I’m one of the reasons your daughter’s school concert was canceled and I’m not sorry.
I’m 41 years old and my immune system is compromised. I am also a single mother with four children. Three of them rely solely on me for all of their support.
I’m just as upset as many of you are. My son lost his last semester of college with his friends. He may not have a graduation. My daughter probably won’t have a prom, and she won’t go to Greece for her graduation trip, as her two older siblings did. Many major milestones will be missed throughout the entire country, and for my children.
But maybe their mom will still be here when this is all said and done.
Many people don’t know I have an illness, because it’s invisible. To most, I look like an active mom. I work out, I own my own business and I pretty much don’t sit still. But I’m only able to do this because I take several medications to just get out of bed each day.
It takes me an hour, often two, every single morning to be able to move around without pain. I use medical equipment every day to help my lymphatic system. But most relevant to the coronavirus (COVID-19) — the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system — is that my immune system is compromised, and two of the medications I take suppress it even more.
At 25, I had parvovirus that caused me to be hospitalized and stole three months of my life. At 32, I had shingles, which also caused me to be hospitalized and in bed for almost four months. Last year, the flu almost took me out. I’ve had several surgeries and missed many key moments because of my illness. But I don’t complain. I don’t ask for help. I don’t want pity and mostly my illness stays invisible.
But now, I’m asking for help. And not just from my family, but from this entire country.
I’m asking you for two things.
First, I am asking you to stop. Stop the hate. Stop the negativity. Stop the attacking of other people.
Someone made my daughter cry in the grocery store the other day. On Thursday night at 11 p.m., my daughters went to get groceries for our family, because I can’t. My family needs to stay inside because my life depends on it. And some person behind her in line made her cry. She wasn’t hoarding groceries, she was buying food for our family so we don’t get exposed.
COVID-19 could kill me.
I don’t care what you believe about politics. I don’t care about your conspiracy theories. I don’t care if you want to blame the media. I was a member of the media, a journalist for most of my career. I have seen “media made” and this is not it. My former colleagues are reporting on the facts, trying to help you and help the country.
This is real.
This is why the second thing I ask of you is to follow the experts and trust in our leaders — even if you didn’t vote them in and regardless of your views. Your ignorance or your ego could kill me and many others. It could push our healthcare system to the brink. People like me — and with way worse conditions than me — may not be able to get the medical care they need. Our hospitals and healthcare systems simply cannot handle what is already happening in other countries. These are facts.
I urge people to get educated outside of social media, to listen to the facts, the experts and the mistakes made in other countries. Doctors in those countries urge us to take this seriously. Mother to mother, parent to parent, you may be able to beat this “cold,” but I can’t. And many of your neighbors, family members and fellow Americans cannot either.
Outside of those in danger from COVID-19, people injured in accidents, having heart attacks and other medical emergencies, cancer patients and many more may not receive treatments if the system becomes overwhelmed. We must stop the spread of this. Now.
So, I ask of you, please do what you can to flatten the curve. Learn what that means and why this is being done. Stay home. Don’t be around sick people and do what the experts are saying.
I’m sorry your life was affected. I’m sorry your trip was canceled. (Mine was, too!)
My heart really breaks for those who will struggle financially. Solo parents, elderly — anybody!
I will pray for each and every person affected. And I will stay home for them. Please do the same.