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pandemic

What I Learned This Week

The CoronaVirus freak out has been real. The virus is also real. So you should be concerned and take it seriously. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t take it serious at first. But just in a week holy crap, it’s spread so much and is impacting so many.

I just have a traumatic brain injury. I had vacation planned and was pretty set on going. But my friend, who is a doctor and who specializes in traumatic brain injuries sent me a text Monday after reading my Blog Post from Saturday. She was concerned. I heard her. I trust her. But of course being me, not enough to just cancel due to my own stubbornness and not realizing much of what my husband would tell me were his concerns as well and how much he agreed with her.

My friend asked me to please reconsider. So I then sent a message to my Physiatrist who follows my care and asked her, I did not tell her what my friend had said. My doctor flat out told me no. Not a good idea. Not only could I be a carrier and not know it, but I would get to another place that i assumed was out of the country, well technically a US Virgin Island, that does not have the same technology we have here as far as respirators and healthcare. She urged me not to go. Looking back now to just less than a week ago this situation has really increased. We would have been out of the state and it wouldn’t have been the best choice. This is a huge pandemic, not to mention because of people’s fear, hospitals are now without needed personal protective equipment they need and must have like gloves, masks, gowns and more. We definitely could of got stuck far from home and at this point in our life we don’t have the financial resources to spend extended time away from home and work for my husband.

So we made the decision not to go. We super looked forward to this. The last 2 years have been hard, life changing and at times, crap. 2020 was supposed to be different, but so far nope. But it’s not because of choices we have made or things we have done, there is a worldwide outbreak that wasn’t anticipated and we couldn’t have done anything about it. But it’s ok. We can go another time. We can stay home and not add to the problem of traveling and spreading COVID. And my husband wasn’t super sure about going either but didn’t want to tell me. He reminded me that less than 2 years ago I was on a breathing machine, unable to breathe on my own for a week. He reminded me I got pneumonia twice as well. He reminded me that I have asthma which is a chronic health condition.

Wow! I didn’t think of ANY of that. I just had a TBI and some brain bleeds and broken jaw. I’m fine now. What do I have to worry about? That’s the thing, I just have a TBI. My memory is definitely not there for all that happened to me less than 2 years ago. I honestly didn’t think I was at risk for this virus and if I got it, no big deal, I would fight it off easy. But I heard concerns from 2 professionals, not getting their info from the media and fear based. I heard concerns from my husband who watched a respirator breathe for me for a week when I could not breathe on my own.

If you know me, you know me. You know it’s hard for me to just listen to people, especially when I don’t feel they are completely valid in their concerns. But when 2 medical professionals advise you not to go and then you hear your husbands concerns, you rethink and do what’s best for you. I heard my friend, a busy professional who knows me and had the balls to send me a long text asking me to reconsider. Luckily since TBI, I don’t book anything without buying cancellation insurance so we will be good and once all this COVID is past us we will plan a make up trip.

As I have learned in the past almost 2 years, nothing is for certain. Life is unfair. Life is unexpected. You just have to be prepared for anything to happen and make the best of it. So we have. My husband will work half days from our beach home, my son will come with us since school is canceled and we will enjoy a week of vacation on the beautiful Oregon Coast. Not a horrible alternative to St Thomas. Things could definitely be worst. And I know I am not flying to another country risking spreading COVID if I have it. All unnecessary travel is not advised and this trip fits in that category.

As we are relaxing at the beach, at our family beach home, we are enjoying a needed vacation and staycation. Not having to leave, practicing our social distancing and enjoying our time together as a family. My husband is working from the beach, so not using up his vacation time and he can’t go into work anyways since he was exposed to COVID since my sons school had a positive case. He also found out if we went to St Thomas, he would have to work from home for 2 weeks when we got back and be quarantined per his employer. He’s already had to work from home a ton because of my sons confirmed case at his school. But this is where we are grateful for him having the ability to be able to work from home, especially since he is our sole provider and I only work a couple hours a week, but my work is shut down since we do public classes. I work in healthcare, but I work for a program that provides health and safety classes for the courts and helmet clinics. Not necessary things during this time. Our events are actually not allowed right now.

By not going, we also don’t keep spreading the COVID if we do have it and don’t know it to a place that as of last week didn’t have any cases. We very likely could be carriers and by not going is one way to stop spreading this pandemic. It is hurting people far and wide, loss of income, loss of business, so much loss for so many industries and personally for people. So the best thing we can do is stay home, attempt to not spread it, hunker down with our immediate family and practice social isolation. Luckily for me through my traumatic brain injury journey this is something I have become good at. Between the loss of driving, loss of people calling to do things, my loss of energy and just the loss of the normal life I had, social isolation is not a foreign life to me. I can read, do puzzles, do things that are good for my brain like games, crossword, journaling and more.

So I don’t ask why this happened to me, I don’t think about all the things that keep going wrong. But I do look at it as how this happened for me. What are the positive take always from this? The feeling safe and not putting myself more at risk, the extra family time with my husband and son, the time to read some of the many books I still have to read, the time to work on future blog posts, long walks on the beach with our dogs, peloton when we return home this weekend and just time to relax. It’s not St Thomas, but I also won’t be coming back from a vacation totally spent and needing a vacation from a vacation which is my new norm with my fatigue and brain injury.

And also, because of the fact this pandemic made people freak out and hoard things like gloves, face masks, toilet paper and PPE gear hospital workers must have to keep safe, please consider donating to your local hospital as they are now short of items that protect them and that they need if you happen to have anything or work for a dentist or vet that does. If you are that concerned about COVID and bought masks and gloves, give them to your local hospitals who truly needs them and stay home otherwise. That’s the best thing you can do. And hoarding toilet paper really affects all of us who weren’t hoarding it and now are legit out of it. We can’t find it anywhere to buy! But some people have multiple large packs just in case…just in case for the zombie apocalypse I guess. Be smart, be kind, think of others and don’t go out because you feel the need too. Let’s be kind and not do unnecessary things right now. Check on your friends, your elders, FaceTime or call friends and family and keep social, just from a distance. This epidemic is causing so much loss, lives, jobs, sanity and normality. But this is where brain injury prepared me, it helped me learn to be ok with being at home, not being super social and not always going somewhere. Being content with just being alone. So there’s one benefit of going though a brain injury, it made me realize what’s truly important and what’s not important and how to keep busy and socially isolated.

Come on people, let’s care about others and flatten the curve and let’s isolate! Even going outside to the track or to the woods with friends may be outside but you are still putting yourself and others at risk and not helping flatten the curve. Socially isolate and distance now so it doesn’t get to the point where we are forced to be at home!! Now is not the time for fun beach trips either, yes we went to the beach. To our own private vacation home and we did not go out except to find toilet paper and help the local privately owned business we bought from. Besides that we didn’t see people and come in contact with people. Large groups of people on the river or at the track is not socially isolating! Governor Brown is ordering people to stay home!!! Social distancing saves lives. Don’t only think of yourself. If this was before my brain injury, I most likely would of been one of the people not staying at home! Sadly, I can admit that and it’s beyond frustrating to see happening so much. There are so many people, so many in my family, myself included and so many elderly and others who are immunocompromised like my dad and some of my best friends, that we can’t risk getting this! #staythefuckhome is now my favorite new hashtag!

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