Life isn’t fair. That’s not a startling revelation. We all know it. Bad things happen to good people. Undoubtedly, parents of children with disabilities have had that thought. Why did this happen to my child? What did we do to deserve this? There are no good answers. Some people find answers in religion. But in the end we just know it to be a fact of life.

The pandemic has only served to accentuate these feelings. Young, healthy people have died. Many of them took precautions. and yet, people who eschew mask wearing go about life untouched. It’s not fair.

My wife and I have been scrupulously careful. Double masks. Only essential trips away from our house. We didn’t want to expose our son to COVID, knowing that statistically he was at higher risk to contract the virus and at a substantially higher risk of dying if he did catch it. The only time he was in anything close to a public setting was for necessary doctor appointments. But early this month he tested positive for it. He was running a fever, which we assumed was the result of his chronic ear issues, but the ears were clear. His COVID test was positive. 

We were crushed. We have friends and family who are not the least bit careful, who go to restaurants and bars and social gatherings with impunity. But all our care had gone for naught. Both of us tested negative, so we hadn’t brought it home to him. As seldom as he is out of the house, we quickly figured that he had to have acquired it when we took him to his doctor’s lab for blood work related to a new medication. 

Our sense of dismay and disgust couldn’t last long. We had to quickly decide on how we were going to deal with this immediate challenge. One of us would have to take on 100% of the care, and thus exposure risks, while the other isolated. Being in the best position to handle all the hygiene and having the fewest underlying conditions, I took on the care role while my wife isolated in the basement. For 14 days she was bored to tears and I was worn out from being the sole caregiver. 

We caught a break or two. His case was apparently a very mild one. The only obvious symptom was a continuing low-grade fever. There were days when he seemed uncomfortable and confused about his situation, so it’s possible he was experiencing some muscle soreness or other symptoms that he couldn’t communicate to us. Additionally, his doctor was able to get him into a monoclonal antibody infusion clinic at day 6, which could be why his symptoms never got worse. 

His 14 days have finished, and we are so thankful that he didn’t experience any serious symptoms and that neither I nor my wife have come down with symptoms, though I am currently in a follow-up 10-day isolation to make sure I don’t come down with any. We definitely dodged a serious bullet. The daily worry and constant monitoring of oxygen levels and temperature are behind us, allowing us to breathe easy. It was a struggle, but it could have been so much worse.

I’m certain there are people with a special needs child who have experienced much worse, maybe even a fatality, who may be thinking, “Why did they get off so easily? Life isn’t fair.” 

and they’re right. It’s not. But it’s all we’ve got. and fair or not, we have to make the best of our individual situations and push forward. We’re thankful for our outcome and hope no one who reads this has to suffer any more than we did. 

Don’t let the lack of fairness influence your behavior. Continue to wear your masks. Get the vaccine when it becomes available. Stay safe.