Why we made the personal decision to halt all airline and high crowd level travel for 2020 with Shawn.
We have been inundated with COVID-19 information for the last few months. With all the panic comes the fear mongering and hoarding of required face mask, hand sanitizer and oddly toilet paper.
I am not one to worry and have always taken precautions to protect Shawn from common virus and colds. He still gets the cold occasionally but he is always up to date with the flu shot and pneumonic vaccines. Shawn has no spleen, which means a weak immune system but more importantly his brain injury makes it so that he can not make himself cough. He can sneeze and cough spontaneously but when he needs to clear his chest himself he can not. So any infection that gets into his chest can potentially turn into something very serious because he can not clear out the excretions. A few years ago, he aspirated on a piece of banana. He does have swallowing difficulties and especially when he puts too much food in his mouth. Shawn is at risk for chocking. He can not be left unsupervised while eating because as much as we tell him not to shove food in his mouth he has a perseveration from his brain injury. Perseveration means he can not stop himself from continuously putting food in his mouth. It also means he can not stop himself from touching his face. As much as I am constantly telling him to stop it is not something he can control. So when he aspirated on the banana, a few days later he started to sound a bit congested and sure enough when he went to the doctor he had already started developing pneumonia. So I am always worried about something developing that can make him critical.
We recently returned from a trip to an all-inclusive in Mexico. Luckily we decided to skip our winter cruise this year and try an all-inclusive. We made the decision last summer before all this erupted and I am glad we did. We would have had to take a major financial loss if we still had a cruise booked because only recently have cruise lines changed their cancellation policy during this time. As much as it was enjoyable, I sanitized the crap out of the airplane seat and took extra precautions with what we touched and where we went. Mexico is not a high risk travel area but as more and more cases hit this side of the world we are understanding that there is lots of infected people walking around that have not been tested. Everyone knows how much Shawn and I love travelling and keeping busy so this is a real blow for us and especially Shawn. I do not want to put him in a bubble but I also need to keep him safe. This in fact could be our new normal and that travelling will from now on mean more precautions and challenges. I will learn from this and how we can adapt so that we can continue our travels and living our life without worry. However, in the meantime I am worried about a community outbreak for so many reasons. Obviously Shawn is our priority due to his high risk status but what will happen if I get it or the kids get it. How do we self quarantine with Shawn? What happens if the staff can not come to assist with his care? I am no longer able to physically manage his care on my own long term. I can barely do it for a day let alone 14 days. Do I go somewhere else to self quarantine but then who looks after Shawn? I guess there is no way of knowing what will happen until it happens but we as a family have a few situations to play out that many do not have to worry about. So yes, we are taking precautions for so many reasons because there is just too much unknown.