Ultimately, I had to make the choice.
I had to decide between two things.
The first option was being able to function at the expense of heightening my risk to COVID-19.
The second was to reduce my risk to COVID-19, but risk letting my body deteriorate from another condition to the point where I could not function.
That’s a decision that some of us on immunosuppressant medications have to make during this pandemic. My doctor had advised me that it would be best to try and stop them.
I obliged for a bit. After all, my condition, a very severe case of eczema, is not life-threatening.
But, in the days and weeks that followed, it quickly consumed my body to the point where I was left almost completely unable to do much except stay in bed and go to the bathroom. I couldn’t sleep, or concentrate, or focus.
That wouldn’t do.
So I had to take prednisone, which is a fast-acting immunosuppressant that is generally used when quick relief is necessary.
Quick relief was definitely necessary. I’m also back on methotrexate, which is what is used for longer-term treatment. Prednisone is not a good choice to have over months.
So, here we are again. Back where we started.
I’m hoping things will work out.
I guess that’s just how things are nowadays.
We’re all forced to make decisions that don’t have optimal outcomes no matter which way we choose.
There’s a lot of unknown.
You do everything you can to measure and calculate risks, but regardless, there are always question marks.
You monitor your daily actions. How often do you leave the house, and for what reasons? What surfaces do you touch?
How often do you wash your hands? Do you burn your clothes every time someone nearby coughs?
Sometimes, it feels like we’re getting collectively shoved off a cliff.
It reminds me of a climbing course I took at Ground Up — hope you guys are doing okay, by the way — just before COVID madness hit town.
It was about learning how to take a lead climbing fall. There’s technique to it. You practice taking dives over and over again to get your body acquainted with the feeling. You relax and try to absorb the impact of the fall as you swing into the wall.
Likewise, your partner holding the rope has to master the art of using body dynamics to soften the faller’s pendulum motion that comes with taking that plunge.
As this pandemic continues, a lot of us are going to be in positions where it feels like we’re either taking the fall or helping catch someone else.
It may be awkward at first, but, hopefully, with some practice — like with anything in life — we’ll get the hang of it. Stay safe, stay home. Wash your hands.