The Coronavirus and me (well, Harry)

*Written pre-lockdown

Like most of the working well population, when this horrid Coronavirus thing initially started to break the thought of two weeks of self-isolation sounded great. No juggling meetings, no school runs and I might actually get to read the book I bought back in 2005…

However, it is progressing at an alarming rate. Whilst, outwardly, I am being typically British – sharing memes about self-isolation and joking outlandishly when someone in the office coughs – inside, I am bricking it!

Out of my four beautiful children Harry is, well, Harry and Ellie has had a number of HDU admissions for Asthma.

It’s all starting to get a little real now and the constant media fury over the virus is doing nothing to dampen my anxiety or feelings of impending doom. Surely whoever commissioned the four ‘HorseMan’ coaches to pick up the poor quarantined tourists could either see this coming or had a twisted sense of irony!

What upsets me the most is how the media keeps portraying the deaths: ‘He had an underlying condition’, as if having an underlying condition somehow makes you less worthy or less worth saving. I understand it is to dampen the Daily Mail sense of hysteria, but it makes me sad. Harry, and Ellie too, are just as loved and needed as their brothers, who thankfully don’t have any underlying conditions. Harry and Ellie’s lives are so unbelievably precious and important, but the media seems to discount anyone with an underlying condition as ‘OK’ collateral.

As for trying to keep them all safe, please tell me where to start with a two-year-old? I let him on the computer while I worked today. He licked it. I have just caught him posting his cars into the bin and he is currenty asleep on the sofa, after merrily wiping his snotty nose all over its covers. I seem to spend every moment hovering over them all with Dettol.

My other fear, like so many parents of children with long-term conditions, is ‘what if’. In our case, what if Harry’s shunt chooses now to block? What if our trusted Consultant gets it and someone else, or someone less qualified, or someone who doesn’t know Harry has to operate? What if he comes out of surgery and someone coughs this on him? I have seen the NHS at capacity, we have lived through it and cried during it! This was before this virus. The thought of running a desperately sick child into the hospital during the peak of this crisis just makes my blood run cold.

I write this as I myself am in self-isolation. Let’s be honest, I am a mum of four. When am I not coughing? In all honesty I don’t think I have been ‘well’ since 2005. Oh wait, that was the year my first was born! Still, I understand the advice and concern. So, for now, I have stocked up on chocolate, am trying desperately to stay away from online shopping and am enjoying some enforced time with my littlest, precious, albeit vulnerable child who should never apologise and never feel less of a person just because he was unlucky enough to be born with ‘an underlying condition’

Perhaps all we can do, is to do our bit. Isolate if we need, work (or attempt to work) from home and look out for our more vulnerable friends and family. And, most of all, realise that every life is a life worth saving.

To learn more about Harry’s Hydrocephalus Awareness Trust (Harry’s HAT)

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