‘I have learned not to waste time because the road in front of me is shorter than the road in back of me.’
“The Year of Living Dangerously is a movie that is on my top 50 list. However, I would call 2020 the year of hitting a brick wall. I have lived in a nursing and rehabilitation facility for six years because I had a blood infection and lost the use of my right arm below the elbow. We have been locked down for one year which means I couldn’t leave my floor or go outside.
“Many people I socialized with died. A few weeks ago, I tested positive for COVID. I have had no symptoms, but because it happened after all this time, I feel like the universe is somehow punishing me. I wasn’t afraid I would get it at this point, so I was shocked. Being away from my family and friends has affected my mental health in strange ways. I revisited things from the past that I hadn’t thought about for a long time. This quarantine-within-a-quarantine has given me a heightened sense of failure in running my life.
“Through being in this type of facility I have learned not to waste time because the road in front of me is shorter than the road in back of me. Before there was always time; soon you blink your eyes and years are gone. I have an aptitude for language and I always imagined that I could have learned Arabic or Farsi and worked for the government. I’m hoping it’s not too late to learn a second language and help somebody in that way. I still feel like I have something to contribute.
I have experienced very dedicated nurses and physical therapists that will discuss their lives with me. It helps me remember that the world is still turning, even though the search for a freer life came to a halt this year.
“One day I would like to join a book club or volunteer to teach people how to read. I am mentally and physically capable of doing well in a subsidized apartment with minimal help from an aide. I’d love to do the mundane things that people feel are drudgery, like making my bed and doing laundry. I try to remain optimistic. I do puzzles, crafts and decorating for holidays. When everyone else here tended to gain weight this year, I lost it! It feels good.
“I have experienced very dedicated nurses and physical therapists that will discuss their lives with me. It helps me remember that the world is still turning, even though the search for a freer life came to a halt this year. For now, there is still this persistent and constant feeling of unreality, sort of an existence one would see on ‘The Twilight Zone.’”