So, for many, it appears to be very taboo to talk about having COVID-19.
It’s only a matter of time before more people you know are going to have it.
It’s no longer so-and-so’s second cousin’s friend’s mom who has it. It’s someone you personally know.
Maybe you know several people. Maybe you’ve even gone through it.
This guide is to help you navigate.
Here are four things not to do if someone tells you that they have Covid:
1. Do not ask them where or how they got it.
I am aware you are probably asking so you can avoid that certain place or person, but please try to understand that the question can be received as you saying they were “reckless” or did something “wrong.”
No, Gladys, my imaginary friend, when I bumped into you at the grocery store before Thanksgiving, I hadn’t contracted it yet; you’re fine.
No, George (her husband), I did not recklessly attend an illegal underground rave and kiss random strangers. I know this isn’t probably the intent of the inquirer, but just stop.
Ask me how I am and if you can help in any way. If I want to share how I got it with you, I certainly will.
I did not do something wrong, I simply live with two people who are deemed essential workers, and we do not have the financial luxury of putting someone up in a hotel until the possible threat has passed.
The thing is, by the time any symptoms begin or exposure is revealed to a person from their employer, it most likely is already too late.
2. Don’t ask how long they have been sick and why they didn’t get tested the day they started having symptoms.
My first symptoms were a dull headache and tiredness. I never had a fever. My slight runny nose was similar to the usual sinus release I have any morning.
I normally run tired during the winter months, so there was no obvious event or marker that told me I was sick.
I’ve stayed home; I’ve self-quarantined; I am intelligent enough to do these things. Again, ask how I am and if there is anything you can do to help.
If I want to share more, I’m sure I will if I feel up to it because I’m bored to death at home for the next few weeks.
3. Don’t tell stories of how your aunt’s friend’s sister got so sick she almost died in the hospital.
Or how your father’s friend’s friend had such mild symptoms he got over it in a few days.
Don’t mention that there are long-term heart problems and possible neuropathy. I’m aware of these things already.
I’m sitting at home trying to get better and reading all I can because I’m wondering when the hell I’m going to feel better. This is not the time to share doom and gloom scenarios and stories nor to downplay what I’m going through.
Just because you know someone who rocked their way through Covid with ease doesn’t mean I will too. Each person reacts differently to the virus, and no one can predict how it’s going to go for me.
A sympathetic ear is really what I need. Hear my story, should I decide to share it with you.
4. Don’t share unsolicited advice about Covid.
If you happen to know first-hand some information that may be helpful to me, feel free to share that you might and then wait for me to ask you for specifics.
Nobody wants to hear unsolicited advice, especially when they are feeling sick. At least give me the option to “opt-in” or “opt-out” before you start with what you think I need to be doing or not doing.
Ask me how I’m hanging in there, and then listen to my answer thoughtfully.
I don’t need a lecture on proper handwashing techniques or which mask is most protective.
I hope this is helpful and that you feel confident that you will be able to support your friends and loved ones should they get sick. And I hope that you stay well.
Sometimes even well-meaning people can make the wrong choices.
Be extra sensitive. We’re feeling crappy and hanging in there the best we can.