I remember waking up one day for school back in November or December and seeing a breaking news article about a new virus that appeared in China. When I read that article, I read it more for its entertainment value, rather than reading it out of real concern. I don’t really like biology that much, but I do find virology interesting. That said, I assumed it would be totally inconsequential to those of us in the US, and completely brushed off the possibility that it would have any effect on our everyday lives.
And now, five months later, on March 29, 2020… I haven’t had school in a month (well, just online), we’ve stopped our four month trip, and I just found out that my mom has the coronavirus, along with 150,000 other Americans and 2,500 other King County citizens.
The night has been tough, but the dawn is coming
Let me preface this by saying that she’s doing well. She’s not ready to run a marathon or anything like that, but we presume that she’s past the halfway point, especially because her symptoms seem to slowly be getting milder.
We found out at around 10:30am on Sunday 3/29. We had a conversation with the doctor on how we’ll proceed as a family from here… but before you worry too much, it’s worth understanding the last 14 days:
3/14 — London: Asthma-like symptoms, which her inhaler didn’t resolve (i.e. chest-tightness, coughing, inability to take a deep breath)
3/16: She threw up twice that morning, likely from last night’s poke bowl, then had an uneventful flight home.
3/18: Asthma symptoms still yet to improve; Mom tested for Coronavirus, comes back negative a couple days later (in hindsight, doctors believe this was a false negative). Develops a fever later that evening.
3/24: Continued asthma, low-grade fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea/no appetite. Has a video conference with doctor, who prescribes doxycycline.
3/27: 2nd Coronavirus test and diagnosed with pneumonia after a chest x-ray–she had a rough night the night before, where she was up in the middle of the night for hours; hard time breathing, fever, chills, nausea. This was her low-point where she struggled the most.
3/29: Test comes back positive, conversation with doctor
Changes to the Household: Quarantine Rules
It’s hard to say exactly how everything will change after just one day, but nearly all of the work that she typically does around the house is being done by one of us. I made her lunch yesterday to keep her out of the kitchen, and I’ve started to become more diligent about washing my hands frequently. I was also given the job of cleaning the toilets. Fun!
But the biggest change are the quarantine rules. Some of these are for us, some for her.
- Left side of dining room table is quarantine, and this is marked off with a line of blue tape; thank God she has her own power strip to charge her laptop and phone
- Mom doesn’t touch items in kitchen/family room. Ever. All kitchen duties are up to the rest of us.
- Mom can only open the fridge high up on the handle, while everyone else opens it from the bottom
- Mom doesn’t use the downstairs bathroom we all use, only the guest bedroom one, which she also uses for her new ‘nebulizer‘.
- We cannot enter the guest bedroom/bathroom: this is completely off-limits. The nebulizer administers medicine through her lungs, but as she exhales, particles of the virus can come out of her lungs and float into the air
On the bright side, we’ve known that she has been under the weather for the past couple weeks, so we’ve already been taking some precautions to prevent us from getting sick. We’re vigilant about cleanliness around the house, and we’ve been following some of these CDC recommendations that outline how to care for an infected COVID-19 patient who is staying at home.
Fear still hangs in the air
At this point, I’m hoping that these quarantine rules aren’t too little, too late. Knowing now that she has coronavirus, I’ve realized that we’ve been living in a petri dish for the last couple weeks. We talked to the doctor about risk for the rest of us and she said, “At this point, the horse is already out of the barn.” Although we have taken some precaution, it’s probable that she’s had the virus for around 14 days, and it’s pretty likely that it has spread around the house. I really hope that none of us end up having symptoms in the next few weeks.
So, that’s our update for the Belfiore household… and it’s definitely a little gloomier than what we wanted/expected to be posting on our blog. Hopefully, we’ll have some more uplifting news in the next few weeks.