We Experienced a COVID-19 Scare

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by Meagan Cheney |

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Over the last year, we have pretty much kept our family in a constant state of quarantine, fearing what would happen if Austen, our 6-year-old with Dravet syndrome, caught the coronavirus. When something as small as the adenovirus sends her to the PICU, the idea of the COVID-19 virus is terrifying.

Little by little, as numbers went down, we tried to get out more. We’ve taken the kids into a few stores and even renewed our zoo membership recently.

Then, we had a COVID-19 scare.

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We had gone camping with friends the previous weekend. Everyone old enough was vaccinated, and although our friends’ kids go to public school, the school had not said anything about a possible exposure.

We did everything we were supposed to do. We stayed socially distanced from other campers, only the adults went into stores if needed, and we wore masks when we did.

We felt safe. We came home Sunday night, grateful for the memories we had made and the next tiny piece of normal we’d added back to our lives.

On Tuesday, I got a text from my friend. The school had contacted her to let her know that her oldest had been exposed to the coronavirus on the first day of school. They waited eight days to tell parents.

She messaged me right away to let me know because she was worried about Austen. She apologized, but there wasn’t any reason to. I knew she would have canceled the trip if she had known beforehand.

A few days later, she had her children tested, and all were thankfully negative. Still, it felt like I was running into a brick wall. This past year, we have been so careful to prevent Austen from getting sick, and as soon as we started to let our guard down, the virus knocked on our door, reminding us it’s still here.

I live in constant fear of our family contracting the coronavirus. My husband and Atlas, my 7-year-old son, both have lung issues. And any fever could bring back Austen’s seizures.

I am trying not to let this fear increase my anxiety levels again. My husband keeps reminding me that I can’t lock the kids in a bubble. I have to let them experience life on some level. So, we are trying to find a middle ground. We are still going back to church and attending music lessons, but we all wear masks while we are there. We are trying to avoid entering stores at all costs, and if someone has to go, one parent watches the kids while the other goes inside masked up.

I’m finding that there is a very fine line between being safe and being paranoid, and I don’t always know which side of the line I’m on. But I’m trying my best to walk the line without falling too far on either side. For now, that is all I can do.


Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.


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