Up until the 10th of March no one had addressed the issue of covid-19 specifically in regards to people with immunodeficiency disorders.
I had discussed the subject with my mother as I was getting worried about being in London. Public transport felt like a monstrous infectious tunnel that was growing more and more dangerous by the hour and I had to travel for work like most Londoners do. So on the 9th I spoke to my work, as soon as I explained the dangers of having CF during corona they agreed that it was best for me to stay home for a while and we decided that night was going to be my last shift.
My life now revolved around Brixton and SW territory.
On the 10th of March I received an e-mail from my doctors in Switzerland. They had released a letter intended to be used for work, stating that self-isolation was no longer a choice for some, a letter that allowed very little space for protest. As of then, I still hadn’t heard anything, and with the power of one abrupt e-mail I had to acknowledge the danger I was now in. I rarely put my illness before my personal life, but that day I knew I had to.
That started the two weeks where I was isolated but most weren’t.
In the e-mail I received, there were also specific rules and life hacks to follow to ensure our personal safety as it accepted that the outside world was now too dangerous and doing very little to change that. Receiving it felt almost ironic as I had applied these rules for most of my life already, cleanliness was never an option for immunocompromised people. This handbook really should have been sent to everyone that wasn’t us, so that the public would limit how much they spread the disease.
but whatever; denial of the gameplay that is herd immunity is still going strong and people don’t actually care until it affects them personally
A few days after I received the letter from Switzerland, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the UK released a statement that we should prepare for 12 weeks of this isolation. Still, the world outside our community was laughing at the warnings of this disease.
That is when my resentment for the world was born. I had too many friends shrugging off rules of social distancing in the world of partying, others stupidly defiant of the quarantine regulations when travelling, and even worst the one’s calling it an insignificant little flu. My life had already been turned upside down, and they were just part of the growing problem. So, let’s just say I wasn’t mad at being stuck inside and having a marvellous excuse to avoid the selfish reactionaries.
Despite me being worried and understanding how serious this was, I decided to risk it on Friday 13th. I wasn’t ready to give up socialising before my peers just yet. I had a plan.
That night, one of my closest friends came over for dinner.
She knew about my situation so I knew she would be careful and considerate of my safety. And she was. But I still warned her that I had to keep my distance and we had to follow a few rules. It was the only safe way for me to have any type of contact.
The rules were: she had to come in and immediately hang her coat in the empty room in my house. Then before she touched anything, she had to wash and disinfect her hands. We then stayed in the kitchen to avoid immediate contact with fabric. Back then the belief was that the virus could only last a couple of hours on fabrics. We ate dinner in the kitchen, on opposite sides of the table.
There were a couple moments after dinner where we would lean on the table for comfort whilst chatting, but when we both did it, it would bring us just a little too close and I had to interrupt the discussion to move my chair back. I apologised for having to do it and we both laughed it off because the company was more important, but it was just different.
At the end of the evening we moved to the living room so that she was a little freer to move around and play with the kittens. A couple of hours had gone by since her arrival and we assumed it was safe. I stayed in the armchair in one end of the living room and she was on the couch with the kitties. The hardest rule of the evening was that she wasn’t allowed to kiss the kittens, I didn’t have the heart to disinfect them after she left.
We sipped our wine and it almost felt normal but we were just ignoring the darkness that was going to colour the near future. But when it came to saying goodbye and we stood 2 metres apart to simply wave, reality was unavoidable. With a huff and a sigh I closed the door and that was the last friend that stepped into my home. As much as I applied the rules, I hated myself for it.
I am so grateful for my friend. I will never know what level of security allowed me to do this and stay completely safe but it was a success in the end and I never got sick.
As much as I know she would have done much more for me, and that I have other friends who would too, none of them have to put this much effort in other friendships. And I am so touched by the friends who go that step further, because they really don’t have to. I hope they know how important they are to people like me.
So in conclusion, Mis Corona is a pain in the ass and right now and she wants her power to be heard.