Day 60

I have been doing a good job navigating this current virus situation without taking up Kiran’s medical team’s time. This has been somewhat intentional on my part.

I don’t need them to weigh in, necessarily, at this stage of the journey.

Let’s face it: I am GOOD at the restrict and protect stage.

I am less good when it comes time to think about adding risk back in. So today, after my processing yesterday and some guidance from a friend, I decided it was time to start some conversations.

I tend to turn to the same two people – Kiran’s pediatrician here in town and his cardiologist in Iowa City. Both are thoughtful, even-keel professionals who have always acknowledged and respected my place on Kiran’s care team.

Here’s what really threw me for a loop and made me think it was time to reach out: Kiran’s preschool teacher, who is so good at caring about Kiran and keeping his medical needs at the forefront of her mind, mentioned to me that all it would take is a note from his doctor to get homebound services started in the fall if necessary.

My knee jerk reaction was to panic. And then as I calmed down, I started feeling like that would not be a necessary step for Kiran. IF school reopens in brick and mortar in the fall, it will likely be a risk worth taking to have Kiran back in the classroom with his peers.

Both his cardiologist and pediatrician agreed with that, at this point. From a medical risk perspective, they would fully support sending Kiran back to school if that is what we decided was best for our family.

Of course, one of them said “If schools open up in the fall” and one of them said “Schools are going to close down again. I don’t see how they couldn’t. So I think that decision will ultimately be made for you.” ….

Also, from both of them, validation was received for the plan Arif and I already agreed to – they both feel it is wise to wait until mid-June (or even end of June) before we start doing anything different with Kiran. We stay the course so we can watch viral activity now that things are opening back up. And we got validation for the plan I proposed as far as how we would approach re-entry – namely, appointments first (medical, therapy, dental) and letting close people back into our lives in a non-virtual manner (Eric). We would still avoid taking Kiran to stores or doing any unnecessary activities (including spending time with people who would bring in a lot of risk) as we continue to stay informed. A lot of wait and watch. Watch and wait.

I feel less crazy. I am not sure how many times it will take before I realize I can – and should – trust my well-thought-out instincts when it comes to Kiran’s well-being. Although I’m not particularly happy it will be another 30 days – and even then, only if viral activity is finally decreasing – before we get to spend time with Eric.

This sucks. And honestly, I have questioned at times if I was being too restrictive – too protective. Turns out, I was just being smart. I was just doing what was in Kiran’s best interest, to keep him healthy and safe … as much as that is in my power. And that’s what I will continue to do.

Here’s to another thirty days ………

Bubble vs. Abundant Life

I am currently living with great fear.

As a mother, my instinct, even when Kiran was still growing inside of me, was to protect him. Due to his medical conditions at birth, I had to go to greater extents than most to make sure he stayed safe and healthy. He was born late October – peak flu season – and sent home with me as a newborn with a critical, unrepaired heart defect.

Despite my best efforts, he caught a cold – the common cold – at around two and a half months old. It required a week-long hospital stay, because he needed oxygen to make it through.

I know I can’t protect him from this virus indefinitely. I know, at some point, we have to re-enter society. It has never been my intention to keep Kiran inside a bubble – He and I have always chosen to get out in the world and live a full life, despite the obstacles.

Risk is a part of life. I get that.

I still feel, for my family, it’s too soon.

And I do worry that it will become harder to exercise my “freedom” to stay home. Now that Iowa is opening back up, I worry that some of the services businesses have provided that have allowed us to stay safely at home will no longer be offered.

I worry I will be required to make decisions before I am ready. And honestly, I have no idea how to even make these decisions.

I am keeping myself as informed as I can. None of this is political for me. This is about protecting my family, period.

This time has not been without sacrifices. I agree that this is not a sustainable way to live, long-term. At some point, I’d like to see my boyfriend again. But the time is not now. Not for us. So we will keep doing what we are doing. For now.

And we will take our own “phased-in approach” as we feel more comfortable doing so. Though I feel I will never be comfortable. My fear response right now is absolutely to keep Kiran in a bubble forever. To keep him safe.

I wanted that the last days of my pregnancy. He was safe inside me; he was getting what he needed. I couldn’t guarantee his safety outside the womb. But he had to have a life. And he will have to have a more full life than what we’ve been living these past 59 days.

It’s not time yet. Once it is, I’m going to struggle. But I’ll do it anyway.

It’s a long road ahead, but we journey together. This journey is not as straightforward as everyone seems to want to make it. There is no right answer right now. These decisions are HARD. I am paralyzed by them.

Today, I’m just gonna hang on tight. The time will be here soon enough when I have to let go.

 

No Regrets

Today marks 51 days since I have seen or spent time with my boyfriend in person. It seems quite a few people don’t understand exactly why we have made this decision. Or they offer helpful advice on ways we can safely spend time together – believe me, we have considered every single one.

The truth: It sucks. The truth: It’s an important, intentional decision. The truth: I have lived inside my brain for 36 years, and I know how it works.

My dad is an essential worker, so he still has to go to work. He is already a risk factor for our household. Because he is already out in the world, he is also our designated grocery getter; Mom is working from home and I am schooling/caregiving from home, so we haven’t been anywhere these 51 days.

Eric is also an essential worker, so he would bring extra risk where there is already risk. And, as callous as this may sound, it is unnecessary risk. I can’t mitigate the risk my father brings into the home, because Kiran and I are lucky to have had this home as our safe place these last three years. But I can choose to not add MORE risk by physically distancing myself and my son from Eric (and anyone else – it’s not like I’ve seen anyone these past 51 days).

It has proven to be a good decision. I won’t share more about that.

What I will say, about how my brain works, is this: In order to live with myself, I have to *know* that I have done everything in my power to keep my son safe and healthy. If he does contract this virus – and heaven forbid, the worst occurs – the only way I would be able to live with that is if I know I did everything I could to protect him. It’s the same reason we traveled all the way to California for his open heart surgery, to the most experienced surgeon, the one who created the surgery Kiran needed. If Kiran didn’t make it through open heart surgery there, I would have known, without a doubt, I did right by him, by taking him to the best. If Kiran doesn’t make it in this life, I have to know that it’s not because I was selfish and just had to see my boyfriend during a pandemic.

It’s not forever.

But for now, we make the hard, safe decision. And as the information shows us it is safe to do so, we will make a different decision. And Kiran and I will hug Eric for a really really really long time.