As I write this, I’ve read many recent reports of a worrying rise in Covid-19 infections all around the world. We’ve been at this project for many months now. Many of us radically changed our social interactions motivated by the reasonable fear we felt about the virus driving this pandemic.
In the Northern Hemisphere we enter the dark winter months, a time when viruses find ideal environments for transmission: holiday parties, heated low-humidity conditions, and minimal ventilation. The siren song of cultural customs and tradition entice us to relax our vigilance. “It’ll just be this one-time; I’ve otherwise been disciplined and deserve this social respite,” we rationalize.
I’ve read many accounts reasoning that depriving ourselves of our usual social interaction is bad for our mental and emotional health. I feel this persuasive tug yet always come to the overwhelming conclusion that life and death risks legitimately over-ride my mental and emotional health status.
Besides, there are tactics that can mitigate the damage to our social lives. While they may not be as satisfying as face-to-face human interaction that we crave, phone calls, Zoom meetings, and written communication can help us safely survive.
All of us here share diabetes as a life-long health burden. We all understand the long-term challenge of diabetes. It is a marathon, not a sprint. In that way we have all been forced to create skills that can sustain us over the long run. I’ve found this to help me keep my eye on the prize when it comes to Covid-19.
The recent news of promising vaccines does indicate that we may be nearing better times. I think we will find that things will get better for us in 2021. The first quarter should see vaccine deployment in the front-line health care workers while the second quarter may very well witness vaccines for the vulnerable population of which we are a part. Of course, uncertainty remains high and we all need to calibrate our hopes against reality.
I’m an introvert, so I know the social concessions I’ve made are easier for me than it is for extroverts. I’ve found phone conversations with my close family can sustain my mental and emotional health in a reasonable balance. I’ve paid attention to my nutrition and exercise routines as well.
I have made deliberate and considered concessions to increased risks of several in-person medical appointments: cataract surgeries, dental visits, and a few blood draws. Except for the dental appointments, all parties were wearing masks. I also visit the grocery store about once per week but do so during off-hours with a targeted list that minimizes my time in the store. My grocery store now has complete compliance with mask-wearing, a condition not present last spring.
I believe that I’ve been able to balance the added risk and keep it to a reasonable level. This is not something that we can measure but simply a judgment that we each can make.
How do you feel you’ve been managing the long-term nature of surviving Covid-19? Have you compromised with your social preferences, especially with the usual holiday celebrations. I declined an in-person holiday meal invitation from my adult daughter; she understood and only raised the topic to solicit my position.
I think we’re getting closer to the end of the challenge and I encourage everyone to not lose sight of the real goal - surviving to a better day. I fear the decimating action of Covid-19 in the next 90 days or so. We should not let our guard down now! The end of this pandemic is in sight.