Your pandemic stories
We asked immunocompromised people to share their experience with the pandemic and their outlook for next year. The responses were lightly edited for clarity, length, and clarity.
“I feel like I’m required to be my own epidemiologist. There’s not enough known about Covid and people on B-cell inhibitors. I’m trying to give myself the grace to be imperfect in figuring this out, and to give other people space to do their own risk calculations. But it’s not always easy. You don’t want to always be arguing for your right to not be killed by other people’s decisions. I assume I’ll wear a mask for the rest of my life. It actually feels empowering to admit to being immunocompromised — although it also feels like it’s taken two years for people to be able to have some understanding of what that means.” — Adria Quiñones, New York, N.Y.
“I have been on immunosuppressants for nine years as a result of a bone-marrow transplant. Friends have moved on and are able to socialize in their vaccinated bubbles. I feel abandoned by them. They don’t want me to get infected. I fear I will lose my identity as well as my individuality and shrink into anonymity. Risk-free options do not exist for me, and I do not see them coming anytime soon.” — Shari Kurita, Oakland, Calif.
“I have serious lung disease and until vaccination was locked away in my house like Rapunzel. I lost my family, friends, and livelihood due to the pandemic. Since being vaxxed, I’ve been able to get out and about, see friends and family, even attend a few concerts. I flew to New York for Thanksgiving without any side effects. I’ve figured out ways to teach private music lessons safely. Now, with Omicron spreading so fast, I’m back in lockdown. I’ll be wearing a mask in public spaces for the rest of my life. I doubt I’ll have the same parade of private students through my living room again.” — T.P., Los Angeles
“How do you describe the feeling of suddenly being trapped? It feels worse when I realize there’s nothing holding you back except the selfishness of others. I could go to a movie theater when my cases are low. But if one jerk shows up and refuses their mask, I could end-up in the hospital. I could go on dates and be careful, but if my date is careless, I could bring it home to my also-immunocompromised mom. It was a relief for me when things got worse and Governor Newsom reimposed the mask mandate because at least I’m safer when I’m out at a store.” — Daniella Gruber, Orange County, Calif.
“Having cancer in a pandemic has, at least for now, turned me into a wary misanthrope. Even indoors, it is not uncommon for people I used to greet cheerfully on the elevator or with my acquaintances at the grocery to see to be unmasked. ‘They really don’t care if I die’ is a recurrent thought, and I fear I’ll never return fully to my openhearted self.” — Ann Bancroft, Coronado, Calif.
Source: NY Times