I’ve been watching a lot more of the news in the last few months than I ever have before. Watching, reading, keeping up on goings on, etc. I think a lot of us have been doing this since there is so much going on in the world that affects each of us personally. I’ve been more and more astonished at the rhetoric coming from the White House and other elected leaders as the pandemic rages nearly unchecked through the United States. For the first time, my US passport is not an advantage as most countries close their borders to us. For the first time to my knowledge, every ICU in Florida is nearing capacity.
There are people in this country who believe I am expendable and I don’t know what to do with that.
For the very first time in my life, everything about who I am as a person appears to be no longer relevant, the economy and opening up the country is more important than my safety and my life. To add insult to injury, according to every list and instruction I’ve seen, I will be one of the first to not be given a ventilator when they are scare. The actions and statements of so many people, especially those in leadership confirm that the economy, getting people back to work, and returning to “normal” is more important than my life and those in the Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) community, along with elderly, disabled, and other medically vulnerable people.
What am I to do with this?
Prior to being diagnosed with MBC, I was a solidly productive member of society. I was under 40, I was married, I had my own business, I had two children, I was a homeowner, etc., in short, I was employing other people, paying taxes, and working. Now, I’m living on disability, both private and SSDI, along with my husband’s income as a banker. Our family as a whole does still pay taxes, we are still homeowners, and I am still using my education in a productive way.
I’m immunocompromised and likely would be more susceptible to getting a bad case of COVID-19 than another 41 year old woman without an underlying health condition. Every explanation of how ventilators and supplies would be rationed puts me in the category of being the first to be denied treatment in favor of younger, more healthy people.
This freaks me out.
Like really freaks me out.
I realize that with the precautions we are taking and continuing to take, the likelihood of my being infected and hospitalized is as low as humanly possible. However, I’ve already been tested for COVID (I was negative and it was just precautionary because I had a bit of a leftover cough from a cold) and I’ve already been hospitalized for side effects of my cancer treatment during the pandemic. I didn’t spend more than one night in the hospital, but it was surreal and concerning for all the reasons that are bandied about in the news — mismatched PPE, a general sense of anxiety, medical professionals avoiding talking to me in person because they were treating me as if I had COVID, and limited space. That was in March, when Florida was not reeling with so many cases. It’s much much worse now.
So much worse now with all the ICUs in Florida reaching capacity and the medical system very close to being overwhelmed. I haven’t heard of any cities in Florida requesting the refrigerated trucks from FEMA to store the overflow of dead bodies the way that cities in Texas have had to recently, but I suspect that’s coming too.
How do I wrap my head around the fact that people I’ve never met, people elected to lead our country, believe that my life isn’t worth enough to save?
How I do I wrap my head around the fact that people in this country are more concerned about their “rights” than wearing a mask to help protect me and other vulnerable people?
Having never been in this position before, I have no frame of reference to think about and understand this bombshell. I am not usually an anxious person and even though the sky has fallen in my life more than once during this cancer experience, I have been blessed with a good support system, talented doctors and the time/funds to find solutions for most of the issues I’ve encountered. Plus, I’m just stubborn. None of that will keep me safe now.
I don’t have any answers for this. This is scary. This is demoralizing. #ThisiMBC