For our family it was especially important to get our son Nolan vaccinated, to protect him against COVID-19. Nolan has a combination of delays and disabilities, including a neurological disorder. He also has a rare form of epilepsy, and since signs for seizures appear on his face we don’t allow him to wear a mask. One reason we’ve worried about a COVID-19 infection is because he’s non-verbal. Verbal kids might say: my breathing feels weird. But Nolan can’t tell us. For example, he doesn’t complain when he has an ear infection. If he’s sick, we have to figure out what’s going on through a process of elimination.
When Nolan got his first COVID-19 vaccine, he was sitting on Dad’s lap, hugging him, and he didn’t even flinch or wince throughout it all. Later, after watching a little Daniel Tiger, and some more hugs, he was back to being a smiling kid! The night of his vaccine Nolan felt a tiny bit warmer than usual when we put him to bed, and he was tired for several days afterwards, but there were no serious side effects.
Since Nolan had his first shot I feel like a weight has started to lift off our family. I know we’ll feel even better after he has his second shot. While we’ll still be thoughtful about the level of risk associated with each situation, we know Nolan is much better protected from COVID-19 now that he’s been vaccinated.
We also have three teenage sons, and since the pandemic started we’ve avoided going to indoor activities as a family so we could better protect Nolan. We’ve missed visiting indoor play structures, trampoline centres, Jets and Moose games, or the simple enjoyment of eating in a restaurant. We really miss the hockey games—we’d sit near the front, and when the puck dropped Nolan would kick his legs super fast, drumming against the glass, and he’d clap and squeal!
Nolan is 7 years old and is in grade 2 this year, and the other students are so happy to see him in class. We’ve really had to develop trust that other parents are also keeping their kids safe so we can feel comfortable sending Nolan to school. Last week a friend in his class wrote him a letter, “Oh, you like hockey. I’m a great goalie. I’d love to have you come watch me play sometime.” Nolan hasn’t been on any playdates in the past two years. But once he’s fully immunized, we would love for him to be able to go to a hockey arena and watch one of his best friends play hockey.