where i roam (and don't)

As other kids head back to school, mine is staying home. During a pandemic, sending Calvin back into the classroom is too much of a risk for us. He can’t keep a mask on his face, can’t maintain a safe physical distance. Everything he touches—railings, tables, people’s hands and faces—become part of his microbiome. Because of his condition, if he gets the virus he likely won’t fare very well. If either Michael or I were to fall quite ill, it could prove disastrous for our family.

In mid March, we let the nurses go. Since then, we’ve been going it alone. Calvin has seen virtually no one but me and Michael the entire time. Regrettably, we no longer take him to the grocery store, one of a very few places he liked to go. I’ve been within mere feet of my son nearly twenty-four hours seven days a week since his last day of school six months ago. My only respite is my morning walk with Smellie. We traipse the fields and their surrounding wooded trails. It's the only place I roam alone.

Our days are mundane. Each begins with waking too early. Sleeping in is not a luxury we enjoy, even in a pandemic, because I have to give Calvin his time-sensitive, anti-seizure medicine. On most days, Michael helps me at least until mid morning and at night. The rest of the day I go it alone. I change Calvin's diaper, feed him, bathe him, clothe him, toilet him, wipe him, hug him, kiss him, fend him off, hold him close. We tread endless circles around the house and yard. I take him and Smellie for long car rides and sometimes, though not nearly enough, for strolls. In between, I listen to music or news. Lately, I hear stories of wildfires causing smoke and ocher skies, choking states in which were my beloved former homes. I read of Covid outbreaks, massive layoffs, healthcare nightmares, betrayals and lies leading to unnecessary deaths from the virus. Despair and fatigue set into my already weary eyes.

When six o'clock arrives and we put Calvin to bed, I can relax a little bit, have a glass of wine. Once a week, or so, we visit with another couple for a limited time at a safe distance outside; I get energized. At night, Michael and I hunker down with a good movie or to read, then hope to get a decent sleep. Too often, we're rattled by the sound of Calvin's seizure scream; he has them once or twice a week. Like the pandemic, they're unsettling. I dread them. I lose much-needed sleep.

Like last night, lying next to Calvin in the seizure's wake, in my mind I try to roam to faraway places. I go to where the haze in the air is mist. I visit familiar cities which are gleaming. I go to where vistas are myriad, waters are calm and azure, fields are vast and green. I go to where there's no pandemic and where Calvin doesn't seize. I dream of times when leaders are virtuous, and the future isn't bleak. 

1 comment: