Vulnerable ≠ Disposable

Siri Myhrom
11 min readJun 12, 2021

Nine months in a bubble with an immunocompromised person. 06.07.21

Jenny (L) and me, 2012

It was the end of August 2020 when we decided to create a bubble with my husband’s aunt and uncle.

We were outside on a perfect summer evening, having spent the day on the North Shore of Lake Superior together. We did a countdown.

Ten … nine … eight …

On zero, we all shouted, “BUBBLE!” and our girls ran screaming with happy giggles into the wide embrace of Jenny and Todd. It was a sudden rush of emotion for all of us, unexpected in some ways.

After months apart, we could hug again. We could share a meal inside one another’s homes again. Maybe this is naive, but I didn’t realize how hungry our girls were for unguarded physical closeness with people who weren’t us.

We decided together on appropriate protocols based on what we understood about the science at the time: we weren’t going out anywhere except to get groceries, always masked or using curbside pickup; we weren’t sharing indoor air with anyone outside the bubble; if any unavoidable potential exposure occurred (like when Jenny had her lupus appointments at Mayo Clinic, or when our older daughter had to have some teeth pulled), we’d wait two weeks to see each other indoors again.

It was a little complicated, sure, and to some of our outside friends and family who didn’t understand the situation, it likely appeared as if we were maybe taking things a little too seriously. And honestly, who knows? If there’s anything 2020 taught me, it’s that you can read 5 or 20 or 1,000 articles and still not be an expert on viruses and know how to make all the perfect choices with 100% certainty.

But our arrangement allowed us a blessed reprieve from the grinding monotony of only-us while still honoring the needs of Jenny, who has lupus and is immunocompromised. It gave our daughters important social and physical interaction. It gave us precious time with people who are an integral part of our lives.

Halloween party with J&T, 2020

Jenn and Todd are in their early 70s. Jenn is vivacious, chatty, inquisitive, generous, quick to laugh and full…

Siri Myhrom

Storyteller. Storylistener.