Friday, June 26, 2020…11:14am
The end of week 15. We crossed the 100 day mark back on Monday. We also spent the week living with the reality that my husband and I may – or may not – have COVID-19.
We have not spent even a second of the past 15 weeks harboring the illusion that this was all much ado about nothing. We’ve known all along that even with all of the precautions we are taking, there was always a very real chance that at least one of us could contract the virus. Even so, faced with an actual possibility of the virus things got super real, super fast.
This part of our social distancing story actually began back in week 14. On Wednesday evening of last week, my husband called me into the kitchen (away from teenaged ears) and told me he did’t feel good. Nothing specific, a slightly upset stomach and a mild a headache. I chalked it up to something he ate.
Thursday morning he got up feeling better and went to work. I dropped our daughter off at her riding stables to volunteer at day camp and took our man-child and dog to work with me because our house cleaner was coming to the house that morning for the first time in 3 months. If not for the masks we were wearing and hand sanitizer we were all carrying, it could have been a summer morning from 2019. It felt almost “normal”.
By mid afternoon, the kids and I were back home. I was reveling in a clean house and making a grocery list when my husband pulled up unexpectedly in front of the house. He walked in the front door and went directly to our bedroom without speaking or stopping. By the time I got to him he was taking his temperature…100.6. His normal temperature generally runs in the mid 97s. He looked at me, put his mask back on, told me to leave the room and close the door. “I’m concerned I may have coronavirus.”
We had a brief conversation with me standing in the hallway talking through a barely cracked door, and him standing on the complete opposite end of our bedroom. We were both wearing masks. We knew that the right thing to do was for all four of us to immediately return to a lock down level of isolation. I also knew that we were only a day or two from running out of the dog’s insulin and that food supplies in the house were running low, so I made the decision to quickly run those errands.
As I sat in the parking lot of the veterinarian’s office waiting for them to bring out the dog’s insulin, my phone dinged with a text message confirming a COVID test. Confused, I screen shot the text and sent it to my husband. He replied that he had scheduled a test for Friday evening through the LA County testing site and had put me as a second contact on the appointment. We’d gone from “I’m concerned I may have coronavirus” to “I have an appointment for a test” in less than 30 minutes.
I left the veterinarian’s office and headed to the grocery store. As quickly as possible, I filled a cart with random food – the list I had been making at home long forgotten – while also saying repeated prayers of thanks to the good people at Trader Joe’s for having such a stellar handle on social distancing in their stores. All the while I think I may have been experiencing a minor panic attack – I certainly have never before experienced the heart racing and heat flashes that rolled over me while I was in the store.
Back at home, my husband informed me of his plan to put a tent up in our backyard and move himself out there. I vetoed that, told him to stay put in our room, and moved my own pillows and a few things out into the living room. The space that had been my “home office” for months was now my “bedroom” and my “home office.” Multipurpose.
I told the kids what was happening. I had absolutely no answers to give them beyond dad has a fever, dad scheduled a test, dad is quarantining in our bedroom, and we are all back to isolating at home until we have answers. They handled the information incredibly well.
Friday evening, my husband went for his test. They told him he would have results in 48-72 hours.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, I woke up on my couch coughing. By 7am I had a fever and had moved into the quarantine room with my husband. We debated whether or not for me to go get a test. We decided that since his test results would be back soon – it had already been 36 hours at this point – I probably didn’t need to go get a test. If his came back positive it was safe to assume I would be positive too. If his test came back negative, I would go get a test just in case. We hunkered down and left the kids to fend for themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine what we would have done if the kids were not old enough to fend for themselves.
Sunday evening. 48 hours passed. No results. My husband scheduled a second test for himself because his company policy requires that an employee who goes out sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, needs two negative tests before returning to the offices. Both of our symptoms were still fairly mild, so we were hopeful that we had something more like a flu than coronavirus. He wanted those two negatives so he could return to his office as soon as possible.
Monday. 72 hours passed. No results.
Tuesday. We stopped counting hours. No results. My husband began to feel better, but I had my worst day yet with the fever not coming down even with medication.
Wednesday. No results. My husband was fever free all day. I wasn’t. My husband called the phone number on the county testing web site hoping against hope that they would have an answer different from the “test results processing” message that had appeared every time he’d checked the website. The phone number was for a call center somewhere in the central time zone. They had closed about 15 minutes before he called.
Thursday. No results. I was still feeling pretty crappy and spiking a fever throughout the day. My husband was feeling good after being fever free for over 24 hours and went to his appointment for the second test at a different testing site. (He chose both times based on availability first and distance from home second. The test on Friday was about 20 minutes from home. The test on Thursday was basically up the street from our house.) The people at this testing site didn’t just tell him results would be ready in 48-72 hours. They said results should be ready in 48-72 business hours. They also gave him a number to call that was different from the one he had called the night before.
We were now at 7 days and 2 tests. My husband called the phone number he had been given at the second test site and after a very long wait, was able to speak to an actual person. She confirmed that the results of his first test were not ready, apologized for the delay, told him it was a good thing he had gone for a second test. She also indicated that the lab where his first test had been sent was “severely impacted” late last week and that results of all tests sent there on Thursday and Friday had not yet been processed.
As of today we are on day 8 of having – or not having – coronavirus. It still could really go either way.
The good news is both kids still seem totally fine. Fine that is if we ignore the teenage eye rolling and sighs that accompany each of our daughter’s frequent one word query of “Results?” and our one word response of “No.” Fine if we ignore the fact that the man-child has taken full advantage of very low levels of parental supervision to eat nonstop, leave all the dishes he touches in his bedroom, and then complain that there is “nothing to eat.” But they’re symptom free 8 days in, so we’re feeling hopeful that whatever we have they do not.
The other good news is that if this is coronavirus, we can count ourselves among those who experience mild to moderate symptoms. I’m on day 6 of a low grade fever, headache and light cough; it’s annoying but I’ve been “sicker” with other things over the course of my life. We actually both worked (from quarantine) all week. That’s how “good” we’re feeling.
The frustrating and frightening thing is that even though we’ve done everything “right”, my husband did get sick. We stayed home for weeks, we always wear masks when we go out, we social distance when we go out, we bathe in hand sanitizer and wash our hands constantly. We do all the things. All. The. Things. And yet my husband still picked up something and passed it to me.
Last week when I implored the anti-mask contingent to WEAR THE DAMN MASK, my husband was already quarantined in our bedroom because he suspected he could have coronavirus based on his symptoms. Will we stop wearing masks? Hell no.
Yes he picked up a virus even while wearing a mask. They are not full proof. But they do help slow down the spread of the virus. And this week we’ve been wearing them inside the house to limit the possibility of exposing the kids.
That’s been week 15 in our corner of the world. I pray it’s been better and healthier in your own corner of the world.
Stay the course. This isn’t over yet. Be well my friends.