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Parent-to-Parent: Viewing Infection Prevention as a Marathon, Not a Sprint

April 12, 2020

Since her daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in 2003, Liz has lived most days like there was already a pandemic.

Oh, It’s a pandemic? I hadn’t noticed….

I’m just kidding, of course I noticed. I have two angry college freshmen at home pining for their freedom and the ability to stay up all night without ridicule.

The other day I went out for my weekly food shop, gloves and mask at the ready and was so proud that I got everything on my list, except toilet paper and cleaning supplies obviously. I showered upon return, changed my clothes and washed my hands for 20 seconds. Then I saw that Facebook video – you know the one – where the guy splits his kitchen island in half, 1 side dirty, 1 side clean and proceeds to wipe every item and wash every other? Then I lost it….

You see, I am self-proclaimed germaphobe. Since my daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in 2003, I have lived most days like there was already a pandemic. So, to now feel that my infection control plan was inadequate led me to hysterics.

When the kids were little, they used to walk in the house like they were under arrest. Hands in the air until they came in and washed with soap and water, like little surgeons or little criminals. But hey, it worked. Flu seasons always led to self-isolation and we were quick to cancel a playdate if someone had vomited in the past week!

Anyone that has a child with a chronic illness can certainly feel my pain, we all live this way. I have wipes everywhere, and when we cleaned out their dorm rooms it was like hitting the cleaning supply jackpot. Purell, wipes, Lysol, it was amazing.

So here we are, week four of quarantine. Everyone seems ok, the kids have schoolwork, my husband and I already worked from home, but somehow it’s different. There is a general feeling of fear, and as I explained to my daughter, it will take everyone to save someone. It’s hard to explain why some follow the rules and some don’t.

In our house the rules are not negotiable. We must keep Belle safe and protect her at all costs from this virus. We try and stay calm, keep to watching the news when necessary and try not to focus on what we can’t do…but what we can. Hey, we may even appear in a TikTok video, who knows? We play Scrabble, Kahoot, watch movies and even sing Broadway tunes in the kitchen. But if the green light came to be set free? Well I know I’ll be standing in the kitchen by myself in seconds flat.

Until then, stay calm, stay safe and protect your family. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Enjoy the time with those that you love. FaceTime your parents or grandparents, they must be lonely. Hopefully this will be over sooner than later and if anyone can find a Dr. Fauci bobble head, get one for me. I’ll pay you double.

Or as my family calls me, “The Original Pandemic Prepper"