The tension was something akin to a gender reveal party or maybe more like a walk to the gallows. I kept checking my patient portal for my test results. I was becoming obsessive with temperature checks. My temperature never rose above 99. I hadn’t even taken a Tylenol. I was convinced I was being paranoid, that my mind was inventing the symptoms in my body. I was somehow, crazily, manifesting the achiness in my knees and ankles, the deep down-to-my-bones fatigue. The reason I kept checking my temperature was because I “felt” hot, but the fever never seemed to materialize.
So without further ado, I suppose I should let the “Shrodinger’s cat” out of the bag…
(you can find my previous post to which I am shamelessly referring to at Schrodinger’s COVID)
My test came back positive.
Cue all the typical gasps and sympathies. Go ahead, get it out of your systems because we need to talk. Ready?
I have worn the mask, washed my hands, been as diligent as humanly possible and this little fucker snuck in. I let my guard down somewhere, but if I try to discover the exact moment, I will drive myself crazy. The truth is, and as my dear husband said to me after I told him my test results, it’s just a matter of time. We are both in healthcare. The daily infection rates are rising. Restaurants and stores are opening up. People are getting out and this shit is spreading. Despite the feeling that a COVID infection is inevitable, we have to keep up our diligence. Hell, I’m wearing a mask in my own house now so I limit its spread to my family. We can not let our guards down, not even for a second.
The worst part is thinking that somehow I am weaponized. This virus has made me complicit in its death march. My every breath, in the right (or wrong) circumstance, could be lethal. Go ahead and make a joke, my breath could be lethal in any circumstance (LOL). I am not opposed to laughing in the face of death. In fact, in many medical circles, laughter is the best medicine, and with this virus, I have little else to throw at it.
So far my symptoms have been mild. Am I one of the lucky ones that will get through this unscathed? Or will the raging fever, hacking cough and gasps for breath follow in the days ahead? After reading many accounts on the internet of the progression of COVID 19 infections, I said this to my nurse when I called her to tell her the lovely news, and she said, “just like we tell our patients, I’m going to tell you, stay off the internet!”
I wrestled with keeping my results secret, as if that is possible, unlike other illnesses that just belong to the person that is afflicted, it seems COVID 19 belongs to the world. I figured once the proverbial cat was out of the bag, everyone would know anyway, so I might as well be the one to tell my story.
It is 1 am, I am alone in my bedroom because my husband moved to one of the kids rooms (I made him), and I was tossing and turning, thinking about all that a positive test means. It means I let my guard down. It means my family could be at risk. It means the symptoms could escalate. It means my family, colleagues, and patients will look at me differently. There will be a hesitation. I wasn’t able to keep myself well, how can I keep others well? It means I’m not perfect. It means I’ve got to rely on God to get me through, because, in all honesty, I’ve got nothing that I can do to make a difference.
I checked my temperature again. 98. The slightest tickle of a cough. I have asthma, so I keep taking deep breaths to make sure I can, that there is no wheezing or tightness in my chest. I feel vulnerable. Alone, but hopeful. Because I have been anticipating my results all day, I have been distracted from what the days anniversary was. In many ways, I am glad that my mom did not have to witness the last 4 years, to have to be part of this pandemic. She would not have fared well. What irony to find out my results on the anniversary of her passing. Perhaps a good omen? Mom if you are watching, I love you, but I’m not quite ready to see you again….