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3 Faces of COVID

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

The weird thing is that if my daughter wasn't due for a general check-up we would never have known COVID-19 had come to my home. Being an asymptomatic carrier, she never had a fever, never had a cough, never had any of the laundry list of symptoms that have been scrolling across news channels since late February. No, this experience with COVID was vastly different than my first experience...


Flashback to late February: The first cases in NYC were gaining some media attention but overall people weren't consumed by the fear...yet. One of my daughters had been invited to NYC for an overnight trip. They were only going into the city during the day. They'd be staying with her friend's family outside the city at night. And again, NYC hadn't yet become the nightmare it would be in March. When her little sister spiked a fever four days later, my mind didn't go to Coronavirus. Overall I'm a pretty laid back mom. I don't rush my kids to the hospital at the drop of a hat...in fact I think I probably error on the side of not going soon enough. But something in my mom brain said whatever I was looking at in my youngest's eyes...was bigger than a seasonal illness. We went to the Emergency room three times in four days. Each time she had at least a fever of 103. She was waking up in a panic because she couldn't get full gulps of air. She was coughing so hard that soon I was hearing soft crying between coughing fits. I BEGGED doctors to test her for COVID. I told them her sister had been to NYC and I was concerned that she may be fighting this new virus everyone was talking about. The doctors would look at me apologetically and say that while it definitely looked like COVID and they believed it was COVID, the state laboratories would refuse to run the test because she hadn't just come from China. I begged, I pleaded, I lied and said, "OK, we WERE just in China! Now please do it!". But every time they refused. It was out of their hands...


I guess I should also explain that were we not just being pandered to. They weren't just trying to appease a crazy mom. They absolutely believed she had Coronavirus. If they didn't then we wouldn't have been placed in their completely isolated and airlocked quarantine room. I have never seen a doctor come into a room with a full set of paper surgical scrubs, two sets of nitrile gloves on, a face mask with secondary plastic face shield, etc. ...in a normal visit to the ER. They treated her like she had a highly contagious virus...but they didn't TREAT her like she had a highly contagious virus. Three times we left the ER feeling just a little bit more lost. I isolated her in her room, ensured that the plate, cup, silver she used was only her's, she had her own bathroom and she insisted on wearing a mask if I was in the room. It was a hellacious week, and then took another two weeks for her to really be back to normal. No, I don't have proof that she had COVID--her doctors seemed convinced but hogtied by the state's refusal to test people who hadn't traveled to China.


Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago...Coronavirus fear had settled in nicely. We're looking at friends and family with distrust, and God forbid you need to cough in public. So when we showed up a the military health facility for a routine check-up and my daughter sniffles ONCE, we are immediately taken aside and counseled by a Major who said that unfortunately we weren't going to be allowed in the front door because my daughter sniffled. She had no fever, none of the other symptoms...even the Major said it was purely a formality. "There's nothing for you to worry about! It's not COVID...not in a kid your age." So we were sent back to the car and the Major came back (dressed in full PPE) to swab what had to have been her brain stem...the swab goes in SO FAR! My child being my child, she laughed the whole time. When the military called two days later and said she was positive you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was dumbfounded. We thought about the people we came in contact with...no one really except for my mom. She went out and got tested that day (thankfully she was negative) and we began lockdown...and waiting. I kept monitoring her temp but even our Covid Case Manager (the awesome benefit of having the military in charge of your medical care-Jane was an angel. She calmed my fears, answered all my questions, and facilitated additional care) even Jane was calling her an asymptomatic carrier and said we weren't likely going to see anything develop in her. And I can't tell you how grateful I was for that peace of mind. But I think it also made me over confident...I mean, if she's an asymptomatic carrier then that must be genetic right? There's something about her genetic structure that is keeping this from hitting her, and I'm half of her genetics, SO I must be invincible too! I'm also the biological mother of the daughter who was REALLY sick, but that fact didn't seem to register...yet. The migraine crept up on me. I've gotten them since childhood but I didn't recognize it for what it was because rather than being localized in my head, I felt like I had a migraine throughout my entire body. Literally every cell felt like it was going to burst. At one point I laid in my bed for hours humming one note because I had convinced myself that if I could just match the right tone then my pain would go away. (Surprise! it didn't work.) If you've never been in the kind of pain where your mind ceases to function rationally then this will sound like I simply had a mental breakdown but I assure you, in that moment, I KNEW humming the right note was the solution to everything...