My, how life can change in a week! Last week I posted an article about how we were still going to Disneyland despite my recent surgery and the Coronavirus, which at the time, was just shy of an official pandemic.
We had a wonderful trip and made fabulous memories, rented an electric scooter which zoomed me through Disneyland and got us to the front of at least a few lines. I’m so glad we got to go before the world changed, social distancing became the norm and you could no longer buy toilet paper in the normal way.
Today, I’m relaxing on the couch in pajamas and a cuddly robe, an afghan over my legs, ignoring the emails that pop into my inbox every few minutes from every company I’ve ever done business with, letting me know how they are handling the Coronavirus.
Though the early morning couch time isn’t so unusual since I love waking up early to write while the rest of my family sleeps in, and I’ve been less active recently as I recovered from surgery, the world seems eerily quiet today – and the fact that I’m nursing a sore throat, headache and body aches is a harsh reminder of the current state of the world.
The only one up after a busy day of semi-quarantine with my three kids and husband, I just took the second dose of the antibiotic I was prescribed yesterday for strep throat. My 11-year-old daughter Kate and I both started feeling sick Friday evening – which would normally be far from blog-worthy, but as new revelations surface each day in this crazy modern pandemic freak show world we are living in, it’s hard not to be just a teeny bit worried.
Doc said Kate’s is a recurrence or residual of an ear and sinus infection she had several weeks ago that is making her feel dizzy and causing her headache and elevated temp. And my throat is classic strep. I’ve had it enough times to know what it feels like.
But I can’t help but wonder if we didn’t also pick up this dreaded Coronavirus from one of the many surfaces we couldn’t help but touch at Disneyland this week, or by getting just a little too close to an unknown carrier in one of the many long lines we waited. We were as careful as you can be with three kids at Disneyland, using hand sanitizer before and after each ride, just like I do when entering and exiting a patient’s room at the hospital, washing with soap and water also throughout the day, trying not to touch our faces.
They didn’t test us for Coronavirus at the urgent care yesterday. At this point, they are only testing people with severe symptoms and a known contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, which of course are very few, since they are only testing a very few. And the fact that we were both diagnosed with bacterial infections makes me feel a little better. This we know. This we can treat.
I still feel very much in the dark about Covid-19, even as a healthcare professional on leave of absence who is consuming every article I can on the subject.
The PA at the urgent care yesterday said we should see drive-thru clinics start opening up in the next week and then testing for Covid-19 will be available on a broader scale. He said he believes this thing has actually already been around for several months and we just didn’t know it. He has seen many patients present with flu-like symptoms but test negative for the flu or pneumonia that kept coming back. But all this is anecdotal.
On some level, I feel like it makes no difference if we have the virus or not. There isn’t a medicine or specific treatment for it, and we are only supposed to go to the hospital if we have extreme symptoms. For now, we will assume we do, even though we probably don’t, and stay home, away from our older relatives. I will keep a close eye on Kate, who has asthma and a weak immune system, and always gets everything worse than the rest of us
But I think it would be helpful to know the real numbers of this thing. The hospital group I work for only had one confirmed case in its five Valley hospitals last time I heard. And latest reports show only 12 confirmed cases in all of Arizona. But I can’t help but believe that’s probably pretty far from the reality of the situation.
Also, if I do have it, does that give me immunity, like the chicken pox, so that I will be able to take care of infected patients without fear in the coming weeks? Or conversely, is it more like Dengue Fever or malaria, where subsequent infections can be worse? No one really knows yet, and that’s what’s so scary about this.
I think it’s very likely that the dramatic change that has overtaken our country this week – social distancing and staying home – will turn the tides and prevent this pandemic from wiping out mass quantities of Americans. Of course, the financial toll will be huge. But in this moment, it still seems possible that we will look back at this time and laugh at how we overreacted, a bit like we do when we think back to Y2K. We will never really know if it was precisely our (over) reactions that prevented the dreaded results we feared.
I wasn’t at all surprised to get the email just before I crawled into bed last night that our school district finally caved and has decided not to reopen schools on Monday after Spring Break. Ours was one of the last districts in the area to make the decision. I imagine they reversed their decision to stay open after receiving push back from parents and teachers. And I’m relieved. But I also know there are families who will suffer, parents who don’t have the option to take time off or work from home, children whose only meals are the free ones they get at school.
My first instinct is to do something to help. And I probably will.
But for today, I’m stuck on the couch nursing a killer sore throat and can’t do anything but write about it. While everyone else in my family sleeps.