I like to think I’ve generally been careful throughout the whole pandemic. During such unprecedented times it’s hard to know what the “right” choice really is, or even if there’s one at all. Are you ready for this rollercoaster with me?
It starts on Sunday, August 15. I’ve already canceled my plans to see the Hella Mega Tour at Wrigley Field, and the friend joining us from Texas has long since canceled her family’s flight. Somewhere around 2am I hear my daughter coughing from her bed next to mine. (That’s another long story, the short version is that her toddler bed is next to my adult bed and it works just fine for us). It’s that unmistakeable burping cough associated with, you guessed it, vomiting!
This continues every 1-3 hours for the entire day. It got significantly harder to clean up once we started really trying to push fluids and anything she would consume just to make sure that her tiny body had some fuel in it. Naturally, we knew we wanted a Covid test, and not just because it was a requirement for returning to daycare. Earlier in the pandemic I had also been testing regularly just as a precaution, and this made me feel like it might be a good idea to return to that. So, on Monday August 16, the two of us got separate Covid tests that both ended up coming back negative.
Now let’s move on to Wednesday. Daughter has mostly been vomit free, but let one loose around 1:30 or 2 that morning. On my journey to grab a towel, I realize my husband isn’t in bed and is instead on the couch. Figuring he probably thought I was stealing the blankets or something I left it alone and went back to bed. There’s no emergency, I don’t need to wake him up just to ask why he chose to sleep on the couch. When she and I wander out of the bedroom closer to 8 to start the day, he lets me know he’s not feeling well and feels like he couldn’t get warm and that was why he was on the couch bundled up. I’m feeling fine, so I send him back to bed and work on figuring out what she wants to eat. Before long, I’m not feeling super hot either. But I’m functional and keep at it.
Well I made it to about 2 that afternoon before I tapped out thanks to having caught whatever my lovely child (who also sometimes refuses to drink her own water because apparently she just *needs* to have mine) has previously been experiencing. There was a lot of tablet time for her Wednesday. And Thursday. Thursday the 19th my husband and I decide to go get Covid tests for ourselves out of an abundance of caution. We haven’t been around anybody who’s been sick at all, let alone positive for Covid that we were aware of, and it isn’t the first time she’s gotten sick after being at daycare since she only goes one day a week and just started a few months ago.
We generally keep to ourselves that weekend but still need to return to work on Monday August 23. He’s able to distance himself from his coworkers fairly easily and I always wear my mask while I’m at work and sanitize in between clients. So imagine my surprise when we get our results at 10pm that night and his is negative, but my test was positive.
I don’t know if I can adequately express the emotional roller coaster of panic and anxiety that followed seeing that result. I (thought I) did everything right. We got our vaccines in March and April. We never stopped wearing masks in public. Our 2 year old wears her mask well and knows how to adjust it if it starts falling down. I clean at work. We don’t really see many people and 95% of the people we do are vaccinated, with the minority really just being kids too young to be vaccinated yet. Where did I go wrong? Why just my test? Why did my test from the previous Monday come back negative but this one from Thursday was positive? That didn’t seem right given the rest of the factors.
Luckily for me my husband is a pretty calm and collected guy, so he talked me back off my proverbial ledge. I found a clinic that did both rapid and PCR tests and walked in first thing Tuesday morning. As soon as the rapid antigen test came back negative I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and then got to work calling clients. As confident as I may have been that that PCR test was going to come back negative, I still need to treat any positive test result with the respect it deserves and even though I didn’t have all the information yet it wasn’t right for me to sit on it for an extra few days. Being vaccinated it’s of course possible that I was truly infected and the vaccine kept me from shedding virus for more than a few days. It could have been a false positive. But it wasn’t for me to make that decision for my clients or anybody else that I had been in contact with or may have contact with.
After being on edge waiting for results for a few days, I woke up to results on Thursday morning. NEGATIVE!!!!! Another huge sigh of relief to be able to update all of the people I had talked to and then inform anybody who was on my books through the weekend to let them decide for themselves how they wanted to proceed.
I’m not really here with a cautionary tale. I’m not trying to scare anyone, even though these are some scary times right now. It doesn’t seem fair that some people who never took a single precaution and don’t wear masks and hang out in large groups never got sick or spread anything and in my two friend groups it’s literally only ever been me to give them cause to worry.
But I know that the vaccines work, and I know that the masks work, and I know that cleaning works. I know that it’s still right for me to do all of those things. Could I have said nothing and had everything still turn out just fine? This time, sure. I feel like that’s a fairly significant part of why and how this virus has spread so much in the first place.
Keep being safe. Keep wearing your masks. I’ll see you soon.