COVID-19 Patient Perspective: Jan Janus

April 02,2020

With the widespread of the COVID-19 virus, how are you all coping with your day to day functions? Are you keeping yourself informed, busy? Are you living in fear? Are you prepared? These are some of the basic questions that have been sent all over social media the last few weeks. Today, I am going to talk to you about how and what I am doing regarding this pandemic.

Have a great mindset! Fear it, but live your normal life the best that you possibly can, as we all know, “The greatest fear is fear itself.” Many PH patients already live in isolation because they are not able to get out and about to avoid illness. So life isn’t changing as much for them as it is for more active healthier patients.

For me, my only fear is my husband still works outside the home and will continue to unless the entire state is shut down, as he works at a pharmacy/store. What do I do when he comes home? He has lysol in the car, as well as hand sanitizer and wipes to make sure he is keeping the car clean. When he walks in the door, he removes his clothing and tosses it in the wash. While he is at work, his manager has a sanitation protocol in place: masks, gloves, sanitizer at the registers, and everything is wiped down every so often to make sure no germs are lingering. Me, I stay inside and go out on the porch a few times a day or in the yard with the dog to get fresh air, so I am not feeling cabin fever.

As far as grocery shopping, I tried to do this online just to get a few things, but the service was stopped because items were so scarce. So, I got in my car with my husbands and was going to walk in with no cares in the world, until he stopped me and said, “GLOVE UP!”

So, I put on my surgical gloves, while he grabbed a cart and wiped it down with the industrial cleaner the store provided. Then I went about my business of shopping. I avoided anyone that was in a grocery aisle. If someone was in the aisle, I went to a different one until there was only one person in the aisle. I avoided any contact. The store was bare! When we left the store, I removed my gloves before touching my car handle, opened the car door and began my sanitation. When I got home, I immediately changed out of that clothing, wiped jars down and immediately transferred meats to freezer bags and tossed all the bags in the garbage and took them to the outside bins.

How am I keeping my house from infection? I have a sign on my door (see below for a copy, if you would like to use it), and I make certain if family is coming over they have not been sick. Then I wipe down the door knobs when they enter and then leave. No hugging and staying at least six feet away at all times. They are family, but this is my life.

To keep myself from becoming bored, I work on some hobbies and keep chatting on social media. I am a support group leader for PHA, so I am also contacting patients in my group who are older, making sure they are doing well and seeing if they need anything. Keep checking in on people, especially those who you know are high risk.

If you think you may have COVID-19, contact your primary care provider or better yet, your PH specialist to see what they advise you to do. As we know, many are being turned away and told to self isolate if you have signs because the testing kits are in short supply at the moment.

In speaking with my PH team, they are now offering video calling for appointments instead of in person appointments. Check with your PH team and see if this is something they are offering instead of cancelling your appointment. In the event that a patient starts to feel depressed or anxiety ridden, they have palliative care members on hand ready to do voice or video calls as well to help ease our frustrations. Check and see if this is also available for you.

Be safe, take precautions, and be well. Keep on moving forward and reach out if you need help. We are stronger together even though we are apart!

See more COVID-19 resources here.

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