Numb

Today is my kids’ first day of school. Their first day in-person since March 2020.

For the last month, as this day grew closer and our province’s Covid cases rose, I’ve been a writhing ball of anxiety. Yesterday, I kept breaking down crying. Today, I am just numb.

I’ve spent countless hours advocating for safer schools (with some wins – our board has instated more safety measures than many others: a mask mandate for all students, and mandatory vaccines for staff by September 30 among others), but there’s so much more that could be done that isn’t happening.

It feels like everyone has just resigned themselves to letting kids catch Covid, because it’s too expensive, or too bothersome to try and avoid it. (Think I’m exaggerating? Our Chief Medical Officer of Health says we need to “normalize Covid in schools,” our Science Table head says unvaccinated people have an 80-90% likelihood of catching Covid in the next year, and an epidemiologist at Sick Kids’ Hospital says kids in public school will catch Covid this year.)

Vaccines for children are only a few months away, yet everyone wants to rush right back to “normal” and pretend the pandemic is already over, despite being faced with a more contagious and dangerous variant. And while kids may have a lower risk of severe outcomes than adults, a small percentage of a big number is still a big number.

(For those of you keeping score at home, that’s both a hospitalization and death rate higher than Polio.)

On top of that, we don’t know (and won’t know for years) if people who had even asymptomatic Covid are at risk for a post-viral condition years later (like with Polio, where 20-50% of survivors develop Post Polio syndrome anywhere from 10-40 years later. Heck, even a Chicken Pox infection can turn into Shingles some 30-40 years later). And then a recent study even found that 100% of macaques who were infected with Covid developed Lewy Bodies – an indicator for Parkinson’s Disease.

We could be setting our kids up for a future of disability, but we’re just supposed to ignore that.

I’ve spent my kids’ whole lives doing my best to keep them safe and healthy, from feeding them balanced diets to teaching them safety rules…and for what? So I can send them out to get infected with a potentially deadly or life-altering disease?

The cognitive dissonance has broken me. We’ve spent a year avoiding busy stores and potential infection, but why keep it up when they’re taking a bigger risk at lunch every school day? For that matter, what’s even the point of packing healthy lunches any more? I may as well just send them with a whole cake or a bag of cheezies.

I’ve done everything I can to keep my kids safe at school this year. But giving them N95 masks then sending them into a classroom of 30+ unvaccinated kids with masks of variable quality, who all take them off twice a day to eat in a room with questionable ventilation, feels like strapping my kids into seatbelts then driving the wrong way on the highway.

My only other choice is to pull them from school completely and homeschool them, which would likely be a disaster, knowing my stubborn boys. And even then, I’d have to first convince my family it was even necessary, and that the government does not have our best interests in mind…

And so I sit here numb, because anything else is unfathomable. To sit and actively worry about the daily exposures my kids will be facing would leave me catatonic on the couch, unable to do anything at all.

All I can do is sit and wait for the first exposure notice or first sign of a sniffle.

Numb.

September Update aka Stressed to the Max

If you read last month’s update, then you know I’ve been very stressed out about my kids returning to in-person schools, to the point that it’s essentially taken over my life.

On the bright side, our Board has made a few improvements to the Ministry’s inadequate plan, but their safety measures still fall well short of what it would take to make me feel safe about having my unvaccinated (because of age) children attend in-person school.

I mean, why should we look to other countries (see: Scotland, the U.S.A., etc. ) and see how their return to schools have gone (overflowing pediatric hospitals and ICUs) and learn from them? Oh, right, because that might cost money and children can’t vote.

On the not-so-bright-side, our Science Table quietly released predictions last night about how the next few months will go. And…they’re not good. Basically, unless we vaccinate *everyone* currently eligible (not going to happen) and reduce our personal contacts to a level we didn’t even hit in March 2020 (when the whole province shut down) we’re looking at somewhere between 4,000-9,000 cases a day, (worse than the last wave, which nearly destroyed our medical system and did lead to cancelled surgeries) by October.

So, yeah, I’m a little bit stressed about my kids’ health.

At this rate, I’d be very surprised if schools are still open after Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving, that is, in October). Although, since they’ve removed a bunch of symptoms from the testing criteria, closed and/or reduced hours for testing centres, and aren’t doing any kind of asymptomatic testing, the positive case levels will likely stay well below the actual case count.

*Deep breaths*

Right, you probably came here to see how my writing is going.

Well, I only added 7,000 words to that MG I’ve been working on, which is well less than I’d hoped.

On the other hand, when not campaigning to improve the safety standards at schools, I’ve been spending a lot of my time just trying to make my kids’ last days of summer as great as they can be. They’re all stressed about returning to school not just because of Covid, but also because they haven’t been physically in school in a year-and-a-half and they’re all starting new schools (because we moved).

Basically, we’re all just one big ball of stress in my house right now.

I haven’t even listened to many audiobooks, either, because I’ve been wallowing in my depression music, replaying the same comfort tracks over and over again to try and distract me from what September holds.

Here’s what my reading log looks like:

August Reading Stats:

  • MG Fantasy (4)
  • Adult Urban Fantasy (1)

August Total: 5

Year-to-Date Total: 47 (+ 2 Re-Reads)