When this month began, my work calendar was loaded with special education conferences. As worries of coronavirus intensified, each organization cancelled their large gatherings and my calendar cleared. No work means no pay. I know many people in this situation. It’s stressful but as I deleted each event, money wasn’t the first thing on my mind.
This isn’t the first time I’ve lost jobs, money, or my freedom to illness. Every time Benjamin gets sick, my life goes on hold and I’m reminded that everything I thought was important — isn’t.
Benjamin’s health and life are more important than work or debt.
I am worried, but worry is not a new state of being for me. Any respiratory infection could kill Benjamin.
Although the heightened media presence of the coronavirus has me more concerned and has caused me to take even more precautions than normal, there is one thing I cannot listen to anymore.
I will echo what others have been saying, but so many still haven’t taken to heart.
THE CORONAVIRUS IS NOT THE FLU.
This is a new, not yet understood, virus. This is a fast-moving virus and it is clear from what the medical community is telling us that we are horribly unprepared. Our hospitals can not manage flu patients plus outbreak patients and, oh, the unfortunate person who has a heart attack.
THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO NEEDS ANY KIND OF MEDICAL CARE COULD BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED.
My personal concern centers around the fact that our hospitals do not have enough life-saving equipment. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if Benjamin catches the coronavirus and the hospital is in the position to ration ventilators, Benjamin will die. His life will be deemed less valuable than a father of two or a mother of one or ABSOLUTELY ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING WITHOUT A DISABILITY.
I know this because that is also nothing new to me. Our society is in the bad habit of placing a hierarchy on life.
If you have the luxury of believing the coronavirus is just like the flu, consider yourself lucky. But don’t tell me that because Benjamin is disabled that it is solely up to my family and those like us to self-quarantine.
That is an old, obnoxious and, yes, ABLEIST song.
It signifies everything that is still wrong in this country regarding the disabled. It justifies blanket segregation. It justifies the idea that the person with a disability needs to make all the accommodations instead of understanding that environmental and behavioral changes by everyone could make all the difference.
My son is not disposable. My 90-year-old mother is not disposable.
Stop implying that they are.
I can guarantee that my quarantined son and mother aren’t out and about spreading this virus.
You know who’s spreading it? All the “healthy” members of society walking around not taking this seriously.
Stop placing a hierarchy on life.
Stop saying it only kills the old and already compromised.
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