Is It Easier or Worse To Be an EA/TEF Parent in the Time of COVID?
Is it easier or worse to be an EA/TEF parent in the time of COVID? Guest blogger and EA/TEF mom Nanette Lerner outlines her answer to the question and encourages other parents in today’s post.
If you’re the parent of an EA/TEF kid, chances are you were calculating the risks of germy situations way, way before COVID-19 entered the picture. These days, the rest of the world seems to be catching up to our germaphobia. Because it’s clear that everyone’s lives depend on it.
Back when our TEF kid was little and every cold seemed to turn into a much bigger respiratory event, germs were always on my mind. If I saw a kid on the playground with the slightest runny nose, we moved. Ball pits were evil harbingers of unknown viruses. Jumpy houses—particularly the kind that zipped shut—caused major anxiety, since there was no telling if our TEF kid was being coughed or sneezed on by other kids. If you’ve ever sat in the middle of the night with your hand on your kid’s chest to count your kid’s respiratory rate (without a pulse oximeter) determining whether or not you should wrap him up and head to the ER, then you understand why we were so paranoid.
Flash forward to January 2021 when everyone knows what a pulse oximeter is, so much so that they are impossible to find in your local pharmacy. Hand sanitizer is so much a part of the norm that you literally can’t find it in most stores. Lysol and Clorox wipes are worth more than gold.
So is it easier or worse to be an EA/TEF parent in the time of COVID when everyone is so much more germ conscious?
The Good News
In these times, no one is going to try to touch your EA/TEF baby’s hand. Or stick their face into his stroller and breathe all over your kid. Since everyone is mostly staying home right now, there is less opportunity for social mingling and germ mingling, too.
The Bad News
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic involving a disease that includes respiratory symptoms. Everyone is highly sensitive to anyone coughing. But the sound of an EA/TEF kids cough reverberates like thunder and gets evil looks anywhere you go. That’s only going to get worse, though nowadays, your kid is coughing while wearing a mask
The Emergency Room News
We frequently had to take our little guy to the ER when he was little; so much so that we kept a “go bag” packed and ready since he was often admitted. The emergency room question mark is something that all parents (even non-TEF parents) are battling right now, since no one ever really wants to go—but these days, even less so. For one thing, you may not want to enter an ER and expose your little one to potential germs unless it is absolutely necessary. And you don’t want to take up a spot that could go to a COVID patient in desperate need of attention.
There’s also the question of what happens if our TEF kids get COVID. We don’t know if it will be worse for them, and we don’t want to find out.
So Is It Easier or Worse To Be an EA/TEF Parent in the Time of COVID?
If there is any silver lining at all to COVID—and there isn’t much—it’s that the world will finally be more conscious of germs than they ever were before. As EA/TEF families, we have lots of experience with social distancing already, so we keep practicing that.
I hope that people continue to wash hands religiously, use hand sanitizer, and are aware of how they are feeling before they go anywhere. I don’t want everyone to become germ freaks. But I do appreciate people who take a moment to consider how their health can greatly impact the health of others.
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