A very COVID Thanksgiving
It was Tuesday, November 16th. I was at lunch with fellow academic deans, when I looked down at my phone to find a text from my dad saying CALL ME. My parents watch Remi while I am at work. I rarely hear from them unless I check-in to see how she is doing that day, so this was unusual. My dad had been making lunch when he realized he couldn't smell or taste the food. He threw on a mask and called me immediately to come pick her up. I stopped at Walgreens on the way home to grab some at-home rapid tests. By the time Remi and I got home 15 minutes later, his test was positive. My mom later tested positive the next day.
I was surprised to find out that I was cleared to go to work the next day even though I had been in close contact with him. I had been fully vaccinated so as long as I was showing no symptoms the school nurse would allow me to return. The process seemed so crazy to me since I could have unintentionally spread COVID to a table full of college Dean's during lunch and not even know it. Even with approval, we stayed home the next two days knowing that symptoms can appear 3 to 4 days after exposure.
Our pediatricians are AMAZING, Amanda and I visit the same physician group. From the moment I called them with concerns about exposure, they scheduled telemedicine appointments and rapid tests for both Remi and I. Ad-Park Pediatrics are located on top of a bank so testing is extremely convenient. Patients are directed to pull into the drive up and the team comes out to swab right through the window, no need to leave the car seat or vehicle. We tested on Thursday morning and both came back negative. It was now Thursday night and I had put Remi to bed. She was fussy and was not going down easy. I sat on the couch and told my husband that I my joints felt extremely achy. I took a shower and couldn't warm up, crazy...since I usually set smoke detectors off after my showers. Friday morning Remi woke to a 102 fever and a runny noise (this was the first sign the doctor told me to watch for). I was extremely achy and had a 101 fever myself. After another telemedicine appointment we drove to get another rapid test, this time both came back....positive.
We received clear directives from the doctor to quarantine and remain out of contact from anyone for ten days. My husband had no symptoms so we decided to separate in our house. He stayed upstairs and Remi and I remained on the main floor. We stayed six feet apart at all times. We used separate bathrooms, I wiped down and sprayed all handles, doorknobs and appliances. All bedding and towels immediately went in the washer and I boiled all her toys (mostly her play food that is constantly in her mouth). It was recommended that I purchase a toy sanitizer similar to this Munchkin one (tip: this is perfect for germaphobes). We ate tons of takeout to avoid cooking and ordered groceries for delivery. My mother-in-law dropped off a shipment of soups, pastina, Pedialyte, popsicles, and all of Remi's favorite meals and snacks.
The scariest part of COVID for me was Remi's fever. Four days in a row we battled 102/103 temperatures. I was piggybacking Tylenol with Motrin to keep her fever down (thank god for mom friends and Amanda for her amazing color coded time chart)! As directed by the pediatrician, Tylenol can be given every four hours and Motrin can be given once every six hours. One day she had finally gotten into a deep sleep for the first time in a while and I didn't want to wake her to give her the meds, when she woke up her temp shot right back up to 103. Luckily it broke shortly after and of course I had mom guilt. During this time Remi was very snuggly and didn't play much. Cocomelon and Frozen were on repeat. Her appetite diminished and we brought back the bottles so she could still get nutrients since the doctor constantly reminded me to push fluids.
While our symptoms presented on Thursday, my husband developed symptoms on Sunday. His PCR test came back positive on Friday which was the day after Thanksgiving. While most of the world spent the holiday with their families, we spent ours in quarantine and separated on two different levels of our home. Had we received his test results earlier, we could have at least spent the holiday in the same room. Thanksgiving morning we woke up and watched the parade. My best friend surprised us by leaving some arancinis at the front door. My dad's 10 day mark was up on Thanksgiving so he dropped off a holiday feast including turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pumpkin pie...leaving it at the front door. We waved through the glass and Remi blew kisses to papa. It's lonely when you can't hug your loved ones and only see your family and friends through a storm door.
The hardest part of this entire experience (for me) was the isolation. I was sick with what felt like a terrible flu for 7 days while my toddler was sick and we couldn't even be in the same room as my husband. I experienced fevers, extreme body aches, fatigue and stomach issues. Taking care of a sick child while you are sick is insanely difficult. All Remi wanted was my husband. She would walk to the staircase numerous times a day to yell for him to come down and say hi. He would sit at the top of the staircase so she could show him her toys. I would say that was the hardest part for him, not being able to hold or hug Remi. The highlight for him...watching the entire series of Game of Thrones and a room to himself.
Post quarantine, I have returned to work and we are all getting back into our routine. I am still getting my taste and smell back. Although we are physically feeling better, we have hit some bumps in the road. While we remained separated in quarantine, I co-slept with Remi to monitor her breathing and fever. She now has developed an incredible fear of her crib and separation anxiety from me which makes bedtime and sleep a major ongoing issue. I have spoken with numerous doctors and sleep consultants at this point trying to help get us back on track. We have had many recent nights with 3 to 4 wake-ups which makes for one very tired mama and a request for extra coffee during my workday.
My husband and I were able to take a (one night) staycation in the city last weekend, which was exactly what we needed. We spent fifteen days at home and spent the Thanksgiving holiday on two separate levels. Stress, anxiety and frustration levels were extremely high. It was great to breath, relax and reconnect. Read more about our staycation on a later blog post coming soon! I am grateful that Remi, my husband and my parents are all recovering and healthy. It was a scary and rough couple of weeks which we were able to get through with the help of some midday (no destination) car rides, Facetime, Game of Thrones and some surprise toy deliveries from a special fairy godmother and my blog writing bestie.
X0 - Katie