Shuttered and Shattering- Stories of the Vulnerable
I’m writing this story as I think that it reflects the state of many of our vulnerable adults who have been treated so callously by governments and caregivers during this Covid coverup. I hope that it encourages other guardians and caregivers to speak out too.
Since the 1st lockdown my daughter, the only resident in her adult group home has lived with rotating staff scared spitless of Covid or afraid of losing their jobs for noncompliance of AHS's constant changing policies. As her advocate, I have been steadily fighting for ongoing family visitation rights. But, only for her summer birthday was she allowed to include her two sisters in the backyard. Unfortunately, when a heavy rain came, it ended our brief visit very abruptly as we weren't permitted indoors. Until fall, when I protested, we had to endure mosquitoes and outdoor conditions just to spend time together with the staff constantly on our backs about masks and social distancing. Similar to many other overwhelmed vulnerable adults, we were threatened to lose our visits if we didn’t fully obey all the ever-changing rules.
Last spring, we would just play along while we went on walks, laughing together, removing our masks for a hug or a kiss or she would hold my hand until we were back in sight of the residence. However, that was short lived once her staff was strictly instructed to accompany us and always keep us in sight. Even now, I still try furtively to give her some physical contact like a hug, pat or a peck on the cheek just so she isn't completely isolated. My girl used to be very affectionate and Mom and her family were her world. For a little while, before Thanksgiving, we were still able to escape on weekends, throwing away the masks and snuggling on the couch with me or her sisters watching chick flicks together sharing popcorn bowls and drinks.
It nearly broke my heart at Christmas, when she was quarantined for the whole holiday. She was alone with no family for the first time in her life. Christmas Eve Dad and I dropped off gifts but no baking, anything home made or unpackaged. She came to the front door and blocked her staff just long enough to for us to give each other a big Christmas hug and kiss but once again, we weren't allowed inside. No traditional hot family Christmas dinner was allowed either.
Missing every birthday and family or holiday celebration in a large family is tragic. Her supervisor informed me that my visitations are dangerous and not appreciated. " Why don't I do like the other caregivers and use Zoom?
Since late fall, other than walks, my victimized daughter hasn't been out in public. We can't eat or drink anything, must wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing. Sharing photos and any kind of intimacy has become almost impossible. My victimized daughter has always been expressive in her need for touch. Butt now staff wear Hazmat type gear in the bathroom with her, can't touch her and must always be masked. After so many hours a temperature gun is pointed at her head, and can't eat with her. Last week, I forgot to social distance and reached out to stroke her hair and she screamed at me to get out of her bubble. She was so upset and I was so shocked I just left.
Due to this falsely labelled pandemic, I have been watching my high spirited child breaking slowly under the continual and changing demand of government mandates and drifting into a fear and anger filled drone of the state. I believe she’s not the only one facing this violation of dignity and human rights. Please share her story.