Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Spring Break

After a week of high anxiety and lack of focus, I finally found some peace. As everyone knows, the Coronavirus has dominated everything for the past week in the United States. As I watch events that would have been thought of as fiction just a week ago unfold, I haven't been able to focus or concentrate. I worry about Kellisa since she falls in the high risk category if she would get the virus. I also worry about Laurel because she worries herself, especially when she doesn't have any control over the matter. And at 10-years-old, she can't fully comprehend what she's hearing and even when we try to explain things to ease her mind, she asks tough questions. She also hates not knowing. so when she asks us if this will happen every year, she does not accept the answers, "I hope not" or "We don't know". Laurel needs to know and just struggles when she doesn't get a definitive answer.

Besides worrying about Kellisa getting the virus, I've been worried about the schools closing and like millions of other parents, how we would handle watching our kids. We don't have any friends or family who can help and with our special needs, dropping them somewhere or having people come into our house is not possible. It's totally and completely up to Lisa and I for one of us to be with the kids around the clock. I was surprised we made it to March 13th and both kids still had school when so many other districts were closing down. 

When we moved to Florida in 1999, we lived just south of Daytona Beach. Everyone we talked to told us we needed Dr. Rodriguez for Kellisa's pediatrician. Even though his office was almost an hour away, everyone was right. He was awesome and his wife ran the office. Together, they saw Kellisa through some of her most serious medical issues and we give great credit to them for helping keep Kellisa alive from 7 months to 26 months.

Jacksonville was too far away to keep Dr. Rodriguez and we were very concerned about replacing him and his practice when we moved in 2001. Again, we did our research and everyone pointed to the Carithers Group of pediatricians. Fortune struck twice when Dr. Kim took over being Kellisa's doctor. We could not have asked for a more perfect doctor for Kellisa. Dr. Kim was always there for her and even visited Kellisa in the hospital on her off time when Kellisa was fighting for her life. 

When Laurel joined our family, Dr. Kim stepped right up and managed Laurel with all the love and caring she had for Kellisa. While not as difficult to manage as Kellisa, Laurel gave Dr. Kim some good sized challenges which were handled with kind expertise. Dr. Kim managed Kellisa from 2001 to early 2016 and Laurel from 2010 to 2016. Dr. Kim saw us through a total of 21 kid years and we can honestly say we were never disappointed. 

Would lightning strike three times? 

Finding the right pediatrician for the girls was the top priority once we made our way to California. Not only did we find the best doctor around, but her practice is literally 2 minutes from our house. Dr. Singh has been managing both girls with patience, kindness, understanding, and love. I'm sure there's many great pediatricians out there, but somehow I believe we found the three best of the best for our family.

The nice lady answering the phone at the doctor's office wrote down my concerns about continuing to send the girls to school and promised to pass them to Dr. Singh. She also pointed me to several websites to research the pandemic.

Shortly after my call, we started receiving messages that Kellisa's school was closing for four weeks. Since Kellisa attends high school and Laurel is in 5th grade, they belong to two different school districts. Some time went by and I was getting worried that Kellisa would stay home and Laurel would continue to attend school. This seemed to pose several problems. First, Laurel could bring home the virus from school and my second concern was Laurel thinking it wasn't fair if she had to go to school while Kellisa stayed home. 

Just after 5pm, my phone rang and it was Dr. Singh herself, "How are my girls?"

I never expected a personal call from Dr. Singh, but I appreciated it so much. Even though Dr. Singh knew Kellisa's school was closed, she called anyway. I was advised on what to do, what to avoid, and how to go about living for the next several weeks. Dr. Singh recommended keeping Laurel home to be safe and she would help if we needed paperwork to justify our choice.

Dr. Singh told me she believes it will be getting worse before it starts getting better, her calm and reassuring voice really helped to lower my anxiety.

Shortly after I hung up on my call, Lisa's phone rang and it was Laurel's teacher calling to let us know that her school was closing until at least April 14th.

It was now official. both girl will be home for at least the next four weeks.

After so much uncertainty, I felt oddly at ease for the first time since this pandemic really started to get out of control. It helps me to know, OK, the girls will be home for four weeks, lets start planning. Also, with it being hard to know who and what information to trust, I'm beyond thankful for the 10 minutes Dr. Singh spent with me after hours to help me understand what we need to do and what we don't need to worry about. 

Dr. Singh did caution me that this conversation would have sounded very different a week ago and might be very different in a week, but for now I know what we're dealing with and plans are being made. Hopefully our anxiety remains low.

I captured the bird image above just before we sat down for an amazing dinner made by Lisa. It was nice having a normal meal while feeling some peace.

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