While the rest of the abled/healthy world forges on to recapture “normal,” people like me are trying to accept we’ll never have normal again. As long as COVID flows and mutates along unchecked, I’ve found myself limited in many ways I didn’t have to face before.
I’m exhausted. Spent. Sick of trying to navigate the world as an immunosuppressed person while nearly everyone else around me moves on. Goes to restaurants. Movies. Concerts. Attends major events. Wonders why I decline invites and don’t attend.
Years from now, when we have long COVID statistics that so many who are currently running around uninhibited may likely be dealing with, we will also have data on the mental toll that COVID has taken on those of us who have had to hunker down and live in virtual isolation because of a mishandled pandemic and the rush of most of those we know to put something, that will be ongoing for a long while, behind them.
If anyone thinks I don’t want to go eat IN a restaurant or sit at the bar with friends and watch the game, you’re wrong. See a major movie in a theater? I’d love to. Travel without a mask? Yep. Go to a concert and not worry that I’m going to test positive in a few days? Absolutely. If anyone thinks I like curbside pickup or delivery all the time instead of going into a store…. okay, you would be right about that one.
I’ve done everything I can do personally to move forward, but I’m limited, and that’s extremely difficult for me. As I sit and listen to so many I know talk about symptoms of long COVID (while many refuse to label it so), I wonder why they don’t realize why I don’t want it. I don’t even want to chance it if I can avoid it. And I do want to avoid long COVID.
Someone I know who saw me out with my mask on told me that I was the smart one. Meanwhile, he did not have a mask on, nor did anyone in the area crowd around me (and more than one had had COVID recently). I wondered why, if I was the smart one, he wouldn’t wear a mask, too. I’m sure there are many reasons, but I’m not sure I would understand most of them.
I, like so many other vulnerable people, want to rejoin the world with you, but we can’t without a little help and compassion. For now, I will create my own world and boundaries, and if you can’t keep them, please understand my distance.