COVID-19: What It Means For My Family As A Young, But Vulnerable Group By Lisa Mulholland

The media is saturated with scientific talk, statistics and projections regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19. It’s enough to give any reasonable person some anxiety at least.

The panic buying of hand sanitizer, toilet roll, cleaning products, tinned foods is out of control, with queues outside of shops before they open. Which is a major inconvenience for me as someone who needs these products in abundance due to being a carer for my 6 year old who is disabled and incontinent who myself has diabetes and needs to test my blood sugar levels when out and about.

We are constantly hearing about other countries going on lockdown. Which becomes scarier when it becomes our European neighbours; Italy, France, Spain, Ireland … as the fear intensifies we look to our leaders and the authorities for reassurance.

But instead we get the complete opposite.

Boris Johnson said “ Many of YOUR loved ones will die before their time”…..

I mean, have you ever heard anything like this?

Then he went on to discuss herd immunity. As if the numbers and statistics of the people that are going to die are just that. But the vulnerable and the elderly are real people.

And right now, I , along with millions more, feel like my life doesn’t really matter. I have diabetes, several heart conditions, a disability ( Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) that can sometimes trigger autoimmune responses called mast cell activation disorder and I have 3 children that have various disabilities.

I am considered a ‘high risk group’ when it comes to most things. I have routine flu jabs, I have medical exemption from prescription charges, but I do not know whether I am a high risk group for this new virus.

I have received zero instruction. Zero advice.

When I search for the advice ( as of today , this could change very quickly) it is very flimsy indeed. I kind of feel like the decision is being left up to me about how to proceed. I am not a medical expert and I think we as a nation, especially the vulnerable groups should be given more direction.

If I get a basic cold, my body can do really strange things. My mast cells( the cells that detect a threat or a virus and are meant to protect us) go into overdrive and start attacking everything. Once I had dry eyes, I rubbed it slightly. Within an hour I couldn’t see out of my left eye. I went to my GP who sent me to the emergency eye department. After a series of tests they said my body had gone into overdrive and given me an ulcer on my cornea! I didn’t even know this was possible. But this is how strange my condition is.

What could an unknown virus do?

Let alone the impact on the diabetes or my heart…

My 6 year old has autism, global delay and suspected epilepsy and he goes to a specialist school where some of the children have conditions like cystic fibrosis that mean they’re on oxygen tanks/ tube fed. Most of the children there (700 of them as it is from age 2-19) will have underlying health issues. They’ve not sent out any information as yet because our leadership, our government have clearly not thought about them in their containment or delay ‘strategy’.

And when the media states this virus doesn’t affect children, do they mean all children? My children have the same condition as me. My 10 year old gets a cold and then the next minute he has an infected hand or limb. What would be the implications for him?

Or did they think about them and decide that they are one of the “many loved ones” that we will “lose”.

My eldest autistic son’s specialist school has children with autism but a lot of them have comorbid underlying health issues and they have taken matters into their own hands advising us to keep the children home if they are anxious or have underlying health conditions. They said they won’t mark any absences during this period.

Part of me wants to be safe, then another part of me thinks if this is going to go on for months then I’m not sure what to do. Do I send them in now before the real danger hits? Or has it already hit but we don’t know because we aren’t routinely testing? These are rhetorical questions but the governments’ lack of direction is shocking and dangerous.

We are people and we have value. We matter and we want guidance now.

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