How I Survived Quarantine After Heart Transplant…

I’ve been in quarantine before coronavirus.

For the first year after my heart transplant, I wore a mask everywhere I went and was homebound for months. The first 3 months, I even wore a face mask when I was sat outside in the backyard.

My immune system is suppressed, so that I won’t reject my transplanted heart. This puts me at risk for picking up germs that most people can fight off. When I do get sick, my body crumbles under the slightest bug. I’ve been hospitalized for a week for the common cold.

I fear getting sick especially with something without a cure, such COVID. My body simply can’t fight off illness. So I must take all measures to avoid people and exposure to the virus. I will probably experience some form of quarantine until a vaccine is discovered.

Based on my past experience, I found the secret to surviving quarantine (and anything unpleasant really) is to SEEK JOY.

Joy is a powerful antidote to misery.

To seek joy is an active process of identifying what brings you pleasure and then planning ways to achieve that joyful experience. I made a video on this topic and it led to an interview and article in my local newspaper. Here is my YouTube video. Below is the link to the news article.

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I’m 3 weeks post transplant and doing Cardiac Rehab in the hospital. I’m wearing a mask and gloves to protect myself from germs in the physical therapy gym. Also, you can see the staples in my chest, which is called a “Zipper” scar. Taken February 26, 2016.

Being in quarantine (the first time) was an isolating time in my life. I couldn’t hug or kiss my family. I stayed six feet from my toddler nephew, since kids are petri dishes for germs. Admittedly, I didn’t feel well enough to embark on new hobbies or any of the diversions people are doing to pass the time in current COVID stay-at-home quarantine. However, there are many similarities to what life is like now under the COVID quarantine. The boredom and restlessness is familiar.

One of the key mantra’s that got me through my first quarantine was knowing that this isn’t forever. Scientist will find a vaccine for COVID and eventually life as we know it will resume.

Know that you will have bad days or tough moments, give yourself a break. When you can plan moments of joy. Whether that’s listening to music, taking a walk or video chatting with family and friends. Find someway to connect.

For more here is a link to the Austin-American Statements article, “Coronavirus in Austin: Heart transplant patients offer tips on social distancing

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your time.

Please drop me a line or make a comment. I read them all.

Hang in there,

Jennifer

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