NOW THAT YOU’RE OUT OF QUARANTINE, DON’T FORGET THOSE Left behind Quarantine is Over Daily, the news carries reports of another state entering Phase One of returning to normal following the massive shut-down of the country to protect the vulnerable population from the Coronavirus. At this point, I think most, if not all, states have reopened markets that are not high-risk. People are emerging from their homes to explore the outside world once again. Many are shouting, “Freedom at last, freedom, at last, Thank God Almighty, Quarantine has Passed!” However, not everyone can shout that praise. Immunocompromised Ill Left Behind For many caregivers, quarantine is “business as usual.” Whether a President or anyone else sets a date when people are safe to come out of hiding doesn’t matter. Because, in
Caregivers never take a break because though they may not be physically present, mentally, they do not let go of their responsibilities. Relaxation is extremely difficult for a lifetime family caregiver because being “on” and ready to respond in an instant is a part of their innermost being. They do not have an off switch.
Children as Caregivers Since multiple sclerosis often strikes in early adulthood, many times, the family unit includes children who mature into adulthood, watching their parents become progressively weakened by the disease. Such was the case in our family. Lynn had a ten-year-old son who lived with his ex-wife when we married in 1997. Lynn’s son was a secondary caregiver Lynn’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis occurred in 2006, and by 2011, his condition had progressed to the point of requiring the use of a power wheelchair. He and his son are very close, and his son became very vested in helping me with his father’s care. Until he went away to college, he often covered afternoons for me if I had to work late, or came to stay with his father if I had places
I’ve been struggling since December 26 with being both the caregiver and needing care myself. I don’t usually get sick because I’m cautious regarding exposure to contagious situations. For example, I screen those who come to our home both for their symptoms and their possible exposure to others, and I do most of our shopping online. However, on Christmas Day, I acquired a GI bug from out of nowhere. Catching a crippling GI bug On the morning of December 26, about half of our guests reported developing the same crippling diarrhea and vomiting illness I enjoyed that lasted 6-8 hours. Though the worst of the symptoms lasted less than twenty-four hours, the recovery took days. None of the guests remember encountering anyone who had been ill or was with someone who
Once upon a time, the world was a different place in America. Sons and daughters grew up and married and lived in or close to the same neighborhoods where their parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived. Neighbors knew neighbors. Couples got together with friends on Saturday night, and children grew up playing in neighborhoods where best friends stayed that way through college. Communities used to be connected People had friends who talked to one another face to face and shared confidences, heartaches, and triumphs. Communities knew one another. Although some of them were related, many were not. They all shared connections through conversations and interactions when they met during their walks along the road as they took their dogs out at night or let their children play in the cul-de-sac. Most of