Dear Is This Normal,
Dear Is This Normal,
We’ve been self-isolating for about a month due to COVID-19 and doing whatever we can to avoid any contact with people outside of our family. I have crippling anxiety that my kid is going to get sick or hurt during this time and have to go to the doctor or hospital. Is this normal?
Ummmmm, I certainly hope it’s normal? Because me and every parent I know feel the exact same way. Listen, there’s a certain risk involved in having kids. They fall, they break stuff, they get sick. And once you’ve popped your proverbial ER visit cherry, you sort of learn to roll with the punches and accept that this is part of being a parent. Not the most enjoyable part, mind you, but it comes with the territory! You start to relax a little, figure out how to tell if something is broken or is going to need stitches, learn what a normal fever feels like vs. a bad fever, and you start to feel a bit more in control.
And thennnnnnnn, here comes a global freaking pandemic, and suddenly the very LAST place you’d want to take your kids is the doctor’s office or ER. It’s … a lot.
My oldest is a dancer and tumbler. She’s VERY good at what she does, and is trained and skilled in acro and flips and stuff. Normally, I have zero qualms about her tumbling in the house or practicing tricks on our big trampoline in the backyard. I don’t even flinch anymore (took years to get to this point, FYI). But as soon as we went into lockdown, my anxiety over her doing these things skyrocketed. All I could think about was if something went wrong, some freak accident or bad landing, we’d have to seek medical care. And right now, if you are healthy, the easiest way to stay that way is to stay TF away from hospitals. So, I asked her to … ease up on the really scary stuff. I let my fears win, and honestly, I’m pretty OK with that?
These are uncertain, scary times. But you know? Kids can break an arm walking to the bathroom. They can get a wicked stomach bug or food poisoning out of nowhere. They can go to bed fine, and wake up at 3 AM with a scary high fever. So as much as we’d like to avoid all the medical stuff, sometimes we can’t.
I’ll tell you what helped me. I did my research. I called my girls’ pediatrician and asked about their telemed policy and how they plan to triage patients to decide if their illness or injury warrants a visit. I asked her what can be treated at home (mild fevers, short-lived vomiting, sprains, abrasions), and then I asked what I need to know to KNOW it’s time to seek medical attention. Then, I called our local ER and spoke to a very nice patient advocate about how the hospital is dealing with non-virus related emergencies. She walked me through their intake and triage policies, explained in great detail what steps the hospital and nurses and staff take to keep their regular patients safe, and really helped ease my fears over the prospect of having to take one of my kids (or myself!) to the ER at some point. If you can, get on the phone with your kid’s doc and call your local urgent care and hospital to ask them the same questions. It definitely helped ease some of my anxiety. Not … all of it. But a good chunk of the anxiety related to this particular aspect of parenting in a pandemic.
What we’re all going through is unprecedented. We have more questions than answers, and ish is scary as hell right now. Can we keep our families safe during this? We can only do so much. We only have control over so much. So my advice? Maybe put a kibosh on the bed-jumping and parkour, and make sure your kid is eating a good amount of fruits and veggies and taking their vitamins. The good news is they probably won’t pick up any germs being in self-isolation! But just in case, stock up on meds and first aid supplies, and find out what constitutes an emergency versus a VERY BAD DAY.
This virus has forced us all to go full-out Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Your stress and anxiety will ease up once you feel a bit more prepared for whatever may happen. And just think of all the new life skills you’ll pick up in the meantime.
Also Scared But Well Prepared,
Is This Normal