COVID-19 has changed life for everyone, including the chronically ill. I have seen many chronic illness patients post things like: “This is what it is like to live with a chronic illness” or “Welcome, to my world.” But the thing is, this isn’t really our world. COVID-19 has changed our world too! With that said, today I am sharing ways that the coronavirus has changed the lives of the chronically ill.
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COVID-19 Changed how we seek medical care
Before the coronavirus pandemic, scheduling an appointment to see a rheumatologist or other health specialist was difficult. We had to wait months and often jump through hoops to get these appointments approved by our insurance. But once we were in, it was usually easy to schedule follow-up appointments. Now? Not so much. I have seen daily social media posts regarding canceled appointments, treatments, and surgeries. These people have been waiting for weeks, months, and even years for relief only to be told that they will have to wait until the crisis has passed.
7 Steps you can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as outlined by the World Health Organization #coronavirus #HighRiskCovid19 #autoimmunediseaseTweet
Even seeing our primary physicians for simple or routine healthcare has changed. Instead of scheduling an appointment, my HMO has advised us to call and arrange a video appointment. Urgent matters, unless in a life or death situation, are being treated the same. My provider has advised us to call before coming to the emergency room or urgent care offices.
While this is not a big deal for they healthy, this crisis is deeply impacting the lives of the chronically ill.
COVID-19 changed my game plan
I am fortunate that I didn’t have any appointments scheduled at this time. Knowing that I will be in for a long battle to get my HMO to approve the removal of the mass of adhesions that are growing under my rib cage and causing a horrendous amount of pain, I put off making an appointment. It took 2 years to get help after my botched hysterectomy and another 2 years of fighting to be turned down by my HMO when my current issue was in its beginning stages. With everything being put to the wayside until this virus is under control, my time and energy will be wasted if I fight now. Not to mention, the hospital is the last place I want to be at the moment.
It is my hope that this crisis ends soon. My heart breaks every time I hear of someone who isn’t able to get the treatment they need because of a canceled appointment.
How has the crisis impacted your healthcare? Have you had appointments, treatments, or surgery canceled? Are you able to continue with your normal treatments, or do you feel like your healthcare has been left in limbo?
COVID-19 changed how we feel
I think it is safe to say that everyone, even those who aren’t chronically ill, are experiencing a plethora of emotions right now.
It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, or angry during a crisis. It is also okay to enjoy life and laugh at the situation. There is no wrong way to feel during a #crisis #MentalHealth #emotions #covid19Tweet
We are sad
We’re sad about having to cancel our plans. I had to cancel an out of state trip to visit my mom and son. Our hearts are breaking because social distancing is keeping us from our loved ones. We didn’t have anything extraordinary planned. But for me, just getting to spend time with them is extraordinary.
Those who live alone are lonely. And those who live in an emotionally toxic environment feel trapped.
Stressed beyond normal
Sure, we are used to staying home during a pain or illness flare. But we are also used to having access to what we need. Access to doctors and pain-relieving procedures are not the only things we are lacking. In many areas the basic items we use every day, like toilet paper, are unavailable. The odds of finding what we normally purchase each week are not good. Grocery shopping is now a matter of coming home with whatever was left on the shelves.
Those of us who experience chronic pain have another layer of stress. Sure, shopping hasn’t always been a painless experience, but now instead of pain from shopping, we have added waiting outside in long lines just to get into the store. Many chronic illness/pain patients rely on grocery delivery and are finding that their normal service is being interrupted or canceled.
Confusion and fear is real
Instead of missing my life before #chronicillness I find myself longing for life before the coronavirus! #perspective #highriskcovid19 #autoimmunediseaseTweet
There is much confusion about how long this will last. Those of us who live in areas that have been issued government orders to stay-at-home are concerned with the impact these orders will have on both our health and finances.
The fear of losing our lives to this virus is very real and should be taken seriously. I just wish it didn’t include fearing being near the people we love.
I hold my breath while watching daily updates from the president and governor of California. Each day the news in my home state gets worse. Because of this, I have nicknamed our governor. Gruesome Newsom.
Anger is boiling
Anger is beginning to show in people’s social media posts and how they behave when in public. Two weeks ago, the mood in the grocery store was jovial, even though the shelves were practically empty. There has been a major shift this week. Instead of a friendly nod, my smile was met with scowls. Many are angry about medications not being refilled on time or at all.
While there are some justifiable reasons for being angry, there is also some misguided anger being spread. I have seen many who like myself are high risk spewing anger at anyone they see outside. What we have to remember is that there are people who work in essential fields, like my husband, who can’t stay at home. I have witnessed online shaming of people taking their kids to the grocery store. Instead of unleashing anger towards them, have some compassion as that woman may be a single mom without anyone to care for her child at home. We all need to take a deep breath and think about what it is we are really angry about.
During a crisis, talk to people you trust. Reach out to your therapist, clergy, family, friends, or community. #COVID19 #highriskcovid19 #mentalhealthTweet
If you feel that the emotions listed above are controlling your life and making it difficult to make the best of your time at home or in isolation, seek help! Seriously, do not allow anger, sadness, confusion, or fear to rule your mind and life. Caring for your mental health is just as important as taking precautions to avoid COVID-19. Talk to an online therapist, meditate, pray, seek comfort from your clergy, commune online with your community, friends, and family.
COVID19 may change how we address chronic pain
When your #painmanagement plan is disrupted, it is time to find new ways to relieve #chronicpain #COVID19 #fibromyalgia #arthritis #endometriosis #autoimmunediseaseTweet
I stopped treating the chronic pain I experience from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and endometriosis with pharmaceutical medications in 2012. Since then, I have turned to natural and alternative forms of pain relief. Never in my entire life have I ever been so thankful for the choices I have made in the past 8 years because they have made getting through this current crisis less painful.
With years of experimenting and trying different combinations, I have created an effective pain-management plan that addresses the needs of my body. If you are struggling with your current or additional levels of chronic pain, it may be time for you to make a change too. Talk to your doctor. See if they can help with either a prescription or advice/guidance in regards to other options.
Here are some posts to help you find products that may reduce pain from fibromyalgia and arthritis:
- Five Types of Wearable Pain Relief Devices for Muscle and Joint Pain From Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
- Put a Stop to Fibromyalgia Nerve Pain Before it gets on Your Nerves
- 40 Fibromyalgia Flare Fighting Products
- Four Wearable Pain Relief Devices for Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
I also use medicinal cannabis in addition to the natural and technological treatments mentioned in the links above. One of my fears was that dispensaries would be shut down during the stay-at-home order. Thankfully, the state of California has deemed them medically essential.
Has your pain management plan had to change since the coronavirus pandemic began? What are you doing differently to prevent additional flares? You can read what I am doing to prevent additional pain here.
COVID-19 changed life as we know it
It is safe to say that our lives will never be the same. Until the crisis is over, we need to embrace and utilize the technology we have at our disposal to connect with our loved ones. Just like we have with our chronic illnesses, let’s use this time to find ways to make our lives easier, less painful, and even a little fun!
I want to hear from you!
Comment below with how the COVID-19 crisis has changed your life.
Cha-Cha-Changes…. how COVID-19 is changing our lives! #chronicillnessTweet