What do you do when you are faced with an impossible situation?
In what seems like overnight, life as we know it has been flipped upside down. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has been affected in one way or another by the coronavirus. My heart goes out to the health care workers, tirelessly putting in extra hours in efforts to make even the smallest of differences, to the small business owner that poured their heart and soul into their dreams and might not make it because of the financial hit, to the grocery store employees that risk exposure just to ensure the stores stay open and gives people access to food.
I don’t think I’m special and I do believe that we will get through this together and move on
to our new normal. Currently, we are together, as a family, in Dominican Republic. We are here to support each other, entertain each other and drive each other a little crazy because we are self-isolating in a 2-bedroom condo. It may be a little squished but we feel safe and that’s what matters most.
Am I worried about COVID-19 here in DR, yes, but have been able to mitigate my anxiety through my actions and my family's actions. Our creativity levels are at an all time high with making up new games, dance parties and having constant craft sessions. We have an opportunity to make family dinners every night. We are able to be a family and that makes my heart grow. In a time where you are almost too scared to turn on the news or look out the window, the thing that keeps us going is each other.
Understandably, discussions on closing borders around the globe have begun and plans are being implemented. Actions need to be taken in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Flights from DR to Canada have been very limited and now are only running as the Canadian government sees fit.
We typically fly every two weeks. We spend two weeks in DR as a family of four. Following that we travel back to Canada and try to squeeze in all necessary appointments: doctors, surgeries, meetings, etc. Then pack it all up and come back to DR. Three flights each way, every two weeks. While we fight the government, this is what has “worked” for us.
When that option was taken away we needed to have a serious look at what the near future would look like. And frankly, we just don’t know what to do.
Today, I was asked a question that I knew the answer to right away but knew that making a decision on it would be extremely difficult. The question was, “Do you feel confident in taking Luther to a Dominican hospital if he were to fall and break his arm?” Immediately and wholeheartedly, my answer was “no”.
Dominican Republic has shotty healthcare on a good day. I’m sorry if that offends anyone and this blog isn't meant to put people down but i need to put things in context. I am not only speaking from the horror stories floating around but also from personal experience. So even on a good day I am worried about the safety and health of my whole family. Now, interject a pandemic, and I am genuinely afraid how things will be handled within the hospitals. I am talking about treatment and sanitization, cross-contamination and unnecessary exposure to the infectious disease.
Put the crisis aside and just run a very possible, normal, everyday scenario of Luther falling off the couch, breaking his arm and needing immediate medical attention. I can not take him into a hospital. I can not take him to a doctor. He is only 15 months old, I can not run the risk of exposing him to coronavirus.
If you are a parent, right now you are jumping up and down, screaming at me to go home. Go to Canada where you can trust the health care. But here, in this family, it is not that easy.
First, there is no way that Luther, Vaden and myself can go all together. We can not leave Widlene here in Dominican Republic to fend for herself in the midst of the world going crazy.
Option two, Luther and I go to Canada and Vaden stays in DR with Widlene. There are two hardships with this scenario.
One, and the most obvious, is the indefinite separation of our family. With the borders closing and flights being grounded there is no known timeframe for when we would be able to see each other again, it could be weeks and just as possible it could be months.
The second problem, and something that most people would never consider, is who am I to place a higher value on one child over another? Who I am to decide that Luther is more deserving of access to better healthcare than Widlene? Why does he get the opportunity to jump on a plane and go to a place where we know he will be taken care of when Widlene has to stay in a place she is being hunted?
So for most people, it's an easy decision. For Vaden and I, it is absolutely heartbreaking and damn near impossible. Tonight, as the window of time closes on flights to Canada from DR, Vaden and I sit across the table from one another, silent, with tears rolling down our cheeks.