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World Arthritis Day COVID-19 Eileen Canada

This World Arthritis Day project is presented with CreakyJoints, CreakyJoints Australia, and the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA).

This COVID-19 Time Capsule is meant to capture a snapshot of what it’s been like to live with a chronic illness during the pandemic among people living all over the globe. The questions are an intentional mix of light and serious.

Everyone’s responses reflect the many ways having a chronic illness is a shared experience that knows no boundaries. At the same time, you’ll find some very distinct differences in how the pandemic has been experienced from place to place.

Respondents answered questions via email and responses may be lightly edited for clarity.

Name: Eileen Davidson
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Age: 34
Primary health condition: Rheumatoid arthritis

Daily Living

What were/are your go-to foods during the pandemic?

Berries, anything berries. Making my own kale chips in my air fryer, different flavors of “nice cream” (banana-based ice cream) and Mexican-inspired protein bowls.

How many rolls of toilet paper do you currently have?

Currently running out, maybe four rolls, and feeling slightly fearful because I noticed an increase in the unavailability again. My biggest stockpile was 82 rolls.

How do you feel about Zoom and digital meetings/events?

They’re suitable for now but I miss being around humans and getting out of my PJs. I miss the excitement and adrenaline rush that getting out of the house provides. It’s a great fatigue buster.

Do you have a favorite face mask? If yes tell us about it.

My leopard-print mask because it goes well with my hair color and, well, it’s leopard-print. But as long as it keeps others safe, I like it.

Where do you mainly get your COVID-19 information from?

CreakyJoints, health care officials, and Arthritis Research Canada because I know and trust them.

Pop Culture

What TV shows and/or movies got you through lockdown/quarantine?

I think just like a lot of the population Tiger King got me through some tough moments. So did Ratched, Killing Eve, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

 Share five songs from your pandemic playlist.

  • “Pachamama” (YokoO and Retza)
  • “Just Let Go” (Birds of Mind feat Zemial Israel)
  • “Phara Oh” (Dole feat Kom)
  • “Chicago Drive” (Lee Burridge)
  • “Occult Spells” (Cabaret Nocturne) (House keeps me happy and moving! Need that right now.)

Check out my Favorites playlist on Spotify. It gets me going.


How has your health generally been during the pandemic?

Like always with chronic illness, it’s been bumpy. The stress and sedentary lifestyle of the pandemic has led to more pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Even some weight gain from not being as active and severely bored. It really is a painful time.

Have you used telehealth? Tell us about your best and/or worst appointment.

I found some telehealth or virtual health appointments to be great if I don’t need a physical exam. Not having to travel back and forth so much for appointments has given me more time to focus on my health and conserve my little energy — and save money. I also find it easier to remember what I’ve been told during the appointment because I am not exhausted from traveling.

What do you wish other people knew about what it’s like to have arthritis during a pandemic?

Being immunocompromised in a pandemic is terrifying. Please understand that my concerns and needs as a patient may be different than those of someone healthy, but to beat this pandemic, we need to be in it together. Social distancing, washing our hands, keeping our bubble small, not going out as often as we normally would, being extra cautious, and wearing a mask when we do go out — these are our weapons against COVID-19.

Pandemic Management

How has your country handled social distancing and mask wearing?

The majority of people in my province (British Columbia) now are out wearing masks but I was appalled to see protests from people claiming that masks give people cancer and this is just a global government conspiracy. The summer was definitely difficult for people to social distance, especially the younger generations, so numbers have gone up.

How has your country handled unemployment or disability/illness caused by COVID-19?

They were quick to offer financial support to people who lost their jobs, but it doesn’t cover everyone. People are still struggling. Everywhere I go I see more and more businesses closing.

How do you generally feel about your country’s response to the pandemic?

I am grateful for the people who have taken this pandemic seriously. But to beat this, we really need to all be in this together.


What has been the most challenging thing about navigating the pandemic for you personally?

Personally, the boredom and loneliness are consuming, on top of the grief of everything going on in the world too. It’s hard to pick which is the hardest part.

Have you experienced anything positive or any surprising upsides during the pandemic?

My work as a patient advocate has increased.

If you could go back to January 2020, what would you tell your future self?

You need some new hobbies, girl.

Check Out More Patient Perspectives in Our COVID-19 Time Capsule

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