As a single mom with full custody of 3 kids, and with a very, very small family, I’ve long had my eye on planning and preparation.
I thought I had everything set in place with my Advanced Directive and my Will. But I didn’t think that much about the how, why and wherefore of caring for myself and/or my kids in the event of a global pandemic.
In every case of child care or self care, it seems to be a given that there is another adult around.
It seems to be a given that parents are not alone, that there is a backup adult around.
It seems like it’s a given that the parent can go in to the hospital for a test, that they can receive treatment, buy groceries.
What Happens When The Parent is Really Alone?
I had gone because I went to my doctor’s clinic over a week ago with chest pain. My doctor told me they didn’t have Coronavirus tests at the clinic, and that if anyone would be given one at all, it would be because they were already admitted to the hospital next door. He prescribed antibiotics for me and an inhaler (I am not asthmatic), and let me go home.
But it hasn’t gone away. The chest pain has not gone away. Added to that, I’ve had chills and hot spells (not rare in women over 45),
I messaged my doctor about it, and after talking with me over the phone, he referred me over to the Radiologist to get a chest x-ray and check it out.
Once I got to the Radiologist however, I couldn’t bring the kids in.
I would have to leave them outside in very public space, or… not go. There was simply no other recourse.
Sickness and the Single Parent
I got sick with the flu shortly after we moved back to Hawaii 2 years ago.
While I normally have the constitution of a cast iron ox, I think the culmination of months of stupid-stress took its toll on me and sent me over the edge. I barely remember dragging us all to the pharmacy so that I could get Sudafed – the kind you have to sign for. I mostly just remember wanting to lie down on the floor.
I pumped myself with enough of that Sudafed to function, driving the kids to school and back to our rented one-bedroom apartment, to sleep in a fevered state while they were away. That went on for a week.
I think about what Coronavirus would be like – how on earth could a parent without backup do it?
I wonder if Sudafed does anything to Coronavirus?
What might make it easier so you can function and care for your kids?
What happens if you can’t?
I wonder about all of these things, and wish our healthcare system had care options that included single parents.
Like, a visiting doctor, or a way to leave your kids in a safe spot so that you can access care.
I’m hoping and praying and good-vibing my way through continued stellar health. I spent a small fortune on vitamins and immune-boosters. I have also taken social distancing pretty seriously from the get-go, because I think that any of us single parents are going to be screwed if we get sick.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.