Self Isolating as a New Way of Life is Necessary but not All Bad

By Isabel Robb



The spread of coronavirus has caused most of society to hunker down in their homes in an attempt to “flatten the curve.” People around the globe are staying home to prevent themselves and others from getting the virus. These others include those most vulnerable to becoming infected and dying: the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, and people with compromised immune systems.

My mother has had breast cancer since I was seven. I’m eighteen now, and she’s still undergoing treatment for this horrible disease that won’t seem to go away. Because of her treatments (mostly chemotherapy), her immune system is majorly down, leaving her susceptible to coronavirus.

And this isn’t to be taken lightly. Because of her cancer, her lungs are also weaker than most. She’s had surgery in the past that literally took out a wedge of her lungs in order to remove a spot of cancer. Coronavirus is an upper-respiratory disease, meaning it could potentially block the airways to her already-weak lungs.

This situation has led my family to completely shut ourselves off from the outside world. I haven’t left the house to go somewhere other than on a walk around my block since March 11. We have our groceries brought to us, either by family, friends, or even the Sarpy County Sheriff Department, who is offering this exact service for people with circumstances like the one my family is in.

Not being able to go anywhere is super hard on me socially. I may be an introvert, but I thrive when I’m around my close friends and break down when I’m away from them for too long. I’ve had to learn to connect in ways other than direct interaction. If any of my friends come by to drop stuff off for me or my family, I can only talk to them if we stand on my driveway standing six feet apart. I’ve done a Zoom call with my main group of five friends, and it drastically lifted my mood that day. I enjoy the conference video calls with my classes because I get to see the faces of my classmates. I can interact with them in a way that may not be the same as seeing them in person, but it’s a whole lot better than simply thinking about what it would be like to hear their voices.

Besides that, it’s nice to have more time with my family. There are five people in my family: me, both of my parents, my brother, who is a sophomore, and my sister, who is in fourth grade. We’ve never really had this much time where everyone is at home since my dad is usually at work (now he works from home) and the only time my siblings and I are home constantly is during the summer. We try to do movie nights in order to take our minds off of things (so far my favorite movies have been Knives Out, A Quiet Place, and Jojo Rabbit). If we order food delivery, we order from a local restaurant to support their business. We always eat together and find time to just be together after dinner. Being around my family nonstop may make me feel like I’m going insane sometimes, but when we do something together, it becomes a high point in my day.

I’m constantly being reminded of how dire this pandemic could be for my family, but with every day, we’re finding just how incredibly lucky we are to be in a situation that allows us to cut ourselves off and still function as we are. Social distancing may seem like the end of the world as we know it, but once you get into the groove of things and establish fun things to do with the people you’re isolating with, it can become a kind of joy that is different, but no less real.