Trading the Flu for Cabin Fever

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by Ryan Berhar |

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Refined By Fire Ryan Berhar

As someone with SMA, I always have to be more cautious of germs than most people. A simple cold can escalate into something more serious, and even become life-threatening. I have always taken what I like to refer to as “reasonable precautions.” I wash my hands, avoid interactions with sick people, don’t share food or drinks, etc.

However, by typical SMA standards, I might be less vigilant. I’m willing to take some chances, though, because I don’t want to live in fear. I’ve been on higher alert than usual recently. This is the worst flu season in several years, so I’ve had to live differently.  

As is often the case with SMA, the inconvenience doesn’t just affect me, but also everyone around me. My dad got the flu, and so I had to be quarantined at my grandma’s for a week. When I returned home, my best friend and caregiver (who lives with us) came down with a bad illness and was quarantined for two weeks. The objective of keeping me healthy alters the lives of others.

It was during this time that I realized just how serious this flu season is. The news covered it on seemingly a nightly basis. I concluded that it was worth giving certain things up to stay healthy. Starbucks is my favorite place on the planet. I go there frequently to hang out and meet with people. Recently though, I have not gone there. Or anywhere, really. There are also a few movies I want to see, but theaters are germ-breeding grounds. What makes it particularly challenging is that people may be sick but don’t have symptoms yet. So the only way to be completely safe is to stay home. 

I’m also prevented from seeing a few friends. It’s obviously a problem if they are sick, but again, my typical hangout spots are off-limits, so there’s not much to do anyway. 

After a few weeks of trying to avoid fevers, I’ve caught one anyway — cabin fever. And ironically, the only cure for that is leaving home. Go figure. So, I’ve started going to certain places again, but places like movie theaters must remain off-limits. Even though there is a lot I’d like to do, it’s better to be quarantined at home healthy than sick in the hospital. 


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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