Chronic Talk

Chronically Ill During a Pandemic

I live with a chronic illness and work in a hospital. Here are some tips to stay calm during the COVID19 pandemic. 

From 7 am to 7 pm three days out of the week I report to work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. My job duties include: 

-Cleaning trachs and suctioning patients

-Obtaining sputum samples 

-Administering aerosol breathing treatments 

These are just a few examples of my daily job responsibilities. I’m exposed to patients with pneumonia, flu, HIV, Tuberculosis, and numerous other diseases. Droplets and contact with some of these diseases allow for easy transmission. I take the necessary precautions (gown, protective eyewear, etc.) but I also remain mindful that my situation is a little different because I am immunosuppressed. This means that my immune system isn’t as strong as the average able bodied person. Something as simple as cold has warranted me a hospital stay. I’m 25 years old and have had my share of hospital admissions, blood transfusions, surgeries, etc. My family has become accustomed to packing bags and “staying ready” because that’s the nature of my illness (Myasthenia Gravis). It’s unpredictable and scary, kind of like this Coronavirus.

My first tip to remain calm during a pandemic is to be mindful. Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. It may look as if you’re “doing the most” but trust me, you’re not. If wearing a mask makes you feel weird in public, just know you’re health is more important than your comfort. 

My next tip is to wash your hands. Because I work in a hospital and it’s practically breeding grounds for viruses, I make sure to wash my hands before and after I enter or exit a patient’s room.

Remain calm. I know it’s scary considering people who have preexisting conditions and the elderly are most affected, but you have to remain calm. Stress is a trigger for a lot of people with autoimmune diseases. 

Avoid public functions, large crowds, hospitals, and community places during this pandemic. This means staying at home with close friends and family members. This tip is kind of ironic for me because I work in the hospital. 

I hope these tips help ease some of my chronically ill friend’s minds. 

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