Overshadowing Covid: Physical health

Covid-19 and the pandemic lockdown frequently intersected with health issues. Lockdown conditions made it more logistically complicated for residents to receive health care. Moreover, residents' declining health increased the sense that Covid-19 resulted in lost time. While the lockdown temporarily restricted residents' lives, physical limitations may soon permanently prevent them from doing some of their favorite activities. 

Major health issues took precedence over Covid-19

One health issue after the other: "The other thing that I found very–that I almost had to do to cope–I discovered the lump in my breast very shortly after I got the news that my heart was back to normal–ejection, fraction kind of thing. So my heart was back and I was feeling quite good and I was on a “yippee” kind of thing and then I found the lump in my breast. And so I really felt the need to sit down and write about my whole heart thing. So I could like put it away and not have to deal with it anymore, so I could deal with the breast cancer. So wrote this whole article called J broke my heart." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Traumatic night in the hospital: "It’s interesting because I actually was in a room at the hospital that was set up for Covid. It has one of those negative pressure things. I was in the intensive care unit with trouble breathing and stuff so I was you know but I had no control over anything so I just layed there (laughs) and you really don’t have a choice. Cuz you’re having trouble breathing, oh why can’t I get up and you turn on your side and you’re so short of breath and can’t do anything. So you just lay there and hope it gets better. I think I was surprised that I did roll with the punches when I went back on everything I’ve been through, I think then I wonder if I still have like a post-traumatic stress syndrome some time down the line when I’m through with all of this. Am I gonna have a crash or something? But so far, I don’t think so? But I don’t know." - Former Geriatric Nurse

For these older adults, hope for the future is tied more to personal health than anything to do with Covid-19

The future depends on the body: "I have physical issues and my mobility is dropping and dropping week by week by week. And they’re not gonna go away. So my perspective about the pandemic is sort of my perspective about my body and I’m going to do as much as I can for as long as I can. And that’s my goal." - Judi Bachrach

Freedom from lockdown is the last day of immunotherapy: "I’m still getting–I’m actually having like three different kinds of treatments. There’s the chemotherapy, and started with that there’s also an immunotherapy. Because my cancer’s quite aggressive so luckily there’s an immunotherapy for my kind of cancer. But you have to do it over a year, so every three weeks I still get an infusion, but I’m down to my–I have my fifteenth and there’s a total of 17 so I have two more to go. So April 5th I’ll be done with my infusions and I’m looking at that like a freedom day or the start of my new life or something but I’m really looking forward to it so like I can put that behind me maybe." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Only so much more time to travel: "Right, right, and in another five years I probably won’t be able to travel even with a hired wheelchair, and all that kind of thing, I might not be able to, so– let’s hope that in five or six months time, four or five months time, I’ll be able to get on a flight at Cleveland and go to New York." - Mary Simons

Loss of physical health means the loss of favorite activities: "I gave up skiing this year. Umm that was not traumatic but umm beginning to put me on a trajectory of sliding down the backside of life. You know [laughs] it’s something I enjoyed doing ever since I was about 25 years old. Umm and giving that up is umm it’s more of an indicator to my emotional self that there may be more things similar to that. I mean I don’t have the energy." - Dan Reiber