Staying Safe in the Midst of a Global Pandemic…
Hey, there! I’m Jenn and over the past 3 years, I have helped my dad, my mom, my husband, and my father-in-law fight the battle against cancer.
If you (or someone you love) has cancer then the advice surrounding the current pandemic probably doesn’t feel that foreign to you …
“Stay healthy, avoid crowds, steer clear of sick people, and do anything you can to prevent germs.”
The problem right now is, you are dealing with a much larger concern than the general public, so the protection level you’ll want to achieve is higher than social distancing.
We have learned a tremendous amount about powering through and staying safe… even when things feel crazy and out of control.
I know that’s rough, just as the weather is starting to warm up a little. It kind of feels like Spring (at least in NY) and we are all locked up in the house with no end in sight. Staying away from others is the only real way to prevent this.
During the quarantine, you can use FaceTime or Skype to stay in contact with the people you love.
Since we started the self-quarantine, my mom has FaceTimed with her grandchildren every day. They “have lunch together” or read books together at bedtime, and 2 days ago they were all dancing around to Baby Shark. FaceTime allows you to see the people you love, laugh and dance with them, and talk about everything going on…
It’s the next best thing to having them there with you.
We have a ton of grocery stores where I live that are opening early so that “seniors” can do their shopping at a lesser risk.
So, I called my local Hannaford to inquire about a different scenario….
“What if someone is 40 and has cancer, can they shop during this time as well? Or, what if they can’t shop for themselves because the risk is just too great. Can they send a family member, even a teenager to shop for them?”
Hannaford said, “that this time is set aside for ANYONE who is vulnerable AND whoever they send to shop for them.” Unless someone is clearly trying to “take advantage” of these hours, no one is going to give them a hard time.
It’s not worth the risk for you guys to be out there, jeopardizing your health if you come in contact with this disease. Here is how we’ve been handling this for my father-in-law who recently had a Bone Marrow Transplant. He CANNOT be exposed to the Coronavirus, so we’ve put in a few safeguards to minimize the risk.
The whole house has been disinfected and there are no visitors allowed inside. The family outside the house does any shopping they may need and we have established the following procedure to ensure his safety. Anything we get for them is left outside the front door so my mother-in-law can bring it in, disinfect it and then put it away. Overkill is a great idea in the current times.
Ask a neighbor, a friend, or a family member to grab what you need, and leave it on your doorstep and then you can take it from there.
Families generally work together to get through this. So you may normally have several people involved in your care. If you are someone who has “a team” of caregivers who help you get through this, now is a great time to scale down to one. The fewer people you are coming into contact with right now, the safer you will be.
One person staying isolated with you is going to be a lot safer than multiple people (even if they are protecting themselves) who are still going out into the world. Utilize the additional help for the shopping, hand sanitizer runs or ordering take-out once in a while (so you can support local businesses) and have something a little more exciting to look forward to.
If you have kids at home, make sure they understand how serious it is for them to stay home (I can tell you right now, that teenagers are the most difficult!). You don’t have to explain this in a “doomsday,” “scary” kind of way, but let them know that we have special issues in this house and we have to be even more careful than everyone else.
Make sure the kids stay isolated too. Isolated does not mean that “we can’t do anything”, it just means that we have to be more creative. Here are a TON of things you can do with kids while you are stuck in isolation…
Use this time to take advantage of teachable moments. When you’re done with any activity, have everyone wash their hands. In fact, it may be a good practice right now to establish a handwashing schedule for everyone in the house. Hand washing regularly, and giving people plenty of space are good practices for “normal life”, so this is a great time to instill those habits consistently.
If you have an issue or a side effect that is not an emergency, call the office and see what they recommend. They may be able to call in a prescription or have some ideas for dealing with this WITHOUT going into the office. It might be worth a phone call before heading in.
If you have appointments or treatment that you have to attend… grab a mask (we can help with that below), do what you have to do, and get out of there.
If you can’t avoid a trip out, grab a mask. Fun Fact: we are currently making a TON of them for a local residential facility that is home to 70 kids during this crazy time.
Joanne Fabric is teaching people exactly how to make masks in this video… In addition, they are giving away free mask kits. We just grabbed 2 of these kits FOR FREE. You call your local Joanne Fabric when you are outside of the store and they will give you 1 mask kit for anyone in the car. The kit contains everything you need to make 12 masks, and the fabric is already cut, once you add the elastic and sew it, you are good to go.
While you are hanging around the house, it might be a good idea to make a few masks to protect yourself and the people staying with you so you can be prepared if you have to go out.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car. If you’re like me, you probably had a few bottles just lying around the house when all the craziness started. If you don’t have any, distilleries all over the place are making hand sanitizer and giving it away for FREE. It would be great to keep around in case you do end up having to go somewhere, just an added layer of protection.
I know this COVID-19 is a pretty crazy situation and it doesn’t feel like it will be ending quickly. But you’re no stranger to chaos and craziness. You have overcome every single obstacle this life has thrown at you, and you are going to get through this too. Just keep your head down, stay inside and keep chugging along, the same way you always have.
Stay safe out there! 🙂
Jennifer Lane founded Cancerbomb.com when cancer exploded into her family (a few times) and changed her entire life. Since then she’s been helping famlies going through this stay strong and motivated, find strategies to manage the overwhelm, resources that are available to help, and ideas to alleviate the stress. When she’s not working, you can find her spending time with her family or reading a new teen sci-fi series.