I have covid, most everyone at my house has had it. The last of us came off quarantine last night, but I still have symptoms and am going to stay out of circulation a while longer.
The others are better, my wife and our five children. First one and then two and then three and now five have gone back to school, after serving their quarantine time in front of a teacher on a screen.
My daughter brought it home, she probably caught it, like so many, on Halloween weekend. She woke up one morning feeling a little off, which, these days, means she stays home and you call the school and you call the doctor and after a test she hides out in her room until the results come back.
And then you all go into quarantine. Two weeks to flush it out of your family.
Quarantine means stay in your home, stay on your property. We have a house, and a yard, and a treadmill, and a couple of televisions and a trampoline, and enough food to last well past two weeks. It was truly no burden for us, but we thought and talked about families that don’t have houses or yards or room enough to get out from underneath one another’s feet. We thought of friends in apartments with a shared bed and no yard, two or three rooms and what two weeks would be like for them.
We’ve been mask wearers since February. My wife sewed scores of them to give to friends, so many that her hands cramped and ached. I don’t believe they are magic, or always effective, or in the least bit political. I resent the shifting sands of official recommendations, the conformist spirit demanded by political leaders, and the self-righteous Pharisees who search for bare faces on the sidewalk or at the grocery store. I believe in choice, and we chose to wear masks. And to limit our social contacts.
And that worked for months. But some germs got through and we went into quarantine and quarantine is like a covid incubator and in short order my children got sick, and my wife and I began to feel odd and uneasy. And it pretty much went through us all like a hot knife through butter.
The thing about covid is that it is new. A year ago, nobody knew what it was. A year ago, it may never have been present in our species. So we’ve never had it. Any of us. It is not part of our culture and experience. Unlike the diseases of my childhood – measles and mumps and chicken pox and whooping cough – there were no family stories or folk wisdom or handed-down remedies, or assurances that it would pass harmlessly in time.
It’s all new. And it’s all unpredictable. Because this virus does different things to different people. It can hit you from anywhere. And while there are trends of types of reactions to it, in our household they didn’t manifest themselves clearly.
In our family, half developed fevers and half did not. Half had coughs or sore throats as part of their symptom cluster, and about half did not. Headaches afflicted some, but not others. Fatigue and lethargy showed up, but in different degrees. Some of us were sick in bed – or couch – and others had more manageable symptoms. Two had their sense of taste altered, I developed excruciating nerve pain in my leg. Some got sick and got better, others got sick and then got sicker.
All of that can frighten you, as you look at your loved ones and have no idea what the progression of this virus in their bodies will be like. It’s the luck of the draw, and some don’t have any symptoms, apparently, and others die, and you don’t know which path leads where.
But we came off quarantine last night, and the kids have gone to school. Mom is going to take a long-delayed trip to the store, and I am hoping my overnight resurgence of bad-flu symptoms ebbs some before the deer hunt tomorrow morning.
We’ve had covid at the house for a couple of weeks, and my little piece of it seems to be lingering. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t nothing either. If I had a choice between being sick and being not sick, I’d always go with not sick, especially with this. I wouldn’t want to get it, and I wouldn’t want to give it. I wear masks, but I don’t rant about masks, and I don’t believe in shut downs.
But I do believe in being smart, and I believe in individual responsibility, and I believe in being a good neighbor.
And I believe in cutting this virus a wide berth.
It would be smart to hole up, to let this storm blow over. Eliminate unnecessary social contacts between your family and the outside world. Go to school, go to work, but be smart about it. Don’t be cavalier or careless or think that playing with fire makes you tough or brave.
Use your freedom to choose safety for your family, and wellness for your community.
This virus can be a landmine. Don’t step on it.