‘We tested positive for coronavirus. We let our guard down. I failed.’: Family gets COVID-19, ‘Stay safe and vigilant’

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“A week ago, my husband and I tested positive for coronavirus. Our kids (1- and 3-years-old) weren’t tested, but I do think they both had the virus as well. The pediatrician wouldn’t let us bring them in, since we both tested positive already. It makes sense, but it does make me wonder how much higher the case count for children is. Anyway, we’re doing okay, but I thought it might be of some value to share our personal experience. I know some people have a lot of friends and family who got coronavirus and some people don’t know anyone, so for what it’s worth, here’s our experience.

A little background: in March, we pulled the kids out of daycare when the stay-at-home orders began, and there was so much uncertainty about the virus. I cut back on working so I could take care of the kids, and for seven months, we were so, so careful. My son hasn’t been to a store since February. My daughter only went once (she desperately wanted to go to with my husband one day, so we let her go with her mask). When we took a road trip to visit family who had also been quarantining, we packed our lunch and snacks so we wouldn’t have to make an additional stop and risk unnecessary exposure.

After seven months of having the kids full time and many months of me out of work, we felt like we needed to make a change. As much as we appreciated the extra time together, it started to feel like groundhog’s day. We were doing our part to control the spread, but each day was getting mentally, emotionally, and financially harder to be so vigilant. I missed working, bills still needed to be paid, and the kids missed ‘going to school.’ We decided to put the kids in daycare for two days a week so they could play again with their friends, learn from their teachers, and participate in the holiday school activities while I could use the time to look for work and refocus on my career.

Courtesy of Katie Thomas

In the end, though, we got sick. I guess you could say we let our guard down. The daycare implemented temperature checks and teachers and staff wore masks. They were doing everything they could, given the circumstances. Even so, two weeks after they started daycare, our whole family is sick. We were not the only ones to get sick, either. The daycare is actually closed for two weeks because there was an outbreak. Talk about timing.

I beat myself up for a while about it and struggled with the guilt. I felt like I had failed to keep myself and my family safe. I couldn’t help but fall down the hole of ‘what ifs.’ ‘What if we would have waited another month to put them in daycare? What if we would have waited just a week? What if we had just toughed it out a little longer and stayed home?’ I then started to think maybe all our effort the past seven months was for nothing, if we were just going to get it anyway.

After some time and reflection, I’ve accepted it and am at peace with it. We did what we thought was best for our family given the situation. I also don’t think our effort was for nothing. I believe we helped to flatten the curve earlier this year, and we gave doctors and scientists more time to better understand the virus, identify and develop more effective therapeutics to treat it, and acquire more PPE to stay safe.

As for the virus itself, we are about a week into it and are mostly okay. We are lucky we have had relatively minor symptoms. My youngest only had a runny nose. My 3-year-old had/has a runny nose, a cough and congestion, and some muscle aches. My main symptoms were muscle aches and fatigue, while my husband has had headaches, fevers, and fatigue. We both loss our sense of smell and our sense of taste has changed. It’s strange how the virus affects people differently. The exhaustion is the most annoying and troubling part. I pray we aren’t ‘long-haulers,’ or any of us suffer from unknown long-term effects.

Courtesy of Katie Thomas

Anyway, I just wanted to share what we experienced and what we have been doing. I trust everyone is making the best decisions for themselves and their families. I know it’s tough to weigh the potential cost/benefit, and stressful to have to make difficult decisions for yourself and your family. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to this virus, and the healthcare workers who have to see it and treat it every day. I can’t imagine the additional stress healthcare workers and first responders and their families are under.

For the average person, it can be hard to see friends and family on social media carrying on like nothing has changed, while others haven’t left their home since March. The misinformation and political opinions further muddy the water. I’ve struggled with it a lot and have gone back and forth between feeling like I’m overreacting or under-reacting. In the end, we are just trying to do our best to stop the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and others safe.

With that said, if you are in the at-risk category, especially, I hope you stay safe and vigilant. I know it’s hard and can be lonely, and we are all growing impatient, but please consider the long-term benefit and what is at risk. The virus is out there, and it is aggressive and spreading. I’m not an alarmist; these are just the facts and we are a testament to it. The fact we had minor symptoms also shouldn’t give anyone a false sense of security. Yes, younger people are statistically likely to be okay, but it’s not guaranteed, and you don’t know who you can accidentally pass it on to who won’t be okay.

Times like these require a great deal of compassion and empathy. Please wear your mask when out, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. Let’s do our part—however much you can. Stay safe out there.”

Courtesy of Katie Thomas

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Thomas. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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