Right now I'm avoiding my apartment while my fiance is having a rendezvous with pneumonia. Poor John - his immune system is almost as lame as mine. He thoughtfully insisted that I stay away until he has a few days of antibiotics under his belt. For the first time in history, I listened.
I've never been too diligent about distancing myself when he's sick, but more than ever, I understand the value of health. Now that Orencia is doing its thing, the last thing I'd want is to rock that boat. Since Orencia is an immunosuppressant, I need to be extremely careful about avoiding germs at all costs. If a simple cold reaches my chest, it can be very difficult to treat, and potentially dangerous. It can also easily cause a full-body flare. I'm also not allowed to receive my infusions when I'm sick. Postponing an infusion means postponing my relief, and that's never ideal.
In short, I've finally made myself a priority and must protect my health at all costs. The same is true for anyone living with chronic illness. When you spend each day fighting an uphill battle, a cold is nothing to sneeze at (pun fully intended). What could be an unpleasant annoyance for someone with a stronger immune system, could de-rail our progress altogether.
This next part is a simple, but vital message for the world...
If you're a healthy person overall, you probably don't give much thought to a cold. It's unpleasant, but it's a temporary stumbling block. You'll get back on your feet soon, as long as you drink enough water, get plenty of sleep, and perhaps take some medicine. For other people - myself included - it's definitely not that simple.
You can help chronically ill individuals tremendously, simply by following the age-old "sick rules": covering your mouth, washing your hands, and keeping your distance whenever possible. You never know what someone might be battling, and for people who have compromised immune systems. catching your illness could have life-lasting and dangerous consequences. Value the health of loved ones (and even strangers) as you might value your own. If you're feeling sick, but you have plans with someone...be honest about how you're feeling beforehand. Kindly give them the option of backing out and be understanding about their position. Remember that health is one of the greatest gifts you can give.