Hollie Grimaldi Flores: COVID came home
I am sad to report my family did not quite make it through the Thanksgiving holiday unscathed. While we only had four of our adult children over for an early dinner, within a few days after the holiday, my husband and daughter began to experience mild flu-like symptoms. The percentages were so low in our area, I thought it unlikely that it would be anything more serious than that. People do still get regular sick, right?
I had taken the COVID test a couple of times earlier in the year, doing my part to be safe. In fact, I had received a negative result after testing before the holiday. I felt confident I was OK. With the mild symptoms my family experienced, I would have attributed them to the common flu had COVID cases not been on the rise. I was not experiencing any symptoms, but as a precaution because my husband was feeling bad, I joined him and decided to get tested again.
We were able to secure an appointment quickly to get a COVID test by taking a little road trip out of the county. Within 48 hours, my husband received a call saying he had tested positive for COVID-19. Later that morning, a representative from the county called to ask him where he had been and who he had been with, and then rattled off a litany of do’s and don’ts.
Though we tested at the same facility, at the same time, it took another 48 hours before I received an email message that my results were available online. I signed into my account to find I had also tested positive, which only came as the slightest bit of surprise because it took so much longer to receive my results than my husband’s; because I did not receive a call but rather a text that the results were available, and because I felt just fine.
Now, over two weeks after exposure, and (presumably) several days beyond contagious, I am trying to work my way back into the working world. It’s not going well. People are scared and hesitant to be around me. I feel distracted and uneasy. There is a great deal of different information being shared “out there” and the information changes often.
My husband is staying close to home because he still doesn’t feel good. I am staying close to home out of respect for those who feel uncomfortable, but it doesn’t feel particularly good to be me this week. I didn’t really think about how I might treat someone who had the virus.
I confess there is a part of me that thought about keeping this to myself. It would be easy to act as if nothing had happened and to say nothing about the entire experience. Certainly, it would be easier than being labeled, but I think there is value in sharing my experience. The reality is each person I have spoken with that has tested positive has shown different degrees of effect. I have a friend who thought she had a sinus infection, and she has a friend who is hospitalized. My daughter is feeling better every day. My husband was doing well but hit the ten-day mark and started to feel bad again. We are all taking it easy.
Here is the most frightening part: I have never had a single symptom. Had other family members not taken ill, I would never have known I was carrying the virus and would have continued to shop, to dine out, to socialize in limited circumstance. I would have been going about my business standing next to you in line, buying groceries, eating lunch, enjoying a beverage. I am a mask wearer, so damage may have been minimal, but still, the realization is sobering.
Now I need to find the positives:
I can start with the fact that I am not sick. Though my metabolism works at such a slow pace, it is possible my system could still be working towards a breakdown, I prefer to think my immune system is unparalleled!
I am relieved that no one in my immediate family experienced extreme symptoms. My husband suffered a canceled marathon run he had been training for and my daughter and I are suffering financial losses from missed work, but to date, no one has needed hospitalization or seen a doctor — not that that would be easy to do — at any rate, they seem to be on the mend.
My “Pollyanna” thinking is focused on the idea that we will be able to enjoy immunity for Christmas! While we are not planning a large family get together, those we do see will not have to be concerned about putting us in danger! If the science is correct, we should be immune well into 2021, including for my birthday in February. Celebrate good times, come on!
I plan to turn my exposure to the virus into another positive by donating platelets if the blood bank will take them! And I will make myself available do what I can to help others who are afraid to put themselves at risk. How does it get any better than that?
When this pandemic first hit the news, I don’t think anyone would have guessed we would still be dealing with the crisis through the end of the year. Now, in all likelihood, we will begin next year having more critical discussions. The economic toll and the loss of life is unimaginable but what is important and what should be clear at this point is that nothing matters if we don’t have our health. Let’s take care of our relationships and our community. Wear a mask. Shop and support local businesses. Get takeout for dinner as often as possible. Be kind. This is not a test.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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