When my son called to ask if he and his girlfriend could stay with us for a few days, I thought nothing of it. They were moving into a new apartment which was not ready, as scheduled, leaving them with a homeless gap for a week or two. We all came together and moved them out of their apartment, into our home for what ended up being only one day. Surprisingly, the apartment manager made another apartment available sooner.
So back at it we went, re-moving everything as his girlfriend suffered through one of her annual sinus colds. We told her to take it easy, with four Davis boys able to do the heavy lifting and multiple trips. I was more of the moving van operator because I was still suffering from a serious car accident earlier in the year.
The move went quickly and flawlessly. Or so we thought…
A few days later, everyone in my house presented with flu-like symptoms. Nothing new in a house where viruses were gift-wrapped and sent here from my boys’ schools every year, without fail (thank God that’s over). But then another call came from my son.
He told me that his girlfriend did not have a sinus cold, but in fact, had tested positive for COVID-19!
I immediately broke out the home testing kits I had picked up from the local library, screening everyone.
Everyone had contracted the Corona Virus aka “The ‘Rona”.
Everyone except me.
How did that happen, you ask? Well, several months prior, while picking up my prescription, I was asked if I was interested in receiving the Covid vaccination. My initial thought was “no”. Not that I was an Anti-Vaxer, but I still had my concerns about some of the reported side effects. Yet and still, within that very same microsecond I reminded myself that I’d rather deal with the side effects than a ventilator. Considering my health factors, I firmly believed that were I to contract the virus, I would not have survived it. So, I agreed to the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
Thus, the one person who GOT vaccinated was the one who DIDN’T get it. Now if ever there was proof of necessity of the vaccine, this is/was it (unpaid service announcement). But it was not the time for “I told you so’s”.
The house immediately went into shutdown mode: Quarantine, medicine, food supplies, The Whole 9.
The timing of it all couldn’t have been worse because I had six family Christmas photo shoots lined up for my basement studio. And although some would have told me to simply keep my family upstairs and sanitize everything in sight, I elected the alternative. I told every client that my family members had tested positive and that the environment was not entirely safe. As expected, each of them thanked me and respectfully canceled their shoots. Being holiday photos and so close to Christmas, I knew they couldn’t postpone them. The best I could do was refer them to my colleagues and watch the money float away to sea.
Still, as much as I needed the money, it paled in comparison to my concerns for my family, who were and will always be my ONLY priority.
For the subsequent two weeks, my job responsibilities bounced back and forth from cook to custodian to grocery shopper to nurse. They frequently expressed their sadness in the situation, partially in that I had to focus all of my efforts on them. I assured them that it wasn’t their fault, and I had no problems taking care of my family, all the while trying to be encouraging. If nothing else, I/we were thankful that no one appeared to need advanced medical attention. The worst case was mother hen, who struggled with breathing difficulties and violent coughing. On several occasions I considered taking her in, but she insisted that it was manageable.
I kept my emotions hidden because I felt that a display of psychological strength was as much a comfort and healing factor as my efforts.
Although I tested negative and showed no symptoms, I still functioned as if I was at risk of contracting it, keeping my distance and washing thoroughly as my non-caretaker activities forced me to all but live downstairs. My phone alarm was set to wake me every 60 minutes at night so I could check on each of them as they slept, to ensure that they were still breathing evenly. Every now and then I’d get a scare if I saw that they were motionless with no rising and falling of their torsos to indicate respiration. As a result, I’d sit awake for the rest of the night, praying for the Lord God almighty to see us through, trying not to panic.
And although it seemed like an eternity, one by one, they eventually recovered; thankful that they could smell, taste food, move around and go through their days without painful coughing, fighting for the ability to take deep breaths. The soreness still existed and continued for an additional week or so, but the worst was finally behind us.
I reminded them that supposedly being “in the clear” did not ensure immunity and that they still needed to get vaccinated, just as I needed to get the booster shot, as recommended by the CDC.
It wasn’t until New Year’s Eve that we truly celebrated our successful, although terrifying, ending of an already troubling year. There was no partying or visits from family or friends. On the contrary, it was a quiet time at home, trying not to consider what could have happened and how fortunate we were that it didn’t.
And somewhere around 4 a.m., as everyone slept soundly, once again I woke up and walked through the house. Just as I used to when the boys were young, to doublecheck the locks and the safety of my family.
About 15 minutes later it all finally hit me.
And for the first time since my oldest almost died in the hospital month’s prior, I sobbed uncontrollably. Thanking God for seeing us through.
Like I said, 2021 was quite the forgettable year. Just like 2020.
Yeah, Covid came a’killing.
But the Davis family wasn’t having it and we promptly sent it on its way.