For most people, quarantine sucks. For most people, it’s probably the last thing they want to be doing right now. But for some people, like me, quarantine is NOT the worst thing in the world, and it actually has some perks. Being a teenage city girl with a disability definitely has its challenges. Definitely. I have several barriers and obstacles that can prevent me from doing several things. Many of these barriers affect my social life. However, in quarantine, now almost everything is online. School, camps, birthday parties, you name it! Continue reading to find out more about my perspective on quarantine.
CAMP. There are so many camps that I am not able to participate in because I have a disability. First off, day camps. I am not able to participate in several day camps because my parents have to work during the summer, and my nurses might not be comfortable with or might not be able to take me to a day camp. Second of all, sleep-away camps. I am not able to participate in most sleep-away camps because the majority of sleep-away camps do not allow parents, and/or do not have nurses and doctors there to take care of kids like me. As you can imagine, it can be challenging for me to not be able to go to a sleep-away/day camp, as so many of my friends leave for most of the summer to go to these camps. However, now that most things are online, several camps are too! This summer, I will finally be able to “attend” camps with some of my friends because I will be at home and with my parents to take care of me. This is huge for me as I was never able to experience what my friends do every summer, but now I will be able to experience the same camp experience as they will! Don’t stop reading! This is just one of the perks of quarantine.
SLEEPOVERS AND BIRTHDAY PARTIES. When my friends have sleepovers at their house, you’ve guessed it, I am not able to go. Why, you might ask? Because of my disability. At my house, I have a whole entire shelf of medical equipment that I use on an everyday basis. This equipment includes a pulse ox to monitor my oxygen saturation and heart rate, a cough assist to help me cough out any mucus or secretions inside of me, a ventilator to help me breathe, and more. Here’s the issue with sleepovers. There is so much equipment (a whole shelf!) that we would have to bring over to my friend’s house, and that is just not realistic. I would also have to bring one of my moms to monitor me throughout the night, and, well, that’s no fun. When I am at a sleepover, I am always the one hosting it. Now for the birthday parties. Depending on the type of birthday party my friend is having, I might not be able to go. Here’s why. Some birthday parties are hosted at a place or a house that is not accessible to someone in a wheelchair, which means that I am not able to attend the party. However, just like camps, many people are hosting sleepovers and birthday parties online too (over zoom, google meet, etc). It is the perfect way for me to get to know, socialize, and have fun with more people.
SPONTANEOUS HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS. Yes, before quarantine I was able to hang out with my friends, however, it required a lot of planning beforehand. Let me explain. I always have to have a mom (I have two moms :)) with me, as I need someone there who is trained to respond to any medical needs I might have. Considering this, it takes a lot of planning ahead before I can hang out with a friend(s). Think about it this way; I am not able to just call a friend, make plans, and spontaneously “walk” over to their house. I have to go through a process of checking with a mom to see if they are available to take me, and planning around that. It also involves me hoping that there is a lobby, cafe, library, coffee shop, etc. nearby for them to hang out while they wait to see if I need anything. Like I said, it’s a whole process. I have a lot of good friends, but I wish I could have more spontaneous hangouts with people and not have to plan ahead quite a bit, and have my mom nearby. During quarantine, nobody is really having “spontaneous hangouts”, so I never feel left out. I have spontaneous hangouts with my friends online all the time.
CLUBS/AFTER SCHOOL. I have always dreamed about being able to participate in after school programs and clubs. In elementary school, it never worked out because I had to be bussed home. In middle school, I didn’t have the bus issue, but my nurse had to be able to stay with me during after school. Unfortunately, my nurse was only able to stay after school for 1 day of the week, meaning that I participated in after school programs/clubs very limitedly. However, during quarantine, my school offered many different clubs. Some were facilitated by teachers, and others by students. I participated in a wellness club, a theater club, and a baking club. It was all a really fun experience, and it was great getting to know more kids in my own grade, and in other grades.
While I certainly look forward to being able to leave the house safely and see all of my friends again, being quarantined for 100+ days now has definitely brought me closer to more people, and allowed me to participate in many things.