IS TODAY TOO EARLY? (JUNE 11, Edmonton Sun COLUMN)

Life presents risks every minute. Accepting them, and fully accepting them, are well-thought out operations which are very personal.

I am taking several risks with every keystroke in this yarn.

The first risk could, frankly, be embarrassing if my lifelong friend and personal physician, Dr. Fraser Armstrong, is reading this.

So when I share my impatience has caused me to, habitually, cut corners, Dr. Fraser will raise his eyebrows and slowly shake his head.

I can’t count the number of times when I didn’t finish all my medication I was put on due to an illness because I felt … better.

Similarly, I went back to school and work too soon after I was sick. I went out the door when I was 75 or 80 per cent — well short of the needed 100 per cent.

Did I pay for it? Absolutely. Many times.

Sorry, doctor.

But I am not using that philosophy Friday. Not at all.

Because, even though the province swings the Phase 2 door open Friday, meaning some of my favourite venues — theatres, comedy clubs, restaurants and other entertainment establishments will open — I won’t be going out.

Staying home, I have discovered, is pretty cool.

The last time I was out in public was March 11. My darling wife — God bless, her — says she isn’t throwing me out … yet.

Seriously, we have truly shared countless meaningful conversations, lots of laughs and our marriage has reached a new level.

I am not ready to go out, for several reasons.

I am concerned, honestly, that we are not ready for our new world. Yes, I know COVID-19 cases are going down. Yes, I am aware of the need to invest into the community.

And, yes: I know many of us feel pent up — isolated — and deeply miss the basic human need to be with one another to be with family and friends.

But … at what cost?

Those three words — “the next wave” — are inevitable.

Could accelerating the relaunch fast-track a new COVID-19 wave? And, what happens when — and, unfortunately, it will — people forget to wear a mask? Or to routinely wash hands? Or accidentally share the same drink? Or ….

And this is where it gets personal: as a person with a disability I am cognizant of keeping healthy.

The human interaction I experience in public doesn’t leave any room for social distancing. It raises the question of sociology.

Are people going to be willing to open doors, or pick up something that is dropped, or to assist in a mini-emergency? On the other hand, should people with disabilities risk being exposed?

Being diagnosed with COVID-19 would raise several major issues for people inside my closest circle — my family and personal care assistants … and my very survival.

We all take risks when we go out the door.

For me, I am going to continue enjoying my time at home.

We’re still in a pandemic. And from my view, any type of celebrating Friday is premature.

Published by Cam Tait

Background shareclose email Gary McPherson: pioneer for people with disabilities, visionary, executive, family man and everybody’s friend. Gary’s voice was a strong advocate of reason and negotiability. When Gary passed away in 2010, few people carried his vision on. Sadly, we see it today: people with disabilities are being overlooked and not being heard. Gary was a dear friend of mine who opened many doors for me since 1979. This site is now dedicated to Gary’s legacy. I am going to try — in my own voice — to carry on his legacy. But nobody did things like Gary. I miss you every day, my friend .

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