The 'I' in isolation

By MERI R. KENNEDY
Posted 4/1/20

Social distancing, self-quarantine, isolation - the COVID-19 crisis has quickly forced us to bring these concepts into practice. What does it feel like staying in your home for an unknown amount of time? You must remember the "e;I"e; in

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The 'I' in isolation

Posted

Social distancing, self-quarantine, isolation – the COVID-19 crisis has quickly forced us to bring these concepts into practice.

What does it feel like staying in your home for an unknown amount of time? You must remember the “I” in isolation.

Who is the “I”? You are. You control how you react to this global crisis.

You need to get used to a new normal. Some of you are able to work from home and some of you are now the “teacher” in your child’s education. Some of you must go to work. This applies to everyone.

The “I” is making sure your needs are met as well. If you are unable to function, you are unable to help. You need time to feel your feelings and give yourself some breathing room before tying to tackle a new world.

Self-quarantine is no fun and it is not easy to have the outside world, at least physically, cut off. I was always a people person. I have been in self-quarantine for the most part for at least two years. I am blessed that I can still work as a “remote reporter” and columnist from home with Steve Popiel, my partner, out there for photographs and more.

Several years ago, I shared my diagnosis of gasteroparesis – my stomach does not work anymore. All medications and surgeries failed me. I am fed through a central line each night with nutrition and fluids. I have been in isolation for some time and will have to be for the remainder of my life due to my illness.

But remember – isolation will eventually end for so many of you. I don’t know when, no one does at this point.

It’s been years since I could go out to dinner on a whim, go to a movie, travel, network in person and enjoy that many great events in our community.

Yes, I did grieve my loss of freedom. I just can’t risk being in crowds and I can’t last that long on my feet these days.

What I miss most is human interaction, just as many of you are feeling. Suddenly you are working from home, being your child’s teacher as online education has begun, and still trying to take care of your daily needs.

How do I get through each day? I keep to a schedule as much as I can. I write. I take short walks for fresh air. I stay in touch with people as much as I can.

Here is how I put the “I” in my isolation. I needed to put myself first for once. To isolate. To avoid crowds and special events. I have worked from home, remotely, all this time. To catch even a bad cold would land me a hospital stay.

Technology has been an important role in my life. I can communicate while in isolation by computer, telephone and am often on Facebook following my family and friends and what is going on in our community.

Remember these phrases: I will get out eventually. I will return to my favorite restaurant. I will go get my hair and nails done when it is safe.

The “I” in isolation is taking care of yourself – so you can take care of the “we.”

Meri R. Kennedy is a regular contributor to the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald and Johnston Sun Rise.

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