Comment by Kirsty Ann

The excitement and chatter amongst the people in shops and cafes all focus around the fast-approaching ‘freedom Day’, is the light at the end of the tunnel finally in sight ?

My 6-year-old is learning about ‘Bastille Day’ at school. She asked me if this is what ‘Freedom Day’ will be like .‘Will, there be fireworks and parades Mummy’ She said excitedly, her big blue eyes getting larger by the moment. I was able to mutter a quick ‘not sure moo’ whilst the images of families watching this from the safety of their own homes, isolated with no protection. I think of my sister and the choices she has to make to keep my niece safe but my nephew unrestricted. It’s almost impossible.

I am writing this whilst my unwell 18-month baby boy is napping on me. Dosed up on Calpol and breathing heavily. His cough was so horrendous last night that he could only nap a few minutes at a time whilst being helped in an upright position.  I didn’t sleep, my anxiety washing over me with intrusive thoughts of flashing lights, ventilators, and my tiny baby unable to breathe on his own.

His Uncle has COVID, he has had contact with him and now is showing all the symptoms. They say it doesn’t affect babies and children the same as adults. I call bullshit on this, sorry for the strong language but that’s what it is. No one knows the effect long Covid could have on children and the data on children having the virus is skewered. Let’s all just admit how hard it is to shove something that’s not their own finger up a child’s nose without a full-blown tantrum. I honestly have come to the conclusion that many children test negative because we are unable to perform the test precisely.

I am probably more anxious than other parents, people may think I’m irrational and yes maybe I am. Since Brody was born 8 weeks premature I have suffered from PTSD and an anxiety disorder. He came into this world fighting, placed on a ventilator, and had so many wires inserted into him – to keep him alive. I spent many nights and days in the Neo-Natal Intensive care ward listening to the deep sighs of the ventilator, the beeping from the machines inserting nutrients into my baby. I longed to hold him but just sat and watched. I never ever wanted to see him like that again. Never, no parent would.

A month on and we made our way home to the radio discussing a virus in China, I remember just ignoring it. It was China after all. Exactly one year from his birth Brody spent his 1st birthday in hospital. He had tested positive for COVID. I had carried out a test 3 days before on both children but it had returned a negative result. This time the Dr in the children’s assessment unit had done it, and quite surprisingly to the professionals, he had COVID. I then also tested positive. The next few weeks were extremely difficult. I don’t need to write any more about that as then my focus would be muddled.

My focus – freedom day. Despite the rising cases and hospital admissions, double vaccinated people, and unvaccinated vulnerable children – Boris and his mate are jeering the nation up to celebrate freedom day. Not unlike the scenes from Wembley on Sunday eve where the virus must have thought all its Christmases had come at once. It is completely irresponsible to lift the restrictions, or is it selfish? Selfish behavior from the elite that does not understand disabilities or vulnerabilities. Scrap that – they don’t care.

So as I sit here practicing my emotional coping skills in preparation for a possible hospital visit with my baby, I ask you this – is ‘Freedom’ day some sort of oxymoron ?? Is not wearing a mask more important than protecting others?
Is meeting up in large groups more important than standing in solidarity with a community that needs your support?
Has humanity forgotten that we as a collective force are strong and powerful?

This is not about taking YOUR freedom away it is about caring for the ones who need it most.
It’s not ‘freedom day ‘ it’s the opening ceremony of ‘Survival of The Fittest 2021’

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