family or good friends have become ill with COVID-19, and I’ve had a safe and comfortable home to spend this scary time. The anxiety and grief I have been feeling for this country and the world is intense, but I am okay.

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This item was submitted on July 11, 2020 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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