Blackout Dates

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to work out why I’ve been so anxious during this quarantine period. As a patient living with a chronic condition, I’ve spent more time indoors than out over the past 15 years. So, being forced to stay inside shouldn’t be too difficult physically or emotionally. However, I find myself struggling. I’ve been anxious, sad, angry, scared, frustrated and annoyed. I can’t sleep. I’m either forcing myself to eat something, or I can’t stop myself from eating. I’ve run the gambit of emotion in such a short period. And I couldn’t understand why, until I was talking my feeling out with something the other night. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks, this quarantine time is taking over my limited healthy moments.

I’m sure to someone healthy most, if not all the time, the idea of having limits on your life based on your health is unfathomable. A friend once said, “If you don’t feel well, just take the day. So you can get back to it tomorrow.” Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works for those of us with chronic conditions. It’s like a spectrum scale of health. If I’m at home lying on the couch, then I’m in trouble. And if I’m in the hospital, then it’s critical. The rest of the time, I volley my life between moderate to mild pain or symptoms. My unhealthy days come in clusters. They can be long periods or short periods, but it’s never just one day or two. I miss out on chunks of time. Moments I will never get back. So when I’m healthy enough to do things, I want to be able to do something. Right now, I am healthy enough to work, travel, volunteer at my kid’s school, visit museums and enjoy adventures with my kid. However, right now, I’m wasting my healthy days being quarantined. I’m looking at my calendar knowing that more blackout days are coming. Because inevitably I will flare with one or more of my conditions and so this quarantined life is taking over my 2020.

I also realized that my absolute fury and anguish is also coming from watching people with healthy bodies, play Russian Roulette with their health. As well as other people’s health as people can spread this Covid19 virus with their unhealthy practices and refusal to socially distance themselves from their friends. People have been using this massive national shutdown as an excuse to host parties, workout together and continue on with their normal lives, minus the responsibility of work. It’s a slap in the face to those currently suffering from the disease. Those on the front lines, putting themselves at risk to combat the disease. Those who have lost their lives to the disease. And those of us they put in danger by continuing to unknowingly pass this disease from person to person. Not having the faintest idea of what it is like to have a condition that is doing everything in its power to tear your body to pieces from the inside out. These people mock those of us at higher risk of catching the virus, with their vocal disobedience and ignorance. It’s like watching a bunch of drunk drivers lose on the road. Someone is bound to hurt someone. Yet, there is nothing you can say or do to stop them.
Because here in America, we are free to do whatever we want, whenever we want. Without having to have respect for our fellow neighbours to take responsibility for our actions. Often until it’s too late. I sit, and I watch people I know, and strangers put people at risk. Prolonging this hell. Increasing my life blackout dates. Life is short, I cannot afford blackout dates. However…here I am. Here we are. Praying for more healthy days than sick after we can walk freely in the streets again. However, knowing that in all reality, we won’t. That we will have more blacked-out dates on the calendar than free ones.

I am usually optimistic. I like to end my posts with optimism and hope. A laugh or a solution. But I’m not laughing. I have no solutions. All I can do is hope that more people begin to take this seriously. That we are doing what we can to get past this situation as quickly as possible. The only solution is to adhere to the current guidelines presented by the government. I’m optimistic that we will pull through. I am not optimistic that my 2020 year of healthy life lived days will be sandwiched between government sanction quarantine and disease mandated quarantine. And honestly, that just makes me sad and frustrated. I’m sure for some of you, you are feeling the same emotions. And it’s okay to have them. It’s okay to feel these feelings. They are valid. They matter. The best we can do is be diligent about our health, and our surroundings and give support to one another and the national efforts to combat this pandemic in any way we can.

I don’t have a joke or an anecdote for you today. But I will end with this:

I love you. You are not alone.