The COVID-19 pandemic has now invaded pretty much all aspects of our daily lives. It’s on everybody’s mind, on all TV sets turned to the news channel. Society is afraid and the media breeds on fear. I’m willing to bet that disabled folks out there are afraid, too.
Disabled lives are just as valuable as the lives of non-disabled people. While I know that each and every disabled person’s experience is different, we can all agree that we as a community are not worthless, less than, or expendable. We do matter. We matter a whole lot.
Think of everyone you know. That list probably includes elders, a disabled person, someone with asthma, or someone who is chronically ill. You might say you already know that that these populations are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. So, do act like it. Check on your loved ones. Make sure they have everything they need. Practice social distancing for their sake and your own.
You could say that my recovery and the pandemic are inextricable as they are simultaneous. It’s truth. It’s fact. Recovery from surgery from the most part has been going well, but I cannot ignore that recovering from surgery during a pandemic has definitely been a challenge. Every day I check to see if my local physical therapy facility is still open. As of right now, they are.
If I could choose, I’d choose not to go out at all. However, I can not do that. I’m in a tough position because I still really need physical therapy services. I’m only a little more than a month out of surgery, after all. If I do not stick to my rehab routine of physical therapy four times a week plus exercises at home, my mobility will probably worsen. I’m still physically weak. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve improved a lot, but I still have a long way to go. So, four times a week I go to physical therapy for about an hour. Rest assured, going there is literally my only taste of the outside world and it has been for weeks now. I’m being as cautious as I possibly can. This pandemic is serious business. Yet like I said, I can’t shrug off the reality that I’m recovering from surgery. I need the rehab; there’s no way around that.
While I work towards greater mobility and a better quality of life, I do notice the inherent ableism going on around me. Allow me to say a quick word on that. Ableism has always existed, obviously. Though with the coronavirus amongst us, ableism is disgustingly apparent to us all, especially with discussions I see going around about “who to save.” Why don’t you take a guess and see if a disabled person comes to some minds first. No? Absolutely horrified? You should be. Disabled people are people too. I can’t believe I have to literally spell that out. In 2020. Unfortunately though I am, and unfortunately here we are.
The hopelessness of this situation is very scary. As we take life one day at a time and try not to lose our sanity, I can only hope the following words offer some comfort: please take care of each other. Be safe. Be well.