A day in the life: Being immunocompromised during a global pandemic

It’s safe to say that for our generation a pandemic of this magnitude is uncharted waters. In the US there has not been a pandemic this bad for over a century. Luckily with the technological advancements that we have today it is easier to resume our everyday life. But some peoples’ daily life is much different from others. 

People with compromised immune systems need to be even more careful than others. While undergoing treatment for lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) I have had to be one of those people. 

While some are enjoying the reopening of restaurants and shops, I and others with compromised immune systems have had to stay in doors and continue cooking for ourselves or continue to use contactless delivery. With the dwindling supply of cleaning products, my family has resorted to making our own hand sanitizer due to how often it is used. 

The most noticeable change is the procedures in hospitals and medical facilities. At my chemotherapy clinic the staff has made it so minimal surface contact is required for patients. When you walk in, the front doors are held open for you by staff. You are greeted by the receptionist and have your temperature checked and go through an interview to find any risk of COVID-19. You move past and go up the escalators to the elevators, where the buttons are pressed for you by workers fitted with gloves and masks. When the doors open you can finally enter the waiting room, where treatment proceeds as normal.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be unfortunate enough to be admitted into the emergency room (ER) where safety procedures are somehow even more intense. Before you can even enter the ER proper you receive a rapid covid swab and are quarantined in a personal room until results come back negative. Then, even with full certainty that you are covid negative, every member of hospital staff approaches you in full safety gear including: gloves, masks, goggles, and disposable hazmat suits.

While all of this may at first seem excessive, we must remember that it is all in the concern of your health and the health of those around you. It is important to remember that wearing a mask and exercising a bit more caution is not the end of the world, and the sooner everyone cooperates, the sooner we can get back to normal. So wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay six feet apart and all will be well.

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