01 August 2021

Pandemic Whack A Mole - Raising Parents Edition

Washington state just reinstated indoor masking, as did part of the lower mainland in British Columbia.  It doesn't bother me, because frankly: I have become attached to my masks. They have become a bit of a binky for me. Also, it was still required at my work when I went into the office so I never truly let go of it.  I don't mind the requirement at all, I just wish they would have left it in place month(s) ago.  And that it was country-wide but 'Merica.

I've mentioned before that my bio family are mostly anti-vaxxers.  This equally does not surprise me and frustrates me.  I won't go on a rant about it; because I could FOR DAYS.   I will summarize instead: I'm puzzled by the arrogance of "knowing" more than all of the scientists worldwide. 

So, of course, there is an upcoming birthday celebration at my mother's house.  Not only do I not want to go because I'm enjoying my mental health, I don't want to go because I don't want to carry something home and kill Kevin's parents.  I know, I'm super selfish.

I've been mulling how to decline yet another invitation.  Add to it that Kevin wondered how much of my hesitation was simply that I didn't want to see my family.  Ummm, yeah.

Then it occurred to me: I have a doctor.  An actual medical specialist at my disposal.  I felt a little dumb when I realized it, all I have to do is send an email and ask for guidance.  How did I not think of that before?  

So I did yesterday.  I presented the situation as best as I could, stating the family structure here and our vaccination status.  Then I explained that bio family are anti-vaxxers and what shall I do with this invitation.

Honestly I thought that I would get a "Meh, pay attention but go ahead and go."  That is not exactly what I got.  I'm going to post it here so you can make your own determination:

RE: Non-Urgent Medical Question

I appreciate how careful you are trying to be with the Covid epidemic! I am particularly concerned with the delta variant and the increasing cases in the County.
I am so glad that you, your husband, and your parents are vaccinated.
Of course, the safest thing would be to decline the invitation.
That being said, if you are vaccinated, I think that a reasonable option would be to attend the party if you wear a mask and if the party is outside.
Even though the vaccine is highly effective, there are breakthrough cases. I would be concerned about a breakthrough case that you could spread to your parents. I do think spending time outdoors and masked would be very safe and unlikely to cause a problem, given the multiple layers of protection (vaccine, outside, masking).
I am not sure that I would go to an indoor party.

Okay, well then.  I'm glad I asked because I felt vindicated in my hesitancy. I was also a little surprised at the whole Not to an Indoor Party part.  This was written prior to the reinstatement of the mask mandate.  And yet, I really shouldn't have been surprised.

I phoned my niece and explained what the doctor said and all's well that ends well.  Apparently my mother had expressed hesitation and the niece was changing the location and size of the party.  

So, I thought we were finished with this topic.

Kevin came in a little while ago, quiet.  Finally he just states that "Mom is going to the casino tonight."

Because my brain isn't booted up fully yet, I just flatly said "Okay."  Meaning I'm exhausted with this reckless nonsense.  Kevin took it as approval at first and expressed surprise.  Then my synapses started to reconnect and I clarified: "Of course she is.  It was nice knowing her."  

The casino is not a good idea for her BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.  It's too overwhelming, smoky, populated, etc.  But sure, go when there's a pandemic resurgence.  

In case you wonder "What harm can come of it?"  Here's the summary of her fragile medical health: COPD, multiple strokes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Vascular Dementia, GI feeding tube.

Then add into she can carry it into her home, where her stroke victim with AFIB and a pacemaker, and with atrophied heart disease, husband lives.

So then I was trying to work it through my brain.  I remembered listening to Atul Gawande on a podcast talk about end of life with elderly people.  His example was a woman who would sneak cookies that she wasn't supposed to have.  She kept getting into "trouble" at the care facility.  His point was "She's old, she's at the end of her life, if she chooses to die by choking on a cookie and She's Happy Eating The Cookie, then let her do it."

Well, then there's that, I guess.  It doesn't matter that it's such an unbelievably reckless thing to do.  If she's fine with exposure to herself and to her husband, then I guess that's her consequence.  

However, it's not a consequence that she understands.  She fully believes that she is fine to do these things pre-pandemic; let alone now in the middle of one. So add the incapacity to make a reasonable decision into the mix.  It's not lack of knowledge because CNN is on their television all.the.time.  It's the Raising Parents thing again where they behave as if teenagers and there's nothing you can do about it.

In the meanwhile, I'm not going into the parent's house for the next 7-10 days.  I don't know what Kevin decided about that, he was considering it the last we talked about it.  We're going to assume she'll/they'll be fine but I'm keeping myself safe in the meanwhile.  It's all I can do.

It's stupid stuff like this that is keeping us in this purgatory.  To quote the interwebs: We Didn't Just Spend 18 months in Quarantine to Do This All Over Again

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