How To Cope When Your Parents Get Coronavirus
When my stepfather got his test, I never expected it to come back positive. But four days later, it did. They didn’t bother testing my mother. The doctor told her she almost certainly had it too, so there was no reason to swab her for the virus.
Both my parents remarried when I was 11 years old, so I consider my stepbrothers and stepparents as part of my family. For most of my life, that meant I had a bigger circle of family to enjoy. Today, it means more people to worry about.
My mother and stepfather are in their 70s with moderate health issues. They feel tired and sluggish, but no fever, no difficulty breathing, and no chest pains. It’s comforting to know they’re doing well, but they’re anywhere from 7–10 days into this, so the possibility still exists that their condition might worsen.
The 1,000-mile distance between us complicates things. And that’s raised troublesome questions.
What if they need hospitalization? What if they succumb to this disease? How would a funeral work? Would I be able to go? Should I even risk it and put myself and my family at risk? How could I not go? I try not to think of hypotheticals; it only exacerbates the tension.
My brother, sister, and stepbrothers all live near my parents. I envy them. Although they remain in isolation too, at least they’re geographically close. I’m the only one left in the northeast. I never liked being that separated from my family before the pandemic, but now it’s like an earworm chorus that won’t leave me the fuck alone. What if something happens to…? What do I do if…?
Despite the uncertainty of how this might end, I‘ve been able to dissipate much of the tension. Sure, I have my moments, but thanks to some coping strategies, I’m mostly doing okay. If you find yourself in a similar state of distress, you may find these suggestions helpful.
Eisenhower the shit out of it
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle, plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
That’s true during a pandemic too. For the last few nights, I’ve been writing out answers to my most pressing questions: