We’d been out of our post-UK travel quarantine for exactly one week when:
“I can’t shake this chill,” my husband mentioned. Welcome to my world, I thought. I’m always cold. Plus, our kids have this pesky habit of leaving our back door open whenever they come in and out from playing in the yard.
When I came back from running an errand on Friday evening, I saw Steven had started dinner but was nowhere to be seen.
“Steven, the water’s boiling!” I shouted.
“Can you lower the heat?” he responded from the vicinity of the living room.
Odd. Maybe he’s in the middle of something? I was on my final day of the Sakara Level II Detox so my dinner was pre-made. When I walked into the living room to offer to finish whatever he was making, I saw he was on the couch.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m just tired,” he replied. That made sense. Pretty much since we’d come home from England, Steven hadn’t slept through the night. The time change and jet lag was real for him, and he barely got 5-6 hours of sleep most nights.
I sent him off to bed. The next day, he still felt tired so I told him to stay in bed and relax. After remembering one of the places he’d gone to in the past week had a positive Covid case, I insisted he go get tested with our son who goes to in-person preschool.
Short aside: I can’t emphasize enough that Steven didn’t feel “sick”. In hindsight (and because you know where this is going), it’s easy to say he had chills and fatigue, it’s obvious he was showing symptoms, but in the moment, it wasn’t at all. Truthfully, we both thought I was being over the top. The only reason we tested as early as we did is because someone else notified us about testing positive. This is important later.
On Sunday, our son’s results came back negative, which came as no surprise considering we didn’t think anyone had Covid. Imagine our shock when the doctor called a few hours later to tell us Steven’s test came back positive.
She told us Steven would need to quarantine for 10 days from the start of his symptoms and self-isolate from us for 14 days. The children and I would be in quarantine during those 14 days to monitor for symptoms. Turns out I didn’t need 14 days. I barely needed an hour.
By Sunday night, I knew I’d been hit. I had a headache, something I rarely experience, and I was feeling pretty tired. Monday brought a massive snowstorm, which meant the roads weren’t safe and the testing clinic was closed. I had no choice but to push through because my kids are 4 and 7, and my dog is…well, a dog. I made a Covid test appointment for Tuesday, shoveled a foot of snow off my driveway to make it easier to get out the next day and watched in dismay as the snow kept coming down.
I was asleep by 8:30pm Monday night and didn’t wake up until 7am Tuesday morning, still feeling tired. Tapping into the mindset from the day before (“I have no choice”), I put on my snow pants and dug my car out of two feet of snow. I made a dent on our driveway as well, but my energy was zapped. Thankfully, our neighbor called to offer help and used his snowblower to do the rest.
My daughter and I went for our tests on Tuesday afternoon, and then I noticed something wonderful when we got home. My appetite was back, which I took as a good sign. Also, I no longer felt the level of fatigue I’d felt since Sunday night. (I was, however, at the end of my patience with my kids and my dog!)
On Wednesday, I woke up after another good night’s sleep feeling even better. Although I still had a headache, my energy levels were higher. I saw this as another indication my body had already been through the worst of it.
The doctor called late in the morning to let me know my test results were positive, while my daughter tested negative. The only down side of our kids testing negative was they had to quarantine for an additional 14 days after my quarantine period of 10 days was over. The bright side of me testing positive was it became pointless for Steven to stay in isolation. I had my partner back!
Nearly as quickly as it came on is how quickly it went away for us. Steven felt like he had a mild flu for a couple of days, whereas I felt like I had a bad hangover. There were some lingering symptoms, which were more annoying than anything else: a runny nose, a slight headache, some congestion. Neither of us completely lost our sense of smell or taste, though we had a couple of days where both were faint.
One thing I wanted to pass along for anyone who gets Covid is what the contact tracer told me. Many people have remarked how lucky we were that the virus was quick and mild for us. The contact tracer told me this is typical of what they’ve been seeing in healthy people. Even though I was already feeling better by the time I spoke to him, this was still comforting to hear. It was also one of those moments when I’m thankful Steven and I prioritize our health every day. While I believe there’s a time and place for Western medicine and drugs, my first line of defense is always going to be keeping my body (and mind) in the best shape possible.
I want to share one final thought, which for us was the hardest part of our Covid story. As soon as Steven tested positive, we told the few people we’d come into contact with over the previous few days (even if we saw them outside and at a distance), along with some friends and family. Although most people were calm and understanding, a few got a little judgmental and in one case, quite angry. This was a tough moment for us because Steven and I are rule followers. We wear masks, we keep distance, we wash our hands and we don’t do anything we’re not allowed to do.
I try to remember we’re all doing the best we can, and what “the best” looks like for one person may be different for another person. That said, I urge anyone to consider how a negative reaction creates an unnecessary stigma. This may prevent people from being honest about testing positive or getting tested in the first place. The faster we communicate and test, the more we stop the virus from spreading to someone who’s high risk. Even if we can’t agree on everything surrounding the pandemic, I hope we can agree on this common goal.