A week ago, Friday, my husband Sean and adult son, Chris took our travel trailer to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. They were psyched for another weekend of NASCAR races and people watching.
I was thrilled to stay at home, soak in the hot tub, and catch up on reading.
All was well until Saturday at 6 p.m.
“I have Covid,” Chris said over the phone.
“Cut it out,” I said. He often jokes.
“We just took tests,” Chris said. “I tested positive.”
“I’m totally serious, mom.”
Panic punched through my short-lived calm.
I didn’t see this coming. When Sean called earlier, he chuckled that Chris was a little sluggish that morning. One-too-many beers from the night before?
Sean was on the phone now.
“Chris had a headache this afternoon, so he went in for a nap. When he came out, he told me he had the chills. I felt his forehead and said let’s go get a test. He’s positive. I’m negative.”
I went into worried-mama-overdrive.
“Maybe he should go to a clinic? Call the doctor, the on-call? Send the new Covid medicine to a nearby CVS? Is there Tylenol in the first aid kit?”
“The nearest pharmacy is closed now. Maybe we should just pack up and come home?”
They decided they would keep to themselves and make the three and half hour drive in the morning.
I hung up and began to pace. We’d come so far avoiding this awful virus that had killed my mother-in-law in December of 2020. Sandy came down with Covid even though her small, boutique-like convalescent home had taken steps to protect residents with porch visits, masks, and plastic wall dividers. She ended up in the ICU on a ventilator for 19 days over Christmas. Her fragile health made it impossible for her to rally. Poor Sean had the unthinkable task of removing her from the vent. In just two short weeks after her death, residents at her convalescent home received their first Covid vaccines.
As soon as we could, our family got shots and boosters. Both my husband and son work in public schools and despite spikes and new variances, none of us had gotten sick. Like most people, we relaxed wearing masks unless we had a medical appointment. In the back of my mind, I knew we could still get Covid-19, less severe with advances in science. I realize that there are more people in the country now who have had it than those who haven’t. Still, I had lulled myself into a false sense of security that we would never get it. Why would we be exempt? It’s always lurking. I guess you just never know who has it. Or, if someone has it but is symptomless. Or, if they do have it and freakin’ know, but aren’t responsible enough to stay away!
I tossed and turned in my bed that night.
I hate f-in Covid! Hate how the pandemic took my mother-in-law. Hate how it has changed the world as we know it. Will Chris have long-term effects from the virus? Will Sean get sick? What about me? Will I get it, too?
After Sean pulled into our yard with the Winnebago, I waved to my son as he backed out of our driveway. Sean, still testing negative, decided to sleep in our camper instead of the guestroom. He was nervous about me getting sick, especially since I deal with asthma.
Sean took another rapid antigen home test on Monday morning. Still negative. Maybe he wouldn’t come down with it? Later that afternoon, sitting in the yard, he developed a headache and scratchy throat.
“Probably just stress,” he said. He rolled the newfangled thermometer across his forehead revealing a slight fever.
Sean went back in the camper and took another antigen test. Fifteen minutes later, he texted me a photo of the stick. “Positive. This ain’t no at home pregnancy test,” he wrote, trying to keep it light.
That night, Sean’s temperature went up to almost 102. He popped some Tylenol and dialed the on-call at the doctor’s office. The nurse suggested he make a Zoom appointment for the next day. Sean explained how his mother had died of Covid, and that he was worried about me getting Covid because of the asthma. The nurse assured Sean this strain was much less severe than the original strain from 2020. She advised him to go to the hospital if he had trouble breathing.
Sean sent a group text to my son, daughter, and son-in-law that he was positive. That meant the guys’ upcoming Baltimore trip to the Yankees vs Oriole’s game was officially off for him. Plans my daughter and I had to go to a spa while the guys were away also got canned. I let our friends know we couldn’t be able to come to their 50th wedding anniversary party.
Quarantining sucks. All I want to do is sit side-by-side in our loveseat recliners with our bowl of popcorn and watch our murder-mystery programs. I didn’t mind sleeping alone when Sean was away, but I hate the fact that we’ re suddenly just housemates, sleeping apart. We’re relegated to seeing each other on the back deck, sitting more than six feet apart. I slide his paper plate dinner to his end of the table.
A week later…Chris tested negative today! I’m grateful he bounced back fast. It’s been five days since Sean got it. We are thankful that his case has been “mild” with symptoms of a lousy cold. He is feeling better every day, but will keep masked until he tests negative. So far, I am healthy thanks to Sean’s diligence and distancing.