’Tis the Season to be Anxious

Emma Louise Cheetham by Emma Louise Cheetham Additional Needs

Emma Louise Cheetham

Emma Louise Cheetham

I live in Stockport, UK. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. After years of therapy and getting back on my fee...

It’s almost that time of year. The time of year that most of us either love or hate.

If you’re a summer person who loves nothing more than basking in the warm summer sunshine or enjoying late night barbecues and beer garden antics then now is the time for you to pop into hibernation for the next few months  If you’re a winter person then you’ll probably already be counting down the days until the nights draw in earlier, ready to the enjoy all the seasonal fun that winter has to offer. Halloween, bonfire night and of course (is it too early to say?) Christmas.

Then there is a whole different group of people who don’t just wish they could hibernate around this time, they wish they could wrap themselves and their whole family safely into a germ-free bubble whilst still being able to enjoy all the wonderful things this time of year has in store. They are filled with anxiety and dread about what the coming months will bring for them. That group of people are parents of children who are medically very vulnerable.

The reality is this time of year can be the difference between life or death.

It may sound extreme but so many medically complex children are lost to illness or infection around this time of year because their already compromised immune systems are simply too poorly to fight them off. It’s a grim and terrifying thought. This inevitably brings so much stress and anxiety to so many families who will do everything in their power to keep their children healthy.

It’s difficult to find a balance between keeping your child wrapped in cotton wool to ensure their safety that results in them missing out on so much fun that this time of year brings or living your life with your child as close to normal as you possibly can which brings with it a risk of frequent hospitalisations and a need for regular breathing intervention.

I wish I had the answers, of course we all know our own children better than anybody else so nobody can tell you what is best for your family and your circumstances more than you already know yourself. We know their limitations and we know what poses the greatest risk to their fragile health.

Our last two winters have been incredibly tough. The first winter Jaxon was just six weeks old and spent six weeks in hospital from November until January. His first Christmas, his first new year, it was all celebrated from the confines of a hospital cubicle. It was difficult but we tried our hardest to make the best of a bad situation. Last Christmas was marginally better however the lead up to it was somewhat difficult. He had five separate hospital admissions between October and January. He was admitted to hospital the day before Christmas Eve and was discharged on Christmas Day early in the afternoon. So I think it’s quite understandable that I’m less than excited about what this year will bring, especially given the current climate we are all finding ourselves living in.

I ask myself whether the current restrictions we are all living under will lead to a better outcome for Jaxon and all the children like him. Or will the fact he’s been so heavily shielded for over half the year have negatively impacted on his already compromised immune system.

Only time will tell.

What I do know is that whilst I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Jaxon as healthy, safe and well as I possibly can, he’s already missed out on so much and I desperately want to rectify that. I just hope that even if we can’t avoid a virus causing him issues, he will still get to spend less time inside a hospital and more time in his own surroundings. He deserves to enjoy the magic of winter and I’m cautiously optimistic that this year, despite everything going on, might be our best one yet. After all they do say third time lucky.

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