Social Distancing: Multiple Sclerosis Edition

First, I wanted to start off and say that I hope everyone is doing well during this crazy time with COVID-19. I know that with us being more at risk it’s even more stressful than our ‘daily’ stress.

Chronic illness and social distancing

Okay, I was recently scrolling on social media and reading about EVERYONE doing social distancing and taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As I was reading through a lot of it, I had an epiphany. Those of us with multiple sclerosis or another type of autoimmune disease have been social distancing ever since we got diagnosed with this disease.

Taking even more precautions now than usual

Now, am I taking even MORE precautions now? Yes, which is extremely difficult because usually I would curbside grocery shop anyway, but now the waitlist is REALLY far out. I know that some stores have a specific time for shoppers that are at risk, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, but that is mainly just a request from the stores, and it can’t be enforced. Also, I just feel that going into the store, I have no idea who touched what, etc. So, for now, my husband has been having to do it all.

Welcome to my everyday life

However, a lot of the individuals that I have on my social media feed are complaining about not being able to do anything. They are stating how much it sucks that they can’t go do random things, hang out with their friends, etc. I really wanted to respond to them, “Welcome to my everyday life.”

The life of someone with a suppressed immune system

Now, I don’t mean that in a rude way at all. But I feel like those that are healthy take for granted everyday things, and they have to live like we ALWAYS live our lives. Meaning, once this pandemic is contained and things start to return to normal, they can go back to their ‘normal living,’ but this is something that we have to deal with ALL THE TIME. So, in a sense, it’s like, "Welcome to the life of those with a suppressed immune system."

The effects of panic-buying

Maybe this will show you that when we say we can’t do something or leave our house, you won’t think it’s us making up an excuse. It’s no fun, at all. And to top it all off, people began hoarding items, which made others panic-buy, and that leaves those who can’t just go up to the store at the drop of a hat a bind. I was out of town when all of this began due to a death in the family, so I came home to not being prepared with food. My kids are out of school until further notice, and they are boys who love to eat. So, I was left with nothing, and I couldn’t go to the store because of my suppressed immune system. I am very thankful for my husband and family/friends who will grab things for us when they are out at the store. But not everyone has that support from those around them.

Thinking of others during this challenging time

Is this a hard time for everyone? Absolutely… but don’t leave those MORE AT RISK without, because you wanted to be selfish and buy out the entire supply at a store. That also doesn’t do you ANY good, because even if you are stocked up, that means others are without, so they can’t help prevent the spread if none of the supplies are available to them either.

Feeling frustrated

Sorry, I’m ranting; it’s just frustrating. I am grateful for those who are taking the measures needed to do their part in not spreading the illness, but it only takes a few people not listening to keep it going. What’s even more heartbreaking is I saw on the news that a specific person with lupus cannot get their medication filled, because it’s the medication they are looking at to treat COVID-19.

No one wants to isolate themselves

This is a hard time for everyone, and I’m praying for all of you that you stay as healthy as possible and are not exposed to this awful pandemic. At one point, I got frustrated and wanted to say, “See?! This isn’t easy, is it? It’s not fun, is it? No one wants to isolate themselves 24/7! We aren’t ‘just lazy’. We aren’t ‘making excuses.’ We are trying to tame the beast that is multiple sclerosis.”

Surviving the "new crazy"

However, I got control of my emotions before opening my mouth, for once, and I’m trying to just survive the "new crazy," with both of my kids at home...24/7...eating everything...needing mom all throughout the day. (As I’m writing this, my oldest was literally hanging on me to see ‘whatcha doin’?)

On that note, I’m going to take a breather. But with this newfound time I have on my hands, I’m hoping that I can get back into the groove of writing.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

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