I say several days, because I've lost count and it feels both like one day ago and one year ago since I first began to get sick. Everyone has COVID now and I know you might think I am exaggerating, but as I write this someone on your street is starting to develop symptoms and someone up the road just took their rapid test.
And that tickle you feel in your throat right now? That dull headache you've had for days? Weeks ago, I may have affirmed that, yes, you are simply paranoid and having a sympathetic reaction to the knowledge of COVID. But, now, I think differently.
That tickle is COVID. It's like in the Walking Dead--it seems everyone carries the sickness; it's just a matter of time before COVID bites us in the ass (and the sinuses).
All five of us hit the COVID B-I-N-G-O for the New Year (my mom, thankfully, is in her very separate apartment, so when she gets this, it won't be from our droplets). Our symptoms vary, yet are all the same. We are exhausted (except for my son, who seems to overcompenstate with intense energy while his fever rallies right back. It's like a battle of the wills.). We are painfully coughing. I lost my voice days ago and I don't know when it will fully return. I had hives. Others vomited--just once.
No one is sleeping well.
We are in shock.
We spent 2 years discussing COVID-19 and now its here, we are officially part of the pandemic count. We finally get to ring our own bell of plague shame.
Yesterday, my children had a pandemic snowball fight: throwing snowballs across the street at neighborhood children, yelling "Go AWAY WE HAVE CORONAVIRUS."
We shared the news with several friends and colleagues and school. Since then there have been a barrage of questions spoken and unspoken. So to cover it all:
1. We are vaccinated. I am pretty sure that does not matter anymore with Onmicron; but I think it does matter for other variants and to minimize the need to be hospitalized. But, as I've always said with vaccination, you do you. (although I am pretty sure YOU would not like do the ventilator.)
2. I wish people would stop saying things like, the "good news is you'll be okay." Yes, everyone, I am very glad that COVID is most likely not what's going to kill me and my family. However, we are literally in the thick of it right now and we don't need nonsensical comments.
3. Our case is not "mild." That word has been overused. There is a difference between being critically ill and having a mild case. We are not critically ill and we don't have a mild case. But, we are somewhere in middle and very ill. This sucks. The symptoms are intense. The fatigue is real and crushing. I am not sure how a healthcare worker or a teacher could return to the trenches after 5 days. I've been having trouble typing 500 words and have to rest every few paragraphs.
4. We are quarantining longer than 5 days. Our school district did not change their return to school policy; and neither did we. 10 days is probably longer than necessary; but 5 days is not sufficient.
5. My mother is safe (from us at least). My mother lives in an apartment that is separate from our home. She is rarely in our actual house; and she knows to avoid us completely.
6. I don't know where we got it.
7. Sick is sick. This pandemic has illuminated the utter selfish behavior of sick people for millenia. If you have mild, moderate or severe symptoms of a communicable virus or other illness, please stay home. In this time of massive case loads, assume you have COVID. Take a rapid test; but just because you are negative does not mean you won't infect someone with whatever it is you have. It could still be COVID or it could be something else. And it is definitely not allergies in December in New Jersey. Let that go.
My kids are bummed. We are bummed. But we all just have to cope. We are very much pull up your boot straps and get on with it people. Tough love and endless bad jokes in times when one can give into the delicious weakness of mourning things you cannot control is the best medicine I can offer myself and my family.
We are going to dust this off and get on with it, as soon as I get my sweet antibiotics.