I’ve been verbally blasted because the coronavirus isn’t freaking me out. Like people legitimately have accused me of not caring for others and even my son. Come on! Of course I care. But, I’m not losing my mind over this. Life must continue, if not for me, for my son.
His whole life is turned upside down. No school, his favorite foods are lacking, home all day with none of his favorite diversions and the people he cares about are not around. No grandma. No sister. No walking around in the neigborhood. No Special Olympics. Mom is now my new teacher. My gosh, I can’t even imagine how he’s feeling. And while that’s just life and as adults we have to accept that this is the norm for a while, a 20 year old person with severe autism does not understand, “that’s just the way life goes”.
Is it serious? Sure. Should we take precautions? Sure. Should we be diligent in our pursuit of avoiding anyone who could have it? Sure. Should we be diligent to ensure we don’t unknowingly share anything with anyone else? Absolutely. Work to flatten the curve? Of course!
I think as parents of kids with significant needs, we feel a bit more prepared for this than most. Yes, we are certainly concerned about our kids, but we feel the stress of viral and bacterial outbreaks every single year. Fierce diligence is my norm. The sad truth is that any number of viruses or infections can become very serious, very quickly for my child. I know this. I live with this daily. Add my own asthma to that and it becomes even more important. If I can’t care for him, well, that’s a problem.
Every single time there is some kind of breakout, i.e. SARS, annual flu, rotovirus, norovirus, H1N1, foot & mouth disease, lice, etc., I am on high alert and ready!
In my opinion, the rest of the world just needs to follow the lead of parents of kids with special needs because we get it and understand what’s happening here.
Let me demonstrate to you what I mean…
-I clean surfaces nightly. My son’s hands are always in his mouth. He drools. It’s just how we live. Remotes, phones, tables, chairs, light switches, door knobs…if he touches it, it’s cleaned and cleaned often.
-I wash my hands 90 million times a day and have hand sanitizer everywhere, two bottles in my car.
-I wear gloves when changing him.
-Clean his changing table with Clorox wipes.
-I use bleach to clean walls and the shower (I know…not the best. I do as much natural stuff as possible, but don’t touch my bleach.)
-I clean the fabric furniture with alcohol, often.
-I soak toothbrushes in peroxide.
-We increase vitamins, supplements and fresh fruit and vegetables during flu season.
-I spray disinfectant all the time, like 1-2 x’s daily, at least.
-I diffuse oils.
-I open the windows often to air the house out.
-We avoid going out. I didn’t realize it, to be honest, but we do. The only change is no school and that’s the tough one. But otherwise, we don’t go out a whole lot during flu season. We may go for car rides, but not to stores, malls or restaurants and never social events. Occasionally we go to Special Olympics. We may go for a walk on a warm day.
-I keep my son home from school when they’ve had outbreaks of the flu or stomach bugs.
-If he has a cough or fever, we stay home because I don’t want to share it with anyone else. And I’ve asked people not to come over if they were sick.
-I wear masks or a cover over my mouth and nose when he is sick.
-I avoid having my mom around him when he’s sick because I don’t want her to get whatever bug he has.
-I stay pretty stocked up on food and medicine, just in case.
-I wash his linens and coat at least weekly, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week.
-Probably many more things that I can’t even think of right now.
So, while the rest of the world is in chaos, I’m just like, meh, I’ll just stay in on the days when my son is with his dad and that’s pretty much the only difference in my world. It’s not because I’m being flippant, it’s because this is our life every year during this season.
Maybe this is one time where my ongoing anxiety is a benefit and has desensitized me to this crisis because freaking out is not helping anyone, particularly my son.
Be diligent. Stay home. Practice fierce cleanliness. Provide your body with good nutrition and supplements. Keep your immune system and your child’s immune system strong. Rest. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.
It’s gonna be okay. Parents, we’ve been through this before. We will also get through this one, too.
May you be healthy and blessed.