Trying to breathe


In a few weeks, it will be one full year that the boys and I have been cocooning or shielding – hiding away in our house trying to stay well and alive in the pandemic. Lately, there have been many days when I felt I just can’t breathe. Sometimes literally, but mostly figuratively.

I want to breathe again.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately as I try to research about the various COVID19 vaccines, searching for updated data on possible side-effects for various underlying conditions of the people who have so far had the vaccines. In Ireland, only vague data is available. In contrast, I find detailed data out of America via the CDC there. Having said that, they aren’t administering the Astra Zeneca vaccine so there’s no data on it from them. Ireland seems set to administer the AZ vaccine to what will be the bulk of the population, including people with underlying conditions, despite the fact it is far less efficacious and it wasn’t trialed on people with underlying conditions.

I like to be informed, so when my legitimate questions aren’t answered, the stress is overwhelming…and I can’t breathe.

There is talk of school reopening next month. Declan and Brendan Bjorn will remain home until at least I am vaccinated, but preferably until Brendan Bjorn is also. As he’s only 16, and children under 18 in Ireland aren’t yet approved for the vaccine, I don’t know when or if that will even happen. Considering that, I will likely send Declan back to school when I am vaccinated and have to just keep him and his brother, his only sibling, apart. That will be heartbreaking.

I think of Declan – a young boy who is missing out on so much by being at home, keeping me and his brother safe, but who also has a life-long history of respiratory infections including multiple pneumonias, RSV, and bronchitis – and I wonder, will he be safe when he does return to school?

And with that worry, I can’t breathe.

I started using a C-PAP machine for obstructive sleep apnea this past week. I’m still trying to get used to sleeping with what amounts to a snorkel on my face and air blowing at me all night long. I think it’s too early to tell if it’s helping some of the related issues, but I’ll of course give it time. I will hold out hope that I will be able to breathe better soon.

As a lone parent carer, I don’t think life has been harder in these last 17 years than it has been this past year. New COVID19 variants, negligent decisions by the government, isolation, vaccination concerns, caring 24/7, exhaustion, loneliness, poor health, parenting challenges, open wounds not healing (yes, figurative and literal), frustration, anger, occasional despair…and so much more…

I am trying to breathe, but some days it’s hard to do.