Well it seems I’ve found myself at home for an undetermined amount of time. Maybe just three days. Maybe thirteen. A week ago I came down with what I’d describe as a mere head cold. I had a low grade fever after a day of being outside and raking/blowing leaves around the yard. It felt like a sinus infection. I stayed home the following Monday from work to see if the fever would come back. It did not, but my head was stuffed up. I went about my week like normal, but by this past Friday evening my wife and my son were both sick; fever, sore throat, coughing and stuffed up heads.
We spent the weekend engrossed in streaming movies, TV shows, and anything that allowed melting into the furniture. It was what was called for. By Sunday our daughter told us she couldn’t smell anything. And then my wife’s co-worker came down with a fever over the weekend. It seemed that the responsible and logical thing was to contact work and let them know that the whole family was getting tested for Covid-19, which is what we did yesterday.
I have been considered an essential worker since the beginning of the pandemic this past February/March. I work in the medical industry, so what we make and contribute is pretty important in the scheme of things. My work was also very progressive and forward-driven when it came to safety for its employees, so masks are required at all times and have been since March. We also social distance at work, and you have to be temperature checked prior to entering the building. I feel grateful for both being employed and paid this whole time and for my employer giving a shit enough to keep us safe.
Part of keeping us safe is that if we have symptoms, run a fever, are awaiting results for Covid tests or have family members waiting for results of Covid tests that they want us to stay home. Once we get a negative result then we can come back to work. They also pay us to stay home, so that’s another thing I am thankful for.
So yesterday morning the family packed into the Ford Flex and made our way into town to the free drive-thru Covid testing facility. It’s like two car ports set up in an empty lot where you make your way thru two lines of vehicles, and at the end of the line people come out to greet you in hazmat suits with long Q-tips. Those Q-tips end up tickling your frontal lobe from both of your nostrils and that’s pretty much it.
We waited for maybe an hour or so. It sort of felt like being in line at Cedar Point waiting for an extended amount of time to ride the newest rollercoaster. There’s a little excitement, a touch of nerves, and a squeeze of anxiety as you watch cars in front of you inch their way closer to the magic tent where someone in scrubs goes treasure hunting up your nose for Covid fragments.
It wasn’t what I’d call a pleasant experience, but it wasn’t quite awful either. It was unnaturally obtrusive. I can only imagine shoving crayons up your nose would be just as bad if not worse, but it doesn’t stop strange toddlers from doing just that. Anyways, we should have the results in 72 hours. I’m hoping by Thursday we’ll know, then I can hopefully go back to work on Friday. Though, my wife got a call from her friend at work after we got home and she said she tested positive, so I don’t know for sure now.
I’ve been hearing about the horrors of Covid-19 since the beginning of the year. It’s been a source of dread and anxiety, and something I think about every time I go to the store for groceries and see some shit bird walking around with a short goatee, beer gut, an American flag trucker hat and no mask. The words “intensive care” and “intubate” and “respirator” are like shorthand for this thing, and they carry a lot of existential dread for me. These first amendment blowhards that think personal freedom trumps(no pun intended) public health crisis are the reason we’ll all be living underground like mole people in less than five years. And even then when they’re told they need to wear oxygen masks because there’s no air under the dirt they’ll still bitch and refuse to wear a mask.
All I can say is that if what I have is Covid-19 and not just a run of the mill flu virus then I’m thankful for the symptoms I’ve suffered. I feel that me, as well as my whole family, have been extremely lucky in that our symptoms are mild. At least in comparison to those who’ve ended up in intensive care for 100 days. Or worse yet, have died from this horrible virus.
So what does this mean for the next few days? It means a lot of writing, reading, listening to music, and watching movies. I used to have a real problem sitting around doing nothing. I always feel as if I need to be up and going; doing things and accomplishing stuff. But over the last few years down time has become more and more important. If a virus has me down, then I’m more than happy to oblige mother nature and take a knee for a bit. I can write and read and enjoy music and still be sitting in my chair with a heating pad on my back. I think that constitutes “resting”.
What this also means is no Thanksgiving with my parents. That’s disappointing, as we’ve spent it with my parents every year we’ve been married. It’s a tradition. And we’re a small family, so we’re sort of all we’ve got. But I’m not going to be the reason my parents get sick, so we’ve decided to keep the turkey on ice till Christmas. I suppose Thanksgiving will be homemade pizza and hem hawing about putting up Christmas decorations. I can live with that I suppose. We can still have the annual viewing of Elf that night, so there’s that.
For months the dread of Covid-19 has loomed over me like a dark cloud, or a teacher leering over my shoulder to see that I didn’t really study for the test I’m failing. It still looms, and will continue to loom until there’s a vaccine for it I suppose. If I or all of us in the house did get it then I’m just thankful it’s been a relatively mid-level version; no nightmare fever dreams with dead relatives visiting and telling me I’m a disappointment, or struggling for breath in a hospital gown alone in the ICU. I wholeheartedly believe in the measures of mask-wearing, social distancing, quarantining, and everything that actual health experts tell us to follow. Not Youtube video conspiracy theorists, or politicians trying to win the votes of Middle America that wants their weekly Applebees steak dinner in a booth with sports jerseys hanging overhead. I believe science and medicine will get us through this. Not gut feelings and prayers.
See you on the other side of this(and you better be wearing a goddamn mask.)