NAVIGATING THE CORONA PANDEMIC – A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Today is the first quiet moment I have had in over six weeks and I realized I had not engaged in one of my favorite activities – Writing!  Life has been a fast-paced world wind of excitement, chaos, joy, and hustle recently.  This doesn’t even include the elephant in the room at the moment of our current Pandemic of the Coronavirus!

In November my husband and I purchased our first home, started renovations, packed up our old apartment, and made the Herculean effort of moving a quadriplegic to a new home all before the race of the Coronavirus.  It has been nonstop for me and I’m elated to find a quiet moment today to get back to what I love.

We are finally moved into our beautiful new home, getting settled in, and trying to make our home finally feel like a home.  In short, we have been “Adulting!”  I had a singular mission of trying to move into our home, but on the tail end of moving the Coronavirus started moving at accelerated rate – although not before we were able to physically get into our new condo.  Thankfully, at present, we are quarantined at home and are both still busy working while still having endless To-Do projects.

My husband, Aaron, has been working tirelessly for the past 9 months and we have barely had time to spend together, so it’s a treat to be able to be locked in the house together.  When we don’t feel like it’s such a treat to be locked in together 24/7 — then we have wine 😉

Over the last 10 years I’ve never really been able to take a real shower and having my newly renovated bathroom is a dream come true.  Last week I had my ceiling lift installed, which was so fun as I was swinging like a monkey.

Now, I don’t have a shower chair yet as things have pretty much come to a stop from a retail standpoint with the pandemic, but looking at my shower at the moment is equally as gratifying.  I’m sure once I take a real shower I will have a different take on it.

The last several weeks have not been without their challenges though as millions of Americans are presently feeling.  I lost a caregiver, found a great new one, but am unable to physically work with him yet as we have “stay at home” orders directed by the state of North Carolina. Bringing someone into your home during a pandemic is probably not a brilliant idea considering I have a compromised immune system and less lung function than most.

I’ve spoken to dozens of friends who are disabled and able-bodied, and life generally is not looking rosy for most folks right now.  I don’t even know what this country will look like when we are done with this, how we will rebuild, how the financial system is going to recover after a $2 trillion stimulus, but there is one thing I do know.  The only way we are going to get through this is if we stick together and not trample thy neighbor for a roll of toilet paper.

I was chatting with one of my best friends the other day who lives in China and she was saying that they were on a very strict lock down, which would likely not work in a country such as ours, but no one was fighting over toilet paper – fighting over N95 masks, yes, but the basic supplies seemed to be readily available in the grocery stores.  However, China physically locked down their citizens in their homes and only one member of the family was allowed to go out every several days to get supplies.  Now, in Europe, well, I can’t say anything about the toilet paper, but I do know that Bidet’s are much more plentiful 😉

Joking aside, many people I know are going crazy in their homes with their spouses or their children, etc.  From a financial standpoint I understand how many people are seriously suffering and being locked inside with the fear of uncertainty certainly does not help mental sanity any.

I, however, being disabled for the last 10 years and going through medical hell, have a slightly different perspective on being trapped at home.  When you have a disability, degenerative disease, or any other serious medical issue in your life the tendency to live in fear can become the norm.  I lived in fear for many years, but it was consuming me alive and I eventually had to find a different way to live.  The point came for me about five years ago when I developed a major pressure sore on my tailbone, spent almost an entire year in bed, underwent multiple surgeries, and didn’t actually know if I would survive past the year.

I started meditating every day and creating a structured schedule of working, reading fun books, the news, educational articles, etc.  Even though I was trapped inside my bedroom with four white walls at the time I woke up every day in the morning, performed my duties with my caregivers, worked, meditated, exercised my arms as best I could, and created a world inside my head for survival.  At first it was torture and challenging to do the same thing every day, day in and day out, but over time I learned to enjoy my own company.  I had to figure out for myself that even if I was not paralyzed I could be just as miserable walking around in a beautiful park on a sunny day as I could be trapped inside a room with four walls.

2015 Trapped in Bed – Still had flowers in the Hair!

Many of us know that happiness does not come from what we have, but from inside ourselves.  Naturally, this is easier said than done, but just as if you want to start getting in shape you have to start somewhere by going to the gym even when it’s painful.  Baby steps.

So, while being quarantined is certainly disrupting life for us, I have to remind myself when I feel antsy inside my home that I’m still physically able to get up in the my wheelchair, roll around the house, have the mental capacity to read a book or have a conversation with someone, etc.  Don’t misunderstand me, I still love my “Netflix and Chill” time with my husband, but we are not glued to the television either.

Life is all about perspective and I’m sure we will each gain quite a lot of it at the tail end of this pandemic and for years to come, but while we are in the eye of the storm at the moment I find it important to take stock of what we actually do have right now.

On that note … I’m looking over in the kitchen at my husband as I write this article and he is preparing me a Chicken Satay lunch on this beautiful Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Just yesterday afternoon we were able to go outside and walk around our little small condo community with not a soul in sight & of course a glass of wine as we rolled around!

Until next time folks …

 

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