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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Me as a High-Risk Person

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Since the onset of this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I (and of course, many others) have felt the heaviness of disappointments, letdowns and inconveniences. Being a high-risk individual in these times has affected me in colossal ways. I am immunocompromised with heart and lung disease to boot. There are people like me who are literally terrified of going out in the public. Trying to accomplish projects and get jobs done has been like pulling my own teeth.

As a seamstress and artist, I am always on the go and working with clients. Doing anything with anybody makes me worry that I’m gambling with my life. I’ve broken down a few times because of missed opportunities due to my inability to be in public. With the holidays coming up, I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to not get bogged down by these circumstances. I don’t want to nor believe in living in fear, however, I understand it’s necessary. That’s what makes this so hard.

I want to go grocery shopping, I have to go to the fabric store for client need (not for me) and I have to run errands.

One way I’ve gotten hugely messed over in this pandemic is in my efforts to do simple grocery shopping. Some places offer curbside pickup, while other grocery stores don’t. The ones that do, where I live, say you must spend at least $50 or more on orders for curbside pickup which is outrageous. So, if I need a few baking items or I run out of eggs, I’m stuck. I have to shop for more items just so I can pick it up at the curb.

Here is the worst part about this curbside pickup business: someone else is shopping for my food, and they could have had exposure to COVID-19 or have the virus and not know. Someone else is picking up items I don’t want them touching.

When someone else brings me my groceries, that adds more work for me in the kitchen. I’ve found myself both laughing and borderline crying while disinfecting a bag of flour. The fact that I have to disinfect a bag of flour or any other item is maximizing the seriousness of this pandemic for me.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Navigating Coronavirus Together group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to connect with others who are managing their health during the pandemic? Join Navigating Coronavirus Together now. Click to join.

For anybody who is in denial about how bad the COVID-19 pandemic is, know that there are people like me who can’t live in denial. Maybe you could catch the virus and survive it, but I have lung disease and heart disease, meaning that COVID-19 would have a lot of fun attacking my system like it’s a football player crushing my lungs and vital organs. If I contracted the virus — and I’ve had ridiculously close-calls — I’m not sure how well my body would fight it.

Perhaps I can speak for everybody when I say I’ve had to scrap every plan I had set in this Armageddon-like year. From art competitions to possible book deals, to achieving my highest potential in fields I had worked tireless years in, I’ve had to scrap it all. These last couple of weeks, I’ve been receiving messages from concerned friends who are stressing that I cancel Thanksgiving, Christmas and even the New Year holiday. I’ve been doing all kinds of art to keep myself positive, upbeat and unaffected by all this change our country is experiencing.

I realized that I’ve taken away freedoms from myself so I don’t contract the coronavirus.

I’ve been back and forth in my mind, thinking, “I want to have a good holiday season, but I don’t want COVID-19. I want to run my alterations business, but I don’t want to catch the virus.” I’ve learned to love being alone and being creative despite these tough times. I’m just doing what I can to get through without losing my patience, energy and positive energies.

Gone are the days when I could run a simple errand to Walgreens and not worry about touching a product that may be infected by the virus. The small things I took for granted such as running errands, going grocery shopping, hanging out with friends at a fun venue, I swore to myself that I’d never take anything small for granted again. Then, I wonder if this pandemic will lift and if life will ever go back to “normal.”

For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

Originally published: November 16, 2020
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