I contracted H1N1 six years ago and got laid off due to COVID-19.

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(Photo courtesy of Kelli Komondor)

It’s a double whammy when you’re already at risk — then get laid off.

When this coronavirus stuff started, I was concerned. It took me back to January 2014 when I contracted H1N1, most likely from a coworker. I already had an existing risk factor — asthma — and I was sick enough to make multiple emergency room visits, and then, a few months later, be admitted for a few days. Anyone who has a lung disease or illness knows how incredibly awful it is to struggle to breathe. Gasping for air and wheezing is a helpless, scary feeling and H1N1 definitely contributes to any existing airway problems you may already have.

Fast forward to 2020, and I’m still feeling the effects of H1N1. I take daily medication and visit a pulmonologist for a yearly check up and pulmonary function testing, a chest X-ray and whatever else he feels necessary. And a flu shot — always a flu shot!

So, coronavirus comes to America and I have 1) asthma, 2) a past lung infection and 3) Type II diabetes. YAY FOR ME!

I’m the kind of person who can stay home for days at a time. Weeks, probably (which will be proven shortly). I have a good internet connection, an iPhone, laptop, Netflix, a love for Food Network shows, hubby, our dog Mia and enough books and magazines to last for months.

And now, I don’t have to worry about going anywhere.

I reported to the office on Monday, March 16, and was laid off indefinitely.

I’m turning this into a positive — I have a million things I can be doing around the house. I have a book I’ve started three times and haven’t made it through the first chapter without having to restart. I started blogging and marketing my skills in hopes to land independent contract work. I love marketing, writing and social media, event planning and building strong business relationships. I can find things to do but I mostly want to stay focused on staying healthy.

Thankfully, my husband’s company provides our health insurance — and very good insurance at that. He works in public transportation, which is not an ideal job right now, but he’s taking every precaution he can to not bring something home to me. He’s able to take extra shifts because they are cleaning and sanitizing the transport vehicles more than usual, so that’s going to help. Plus, Congress has been debating sending payments of $1,200 to help keep people on their feet during the coronavirus crisis. I did apply for unemployment — along with what I’m sure are thousands of others across the country.

Has anyone else been laid off, had hours cut or lost their job due to this pandemic? Are you at risk of losing health coverage? How are you feeling physically and emotionally? What’s your plan?

My plan for the short-term future is to stay healthy, I plan to be walking, prepping for spring, cooking, writing and reading. I've been reaching out to friends and family and trying to be part of a positive support system. I'm going to limit my social media use and try to take in trustworthy news. I'm going to keep reminding myself that my situation could be much worse and "this too shall pass." Positive thoughts, positive outcomes, right?

Kelli Komondor is a mom of two grown kids and lives in Port Vue with her husband and their dog. She can be reached at Kelli.Komondor@gmail.com.

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