My Immunosuppressed Romance: Love In the Time of COVID-19

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With COVID-19 declared a pandemic, I became curious about it today. By curious, I mean panicked.

The reason I had been avoiding reading the news about it was to create an illusion that I’d be okay by creating ignorance. This is because I’m an immunosuppressed person, and have been so for about a year.

As an immunosuppressed person, I am among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 because of my fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. For those who have fibromyalgia and are unaware or unsure that fibromyalgia is immunosuppressed, due to prolonged high levels of inflammation, fibromyalgia does compromise your immune system, per The Fibro Manual by Dr. Ginevra Liptan, MD.

Before COVID-19 became a pandemic, my husband frequently talked about it with me. Today I understood why – mainly because I was reading Dr. Liptan’s book – and joined in on the conversation more. No longer was I joining in on pointing disparaging fingers on social media. I was panicking inside… and a little bit out. However, I was cute about it.

My husband and I have some distance between us, and today he called me on the phone and immediately began talking about COVID-19. He spoke of how depressed he was about it, his fears for me. Then he asked me if I could come home this weekend.

My response?

“You know, with all this pandemic and my being immunosuppressed… at the end of the day I’m supposed to spend my life with somebody and that’s you. If all we have left is a short little while, I’m coming home to you immediately.”

I could hear him smile through the phone.

Earlier he expressed anxiety about my health in the midst of COVID-19, and proceeded to tell me:

“With the virus you’re better off staying in the country in one place hiding out like you’ve been doing. But yes, I do want to see you this weekend.”

Love in the time of cholera?

Try love in the time of COVID-19.

Bear and I are taking COVID-19 very seriously, as we plan to get me back home safely, but the fact that he cares so much makes dealing with the anxiety that much easier. It’s not safe to go alone.

Beauty can come late

Pink roses with pink text "Beauty can come late"

I have a jar of wilted roses in front of my happy light. It’s a wonder my office doesn’t smell like roasted roses, because the happy light has been on for about 12 hours. By the way, a happy light is artificial sunlight, and if you don’t turn it off after 30 minutes, it can catch fire. Maybe it’s the cold or maybe it’s luck, but my flowers (that I’ve had since August) haven’t caught fire yet. Or my house. It’s all right, it’s all good. Have a good time.

And I think about my roses not catching fire, and what it means from a metaphorical standpoint, because I catch on fire frequently. Right now my shoulders and right knee are on fire. But it’s all right, it’s all good. Have a good time. I guess. As far as mornings go this isn’t too bad even though my dad broke the coffee pot. I guess it’s a penny arcade.

But I guess if you’re a rose, even when you’re really dead, long dead, you’re beautiful. And I think about all the times I’ve felt dead inside for years, such as wasting my childhood and teenage years feeling empty inside – and not in the emotional sense. I couldn’t feel anything. Until I took yoga in college for three semesters, I couldn’t see anything. I wasn’t aware of the world around me. It was like having tunnel vision. What I saw was a laser focused object right in front of me in order for me to move. Other times, when I didn’t have an object, it was all a gray or black blur.

See, the beauty was still there for me, even after I came back to life and gained my vision back. The wilted jar of roses is still beautiful, though not socially acceptable, although my fiancé has not said anything about it.

I’m on The Latest Kate’s emailing list and today’s illustration really struck me. It was a pink dragon (!favorite! thing!) that read “Sometimes all we can focus on is making it through the day. And that is enough.”

Just make it through today and you can still have your unburnt jar of dead roses that are still somehow beautiful, and make it to the next morning to have a pink dragon cheering you on (and a plethora of other blessings).

So, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: there’s lots of beautiful things to see in this world, even if you arrive late.

Pocket full of darkness: you might set your house on fire in the process.