I’ve heard this pandemic compared to a war, a race, a game… But however one frames it, our household is currently losing. Team COVID has pulled ahead with three members of our household officially positive for the Coronavirus. Our team — the Asp Family — is down to two healthy hold-outs: Marci and me.
Cor started feeling tired, achy, and dizzy yesterday afternoon. In the evening, he spiked a fever of 101.7. So at that point, we decided that he needed to isolate in his room. We needed to keep him away from Marci and me, in case he had COVID-19. But we also needed to keep him away from Elliot and Olivia, in case he didn’t have COVID-19. That proved to be one of the harder moments of this pandemic for us. Cor was really sad about his attic exile. And the situation felt really complicated for the rest of us, too.
The Isolation Letter
This morning, I got a call back from the Health Department in response to Olivia’s positive test. They asked a bunch of questions and then concluded by telling me that we’d be receiving an “isolation letter” by email. “Isolation Letter” sounds very ominous. And indeed, some of the phrasing from the letter feels heavy-handed. But also clarifying and helpful. Here are some selected excerpts from the Health Department’s letter:
…To prevent transmission of this contagious disease, the Commissioner requests that you be placed in isolation in accordance with section 3707.08 of the Ohio Revised Code…
During this period you may be required to undergo a medical exam and submit bodily specimens for analysis…
This order will be in effect until you are deemed non-communicable by the Commissioner and therefore no longer pose a substantial threat to the health of the public. It is anticipated that you will need to be isolated until you are fever free for at least 24 hours, you have not had to take any over the counter medications that could hide a fever, AND at least 10 days have passed since your first symptoms appeared. If you are asymptomatic, you must isolate the 10 days following your test date…
If you leave the place of isolation designated above, without the prior consent of the Commissioner, action will be taken as authorized under sections 3707.48, 3707.53, and 3707.99 of the Ohio Revised Code. Additionally, leaving the place of isolation designated above without the prior consent of the Commissioner, could subject you to criminal sanctions…Kent City Health Department
Resetting the Counter
Cor got his second COVID test this afternoon, and it was more of a challenging experience than the test he took on Saturday. Marci and Cor overheard the nurse trying to deal with a combative patient, right before Cor’s test. So she was (understandably) in a bad mood when she came to Cor. He ended up getting a bloody nose in the process of acquiring his nasal swab — which made things more stressful for everyone.
And of course, his rapid test results came back as we had feared: Positive for COVID-19.
Even without further interaction with the Health Department, we knew that this meant that our household’s counter was reset to zero. Our family would need to stay in isolation / quarantine until at least March 26th. As long as neither Marci nor I got sick.
As all of this was happening with Marci and Cor, I was working through a day of Zoom Meetings. My colleagues are generally very kind and supportive. They asked how we were doing. They prayed for us. But there was also a casual observation from one colleague: “You guys seem to deal with these sorts of situations more than anyone else I know” (which is true, probably because we have five different individuals who have five different social circles — but it also feels like a statement of suspicion). Zoom Meetings lend themselves to more distractions, so I also had a hard time keeping our group on task. I needed to be more directive than I like to be (which prompts personal insecurity). I had to ignore a couple of people who seemed to be enjoying something of a private joke, towards the end of the afternoon.
And of course, I knew that the whole reason our meetings were on Zoom was because of me. Not much to be done about any of it, I know. I just felt exhausted by the end of the work day.
When I shifted from “work mode” into “home mode,” I wanted to make myself available to my kids. So there was some conversation. Cor especially needed encouragement and consolation, after getting his test results. I needed to “play fetch” for things that the kids wanted or needed. Marci and I needed to provide some “room service” meals. All fine. All stuff I’m glad to do. But it added to the exhaustion.
The End of the Day
Marci and I sat down to eat our dinner in front of the television, while watching the evening news. The main headline for the local news channel focused on the governor’s office announcing increased vaccinations. Age 40+ are eligible for vaccination as of March 19th (while we’re still in quarantine, of course). Age 16+ are eligible for vaccination as of March 29th. The state and federal governments are working together to dramatically increase the supply of vaccine and the distribution channels with a centralized scheduling service and mass vaccination sites. All good news. Excellent news, actually.
Marci and I are very glad that we’re still feeling physically healthy. But it felt sad to realize that we’ve gotten so close to the societal “finish line,” but so thick in the midst of our own “race,” or game, or war, or whatever right now.
I don’t want to complain. We have every reason to hope that things are going to turn out just fine. We’re just weary. Feeling kind of defeated. And I guess I just want to stay consistent with sharing my “Casual and Critical Observations of Life, Love, and Faith” even when things are messy and unfortunate. We cling to our faith in the God who calms the wind and the waves. And we’re also very grateful for each other. But we’ll also be glad when we can finish this losing skid and get back on the winning track.