Why I’m Not Freaking Out About The Apocalypse

COVID-19 and MS

If you know me at all, you’re probably assuming that COVID-19 has me camped out in a bunker somewhere in rural Ontario, wearing a Hazmat suit, and holding a shot-gun to protect my lifetime supply of Miss Vickie’s chips while I ride out the apocalypse. After all, I have MS, which puts me closer to the top of the deadly virus’ enemies list, right?

Actually, I’m at home in Toronto, still in my pyjamas. My doomsday stash includes nothing more than an extra month’s supply of catheters, and none-of-your-business bottles of wine. Technically, I’m isolated, but that’s nothing new; and anyway, it’s only for a few hours, because I’m going out for dinner with friends tonight, and before you clutch your pearls in horror at my extreme risk taking, here’s how I feel about it:

As someone living with MS, the consequences of any infection can lead to actual relapses that can cause real, and possibly permanent, damage. Add to that years of immuno-modulating medications, and I am always on high alert.

Every. Single. Day.

So, how come I’m not wigging out now?

This is my normal.

My tolerance for worst-case-scenario daymares is admittedly pretty high. Been there, done that. But in some ways I actually feel safer now, because people are finally washing their damn hands and staying home when they have a sniffle. In other ways, I feel like maybe, just maybe, people are getting a taste of what it feels like to live with the kind of anxiety that comes with a serious health threat. 

The world’s reaction

It’s interesting to see what’s possible when the health of—let’s face it— the people we value most, is threatened. In Canada, the government has eliminated the one-week waiting period for EI benefits for workers who are quarantined. Employers are figuring out how much work can actually be done from home. Concessions that were deemed impossible for people with disabilities have suddenly become options for the general population. Hmm.

Meanwhile, the public is being constantly reassured that this virus is really only taking out the elderly and those with underlying conditions. Let’s be clear: this is a not-so-subtle nod to the belief that those lives are less valuable anyway. And PS, we can hear you. 

If you find yourself struggling with the social impact that comes with self-isolating, consider the loneliness, frustration, fear, and straight-up lack of access that many people with chronic illnesses deal with on the regular.

What will we learn from COVID-19?

When the dust settles, I hope we are changed from a culture that prioritizes work and showing up above all else, to one that embraces wellness and considers the safety and well-being of everyone. If we no longer reward people for going to work when they’re sick, but support them in their recovery, everyone wins. 

Stay safe and look out for each other. These are strange and unfamiliar times. Let us be grateful for Netflix and liquor store deliveries. Amen.

We will get through this.

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20 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Freaking Out About The Apocalypse

  1. I’m with you I went to by groceries only because the stores are closing with my mask because of my really bad allergies and ms but I was helping people because this man didn’t have a cart ? and was suffering with everything in his hands. For me God’s in control, it’s not in our time it’s in His time. We woke up this morning didn’t we and some didn’t and they didn’t even have the virus ?. We have to be safe and take care of ourselves but not go crazy because I made sure I got my regular stuff at the grocery store SNICKERS!!!!!!!

  2. MARCH 14, 2020 AT 9:17 PM
    I’m with you I went to by groceries only because the stores are closing with my mask because of my really bad allergies and ms but I was helping people because this man didn’t have a cart ? and was suffering with everything in his hands. For me God’s in control, it’s not in our time it’s in His time. We woke up this morning didn’t we and some didn’t and they didn’t even have the virus ?. We have to be safe and take care of ourselves but not go crazy because I made sure I got my regular stuff at the grocery store SNICKERS!!!!!!!

  3. Yes..I’m going out for dinner tonight too. .and I’m taking my hand sanitizers with me..I’m sort of self isolating myself but that’s my reality..nothing new there. People here are buying up toilet paper like it’s c diff..With all the ?? people are buying the sewers are going to be overwhelmed (omg just kidding). You go into a store there are shelves empty. The toilet paper co’s I’m sure are loving all the?? paper people are hoarding, but what are normal people going to do when they do there regular shopping and shelves are empty. Toilet paper black market?..I remember going into abandoned out house as a kid and finding a catalog in it.. was just a kid and we lived in a camp that had been there for a very long time..it was a bit weird that there wasn’t a an abandoned house to go with the outhouse. Oh and we had a flushing toilet And a tv that got 3 channels..and a phone with a party line..and the only thing this is going to tell is my age?..keep on keep’n on people??

  4. That’s how it is here. I live in Utah, USA.
    I went to Costco to get some toilet paper (my family is almost out) and diapers for the baby some bread.
    The shelves were empty. No toilet paper and no baby wipes…..it’s a shit show.

    My husband works at the local Costco and a person was run over in the parking lot because of all this madness.

    Be safe out there! People are crazy!

  5. I have to admit, this was the first time I was smacked in the face with that “not so subtle nod” that somehow it’s less of a crisis because so far it’s ‘ONLY the elderly and those with underlying conditions’. Hey, wait a minute – that’s me you’re talking about, guys! Thanks for addressing this in your post ’cause that realization hurt. Maybe my head has been in the sand until now about my value being diminished by my ‘underlying condition’. But… ouch, you f8ckers – makes me like politicians, officials and the like even less. Thanks for your insight, as always.

  6. Covid-19 is viral pneumonia.
    I wash my hands and hope others are to, finally. I stocked up on some extra pet supplies. For me, I am not worried. My wife and I stay away from others, excluding work anyway.

  7. I worry too much because my daughter
    have MS I’m chilly far awaybut my doctor tell me that I need to stay in to the house because I elder people,and my immune Sysand is to lowes I have cáncer l and llupus.
    I feeling destroyed because I don’t have any news about my daughter and I don’t know how she feelingn in this moment.

    I love you

  8. I’m in Nova Scotia, perhaps the only province that hasn’t had a case of COVID-19. Nevertheless I went to Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday because it seemed like the Canadian thing to do. I bought a toothbrush and dark chocolate, while other people were stocking up on Coca-Cola and facial tissues (there was no stock of toilet paper). I ate lunch at a Lebanese restaurant.

  9. Great read, I’ve spent the last two days anxious my house has three asthmatics and me with ms. I’ve cancelled my trip away with my dad he’s 83 to Scotland cus of train journeys and I don’t want him to be put at risk. I need to stop reading social media as it’s making me more anxious. I’m going off to the forest now with my dog for his Sunday walk need the fresh air. Not sure why I feel guilty cancelling events when my friends are still attending. Am I overreacting not going to the theatre as planned and watching a band? Here in the uk at the moment we are expected to carry on as per usual but I’m looking at Italy and thinking I need to self isolate and stay safe. Whatever people think as a vulnerable adult I want to protect myself and my family.

  10. It is interesting to sit back and just observe the reactions. I have experienced a similar panic, personally over the last few years. My monkey mind was busily crafting various scenarios about which I could panic. I have lived a privileged life even with MS for nearly 20 years and only recently experienced significant loss of function. I can relate to the fear and panic overwhelming our community presently. It occurs to me that I had the luxury of time to gradually grow into acceptance and redefine my life priorities
    This crisis demonstrates the importance of a strong public health system, universal access to health care and a robust social support system. This might be the silver lining in this current situation
    I found my silver lining and it gives me a lot of comfort as my health changes

  11. Brilliant.. best sense yet…Sad tho’that it takes an ‘apocalypse ‘for people to wash their damn hands..??

  12. Christy Patterson

    I stocked up, not because I’m scared about getting sick, but because I’m scared about all of the stores closing shop for a period of time. I stocked up, not on TP, but on actual FOOD! All I’m hearing on the news is how everything will be ‘back to normal’ in a few months, so I don’t feel too hopeful about employers jumping on the work-from-home bandwagon. That being said, if this period in time proves that a person working from home can be just as productive, then maybe those of us with disabilities will have another fact in our arsenal.

  13. Wow I’m with you girl! Everyone is hoarding down here and it’s so ridiculous!! I’m stocked up because I always am. Not for Armageddon but for convenience. My wine and liquor is of purse stocked!! I could use some fresh vegetables but the idiot hoarders have made that difficult. People need to just stay home, practice social distancing… and not touch each other. But people are panicking. Probably the same people that voted for Trump! Stay healthy, wash your hands and let’s hope sanity takes over soon.

  14. Yep. Tbh, I’m more concerned for my parents than myself. They’re still taking unnecessary risks, particularly my mother.
    It’s kind of amusing to watch the world adapt to ‘our’ lifestyle. Funny – they don’t seem to like it much lol.
    Stay well!

  15. As an American pwms living in France, I am overjoyed that the cultural greeting “faire la bise” is forbidden, at least for the time being. What a relief not to have to explain my situation as I step back and effectively insult the person in front of me. But I realize this custom is important to the French I hope they can get back to it soon. ??

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