My newsfeed is full of memes, alerts, and pretty much all things coronavirus. Occasionally I hit the "love" or "like" button when I see the memes comparing this outbreak to that of life with living with a medically complex child or the jokes about people buying out hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Occasionally I get infuriated (like I have for the last 5 years) when I see news reports of disrespectful and selfish people who exhibit symptoms of an illness (despite that the main advice is to stay out of public if you have any potential symptoms) are testing positive after they have exposed thousands of other people to what turned out to be coronavirus by going out in public. Occasionally my heart sinks when I read the posts from special needs families about how these new rules are just how those of us living with someone who is medically complex spend our lives because despite the routine, despite the familiarity of this panic, I don't have a reason to be part of it anymore.
I find myself in this weird place. I feel like I am a stranger looking into a window of a home that once was mine, one that was so scary to live in, one that brought me to tears and ultimately heartache, but one that is familiar, brings me comfort, and has left me unable to fully move away from. I don't have a reason to be fearful of my kids being around others who have a sniffle, but my reaction is to cringe and think negative thoughts about the parent who says "it's only allergies". They have no idea what "those allergies" could have done to our family. They aren't aware that there is a nose swab that can identify those sniffles and those "allergies" in 1 hour, and it doesn't matter to them that their child's "allergies" have a name.
These precautions are simply a way of life for a rare but fierce community that has lived with the fear and anxiety that so many are filled with now. I feel sort of slighted that no one cared before. I feel like screaming at every person running to the store buying hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap, and every Lysol product on the shelves. I feel so angry that the world as a whole doesn't really have any empathy for those who are most vulnerable. What makes me even more livid are those who are STILL going out into the public with symptoms, despite the warnings. I cannot comprehend how people have to be told to stay home when they have any symptoms. I cannot comprehend how people are so selfish that they feel whatever reason brings them out into the public weighs more than someone's life.
Besides my fear for all of Sonzee's friends and their families, I don't have a reason to panic, but old habits die hard and tonight my heart simply hurts for those of us who have our own personal amazon locker of supplies because that was how we help to keep our children alive. It hurts because it took a mass population to be effected for societal rules (of common sense) to be implemented. It hurts because our family doesn't count anymore in a category that I most relate to and understand. It hurts because I am fearful of another parent joining this horrible club due to ignorance and heartlessness.
There is a sad sense of relief that I am no longer part of a community that requires me to personally panic, but I won't ever be able to stop advocating for common sense and for all of the family I have gained because of Sonzee. So I beg of you, stop buying hand sanitizer, stop buying toilet paper, stop buying every disinfectant agent out there, just stop. Long after the immediate fear and quarantine of COVID-19 has dissipated there will still be other respiratory viruses such as THE FLU, CORONAVIRUS, RHINOVIRUS, RSV, PIV1, PIV2, PIV3, ENTEROVIRUS, and ADENOVIRUS. Odds are the majority of you never considered most of those listed above are the names for "allergies". So, when the world returns to normal, when schools reopen and when gathers reconvene, what I implore of everyone is to simply remember the panic you feel today. Please always remember there are families who feel this sense of panic and anxiety every day and reconsider your initial desire to leave your house with your "allergies".