The first I knew, realized, that COVID was a ‘thing,’ and something horrible to be lived through was when the Governor of our state shut everything down and everyone was told to shelter in place. Pandemic. What a horrible word.
The thing was, the biggest impact for me in March of 2020 was that my personal isolation would become lonelier than it had been already. My daughter had been visiting me since Christmas of 2019 wearing a face mask because I had just finished cancer treatment. I’m of grandparent age and the brutal radiation and chemotherapy treatment had hit my immune system pretty hard. The family was already working to keep colds and flu away from me. Now everyone had to work to keep something called COVID away from everyone. So now no one came to visit me. Not even wearing a face mask.
By February 2020 the checkups with my oncologists were preceded by a raft of questions as to whether I had a fever or a cough or chills. I began to wonder if I could do my checkups by phone. In early March I had to have a scan and I was afraid to go. In fact the only reason I agreed was that the scanning place was not near the hospital. I was by this time afraid that COVID had arrived at our community’s hospital. The scan revealed that my cancer was gone. I then made the decision that from that point on, until the pandemic was over, all my doctor appointments would be via phone. In fact, the only medical thing I’ve done outside of home since then was getting blood work. And the COVID vaccine.
Now a year later, or a year into the pandemic — which is probably a more accurate way to say it — I find the isolation and loneliness wearing. Yes, my husband and I just this month received the virus vaccination but the kids, both adults and children, have not. They won’t be eligible for a few more months. So weighing risk factors of seeing them remains. Never in all my decades of life would I have though that I’d be smacked with two medical horrors just months apart: cancer and a pandemic.
I MISS MY FAMILY. I miss hugging them. I miss playing Sorry with our granddaughter and watching our grandson build Lego creations with my husband. I miss going to the grocery store. I miss going anywhere. My particular cancer and its subsequent treatment left me differently abled. Not to be too personal, but if I can’t take my own restroom with me, I simply can’t go anywhere. And using public restrooms is something I simply won’t do. I didn’t survive cancer to turn around and be taken out by COVID.
My guess is that we have at the least another year of mask wearing and distancing and risk assessing and loneliness and grieving for days gone forever now. And my hope is that people are patient and cooperative so that all of us can get through to March of 2022.