Let Us Out – Please

Who decides what and when for us?

At this point, the phrase “let us out – please” is a mantra for us. We’ve been self-quarantined for quite a while. And we’re yearning to get out of the house. So, what should be okay for us to do? And who should decide what we can do?

What Should Be Okay for Us to Do?

Up to this point, many of us have been limited to these out-of-the-house activities: walking/exercising by ourselves, grocery shopping, and going to the pharmacy. Some may have also used curbside pickups.

But, now what? As the number of states “opening up” hits double digits, which of these DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING? For which will you wait? First, we focus on discretionary activities — those that we voluntarily choose to engage in.

Let Us Out - PleaseAs we noted, the above are voluntary. That is, they are our choice. However, other activities may soon be required of us. Without them being at our discretion. These include:

    • Returning to work or school.
    • Walking on busy streets.
    • Taking mass transit.
    • Using elevators
    • Using public bathrooms.
    • Being less than six feet apart from other employees/students while working or attending class.
    • Being required to wear masks/gloves for lengthy time periods during the day.
    • Staying in dormitory housing.

That leads us to our second question.

Who Should Decide What We Can Do?

Wow. This has turned into a real “hot button” question. And there are lots of possible answers.

Recently, there have been protests around the U.S. about required self-quarantining. Those protesters believe too much has been shut down. And that they should be able to choose their activities. On the other hand, the vast majority of those polled believe that mandatory self-quarantining is necessary to enforce social distancing rules.

Before outlining possible decision makers, we must address the elephant in the room. Can we and our fellow Americans be trusted to adhere to voluntary social distancing rules? Or must these rules be legally mandated to be followed? 

Unfortunately, for a sizable number of people, “voluntary” means that these rules don’t apply to me. Let’s try to be apolitical here. With blue and red state examples. In New York City, some people continued to go to parks, play outdoor basketball, etc. This lasted until rules were more strictly enforced. In Florida, some people do not practice social distancing while going to reopened beaches. That state is leaving it up to residents to self-regulate themselves.

Now, let’s outline just some of those who are making decisions that affect our health and livelihoods:

    • Federal government and agencies
    • State governments and agencies
    • Local governments and agencies
    • Specific authorities (such as mass transit)
    • Public institutions (such as libraries and schools)
    • Private institutions (such as banks) 
    • Employers (both public and private)
    • US [intentionally listed last]

At this juncture, the preceding mix of responsibilities and authority seem rather disjointed. That is why interesting times are ahead.

 

Volunteering Is GREAT

Thanks my UCP buddies for giving back to ME!

As this blog title notes, “Volunteering Is GREAT.” And I realized this more than ever while being laid up after my knee replacement surgery.

Last year, I wrote: If you aren’t already doing so, consider volunteering. It’s a true win-win, for those you are helping as well as for YOU. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 It is so rewarding!!

While I was recuperating, I was really, really bored. Besides doctor appointments and physical therapy, I had little to do. As well as limited mobility.

But my United Cerebral Palsy buddies whom I mentor really cheered me up. They called me as a group. Amazingly, I recognized all of their voices. They also sent me a couple of cards signed by many of them. That really made happy.

When I returned on a limited basis two weeks ago, they gave me incredible welcomes. Yelling out Joel, Joel, Joel. Running to give me hugs. And presenting  me with homemade cards. I was almost in tears.

The preceding is what we get back from volunteering: An incredible sense of making a difference with someone else who needs it. I missed volunteering as much as they missed me.

Here’s a story I wrote about the president of our local self-advocacy group, Jaquan Giles. It appeared in the UCP – LI December 2019 newsletter.

Volunteering Is GREAT
 

I Am Now a Five-Year Cancer Survivor

Hope is a precious commodity.

 

Amazing. Unbelievable. Lucky. Blessed. I am now a five-year cancer survivor.  Although some define the 5-year period as beginning at the date of diagnosis, I prefer to use the date of my Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer. February 12, 2015. So, exactly five years ago today.

I am kind of melancholy about reaching this point. But I don’t feel the euphoria about beating the less than 10 percent survival rate for PC that I expected. I just learned this is not uncommon. According to Dr. SP, a leading psychologist, my melancholy reflects a lot of subconscious feelings about the traumatic events during my journey. Even though I try as hard as possible to be upbeat on a daily basis. Also, it relates to my profound sorrow about others with cancer who have not been so lucky. And my own continuing challenges.

Live life every day. Live as long as you can, as well as you can.

Observations about Surviving Cancer

From Cancer.Net:

“A person who has had cancer is commonly called a cancer survivor. ‘Co-survivor’ is sometimes used to describe a person who has cared for a loved one with cancer.”

“Not everyone who has had cancer likes the word ‘survivor.’ The reasons for this may vary. For instance, they may simply identify more with being ‘a person who has had cancer.’ Or if they are dealing with cancer every day they may describe themselves as ‘living with cancer.’ Therefore, they may not think of themselves as a survivor. Living with a history of cancer is different for each person. But most people have the common belief that life is different after cancer.”

“Other common reactions that people have after cancer include:

              • Appreciating life more.
              • Being more accepting of themselves.
              • Feeling more anxious about their health.
              • Not knowing how to cope after treatment ends.”

           

        • Now, check out this video.