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Quarantine Chronicles: Linda Redfern Socks

LINDA Redfern Socks may be a senior citizen, but she doesn't feel that way.

At 68 years young, the self-professed "gym rat" is a certified personal trainer and teaches super senior classes every once in a while. She's also living with lupus, an autoimmune disease that puts her among the population that's vulnerable to COVID-19.

This is her Quarantine Chronicle.

How are you feeling?

I feel pretty good, for the most part. For this whole quarantine so far, I’ve been feeling really good. Recently I had some surgery for kidney stones; they put a stent in and removed it, so I’m pretty much back to normal. I did something to my back, but that’s on me. But other than that, I’m doing really good!

I’m trying not to be really negative because negative thoughts are so bad, especially if you have lupus. You can stress yourself out and make yourself sick. I was spending a lot of time on Facebook, and then I said, “You know what, we’re going to take a break, because it seems like everybody’s so angry and upset over this thing.”

I’ve been watching movies, doing stuff outside. My husband is traveling and will be gone for a couple months probably, setting up hospitals down in Houston, Texas. We’ve been together about 20 years now, and this is the first time he’s going to be gone for months. The first couple days was like, party!

Let’s talk about living with lupus. How does it affect you on a daily basis?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system actually attacks your organs and your body instead of fighting infections. You can have pain and swelling in your joints, you can get fevers, it may affect your kidneys, it can affect any organ in your body. You just don’t know. One day you could feel on top of the world, and the next day you wake up and feel like you got hit by a truck. It’s unpredictable.

For me, it’s flulike symptoms when I do get sick, so I’ll run a temperature, get kind of achy, and I just stay in bed. I’ve had it for so long, 36 years. A long time ago, the life expectancy of lupus was very low and a lot of people died from it, but now they know how to control it—there’s no cure.

You have probably heard about how the president is talking about cloroquine medicine [as a cure for coronavirus]. Well, that’s the primary medicine for lupus patients, and the Lupus Society is really upset because people rely on that. If you don’t take the kind of medicine you’re supposed to be taking, you can become very ill and you could die because you’re not being monitored. Luckily, I’m not taking cloroquine because I was allergic to it, so I’m taking something else.

You don’t look sick, and that is the problem with lupus. It’s difficult on your mind. You’ll go out and tell somebody, “I can’t be in the sun, I don’t feel good,” and they look at you like you’re crazy because they don’t even believe you because you look okay. It’s a difficult illness because a lot of people don’t take you serious until they see you on your deathbed and go, “Oh, yeah, she’s sick.”

Are you nervous for—

About the virus? Yeah. And I’m not a worrier at all. I think I’m probably so laid back, but with a type A personality.

I wasn’t nervous in the beginning, when this virus first started, but now I am because it seems like it’s spreading so quickly. My husband knows about all that stuff, so he tells me everything, which is probably not a good thing. I know too much and it scares me. If I go out, I wear a mask when I go someplace I think there’s going to be people around, but I really have been avoiding people.

I haven’t really been anywhere. I’ll go pick up a prescription and the pharmacy I go to has a glass screen and is drive-thru and nobody touches anything. I have a neighbor who’s going to the store for me because I’m scared to death to go in a grocery store. You have to worry about the cart and the plastic they put the food in and the people—it’s too much. If I order anything from anywhere, I pay over the phone, I don’t handle money, I make them put it in my trunk.

The reason I’m really anal about this, which I think everybody should be but even more so me, if I get this virus, I’m done. I don’t even have to think about whether I’ll survive or not. My chances of survival are real slim. I have two whammies: I have lupus and I’m over 60.

I’m seeing a lot of young people at the beach and partying like nothing is going to happen to them, and all of a sudden the young people are starting to get sick now. So it’s not just for people with autoimmune diseases and older people. There’s babies and young people getting it.

I think it’s kind of a wake-up call, but that particular generation, I feel, is whatever goes, goes. They don’t really care. And the fact that there could be a friend of theirs dying, it’s not a big deal to them. I don’t know. It just seems like they don’t value life as much as the older people.

It’s really upsetting to me. I just can’t understand why people don’t understand. We have a quarantine, there’s a reason why we’re doing this. This is not just something somebody made up and decided, “Okay, let’s everybody have a free-for-all and do whatever they want to do.” This is not a vacation, and a lot of people are treating it as a vacation and going about their daily routine. The thing is, maybe they don’t care about themselves, but they could be transmitting that to someone else.

No one wants to die. Do your best to conform with all the rules and stipulations. It’s not a permanent situation—it’s going to get better. And it’s not like you’ll have to stay in your house for a full year, so just follow the rules.

You seem like you are adapting really well and staying positive. How are you keeping a good attitude?

I try to adapt. Every once in a while, you get in your head, I know I do with certain things. And I go, “Snap out of it.” Everyone’s in the same situation. There should not be a poor-me thing because everybody’s doing it. I don’t really get down on anything, but I can’t wait to go back to the gym, let me tell ya.