The DISabled to ENabled podcast

*COVID 19 Special | Lauren Freedman: How has the virus changed things where you are?*

March 31, 2020


Catch Lauren's full podcast episode on the podcast soon! Go to: to subscribe right now so you can be notified. 

So this is a

crazy challenging kind of time and it's a time when none of us have really lived through anything like this. Have we is this really strange? With all this coronavirus and stuff and isolation? I kind of find the isolation thing quite amusing to help people the general Healthy People of the public I kind of handling isolation for the first time, in many ways. Yeah. And I think the chronic illness community are kind of a bit like

this. This is kind of how it is all the time.

Yeah. So anyway,

we are here with Lauren Freedman and we can have a quick chat about Corona virus and how it's affecting her where she is. So whereabouts are you at the moment Lauren?

I'm in my apartment in Venice in Los Angeles.

Nice. And has the coronavirus affected you in any way do you think at the moment?

I mean, most immediately, I have been practising social distancing and self isolation. So I've been in self isolation now for coming on two weeks, but we can have two weeks. I suspect we'll have to be practising social distancing and isolation quarantine for at least the next six to eight weeks if we have anything to go by based on what's happened in China and elsewhere in the world.

And yeah, I'm loving it. I'm very much in my elements.

I'm probably like the best and worst person to talk to about this because I'm an only child and I love being alone and I recharge with alone time. So being alone right now is like a gift. Total gift. It's so rare. I know some people are finding that it's a gift to be with their families. I'm like, it's a gift to not be.

I know and it's

so funny and it's, it's like I've been isolating for years. You know? I never really like hanging out with people. I work from home. So whenever we go out anyway, so kind of like, not a lot has really changed for us. And it's, yeah, it's really weird when I'd be out. anyone asked me this question, because I'm always going to write kind of the same, to be honest.

Well, I think there are two there are two sides to this conversation like one is that this is second nature for those of us who are in the Sunni community. We know how to do this. No problem. We got this. The other is and I found this very interesting being a part of This community during this crisis, that so many employers are making work accessible right now to people out of necessity. And the number of people who are living with chronic conditions who have asked for accommodations in the past and been denied those accommodations, or in some situations denied that employment, because their lawyers were unwilling or unable to offer them accommodation, who are now watching people just being given accommodation, I think it's, it's lighting more of a fire under us. And making us a little bit resentful. You know, so that there's, there's the joy of knowing how to handle ourselves in solo sort of lockdown situations. There's also for a lot of people anxiety, and that comes along with that, which I can totally understand because it might remind us of relapse. It might also be might be The kind of people who get anxious when we sit still, you know, um, but then that resentment that's come out of watching able bodied people get everything they want, as per usual, and, you know, having lost opportunities because of the lack of access. And it makes it very clear to me that our understanding of work and life needs to completely be overhauled, that employers need to start offering accommodations across the board. And be doing that for people because of childcare. We doing it because of ability because of, you know, this makes it easier for my commute, whatever it is, why do you want people to sit in traffic for three hours just so they can be you know, and this is something that

I didn't know.

Yeah, it's ridiculous. Really. I know telecommunications get better by the day. You know, and security has always been a factor in that. But if it's this easy for employers to hand over the reins to their employees, then there's no excuse for them not having done it before. And it goes to show that employers need to make more diverse hires make more accommodations, and that they have no more excuses.

Exactly. But I kind of see that as a good thing. I see. That's a good thing. Oh, yeah, making that realisation and I know you were saying about, like, the chronic illness community kind of resenting that a little bit and I completely understand why but I think it's more important to look forward about what's going to actually change in the future when this is all. Wow, I don't know if I can say over but like when we through the other side of this.

Yes. And I think that's the thing is that like, it's very easy to feel the resentment but as you say, we need to remember that what this means is that tomorrow we get jobs. What it means is that the next step is that we are fully integrated. Now. We being the Sunni community, the chronic illness community is fully integrated into the quote unquote able bodied workforce, that there should be no restrictions on that anymore.

Yeah. And I think it's going to improve the efficiencies of business when they realise that actually, rather than having people stay in traffic for three hours, they could actually be, you know, doing three hours of work

extra. You know,

I don't really understand why that's a thing. And I think, you know, business is going to realise that, actually, we can scale down our buildings, we don't need these large premises, we don't need these large overheads, you know, and how is that going to affect our economy?

Well, and I think one of the things that happens to those of us who've been chronically ill is that we get to a place where we have to go through healing, right. And a lot of that involves being with our close friends and family, if we have them available to us and understanding again, what it means to be in the present moment. And I think that's happening for everyone else right now, too. And what that means is that and what I'm hoping is that employers will understand That when you give your employees the time and space to be with their families and their loved ones, and to live their lives, because when you think about it, the amount of time that we devote to our, quote unquote full time jobs, whatever they may be, is, in many cases, more time than we devote to our friends and family and loved ones. And so if we're able to rebalance the scales, and give quality of life back to employees, they'll probably perform better guys, like this is where unlimited holiday and you know, and use within reason, obviously, and and flexibility from employers is super important. You know, like, I live in a country where people get two weeks of holiday a year if they're lucky. And that's not enough to stay healthy on mentally and emotionally and it needs to change. It's fundamentally the system's broken. And we're seeing that not only in terms of work life balance, but also in terms of the healthcare system, you know, So I see a lot of potential here for positive change. And I really hope that this situation wakes us up to that because the most important things in our lives are our lives, not our jobs. You know, and when employers understand that, I think life will get a lot easier. Yeah,

totally. And I think as well it's in terms of healthcare like, systems can be streamlines so much if people are allowed to say do appointments from home and things like that, and I don't understand why, you know, it's necessary for me to drive an hour and a half to a hospital to go and see my nurse when I could just kind of pick up the phone, save my energy. Yeah.

You know, and well, telemedicine, certainly been developing and that's like a massive security issue and I you know, I think it's something that is is fantastic. The strides that are being made and telemedicine I think that may be a little slower because of HIPAA regulations. medical records and privacy issues. But um, I do think I mean, it was great. I had a telemedicine appointment with like, just to check in with one of my doctors the other day, and it was fantastic. I didn't need to go into the office to do it. And look, his office isn't that far, it's not any. Like, you know, it's not a big slog for me to go in. But that said, it was great doing it from home. By the same token, I also don't want to be home all the time. You know, you want to be around people when you can be. And I think it's important to also not create a life where you literally don't have to leave the house because it's good to leave the house to do things to if you can. And so, finding balance again, I think it's just about rebalancing the scales. Totally.

Yeah. And

how many meetings could have been an email is like, really? How many meetings could have been an email, just write the email?

Exactly. I think a lot of things will change because of mama come out of this to be honest.

Yeah. I have great hope that it will. I think I think coronavirus is it's interesting I was thinking about it recently is sort of nature's gift. It's horrible. This is not to, you know, sort of undercut the scale of the disaster and the lives that have been lost and affected by this. Um, but I do think that there is something in the fact that our planet is dying. And that a wild animal in a wet market gave a virus to a human that has now become this global pandemic. It is balancing the scales in a lot of ways. The more of us who stay home, the fewer co2 emissions are going into our atmosphere. You know, people aren't flying much people aren't driving as much. People aren't using industry as much. But I'm sure that there will be an equal and opposite toll on perhaps technologies. So it's Really about putting all of this into perspective. I do think our planet needed this on a certain level. And I've been trying to look at it hopefully from that perspective. Yeah. Despite the fact that it's a massive tragedy. I mean, what's going on is unprecedented in our lifetimes. And we'll certainly send many economies into shock and depression, you know, and this is not easy. You know, it's not to say that any of this is easy, but I do think there is some of it that must have been necessary for it to have happened. I like to believe there's a reason that everything happens. And yeah, I like to think that maybe the planet was trying to protect herself, and I'm trying to be on her side right now.

Yeah, official and like, I'm not saying it's a good thing at all. Like, obviously, it's not a good thing. People are injured and hurt and stuff, but like, we've got to try and see the positive side of things like this is what this podcast is all about. This is what I'm all about. It's about seeing the silver lining because there is always a silver lining. And once one one better silver lining that I think is a really important thing to touch on is the fact that the boundaries between the older generation and technology have been broken down significantly. And a really good example of this is the other night when we had a virtual family games night the other night that we we had like Paul's mom and dad on the My dad on there, my brother, his sister, like loads of people roll on a zoom call role playing these games, and it was the most lovely evening I think I've ever had, you know, yeah. And does

it make you think like, cheat? When did we actually get together for a game night? I mean, that's the thing that's happened with me is that I've been I've talked to more people in the last two weeks than I do on a regular basis. Yeah, for sure. Wonderful, you know, like facetiming groups of friends. And I mean, yesterday I sat and watched a movie with my mom and we were on FaceTime together and just muted ourselves and under muted ourselves to make commentary, you know, and, and it's lovely. It's a really nice bonding activity. Sure, I would have much preferred to have gone to the cinema and been able to sit with her and whisper in her ear. Like right now she's in the high risk category, and we don't need to worry about that, you know. So, I think really being able to, like, keep communicating is super important. And thank God, we have technology at our fingertips that allows us to do this even if we only had the phone. It would be something. Yeah. So I yeah, I think if there were a time for this to happen, this is it. You know, it's much different than 1918 isn't it? So? Yeah, um, I think we're, we have have to look at it as a gift and and take the gift and and see what we can do with it. That's positive. He sees this as an opportunity. You know, of course, we say this as I mean, I'm presuming that you haven't been affected by Corona virus in the sense that you haven't lost anyone yet either. You know? I haven't either. And I think it's also very easy, easy to have this conversation from that perspective. And I think it's important to recognise that people who are dealing with friends and family members who may have been affected, or who have lost friends or family members because of this, and I think you're perfectly within your rights if you have gone through that kind of loss or fear, to be angry, and to be grieving right now. And I think that's what you should be focusing on. Absolutely.

Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. And if you're listening to this, and you have lost somebody that I am so sorry for your loss. I come on, say, then,

yeah, I'm so sorry for your loss. And, you know, thoughts and prayers only get us so far. But, you know, we're trying to change the world and we're staying in so no one else gets sick. And so we try to stop the spread of the virus. So, you know, as long as everyone's taking personal responsibility, I know that there are definitely boomers out there, who think it's okay to go back to work and it's not I'm going to be That millennial calling out that Boomer, um, because I do think, you know, if we're being told to exercise caution, we need to exercise caution. That's the end of the discussion. Yeah,

totally, totally. And I'm going to leave you with a quote now for think about at home. For everybody that is anxious or overwhelmed or worried. You can only control what you can control. Okay? The things that you can't worry about are the things that you haven't got control over. What we don't have control over is this virus, you know, hugely spreading outside of our houses. What we do have control of is staying in our houses and watching

and please do it for people who are high risk, especially, just just please stay like people like you and I who have pre existing conditions like we have chronic conditions. We're already at a disadvantage in this situation. Our parents aren't disadvantages or grandparents. So it's very important to exercise caution, not for yourself, but for other people. Like No, you want to get out? We all do. We're all in this together. So let's all be frustrated together and make some puzzles.

Yeah, let's make some puzzles.

Yep, I like that. This is gonna be the quote of the episode. Let's make some puzzles a little time. Time.

Thank you so much for that, Lauren. That is just that's such a great insight. And it's great to chat to you about that. Thank you so much.

Of course. Thank you, Jessie.


Play this podcast on Podbean App