Should I stay or should I go now????
February 27, 2020 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Hello! I’m a worrier by nature and Coronavirus is scaring me a little bit. At the moment I am living with two special needs kiddos 3 and 4 in a European country that has probably the worst healthcare in Europe. My husband is working in Germany. Me and the kids were planning to join him after preschool ends in June. I’m afraid of schools being shut here and having the smallies on my own maybe getting sick, and no social contact and my husband maybe not being able to visit. Is it okay to take a wait and see approach?

So I need help in the process of deciding when to go back to Germany, we were living there all together before I took the kids here during a very difficult time when I didn’t have the resources to cope with 2 sensory kids, I didn’t even know what sensory was back then! This was about 18 months ago.

Everything has been a smashing success. They’ve gotten older, I’ve learned new skills and we are all happy here.

The kiddos are doing occupational therapy, horse lessons, and loving their preschool. I’m upset this may have a 3 month premature end. How realistic are these fears? One moment I think this is DEFINITELY going to happen, another moment I see it’s not that severe for most people who catch it and I hope it might not spread so fast. Our life at the moment isn’t normal and at the moment we are relying on air travel for him to see the kids on the weekends etc. disruption to travel would/will seriously make things hard for us as a family. There was an end point of June... my husband has 8 more trips planned. Like, should we do our next visit and then prepare to go, wait and see? I don’t know!

I always overreact to scary stuff on the news, so much so that I can’t figure out how to calmly make this decision without it coming from a place of panic.
posted by catspajammies to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Just to clarify- when I say we are all happy here, that was a bit of a typo. We are happy now. We all want to go back to Germany for many reasons, they’ll be going to a great kindergarten primary in an English group and we all feel good about the move and are looking forward to it.
posted by catspajammies at 1:41 PM on February 27, 2020

COVID-19 has so far been responsible for 2,400 deaths. in contrast, deaths due to the normal flu so far this season are at 16,000.

Are you considering, or have you ever considered necessary in any previous year, taking evasive maneuvers because of the normal Flu?
posted by humboldt32 at 1:52 PM on February 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify- I am not worried about getting sick or the kids getting sick. I’m afraid of draconian measures in which the schools wouldn’t be open and possible travel restrictions that would prevent my husband from being able to travel. I am also on my own with the kids with no other support so even if I did get the flu that would be hard enough.
posted by catspajammies at 1:57 PM on February 27, 2020 [7 favorites]

I think the question here is about the logistics of the family reunion/relocation and the potential for the OP to be alone caring for the kids if schools in their current area close, rather than whether they are at risk of imminent death.

Personally I think that as you were planning to relocate back to Germany relatively soon anyway, it would seem reasonable to move those plans forwards somewhat. I think it is somewhat likely that schools in a lot of European countries will be closed for at least a couple of weeks. If you really think life would be difficult with the two kids at home without your husband it seems sensible to change plans so as to have him around.

Perhaps weigh up the loss of the three months in your current situation vs the gains of going back to Germany, based on best-case scenarios (no-one in the family gets sick, there aren't outright travel bans, but it might make more sense for your husband not to regularly internationally travel). How does that feel? What about in a worse-er case scenario, like what is currently happening in northern Italy. If you were in that situation, would you feel like you would want your family all together?

Does your husband have opinions about this? Is he less prone to overreaction? Are you two able to discuss this in a calm way? Not to increase your panic but the situation is moving quite rapidly (see Italy, again). I think you should at least get a solid set of plans (A, B, C etc) in place for various scenarios so at least you can feel calmer knowing you have an idea of what you are going to do and don't just keep aimlessly stressing about it.
posted by Balthamos at 2:03 PM on February 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Maybe a place to start in making a non-panic decision is researching what kinds of programs you could get your kids into if you did go now; that will be something you will need to do if you do decide to go, so might as well start on it now and see what you find. It's also something concrete to do other than just going around in circles with yourself.

If it were me I would feel like 3 fewer months of even the world's best program isn't going to hurt your kids as much as having a sad, isolated, unhappy mom for any period of time.
posted by bleep at 2:32 PM on February 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I think you need to think through your best and worst case scenarios if travel bans/school closings happens and your best and worst case scenarios if nothing in particular happened.
posted by mskyle at 2:33 PM on February 27, 2020

Travel restrictions exist to contain the virus. The odds that it was in your country, contained, and you were not allowed to leave or in Germany, contained, and no one was allowed in are very small. There is no point shutting down travel if the disease is in many locations.

Schools and offices in any area with the virus may be temporarily shut down. We can't know that right now.

Really consider the person at the start who pointed out the flu vs. this. We're incredibly aware of the danger being shoved in our faces when it isn't necessarily any different than the usual we just don't know is around us. That doesn't mean worry more, please!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:43 PM on February 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

If I were you, I would focus on the very few things I could control. At the moment, you can control moving sooner or not moving sooner. As the relative of some special needs children, I would not be willing to risk the possibility of being responsible for the children on my own for an undetermined amount of time because that’s too much work. That is way stressful and a genuine health risk to you and your children even if some people may not understand that.

So I would investigate how quickly moving would be possible, consult with my husband, and decide together when you can actually relocate. Give your children a heads up once you have decided, because transitions are hard on everyone and often especially hard on special needs kids.

Finally, how do you think you will feel if your family moves early and it turns out that moving early was unnecessary and also made life really difficult for you and your husband and your children for several months? How do you think you will feel if you don’t move and conditions change and you are forced to be a single parent alone for several months? Are there any additional resources available where you are should you get stuck there? Have you explored that option?

There is literally no way to know what the best option is for your family. It is super important that you have all the support you need. So as mentioned above by another poster, figure out which choice feels like it would be best for you as a mom. I am so sorry you are in the situation, because it is not easy.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:21 PM on February 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Influenza is not and has not been generating quarantines; I think your concern that your location or your husband's location may be quarantined is entirely reasonable. Travel in and out of China appears to be halted with no known end. Covid-19 is most dangerous for people who are older or ill, but being quarantined is looking pretty possible and pretty unpredictable.

Option 1: Go to Germany now.
Option 2: Wait and see.
Are there other options? Stay with family in another location? Husband comes to where you are?
List pros and cons of every option you can think of, and try to rank the pros and cons. The US CDC is saying they expect Covid-19 to spread. Your current country doesn't have fantastic health care; Germany does. I'd guess Germany would be great at managing quarantine. Etc. If not being able to join your husband in 3 months would be really distressing, travel soon. If you could manage a couple months of quarantine, it's not so urgent. It's a stressful decision, good luck.
posted by theora55 at 3:27 PM on February 27, 2020 [5 favorites]

I think going to Germany sooner, where you know things will be fine and you'll have your partner to support you, is a good decision. You'll always be able to decide to move back to where you are now if you like, or simply visit during a summer vacation or something.

The only thing that gives me pause is whether the social connections you've made with local people in where you are now would actually be quite useful in a crisis. You might feel as if during a time of social isolation you'd be totally on your own, but I imagine that friends and neighbours will still find ways to connect - even if just digitally.
posted by mdonley at 6:07 PM on February 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Worst healthcare in Europe makes me think you're in Ireland. If so I think we can count on the Irish government doing fuck all in terms of quarantine, closing schools etc. Even if they do somehow manage to not ignore a pandemic (doubtful) and come up with a plan, good luck getting the Irish public to keep their kids and themselves indoors. Between that and Ireland being reasonably food secure, especially this time of year, there is less chance of disruption to daily life there than Germany I'd imagine. But on the converse I'd not want to be in an Irish hospital with a bad splinter never mind ARDS, I can tell you that. If the hospitals get more overwhelmed, which they will in 3 minutes, people who suspect they have coronavirus will be heading out of the country and its possible other countries will not allow landings

So overall I'd head to Germany now. There's a much higher chance you'll be stuck in some kind of formal disruption situatuon with the kids but at least you'll have your spouse. And a functional health care system.
posted by fshgrl at 6:24 PM on February 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: On the other hand, if you do end up stuck in Ireland there is nowhere less likely to turn violent or even unpleasant under duress. Irish people will just say "it'll be grand" and make jokes right up until the zombies eat them. Except it probably will be grand either way so I didn't want to alarm you too much, if you do get stuck there, there are worse places to be stuck and the odds of serious illness are of course very low.
posted by fshgrl at 11:49 PM on February 27, 2020 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone. Yes, I am in Ireland. I think my relatives and friends in America don’t realize how the healthcare system is here- it is scary scary scary bad, and while I don’t believe I would need to avail of the system myself (I hope) it is scary to think what the situation will be like if they get even more than a few cases and that seems really likely. My husband and I agreed to take things on a day by day, week by week basis, but I’ve ordered some packing boxes and will be ready to go if the schools close. A big part of me really hopes this will peter out!
posted by catspajammies at 3:06 PM on February 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the update.
posted by theora55 at 11:49 AM on February 29, 2020

Response by poster: AAAAANNNNND we're GONE. We are safely in our house in Germany all together as a family. Preschool ended on thursday and left saturday.
posted by catspajammies at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

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