Just when you think things can’t get any more unexpected, your five-year-old breaks her finger during a national pandemic.
I’ve been relatively calm regarding Corona. We’re young, we’re healthy. We’re taking precautions, we have faith. But a hospital certainly wasn’t a place I wanted to break quarantine for.
As we entered the pediatric unit, the staff at the front desk handed out masks and directed us on our way. As a former nurse, I’ve spent the last decade comfortably working in hospitals. But seeing the eerily empty hallways and the healthcare providers in hazmat suits had me reasonably unnerved. It’s hard not to miss faces, and smiles, and full deep breaths.
As we waited for the orthopedic surgeon, I wiped down every surface my daughter touched with my can of Clorox. I sat back and wondered how much harder quarantine was going to be for a child in a cast who can no longer ride her bike or run through the sprinklers, the tiny joys that were pulling us through. Then, I got out my camera and documented our experience. A small video of my daughter’s bravery. A few still shots of her proudly wearing her new pink cast. I posted them and went on my way.
It was a few hours later when I realized my video had been viewed by a lot more people than just our friends and family. I started filtering through the comments, some of which were sympathies, a lot were ridicule.
There were comments ranging from, ‘You’re a horrible mother for taking your child to a hospital during Corona,’ to ‘I noticed she touched the wall in the video. She’s probably infected now.’ I don’t pay much mind to people online, but this incessant need to tear a mother down for repairing her child’s broken bone really made me think about a lesser known side effect of Corona: Fear.
During a pandemic, an appropriate amount of fear is necessary. It is fear that keeps us from jumping off bridges because they’re too high, and it is fear that keeps us indoors and self-isolated. Fear is often a great friend and an even better catalyst for safety.
But then there’s the kind of fear that causes people to irrationally lash out. To project their worry unfoundedly; to criticize or critique others. Fear, if left unattended, can infect our heads and hearts.
I’ve had a lot of experience walking through the unknown. I have a colorful history of abuse, anxiety, infertility and rape. I have a husband with a failing heart and two children with autism. I am no stranger to fear and the damage it can do. But I also know, because of my many falls, just how resilient I really am.
It’s not a crime to take a child with a broken bone to the hospital. It is not a crime to be scared during so much uncertainty. But let us not forget that equally as contagious as a virus is kindness. And if we extend a little to others, and ourselves, it’ll make walking though the unknown a bit more bearable.
We’re all in this together. Separate, but together.
I really hope this time spent mending our broken wounds and broken world results in a reset of both.