I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about the pandemic. For months, all we've heard about is quarantine, death counts, vaccine, and repeat on all news and media outlets. But despite everyone having enough of hearing about COVID-19 constantly, it hasn't gone away. Amusement parks and restaurants may be opening again, but there are still people suffering, and I am one of those people.
I've been self-isolated since the outbreak began in March. Since leaving college in mid-March, I've chosen to lock myself in my house and only socialize with a scarce amount of people.
Why? Well, because I'm immunocompromised, and catching this virus scares me to death, no pun intended.
As I write this, I've been self-isolating for three months, and honestly, I foresee myself doing this until I go back to school in August. When I tell people this, some understand and some think it's absolutely unnecessary. I hear "the virus isn't any worse than the flu" and "you'll be fine" too often from people who are supposed to love and care about me, and I'm tired of it.
Self-isolation is a choice, but it's a choice I'm making because I've been advised by my doctors to do so.
If I catch this virus, I may be fine, but I also might not be, no one knows, and myself and the doctors just aren't willing to roll the dice on this one.
That being said, yes, some might see it as I'm choosing to not come to graduation parties or weddings or birthday parties this summer, but in reality, it's really not a choice. If I go hang out with my friends on a Friday night, I risk catching a possibly deadly virus. So I don't know about you but possible death or seeing friends/family doesn't sound like much of a choice.
It breaks my heart to have to call my nephew on his birthday instead of seeing him as I've done for the past four years. It makes me so sad to see my friends out shopping and eating at restaurants without me. It makes me sick every time I have to tell my mom I still don't feel safe seeing her because she's worked throughout the pandemic.
What people don't understand about those of us who are self-isolating is that we are struggling with the decision we've made to do it every day. I think about all of the fun times I'm missing out on by not seeing my friends and family all the time.
But the way I see it is that I'd rather miss one wedding or birthday party or cookout as opposed to never getting to go to one again.
So, when your immunocompromised friend or elderly family member tells you they can't make it, don't lecture them. Don't pull up statistics or say "the numbers are fake." Tell them you understand. Call them periodically to make sure they're doing OK. Make plans with them for when they're done self-isolating so they have something to look forward to. Times are tough for everyone right now, but they're especially hard for those of us who can't seem to see the end.
Just try to understand that none of us are doing this because we don't love you or don't want to see you. We're doing it because we do, and we want to ensure we don't do anything to jeopardize being able to do that.
From a self-isolating person to a non-isolating person: Just be kind to us and remember that we will be on our way to see you as soon as this is all over.