The McKeegan COVID Chronicles Day 1
For almost two years, I’ve thought about the arrival of this guest. In the beginning of the pandemic, the dread was so encompassing that the thought of anything else only briefly occupied my mind before returning to What if COVID19 entered our house? After a year of pretty-much constant threat surveillance, our family got vaxxed. The rest of life, in the midst of an upside-down world, continued to demand scrutiny and action. Joyful things invited my attention: birthdays and parental holidays, the blooming of roses. Still, the question remained always just below the surface of the rest of life: What if?
Millions of people around the world have experienced a pivotal day like today; the day someone in the house tests positive for COVID19. Many have fared well. Too many are still rather unwell physically and mentally months later. A mind-twisting number of people and families endured a string of traumatic days which then ended with death and heartbreak. The guest had been a brutal dictator who killed the host and left loved ones and community no earthly answer to the question Why? They did have their answer to the question What if?
Our special day today was an ordinary Friday. The sun came up and the rooster across the street crowed all day because his job doesn’t end at sunrise. The yard begged for a watering that is nowhere in the forecast; a hose the only chance. I was busy with work-at-home and household tasks. I didn’t make it outside.
Today was a sunny, mild winter day that ended with thin, salmon-pink clouds sprawled across the western sky: a magnificent sunset. A regular occurrence I can now enjoy because just a few weeks ago Snowmaggedan knocked down the Live Oaks that had blocked our view for the years we’ve lived here.
The day also ended with a fever of 101.4. There were other symptoms too: an occasional chunky cough triggered by a tickly sore throat, backache, nasal and sinus gunkage, fatigue, headache, and my son’s graveled voice saying, “I’m sick.” I don’t remember the last time he was sick but I recognized the look.
There’s always irony or something near to it.
On Wednesday night, the school had notified everyone by email that probably all students had been exposed to the virus. They recommended testing on Day 5. Day 5 from what day? I wondered. Monday had been a holiday. My boys had gone to school Tuesday and Wednesday.
The school’s blanket notification, judged a prudent policy by the state due to overwhelming numbers of exposures on school campuses the previous week, solidified an uneasy feeling I’d had for at least a week. My gut had been trying to tell me and I had begun to realize consciously that we weren’t going to be able to dodge this one. Omicron seemed the most likely guest to intrude, but Delta was still in deadly circulation.
Shortly after receiving the school notification late Wednesday, my two teenage sons and I decided they would stay home and do independent study for Thursday and Friday. The virus wildfire was at our school but maybe, just maybe, we could skip it if they stayed home now.
Would listening to my gut sooner have made a difference? Does it even matter when exposure was inevitable because the virus is a wildfire in our community? My kids bring home everything that goes around at school. In early 2020, before the pandemic was a reality for most of us, our kids brought home whooping cough. We all got sick. Whooping cough was whooping my butt during that first week that people went berserk and started hoarding all the toilet paper.
This morning we had five rapid antigen home tests in the bathroom cabinet; now there are four. One left for each of us under our roof. I had tested the now Sick Kid four days ago, on Monday, because he said he felt more congested than his usual allergies. The test was negative and there were no other symptoms. Tuesday and Wednesday were like every other day.
We get to find out What if? I say “we” because we’ve all thought about the question. The fact is no one in this house will escape the wildfire that has entered. The rude guest that has intruded.
Friends and family members are telling us he’ll be fine. He’s young, strong, healthy, vaxxed, and this variant Omicron “is like having a cold,” they say. They are probably right and all of them are attempting to provide reassurance they think they’d like to hear if COVID19 was a guest in their house. The texts are reminders that so many people love and care about us. They bolster our hope and strength.
One friend wrote, “Poor guy. One thing having just the normal cold or flu, it is another having to experience the crazy worldwide phenomenon.” Indeed. And thank you, my friend.
My husband was out of town all week. When he got home, I suggested he go somewhere else for awhile to avoid the intruder. He chose to stay. He decided without hesitation that he will risk whatever comes so he can support us, and he is not worried about a worst-case scenario.
It’s okay. I am the one who holds that worry for us all. Everyone else can relax better that way.
I intend to report frequently on our days with COVID19. I hope you do not become bored with my writing. I also hope these reports are filled with nothing more than how each of us had something akin to a “cold.” That way, in the end, everyone can say, “I told you so.”
I sent a request to the powers that be that at the end of this household’s COVID journey the sunset be just as or even more brilliant than it was today.
Here’s Day 2 McKeegan COVID Chronicles Day 2
Here’s Day 3 McKeegan COVID Chronicles Day 3
If you’d like to follow the McKeegan COVID Chronicles, be sure to follow my blog by email and watch for evening updates. Over the course of these days, I will likely post more frequently than my rare Friday morning post.