Saskatchewan·Point of View

When you say 'only the vulnerable are at risk,' know that your 'only' is my everything

We keep hearing that this “only” affects those over 80 and the vulnerable population —as if that is supposed to be some sort of consolation and belief that those lives are less valuable than the rest of us.

'This is real. It's affecting many many people already and it is not being blown out of proportion'

Micah Lynnes says they cannot take the pandemic lightly as they have too much at stake with their daughter who has complex health needs. 3:03

Today we sit at our family farm, in crisis mode from the current Covid-19 pandemic. As the parent of a three-year-old with complex medical issues, our social distancing measures are in full force right here, right now.

We cannot take this lightly, as we have too much at stake with our daughter. The same goes for every person who makes up the vulnerable population.

Yet others are proving to not feel quite the same urgency.

I see people commenting that this is being blown out of proportion by the media, posting videos at a party, coming home from vacation somehow thinking they get one free hall pass into public before isolating.

They are putting lives at risk. It makes me feel sick inside. I have everything to lose as we put our wavering faith in society. 

Our health care workers need us now

Three years ago my daughter Indy was diagnosed in utero with a major heart defect and a rare form of lung disease.

For nine months we sat in uncertainty beside our newborn daughter's hospital bed while she underwent many major surgeries. She was intubated and on a ventilator, and we were living in crisis mode.

In a packed ICU of only 12 beds, we were unsure of what each day would hold, how to pay the bills and if our daughter would make it out alive. This is the reality for many of the vulnerable members of our society including families of children diagnosed with critical illnesses.

We watched many times as our baby struggled to breathe and each time, an incredible team of medical professionals saved her life in a matter of seconds.

Micah Lynnes holds her daughter Indy, who faces complex medical issues. (Jordan Dumba Photography)

Indy spent months in the ICU hooked up to a ventilator, surrounded by some of the most medically vulnerable children across the country, under the care of incredible doctors and nurses. We know the way their smiles lit up the room full of very sick children. We also know how they jump into immediate action at the slightest change in their patient's stability. We are just one of the families whose hearts will be imprinted by those doctors and nurses forever.

It gives me incredible peace knowing these are the individuals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic today, but now they are relying on the rest of us to make sacrifices like practising social distancing.

A necessary sacrifice

Canada has changed in a matter of days due to COVID-19. Some of society has begun to self-isolate.

We all worry about our future and financial strain. It's uncertain, but also familiar to those of us who have lived through a medical crisis.

In the past three years, we have made emotional decisions to sacrifice important social gatherings, like Christmas with our families, for the safety of our daughter. We practised social distancing before this pandemic and will continue to do so once it has passed.

It is uncomfortable, but it is necessary.

Micah Lynnes's daughter Indy has dealt with complex medical issues since birth. 0:23

In the uncertain future, Indy will need another open-heart surgery. We don't know exactly when, but we are supposed to have it closely monitored so we can act upon any changes to her heart. That was until this pandemic started.

We now have no idea how we will have her heart checked or how long until we can access these important appointments. This is real. It's affecting many many people already and it is not being blown out of proportion.

The thought of what could happen should Indy need immediate medical attention or heart surgery during this pandemic is frightening, especially knowing the load on our medical teams will grow along with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

'This will affect all of us'

We keep hearing that this "only" affects people over 80 and the vulnerable population, as if those lives are less valuable than the rest of us.

This will affect all of us in one way or another.

Micah Lynnes's daughter Indy has dealt with complex medical issues since birth. (Jordan Dumba Photography)

Many medical families are already seeing the effects first hand. Our children's important appointments have been cancelled. We are having trouble getting the medical supplies that we need.

It's affecting our medical teams. Our country has a blood shortage. Supply companies are overrun. Businesses are shutting down.

While we see the number of deaths directly from COVID-19, we do not see the number of deaths from the strain and stress the virus is causing — and will keep causing — the medical system.

'Let your heart guide you'

When my family faced uncertainties three years ago, our community came together to help get us through. We need to act now as a community and practise social distancing and isolation upon the government's recommendations.

Will your actions today show your community that you are worth helping tomorrow, should you need? 

Three years ago I believed Indy's diagnosis would never happen to me. That we would never be faced with an unexpected medical crisis and have to sacrifice everything. I was wrong.

Those nine months in that hospital changed me forever.

Let your heart guide you in these times. And please remember that your "only" is my everything. 


This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

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About the Author

Micah Lynnes is a wife and a mother to two young children, one of which has a congenital heart defect.

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