Monday, March 9, 2020

How do I keep safe?

The Coronavirus instructions are straight forward. Wash your hands frequently, don't touch your face. If you have to touch your face, wash your hands first. Easy enough, right? But what if like me you're in a wheelchair? I use gloves when I go outside, so that's not a problem. But if the virus survives on surfaces, it can be om my gloves, I can transfer it to and from my hand-rims. If I take off my gloves, wash my hands and touch my wheel in any way to move around it's on my hands again. Seems like I'm at a bigger risk for transmission, because the contact between the outside world and the ground is more direct and continuous. Perhaps I should wipe my wheels with Clorox every time I come back from outside. People who walk can put their hands in pockets. I use my hands for movement all the time. Seems that to keep safe I would need to keep an outdoor chair and an indoor chair and yet a risk of cross contamination exist. Having gloves has through the years been actually pretty effective in getting me to not touch my nose and face.

The bigger issue is what happens when I get home, when the gloves come off, when I'm making food. My risk is not so much from direct exposure like for most people. And yes I've been to a play Saturday and I noticed the mist of saliva as actors were articulating and singing, and it did disturb me, to the extent I couldn't really enjoy myself. This is not a big issue for Florida today, but in a week, a month, three months it might be. All these behaviors can become deemed to much of a risk to take one day. And I did say to myself, I hope the actress doesn't sing in my direction, that she turns away, go more towards the back of the stage.

 My areas of exposure are however different from other people. It might not be the Court, the cinema or the theater. It's the grabbar I use to pull myself. It's the doorknob, it's my wheels touching the ground.  I can't just go wash my hands. I need to keep on wheeling. Touching the wheels every second.  Just yesterday I was pulling myself up the ramp grabbing onto a railing a frail older lady was holding on for support with her bare hands. Perhaps gloves with some antiviral properties are the way of the future, but till then I've been trying to limit being outside. Crowds or no crowds. Because for me, for those like me who use their hands as you use your feet and who are not stuck at home the risk can come with every turn of the wheel.

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