As the whole world knows by now, we are in the middle of a situation that’s not been seen, in my country at least, since the Second World War.
I have been off work a couple of weeks due to severe pain from my autoimmune conditions, however, with the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, all of my antibody tests (see: https://joelvsarthritis.co.uk/an-upsetting-post-to-write/) that were due two weeks ago amongst others have ground to halt, which means no new treatment plan. So quite rightly, whilst the world deals with a far bigger issue, I am left stuck here, in limbo. In agony.
Alongside all of this, the current situation with Covid-19 has seriously impacted my mental health. As regular readers of this blog will know, I am very susceptible to infection on my current treatment, particularly pneumonia and EN&T infections. In fact, I have had 5-6 chest infections since October 2019 alone as well as a sinus infection and tonsillitis. I am well and truly in the ‘at risk’ category for this pandemic and have been self-isolating for over a week now (with the exception of the odd dog walk for some fresh air and sanity).
The constant fear of exposure, the non-stop reporting in the press, fear of providing for my family when the shops are stripped bare and I can’t really leave the house. It’s draining. Terrifying, in fact.
For context on my level of anxiety, my son was in nursery on Monday and I was a nervous wreck all day worrying if I had made the right decision. He should be well protected against the virus given his age but he could easily carry it back home. Even more so, my wife, who is a super-committed HCA in a hospital and confirmed cases of Covid-19 have started appearing in most hospitals in the area. It feels that close now, it’s almost inevitable.
My biggest fear? We get to the position Italy is in where some truly heartbreaking decisions are having to be made on a daily basis as hospitals are simply full. There isn’t enough ventilators for those that desperately need them. ‘Underlying health condition’ has been used as a cause of death throughout this crisis and with me, they can take their pick to attribute it to.
Yesterday, I took the decision to stop looking at and engaging in social media and today I feel that I need to take the same steps regarding my website and blogging. On one hand it feels like a time I should be flat out, writing about the situation, offering support and comfort etc. to my readers. Especially as the article I wrote on the Coronavirus back at the start of February is regularly getting traffic via Google searches now. On the other hand, I need to clear my mind. Think about something else other than the constant worry of ‘what if’ should I catch the infection. I need to remove the pressure of writing and the pressure of being a positive voice in the community when I feel I have nothing to remain positive about at the moment.
As an immunosuppressed asthmatic whose health is generally in decline anyway of late, I can’t change my odds during this pandemic but I don’t need to let it destroy my mental health as well. Especially at a time that I am already struggling in constant pain and with no support from the hospital available now. I will continue to share the odd thing that might be helpful or as and when things I wrote weeks in advance are published elsewhere but I hope you understand if the site goes quiet for a couple of weeks.
I hope you will still be as supportive and engaged in my writing when I return. More importantly, I hope you all stay safe. x