I don’t think it’s a common opinion that this past year (2? 100?) has had some positives. Social distancing has been good for me emotionally, and it hasn’t really made my life that different. I’ve always social distanced to some extent. I’m introverted and I get anxious about planned activities. I like making them, but when the day gets close I don’t want to and I either talk myself into it, or try to think of reasons to cancel. Covid wiped out plans! Yay! It let me stay home guilt free and I didn’t have to cancel anything because we couldn’t go anywhere.
The pandemic also coincided with my physical decline, so it allowed me to ease into things. Before everything blew up, I got sick and was in the hospital for a few days. I woke up one morning to get ready for work, but I couldn’t really walk well and just felt a bit off. I booked a sub for my class and slept for a few hours. I woke up paralyzed on my right side and was writhing around on the floor trying to call Neil. When he came home I went to the hospital and found out I was actually sick.
They said I had febrile neutropenia, I was admitted, and put in isolation for a while. Low neutrophils meant my body couldn’t fight off infection (they were at 0.1 when I was admitted).
I had no idea what any of this meant but my doctor gave me a lesson on blood cells complete with a diagram because I asked. I was excited and she seemed pumped on teaching me.
Before going into the hospital I was only a little bit disabled…but since then things have just continued to suck. I can’t drive anymore because my right leg doesn’t remember how to be a leg. My right arm doesn’t have a lot of strength and I have a lot of stiffness on the right side of my body. This period of isolation has given me time accept things. I no longer hate my body because it’s taken so much away, but I’m grateful for what I still can do. I arrived at a turning point last winter when I was making sourdough, and the starter had got all gross. I hadn’t fed enough and I felt bad for it because it was hungry and trying to stay alive. For some reason that made consider my immune system like the sad fermented goo because it tries to do its job. It doesn’t realize that it’s doing terrible things, but it’s just trying to protect me? I feel like it’s a silly comparison, but it was the thing that helped me out of the dark hole I was in. My therapist was confused by my story but happy that I came to a turning point.
Using mobility aids was the thing I dreaded the most. First I used a brace that attached to my shoe to help with foot drop and hid my fold-up cane in my purse just in case. Eventually I needed an AFO to help my stubborn foot and ankle, and using those made me more dependent on the cane. That’s what I told myself! I truly believed that THEY were the reason I needed one, not because my gait was declining. Now that I know I need them to not end up on my face (which happened during my time of denial resulting in a nice black eye) I am less ashamed. It’s either use them or never leave my house again. I know I said I was a homebody, but I’m not down with never going outside again…