Quarantine Diaries: Part 25 – The Road to Normalcy?

It has been a minute since I have written anything. I would not have imagined, being home for so long that I would not have the time to write. I cannot really say where my time is going, but it is. Also, our internet has been torturous over the last few months and not having the patience to wait for it may also have something to do with not writing (or reading). Our carrier says their system is overloaded with so many people working from home, which does not make any sense to me. Wouldn’t it have been even more over loaded back last year when absolutely EVERYTHING shut down and EVERYONE was home?

DC went back to his “job”(day program) in October. It was a hard decision for me to make.

Back in May, his supervisor/staff called me and asked if I would consider sending him back to work on July 15th. I told her “I can not make that decision now. We don’t know what is going to happen over the next month or two.”

In early July I received an email from DC’s caseworker telling me that his supervisor emailed him that DC would be back in mid-July and we needed to have a meeting to go over protocols! I let him know exactly what I had said to his supervisor back in May and now that the numbers had spiked I was not even considering sending him back.

We had to have a meeting anyway to discuss what types of protocols they had in place so I knew what was going on when I did decide to send him back. His supervisor called me a few days before the meeting and the July 15th subject came up again.

Supervisor: I am sorry if I misunderstood. I was surprised that you wanted to send DC back in July.

Me: I didn’t. I told you I could not make that decision at that point.

Supervisor: Yes, I understand. That is why I was surprised that you said you wanted to send him back.

Me: I didn’t say that.

Supervisor: I know but I was surprised that you were willing to send him back.

Me: I wasn’t.

Not only did the conversation not make any sense but it felt as if she thought if she said that enough times I would believe I actually said that!

We had our meeting. We talked protocols. I explained to both his caseworker and his supervisor that I was not comfortable sending him back this soon.

Caseworker: I understand. I agree. That is how most overprotective parents are thinking (yes, he actually said that while agreeing with me).

We decided to check in again in August to see if anything had changed.

We had that meeting in August to discuss a September date. This was not engraved in stone, if things got worse. I asked how many days he could attend.

Supervisor: As many days as you want.

We ended the meeting with a September date in mind. Before the meeting ended his supervisor said, “I have 4 more meetings this week so I don’t know how many clients will be coming back. I will call you to let you know how many days he can attend and we’ll schedule another meeting before that.

????? I guess, “As many as you want” really did not mean as many as I wanted.

She never called.

In August, with numbers being down, I started letting DC go to the grocery store with Doug. This eliminated the anxiety and constant calls to Doug about the grocery list. Unfortunately, there was a spike in September and I had to stop the grocery store trips and I also decided (even though I never got that call) that he would not be going back on the date we had discussed at our August meeting.

About a month later and after the date we had discussed in our August meeting, his supervisor called again. What did I think about October 1st? At this point, numbers had begun to level out so I was willing to talk about it.

We had another meeting close to the end of September and decided on an October 1st start date.

I was still panicked and on the fence. There were predictions of spikes come winter and I was torn between just keeping him home straight through and letting him have a bit of normalcy – even if it turned out to be just a month or two.

As we decided on October 1st, I asked again – “How many days can he attend?”

Supervisor: As many as you want.

Before the meeting ended his supervisor said, “I have 3 more meetings this week so I don’t know how many clients will be coming back. I will call you to let you know how many days he can attend and we’ll schedule another meeting before that.

Sound familiar? Does this sound like a vicious circle to you? I did to me.

Have a meeting – Wait for her to have other meetings with other clients to determine the days he can attend – Have another meeting – Wait for her to have other meetings with other clients to determine the days he can attend – Have another meeting – Wait for…

At this point I just “insisted” that he be able to attend 3 days. I didn’t care who else she was meeting with. She was meeting with me now and we needed to resolve this as this circle could just go on forever.

He started back 3 days a week on October 1st. There were/are only two riders in the van that takes him to his job. Everyone is masked and windows are cracked.

As difficult as it was for DC to get used to wearing a mask back when mask wearing was first encouraged, he is really good about it now. So I wasn’t worried about him wearing a mask all day. The number of clients at his program is low and they are split up into even smaller groups. Temps are taken in the parking lot each morning.

He was happy to be back at his job.

Once November hit, he was back 5 days.

Once he was back at work daily, I noticed that some of the anxiety he was experiencing and persevering over different things that he normally would not have, seemed to go away.

Because (as I have said before) he always seemed to be in-between loving staying home and the anxiety of missing work and activities and wanting to go back to work but missing staying home; he has developed a couple of new “things” since he’s gone back.

It started on October with stars. He drew and presented me with stars. Many, many, pictures of stars at all hours of the day and night and no matter what I was doing. Cooking, washing dishes, eating dinner or working on the computer – I had to stop whatever I was doing to make a big deal about the stars he had drawn for me. When he could not get to me in the shower, I would find them outside the bathroom door.

Just two days worth..

I am not talking about a picture here and there, I am talking about a LOT of pictures! Since it all coincided with his return to work, I was worried that something or someone was bothering him there, but I could not really get anything out of him. He seemed happy to go everyday and even begged to go when there was an unexpected cancellation. When that happened, he interrogated me all day long as to when exactly he would be going back. So work does not seem to be bothering him at all.

I am thinking this was just his way of transitioning back.

After Christmas, the stars stopped and he moved on to hearts. Same thing… all day… everyday.

I will not stop trying to figure this out but for now, I guess it is just going to be his new thing.

Other than that, we are trying to keep him busy. Camp and Best Buddies have done a few virtual events.

The biggest surprise was his winter guard team deciding to have a virtual season. I really thought we would be skipping another season due to the pandemic but they came up with a way. They are doing a fantastic job of it and he is loving it!

Vaccines:

Our state has decided to distribute the vaccine by age only – taking disabilities out of the mix. I was extremely disappointed because I had hoped DC would have been eligible in February.

At this point DC will not be eligible until May.

I received my first shot last week. My second will be at the end of the month. I have been talking it up to DC since. I showed him where they gave me the shot and told him that it did not hurt a bit (it really didn’t). I need to get him comfortable with this because the vaccination sites are just that… sites and not his doctor’s office. I am afraid they will not be able to take the time with DC as his own doctor, would.

I mean, we have passed the point where I had to bring 2 people with me and I, they, the doctor and nurse had to try to hold onto him so they could give him whatever shot he was getting.

But… it has been a very long time since he’s had to have a shot so I am a little bit worried. I am going to keep talking to him about it so when the time comes, he is ready and not “very nervous about this”.

Hopefully, we will all be able to get back to something close to normal sometime very soon.

I cannot believe it has been an entire year!

Stay safe, everyone.

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Quarantine Diaries – all