Hard to Follow COVID Protocols When Your 11-Yr-Old Is in Isolation
It broke our hearts to watch our son stand at a distance and beg us to let him come out of his room.
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
Our son is very social in nature, whose worst nightmare is being alone. So, when he tested positive for COVID, our immediate concern was how to ensure quarantine? We knew it was going to be hard to keep him isolated, but we never thought it would be so heart-wrenching!
We did not panic about the illness itself as we understood that for a child, COVID is usually a mild affair. His paediatrician had instructed us to monitor his temperature and oxygen saturation and keep him well hydrated. She also suggested steam inhalation. It seemed simple enough.
Our son shut himself in his room with his computer, phone, books, toys and movies. He also had our dog and kitten to keep him company. All went well for one day. Then began the trouble, with the tears and tantrums. He just could not bear to be alone in his room.
It broke our hearts to watch him. He stood at a distance and begged us to let him out of his room and eat at the table with us ... to let him talk to us without a mask.
He kept texting us “please, please, please”. When we tried to explain again why this isolation, he just shut the door on our face. We were afraid all this crying will make him more sick.
Meanwhile, both of us (parents) had tested negative and despite our vaccinations, our doctor gave us strict instructions not to have any physical contact with our son. But how does one maintain the mandatory one-metre distance when your child is standing there with tears streaming down his face?
To our son, we surely appeared to be cold and heartless. I think he was feeling angry because he was the only one who had COVID. He wished that at least one of us would also test positive. But at the same time, he was feeling guilty about such a wish.
On Day 3, at bedtime, he had a complete meltdown. He choked on his tears, had difficulty in breathing. My wife had to hug him tight. She then sat on his bed for a long time, putting him to sleep. I was watching them from the distance, feeling helpless.
The next day, we shifted him to our bedroom and we moved out to the living room. This shift meant hours of sanitisation work, but it certainly cheered him up. Somehow staying in his parents’ room made him feel better. He stopped crying and sulking and slept peacefully.
Physically, he was doing much better. Our task was to keep his spirits up. Things that helped were phone calls from friends and family, audiobooks, and little treats, like bhujia and chivda.
We were very lucky that we did not have to encounter the severe version of the infection. We did not need medication or oxygen, or a hospital bed. Friends and kin rallied around us with heartfelt messages, phone calls, and parcels of homemade food. Our only struggle has been with ourselves.
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