A Parent’s Response To COVID-19 Prep In Richmond

James Walton James Walton  |  March 20, 2020
A Parent’s Response To COVID-19 Prep In Richmond

The symptoms of starvation are things like withdrawal, apathy, listlessness and increased susceptibility to disease. So when my usually outgoing son, Carter, was crumpled up in our living room chair not engaging us it took my mind to dark places.

He was starving. This was just 2 days ago.

Given the situation with the virus formerly known as Corona, I was most concerned about my son becoming one of the very few children fatalities. He was severely compromised.

It took a series of rare and poorly timed situations to put Carter in such a condition. I will explain that timeline of events and how it coincided with the tightening hand of government control being leveraged to stop the spread of this virus.

The Appointment: March 13, 2020

“That place was ridiculous!” My wife said returning from the supermarket. She went early on Friday and came back with plenty of food. We have plenty of food already but there are fresh foods that we cannot replicate here.

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We have not made the decision to completely isolate. We are about 95% isolated to the home but we are strategically shopping to both affect normalcy and to stay connected with what is happening locally.

She told me a story that I had been reading about all day. The story of empty shelves, no rice, and no toilet paper. By this point, the general public had opened their eyes and was taking action. The panic buying was in full effect and it was as contagious as the virus.

The thin veil of invincibility had been punctured and the people realized their income, safety, food security, and health were all at risk. The party was over, the bread was gone and the circus tent was coming down on top of them.

I myself was having terrible intuitive shakes about a dental procedure. Carter was having a rapid palatal expander put in his mouth. For weeks I had been lamenting the whole process.

I remember staring at the list of foods he could no longer eat and shuddering as much of his favorite foods, including fresh vegetables, were not allowed. Great food options like nuts and long term food storage options like rice were written off according to this sheet.

Rough times were ahead and the last thing I wanted to consider was my 8 year old on a modified diet. Particularly one he was going to hate.

The Prepper Broadcasting Network had been watching the spread of the virus since we replayed The Survival Medicine Podcast in early January that focused on NEW PNEUMONIA.

The governor also took radical action that day to limit our daily lives in Virginia. Parents were lashed from the sides of public education and how they would be doing their job, or not.

  • Schools were closed for at least 2 weeks
  • Telework Policies and a ban on state employee travel
  • Public Gatherings were canceled for 30 Days
  • Cleaning and maintenance schedule and hours were modified for public transit

It Begins: March 15th, 2020

“Why does Carter have a robot mouth?”

My youngest son Jacob was not fond of the new dental work either. I was personally palpating because it had been three days and my son was drinking his meals.

He ate sparse bits of food as we all at dinner and spent most of his time hacking up bits of food that got stuck or didn’t get chewed enough. The dentist told us he would figure out how to eat again but we just had to give it time. In the meantime, he was living on smoothies and milk.

I’m a prepper. All the lights are flashing at this point. This virus is tightening its grip around our throats and my son cannot eat. We could be deep into our pantry and food storage in a matter of months and my son isn’t eating! He has to get food around this big metal device in his mouth.

That night, the worst thing that could happen, happened.

Starvation: March 17th, 2020

By the 17th of the month our lunatic governor, Ralph Northem, expanded restrictions in the State. Most of these were an expansion on the first round. Kids were gonna be home longer, more aid, more closures of government facilities and stronger restrictions on public gathers.

These restrictions did not garner the Governor his “lunatic” title. However, the fact that I could be punished for calling him a lunatic and he wrote that into law, makes him a lunatic.

My wife was home with us now. Her job was following along with most other businesses in the area and trying to get as many people out of offices as possible.

The stories of food shortage were reaching a fever pitch and my son Carter was in the throes of a stomach virus. Fever, vomit, diarrhea and he entered this illness with nothing but smoothies in his system. By the 17th he was at a severe deficit and could hardly keep down water.

It was St. Patrick’s Day, the much anticipated release of Spawn on Mortal Kombat 11 and he was out of school for a month! In good health, he would have been marching around the house in triumph.

Instead, my little boy was silent. His eyes were sunken in his head from a few nights of terrible sleep due to bouts of nausea and vomiting. He was a picture of what might be if we are not careful over the next few months.

The effect on me was profound. It was like seeing some dark future where food was truly scarce and American parents had come face to face with the truest representation of SHTF, starving and sick children.

Don’t Neglect your Intuition

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Days before this dental work I was already feeling pangs of concern about the situation we were facing and Carter’s added challenge. He is 8. Eating is never a guarantee without a “robot mouth” in the way.

With each declaration of things like the NEA or National Emergency Act and the Stafford Act coming from the President, my intuition flared. The risks were growing and my son was in the worst shape of his short life.

It was time for swift action to do what all preppers strive to do: Prepare ourselves and our families for disruptions to daily life.

The Dentist is Closed March, 18th 2020

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President Trump:

“We will be invoking the defense production act, just in case we need it. In other words, I think you all know what it is and it can do a lot of good things.”

I didn’t know what it was. I mean I could imply from the name. To me, it was another step being taken in a rapid succession that was terrifying people.

The defense production act was created during the Korean War era and was a way for the president to take hold of businesses prioritize government contracts, make businesses fulfill orders and expand production to deal with a wartime effort.

It’s another sweeping act of control. Whether necessary or not, whether acted on or not, it was another blow to businesses and American liberties.

Meanwhile, I was grappling with the emergency line of our pediatric dentist. You see, the dentist was closed due to the virus but they had an on- call dentist available to handle emergencies.

This was an emergency and I conveyed that to two receptionists before getting an appointment.

At the door, we were greeted by a wonderful smiling young lady and a thermometer. Our temps were checked and we were granted access to the dental office.

The process of removing the hardware was about 30 seconds and we were out of there. We were sanitized and on our way home. Carter, while still hungry, was a new boy.

The Taste and Feel of COVID-19 Response Here in Virginia

The people of our great state are uneasy. Some are scared. I described the atmosphere on a podcast as the morning after a big fight with your spouse.

It’s a strange situation where you are being very careful about distance and thinking about it always, you don’t wanna look each other in the eyes and you are completely unsure of the mental stability of the person standing before you. Its an eggshell walk to put it simply.

The public seems divided up into two factions:

  • One group is positive that these restrictions are all an overreaction and this is no different than the flu. They are visibly angry and most are covering a growing fear with irritability.
  • The other group understands the threat and is going through the motions because they believe in working together to stem the tide of infections and have the overall effect of this virus lessened.

Within both of these groups exists a strata of preparedness. Some are ready and others are noticeably unprepared.

Despite the actions taken by the local and Federal governments, most people are coming to the realization that the average person’s life will be seriously impacted by this virus. It will be a struggle and things could get really bad if Virginians are out of work too long without income.

Many parents are stuck in a serious vice between getting to work and dealing with their child’s schooling now that all schools in Virginia have closed.

Beneath it all, like most places in America, we are wondering how long the public can go under these restrictions before the moorings of society break loose.

Social Distancing in Mr. Walton’s Class

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Carter hard at work.

Carter is flipping a coin in front of me, as I write this, creating a bar graph with tally marks for math class. He is now attending Mr. Walton’s Improv 3rd Grade Class. He is laughing, smiling and transmitting himself, in his own beautiful way, into this world.

He had a breakfast of chocolate milk, a cinnamon sweet roll, and some crispy bacon. I guess it’s from being in hospitality for so many years but I love watching my family eat.

Yesterday, in science, we sourced some quality soil, talked about the life cycle of plants and seeded a bunch of cups for this year’s garden. I’m doing my best. The irony is, I hated most teachers! You become what you despise, as the saying goes.

I am not sure if schools will be back in session this year. It seems highly unlikely that we will have kids back in schools until the spread of the virus goes way down. Anyone with kids understands that the quickest way to spread a virus is to pack kids into school and daycare where they can mingle.

They come home resembling a nuclear meltdown and the rest of the family grapples with whatever “gifts” they have bestowed upon us.

I am planning on hanging with my boys for the duration of the school year. I plan on playing the part of Mr. Walton and balancing my new lifestyle. Carter might enter 4th grade with my lessons to guide him.

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Outside work time at the Walton home.

That’s some serious pressure for a guy with an associate’s degree in restaurant management. I basically stopped participating in math class after 9th grade. 

The good news is that I do well under pressure.

Conclusion

New cases have grown by over 8,000 worldwide since yesterday. Everything we have known about this virus is playing out. We knew early on that it was highly contagious, we knew early on that it would spread quickly and knew, before it arrived here, elderly populations with preexisting conditions were most at risk.

What we don’t know is how to manage the delicate balance between self-governed isolation, radical expansion of governmental powers and the freedoms that Americans have come to expect.

In a communist dictatorship like China, you expect to see bars on windows. drones toting thermometers and shouting at citizens. It is not America. The only part of that nation that has kept it viable is a radical push towards capitalism woven with dangerous currency manipulation.

Keep your wits about you. Listen to your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right now, it will only feel worse in 30 days. Personally, I don’t think our efforts will pay off and we will deal with this virus until it’s through dealing with us or until we have a vaccine.

That said, I believe in our American resiliency.

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6 Responses to “A Parent’s Response To COVID-19 Prep In Richmond”

  1. There’s a great book available about the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in the late 1700’s. People panicked then as they do now … even with all the knowledge we’ve acquired since 1790, we’re still dumb, panicky animals. Go figure.

    • A better example might be the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, since the methods of spread and methods of controlling it are much the same.

  2. This is fear-mongering! The kid was depressed and apathetic due to the dental appliance, it didn’t have anything to do with covid-19. It might also have something to do with playing such video games. The last I knew Mortal Kombat was for “mature” players. I don’t think that would apply to an 8-year old. Anyone reading this drivel would get depressed. I don’t need it in my feed. I’ve always liked this site for its practicality but if this is the kind of stuff you’re going to be sharing, I can do without it. We need positive messages, not panicky drivel.

    • This is the first time that I have commented, but you’re response was knee-jerk, and not based on the actual facts in the article. This boy had a VERY aggressive device in his mouth that made it virtually impossible for him to eat regular food, especially those foods that a person living on a healthy, fresh diet, was accustomed to eating. He was living on smoothies, which are not optimal for health, and then contracted a stomach virus, which left him severely dehydrated and nutritionally deprived.
      Instead of your quick, reactive answer, think about all the ways you or your family members could be in the same situation. Do we not plan to have healthy foods available for ourselves? Do we not plan to have clean water and a way to avoid the myriad of diseases that quickly spread in societal breakdown situations? In retrospect, would you not have thought that you should have postponed something that could have put a family member at risk? Keep in mind that there was talk of Covid-19 before the procedure, but none of the measures that are now in effect.
      Think well, and if you are still just condemning this article, then I feel sorry for you and your family, for you are so rigid in your thoughts that you are unable to respond to changing conditions in a rational and measured way.

  3. I was fortunate enough to homeschool my kids through 8th grade. People always said the same things..’I’m not smart enough to do that, I don’t have the patience to do that, how are your kids socialized?’ I’m not smart enough either, I used Teacher’s books that had the answers. And, frankly, I relearned all the subjects while I was teaching them! And you get the patience ‘on the job’. As far as socialization, my kids were around mostly adults, so they quickly learned not to act like brats, and that they are not the center of everyone’s universe. There are tons of resources out there for homeschooling, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions. I’m so very thankful your son is doing better. It is truly frightening to see how quickly their health can deteriorate. Blessings from SC

    • I absolutely agree with Shirley! I didn’t homeschool our kids, but my wife did. I lost track of how many times we were complimented on our children’s behavior in public as well as ‘how smart they are’. Our kids are normal, but homeschooling makes ALL the difference in how they came to view our world. They can think for themselves…don’t believe everything they hear. They are discriminating in their choices…they are less influenced by their peers. I could go on and on. Because they were homeschooled and around adults during their formative years, they are more rational and less spoiled than their peers.

      When we moved to a different city and we were looking for a new church to attend, I set about checking out all the local congregations (that basically held our same beliefs). Every week, we tried a new congregation. I often LOVED the preaching and teaching. But…Every week, I saw children misbehaving in church (or Sunday school or afterwards). After about four and a half months we finally found a congregation where the children appeared happy and ‘settled’. I told my wife, “This appears to be the ONE!” We went back the following week. Yep. The preaching and teaching were great. Then she told me that many of the families (including the pastor’s kids) attending that church were home-schooled families (turns out MORE than half were home-schooled families) and I believe that aspect had a ‘taming’ effect even on the children of those families who chose not to home-school. Needless to say, I’m ‘preaching’ to the choir. However, my own siblings always compliment us on how our children seem to be ‘perfect’. I tell them, they’re not! But in comparison to their peers in the world, I guess you’d say they are.

      Fast forward 15-20 years and my boys confide in me, “Dad, I’m sure glad you raised me the way you did. I don’t know what kinds of trouble I’d be in if it weren’t for the way we were raised.” Sure, it gladdens my heart and I say thanks…but my greatest thanks goes to God for steering my wife into home-schooling our five kids. We are blessed.

      It is certainly true: “Raise up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they shall not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

      “Training up children in the way they should go means, first and foremost, directing them to the Savior. Parents should have the same zeal for teaching their children that Moses did. Parents have been given the privilege of being stewards of their children’s lives for a very short time, but the teaching and training they provide is eternal.” –borrowed this saying from an internet site.

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