Someone just asked me (on my Lead Safe Mama page) why I was sharing a picture of the canned food we were eating today – specifically why were were eating canned food at all….
Here’s the question from my reader:
Tamara, why are you eating canned food today?
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – 4:30 p.m.
Someone just asked me (on my Lead Safe Mama Facebook page) why I was sharing a picture of the canned food we were planning on eating today – specifically why were were eating canned food at all…. I wrote her the following response (this is the “expounded-upon version”!) – continue reading below the image of the Facebook post:
- Charlie [Lead-poisoned in utero] has a chronic issue with breathing, and can easily need to be rushed to the hospital in a breathing crisis (this has happened 8 times in the past – over the course of 8 years!)
- Avi [acutely Lead-poisoned at 7 months old] is on a biologic medication — to manage one of the impacts of his Lead exposure [severe / debilitating plaque psoriasis]. He already has a compromised immune system, and this medication makes him extremely vulnerable (extra immune-system-compromised); we got a letter from his doctor on March 13th “reminding us of this”, and warning us, in the context of the novel Corona virus, of his need to strictly observe social distancing — long before it was widely recommended! [I’ve posted the letter below!]
- I have breathing issues as well (I developed pneumonia every winter, 6 years in a row – around those same years Charlie was sick during the first half of his life, including when I was pregnant with him). I am 50.
- My husband is going to be 62 years old next month (and has several health issues, as well).
- And A.J., my 17-year-old, has also had several [life-threatening] medical situations in the past, due to his compromised immune system [and messed up GI system especially], due to the the same incident of acute Lead exposure and poisoning as his brother [A.J. was 3 years old the time] – so we like to keep close tabs on him, because anything could happen.
We’re a high-risk family so we need to be careful
As a result of all these family risk factors, we have been ordering groceries online, and only very rarely going out into a store – for any reason. We cannot afford the risk – however slight.
With the online ordering, lately it seems to have become universally impossible to get any delivery times assigned right now [even using my tried-and-true-trick of the past several weeks – ordering between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. PST — by refreshing the window a few times in a row at that time, in order to get offered a delivery window — because fewer people are online then]. It’s not a huge problem — because we have also spent all of our available $ for the month, in order to make sure we had at least two-weeks’ worth of non-perishable food and essential supplies on hand (for a family of 5 with three giant and growing boys!) This left nothing else — because, like most Americans, we live very paycheck-to-paycheck, and have a lot of other unusual debt [as a result of my legal battles with the State, defending my advocacy work].
With the first few groceries deliveries, we were also able to get some vegetables – but we are almost to the end of what we bought with the last order (my kids eat 5 apples a day – plus broccoli, bell peppers, carrots every day, all of the cucumbers as soon as they arrive, cauliflower, beets, snap peas are usually gobbled up in minutes – they love veggies, thank G-d!) We do have a #FoodFairy – who is a friend (who I met on Facebook), who has sponsored Imperfect Produce delivered to our home every two weeks! [I think we are getting that next on Thursday — but it might not be until next Thursday, I don’t remember which Thursday right now, because #ZombieApocalypse!)]
And so – we are consuming our share of canned food – in order to maintain social distancing, and keep our boys healthy. [#FunFact: we actually started social distancing on March 2nd! That was the last day Charlie went to school; Avi was out for a week before then. So this is officially day 37 for us – of-all-boys-home-all-the-time!)
We feel like we are the luckiest family on the planet right now!
We feel very fortunate to have two weeks’ of non-perishables on hand — we won’t go hungry; there are so many people less fortunate! Oddly enough this whole crazy disaster couldn’t have happened at a better time (so to speak) for our family . There are obviously many things that really suck about this time (just one example: both of my older sons will not have normal graduations or completions of school – they are completing “high school” [alternative], and college this year) BUT we have food, and shelter, and Internet access, and things to do at home — and a full design studio / machine shop / wood shop / blacksmithing and bike fabrication and repair shop(!)… really right now there’s nothing we are lacking on that front — we can fix anything that breaks; the kids have lots of home-improvement and handyman projects they can do with my husband — and so lots of opportunities for learning — hands-on — computer design skills, industrial arts, homesteading, cooking, and gardening!
Yesterday they did blacksmithing [working at the forge – that A.J. designed and built on his own about a year ago]. Today – at this very moment – two of my crew (my husband and A.J.) are cutting and welding metal in the workshop (working on a project to keep the cats out of the vegetable garden.) And two of my boys are in the kitchen working on baking some yummy organic bread. It’s not yet sundown here, so even though tonight is the first night of Passover 2020 [& coincidentally the 19th anniversary of my first date with my husband!], we can still have some tasty bread — if they can bake it before sunset! Hopefully, by the end of the day we will also be able to plant the “vegetable starts” that Avi grew on his own. It was 100% his idea to do it – plus he did it all on his own (I just had to buy some pots and some dirt!) and he now has a bunch of baby plants! We’re homesteading… in the city!
We are so very fortunate to have all of these resources.
Our good fortune at this time really comes from having the extreme privilege of living in the same home for 13 consecutive years —thanks in large part to the generosity and support of the readers of my blog (and my friends on social media)! The stability that this has given to our family – a family with children with multiple disabilities – has value beyond measure. We are so incredibly fortunate even though the “food-buy” grabbed all of our available cash resources and we are currently eating canned food. But really – this is not a problem at all because – in 2020 – that we can even buy canned organic fruit and vegetables and vegan soups — in BPA and Lead-free cans(!) — is a miracle. What lucky times we live in — 100 years ago we would not have been so lucky! Canned vegetables during the 1918 flu were in tin cans sealed with LEAD! Social distancing back then would have meant a significant increased risk of Lead poisoning (for many reasons — some of which are still applicable today.)
With so many resources, I wish we could take in a few families and share what we have (we often take in other families in need), but we cannot afford to share our space right now — because of the potential life-threatening impact on our boys.
We are just one of the families benefitting from your efforts at social distancing and at staying safe and healthy! That said, I do think we should ALL find a safe way to get out in nature every day so that we stay healthy (just keep to your family units!)
Thank you for helping to protect my boys and others like them.
Here’s another post I wrote about this: https://tamararubin.com/2020/04/after-tomorrows-grocery-delivery-arrives-i-will-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-as-a-parent-have-a-full-two-weeks-of-food-and-supplies-on-hand/