By Emily Kranking
Day 8 of the Quarantine. Woke up at 8:42. I feel great. I have had way more sleep since the quarantine started. I pour myself hot orange tea and listened to my mediation on my phone. Then, I had my staff meeting and went to work, binging Stuart Little and the new Aladdin while working. It sounds like the ideal day: Working at home in your PJs while binge watching whatever you want. But in reality, it isn’t when it’s literally all you can do because of the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.
Before the quarantine was mandatory, it was already required for me to quarantine. My cerebral palsy comes with a low immune system. I catch germs instantly, and I can become sick as slow as 15 minutes and as fast as immediately! If I go within coughing range of a person with COVID-19, it could have serious consequences. I have very mild asthma, which I catch twice a year. Severe pneumonia in my lungs could quickly become deadly. I remember having the flu in middle school and thinking I was going to die because I could barely breathe.
I use public transportation to work and back. I take the Metro Red Line from Shady Grove to Farragut North. The stations can be dirty, and any of the people I sit next to, behind, or in front of could have a slight cold. Yes, I can catch that. And don’t get me started on the crammed bus that I ride to the station and back. Germs are everywhere I go, and one random connection could get me sick. Imagine if the person had COVID-19, and neither of us knew that time.
Three of my siblings came over for dinner last week. Everyone was perfectly healthy. The next day, my brother just revealed that his friend from a couple days earlier had symptoms of COVID-19. All six of us could have caught COVID-19. My older sister (who lives with my mom and I) couldn’t go to work until this week because she is now cleared after a week. My mom and I have had small colds and other mild symptoms the last two weeks. Thankfully, that’s it and we, along with the rest of my siblings, are okay. The point is: STAY HOME!
It is unfortunate that this virus outbreak falls on March, aka Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, or DDAM as we call it in the office. In a month where many recreational & occupational events and other celebrations are supposed to be happening, they are now cancelled or postponed.
Moreover, it’s actually ironic that the pandemic has spread throughout the country in DDAM. Many people of disabilities have worse immune systems or pre-existing conditions than I do. Their cases could be much more complicated and jeopardized than I am. The potential danger COVID-19 has for many of us is high, which makes this quarantine necessary and which makes raising awareness all the more important. It could be hard with some people with developmental disabilities to understand why they need to stay inside and not to do the things that they normally do. Butit’s still important to not infantilize them and explain what’s going on. The disability community, be it the people with disabilities or direct support workers, is all in this together with the entire country!