Another Friday, at least that’s what they say. Technically this is my 4th week teleworking, but I have not been into the office for about 6 weeks when you include my annual conference and the transition week when I was already able to work from home.
It’s already been a long time, and it doesn’t seem that any transition to whatever the new normal will be is a long way off. So this is normal for now.
But, it’s not.
Last weekend, I began coughing. Then the body aches started, then the queasiness, followed by the body aches and tight chest. Fortunately, I was spared a fever. That came later.
By Monday, I was unnerved and called my primary care doc as soon as the office opened. Within an hour I had a telemedicine call to discuss all this.
That’s when I became a “suspected” case of COVID-19. I was told that testing for confirmation would take about a week—so much for the rapid tests folks are talking about. I looked good and seemed to be managing, so we would hold off on testing for now, especially since there really isn’t a treatment for COVID-19. Symptoms are treated and other than that, it’s a virus and we just have to wait it out.
The other advice? Quarantine.
As of today, I have 9 more days of quarantine.
My symptoms persist but haven’t worsened. I’ve only had one fever and it broke pretty quickly so that was great news.
I’m in limbo, locked down like a case, but not sure if I’m really a case. I could demand a test of course and I’ve though about doing that because so many Black and brown folks are disproportionately sick and dying of this virus. I want to be counted if someting were to happen to me. Seeking confirmation seems as much a political act as a medical one. I consider demanding the test daily while also wondering if it really matters. (I know it does.)
I continued to work this week. Taking breaks when the fatigue or malaise was bad. Fortunately, I do not have a persistent fever. It comes and goes and has been low-grade at best. Otherwise, I’m ok. My therapist was a bit concerned at first about my lack of emotion about this. It’s not so much a lack of emotion as…a sense of overwhelm, a sense of apprehension about the days ahead and an odd sense of relief. No one wants this, but if you have to get it, what seems to be a mild case is preferred. So, I feel…lucky, blessed. I could be sicker, much sicker.
Of course, with 9 more days of quarantine I could get sicker, but I am optimistic that will not happen. #positivevibes
And what about Hope?
Well, I really worried at first.
That’s a whole lie. I worry incessantly about Hope. She lost a parent years ago. I am hopeful she doesn’t have that experience again for many, many years.
It took a couple of days for her to grasp this family development. After the first day, it became quite clear that a full quarantine—in my room for the full 14 days—was not possible. Hope could hold the fort for a couple of days, but really, she is not ready or capable to hold it down for two weeks.
I have had to remind her how important it is to constantly clean (she still doesn’t), how important it is that we try to eat healthy (what’s that?), how she has to walk Yappy often enough and long enough so that he can do all of his business (she doesn’t so he doesn’t—poor pup when more than 24 hours without pooping) and generally how serious this is. She potentially could also be positive, so we have to monitor her for symptoms as well.
She does help me with the respiratory exercises I need to do a few times a day. And she helped me cook dinner a few days ago. But, beyond that…nada.
I found myself getting up super early this morning, gowning up, covering everything and taking the dog out before the world got up so that I could walk him long enough to get him to do his business. I know that is not ok, but Yappy is starting to exhibit OCD behaviors due to stress and anxiety. I have a limited a amount of bandwidth and dealing with a poop-less, stressed-out dog on top of everything else is currently beyond my capacity.
I know that Hope is dealing with this in her own way; I’m trying to give her some space and grace. At same time tho, I need her help to get through this. I can’t help but think of the myriad of possibilities and what might happen if she really, really has to step up.
Do I believe she will and can?
What happens if she won’t or can’t?
What happens to me?
In some ways it feels like a great reckoning. I know Hope is less mature than her age; I also know that sometimes she can rise to the occasion in ways that shock me. But I never know if I can expect that or if it’s always going to be a surprise. The challenge is that now that my life might be on the line, do I trust Hope to look out for me?
It hurts me to say I don’t know, but the truth is that *I don’t know.*
So, here we are: In quarantine, living a sliver of the nightmare and the blessing.
I’m a suspected case of COVID-19 with relatively minor symptoms.
That’s it, that’s the nightmare and the blessing.