By: Melissa Mihalis
Jessica Mon fears for her life every day because of simply existing. She suffers from an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. A condition that causes her spine to swell and fuse, making it difficult to walk. The condition also makes it difficult to fight off illnesses like Covid-19, make her more susceptible to health complications if she falls ill with the virus. “I could essentially get Pneumonia super easily and from there I would be screwed”, she stated.
Covid-19, also known as Corona Virus is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. It is an extremely contagious virus that can infect individuals through touching, someone sneezing or coughing to close and more touching surfaces that the virus has been on.
So, what has Jessica done to avoid getting the virus? She specifies that she wants to make it clear that she is not just isolating and avoiding the public.
“I am basically locked up in my tiny, 600 square foot apartment, permanently quarantined until further notice. I completely stopped going outside. I take the same precautions as if exposed to the disease in order to ensure I don’t get it. Or I could be good as dead.”
She stated that stress alone can worsen her condition and doesn’t even want to imagine what contracting the virus would do to her. Usually an active person, she is beginning to have issues moving around at all. “I am already having issues washing my face and moving around from the stress alone of all of this. I never felt it in my upper back like this before.”
Jessica is a kindergarten teacher who has stopped working due to the pandemic. She specified that when she first started teaching, she would get sick on a monthly basis due to the lack of immune system she has. But that does not stop her from teaching under regular circumstances. “It feels like I have no purpose right now. There is no passion that I am working towards.” She states that she loves teaching and watching her students develop. Being away from them has been giving her feelings of depression. Being quarantined alone and away from her friends and family has deepened these feelings for her and has increased feelings of anxiety. This is not an uncommon feeling amongst individuals who have quarantined themselves. A study done by The National Institute of Health suggests, “that quarantine itself, independent of acquaintance with or exposure to someone with SARS, may be perceived as a personalized trauma,” and therefore individuals may experience similar feelings to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Individuals with underlining health complications should isolate themselves, wash their hands consistently and remain 6 feet apart from others. For more information on how to stay safe at this time, go to https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html