Keith Wright – COVID-19 Journal

As a Special Education Teacher, I have been very busy these past few weeks. I have a two year old son that needs my time and energy 12 hours of the day, and a nurse wife that is staying very busy at the Dallas County Hospital.

My wife leaves the house for work at 5:30 am. My two year old son is at my bed side requesting blueberry muffins by 6 am. I get out of bed, change him and get him set for the morning, and prepare his breakfast. Once he has food in front of him and a show on the tv, I am good to escape for 10-15 minutes to get myself ready for the day before he notices I am not in the kitchen with him. After I have washed up, and he has finished breakfast, the fun really begins.

My Special Education work day begins at 8 am. I am behind a computer screen all day creating eLearning lessons for multiple grade levels and multiple student needs, contacting students and parents on my caseload and supporting them in all of their classes and home problems, and attending back to back zoom meetings with staff members, administration, and small group student lessons. While juggling these duties, I am also taking care of and entertaining my son who can not keep his attention on something for more than 7 minutes. Unfortunately, my son is not at the stage where he can be entertained independently, so he needs me every few minutes which makes it extremely difficult to do my job. If only you could have been in the important zoom virtual meeting I was in earlier this week when my son decided to barge into the office room, kicking down the door, and yelling singing his ABC’s at the top of his lungs. What a sight to see.

These adventures continue back and forth until around 5pm. 5pm is when I call it quits for the day and turn my computer off. This is when I try to finally get something to eat that is not rushed, and begin my son’s pm routine. After the battle of the bath time, house clean up, and force fed dinner, I get to put him into pajamas and start to put him down to bed. Three books later, my son has finally given up on fighting sleep. He tosses and turns, and is down for the count around 8pm. This is when I slowly sneak out of his bedroom and shut the door, and wait for my wife to finally get home from the day.

She pulls up to the house around 8:30 pm, and is completely drained from the 12 hour shift and commute. She leaves her clothes in the garage, and makes her way to the shower as soon as she steps into the house. After showering, she grabs a bite to eat, and fills me in with the highs and mostly lows of the day. The hospital is low on masks, there are COVID patients on her floor, the techs, nurses, and doctors lack ppe, everything you have already heard on the news. She is physically drained from the manual labor of the 12 hour shift, and mentally drained from the anxiety and uncertainty She is constantly in fear that she is bringing home the virus to me and my son, and she is terrified of what this respiratory virus would do to her wheelchair-bound CP brother who she hasn’t been able to see in 18 days. With so many questions, and not enough answers, she goes to the bedroom to get some sleep as she will be leaving again for work at 5:30 am.

I am exhausted, and finally have silence in the house. I get something small to eat, jump in the shower, and lay down next to my wife in the bed. I finally shut my eyes, it feels like 5 seconds have passed, and I am awaken at 6 am as my two year old son is at my bed side requesting blueberry muffins.

Keith Wright

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