Several months ago, a friend of mine who is majoring in history in college, asked that anyone recording the events of this pandemic also include what they are feeling as a result of it. That there is not enough of this type of information in historical study. So here I will write my thoughts and feelings of this pandemic.
Back in March, when this hit our area, I was scared. They were warning us that the elderly, those with health conditions, and the immuno-compromised were most at risk. My parents are not young and both have health conditions. Mary having Down syndrome puts her in the at-risk category as well. Every time she gets sick, it takes longer than usual to recover from it. We were scared about how something like this would affect all of us.
We decided to pull Mary out of her once a week daycare to limit her risk. As much as she benefited from it, we wanted to keep her safe. The next day, Alex’s school decided to go to virtual learning effective the end of that week. It was a scramble as we all adjusted, but we did it. A lot of tears, frustration, confusion, and overwhelmed feelings, but we did it.
For the next many months, we stayed home as much as we could. We only went out for work, groceries, or medical appointments that could not be done virtually. We kept our bubble to us and my parents, who were watching the kids so we could work. Seeing people was done virtually with video chats and it was a wonderful option. We even got to video chat with my grandmother who lives 7 hours away! We had planned to visit this year, but the pandemic put a hold on that plan. We are hoping to be able to visit when it is safe again.
Late summer, things seemed to be getting better, We still wanted to be careful, so we did some safe visits with trusted friends who were being just as careful as we were. It was a big discussion between us and something we thought hard about. We kept visits small and at least 2-3 weeks apart. We only saw 2 friends because we wanted to be careful. Then we saw the numbers climbing again and went back to our little bubble only.
It was, and is, frustrating going out and seeing people not wearing masks in public places, not wearing masks over their noses, not social distancing, not taking this pandemic seriously. We continued to wear our masks. We did grocery delivery. We bought more masks and I altered a few of them so Mary is able to wear them easier. Then came mid-November.
In early November, a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19. While we work on the same floor, we do not have direct contact with each other. I called my doctor’s office right away and they said that I would be at low risk of exposure and not to worry. Turns out I should have worried. A week after she tested positive, I was drinking some cherry cordial milk and couldn’t taste the cherry in it. I didn’t think much of it at first, assuming I didn’t shake it up enough before pouring. Then my peach tea tasted weird. And when I went to smell my essential oil sprays I use for calming my anxiety, I smelled nothing. That is when fear set in. I called the doctor’s office and I got tested that night, followed by isolating in my room until we got the results, just in case. Bryan had to sleep on the couch. The next 4 days were some of the most anxiety inducing days for me. The not knowing was the worst part. I felt fine aside from no taste or smell. But then I got my results: Positive for COVID-19. There was some relief in knowing, but a lot of fear and worry too. What if I infected Bryan and the kids? My parents? We were all scared and worried. I remained in my room. Bryan and the kids went to get tested. My parents were tested later that week. Luckily, everyone tested negative. By some miracle, I did not pass it along to any of them. The hardest part of isolating was not being able to be there for my family. Hearing Mary cry and knowing I couldn’t go calm her. The kids telling me how much they miss me, and Mary kissing the phone whenever we would video call. There were many days and nights I cried from it all.
Then ten days after I tested, my doctor released me from isolation since I had been fever free the entire time and my taste and smell had returned. I don’t think I have ever been hugged so tightly. The family had to remain in quarantine for the full 14 days just to be sure, but it was a lot better with all of us being together.
Now here we are in 2021. I still have some memory issues and fatigue easily, but I am back to mostly normal. Vaccines are rolling out and we are hoping my parents will be able to get their vaccine soon (just waiting for their age group). A child’s vaccine has not been released yet, but there is the hope.
I have read many different experiences with COVID. Friends who have contracted it. Friends who have lost loved ones to it. Friends who helped work on the vaccine. Friends who are hopeful that this means the end of the pandemic, and friends who are skeptical. But this is my account, my experience, of feelings during a pandemic.