The world is a strange place for me right now. It feels like so much of the world is pretending like the pandemic is over, and acting like it. Maybe it’s just a case of wishful thinking, maybe they’re just tired of it (who isn’t?!), maybe they (incorrectly!) truly believe the risk is over. But whatever the reason, precautions are being dropped left and right. Mask requirements are basically nonexistent here in Pittsburgh, outside of the health systems, and vaccine requirements are largely a thing of the past. People are moving on.
And yet – even as I’m hearing that the risk of COVID is low, I’m also hearing that more people in my life are testing positive (don’t worry – they’re not people I’ve seen recently), and that hospitalizations are increasing. I’m also hearing, over and over, that I should do what I feel comfortable with. As in – “We’re no longer requiring masks, but individuals should assess their own risk level and comfort level and decide whether or not to attend.”
So as most people’s worlds are opening up, mine is closing back in again. I’m back to having to carefully assess each and every interaction. I’ve had to skip shows that I had tickets to, and cancel plans that I was looking forward to. Less and less things are being offered virtually – we’re back to in-person only. So now the responsibility is all on me once again – to stay home, to keep myself safe, because the general public isn’t willing to keep protections in place for me.
While people in my life are understanding about this, the general public doesn’t really get it. While declining because of the COVID risk is something that was considered reasonable a year ago, or even a few months ago, the world will give you a little bit of side eye now. People want so badly to move on, to be in a post-pandemic time, that they’re willing to just act like we’re already there – and they’re a little bit resentful of people who aren’t willing to join them. It feels like the world is moving on no matter what, and that I’m just being left behind.
Living through each phase of the pandemic as a disabled person has presented unique challenges and struggles. This isn’t the first time that I’m writing a post about what it’s like for me, and while I’d like to believe that maybe, finally, this will be the last, I’m not keeping my hopes up. But please – please remember that the pandemic isn’t actually over. Please remember that even though you’re not worried about getting sick, the person next to you might be. Please keep wearing your masks in large groups. Please help keep me healthy and alive.
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I understand in so much as I’m a caregiver to my darling, high risk daughter. It’s so frustrating and demoralizing. With you in spirit!
Sending you so much love!!