I wanted to tell this story because I feel like this is not a story we hear often in main stream media or even amongst friends. I am in no way making light of the current pandemic our world is experiencing, just sharing an interesting story my family experienced.
Just over two weeks ago my sister tested positive for Covid-19. Joanna is a physical therapist in both a hospital and an out patient clinic. In the beginning of the pandemic she was very nervous to be around friends or family because she was constantly worried she was being exposed and wasn’t sure if she was carrying germs that could infect her loved ones.
As time went on and we created what we call “ our Covid bubble,” Joanna was included. We don’t know how long we will live amongst Covid-19. As I write this post the first round of vaccines are being distributed- so I am hopeful we will see a better year in 2021. A year that feels safer, that is healthier, that goes back to normal. But truth be told- it could still be many more months before our country has this virus under control.
My Covid bubble consists of both me and my husbands immediate families as well some close friends we regularly spend time with. Sometime around Memorial Day of this year we stopped living in fear. I turned off most of the news, followed regulations on wearing masks in public and gathering indoors or outdoors with specific amounts of people. We started taking our boys back into grocery stores, let them swim in the pool with neighborhood pals, spent a night at the beach with close friends, and tried to find a new normal. We all needed socialization- my twin five year old’s probably the most.
The way I see it is I am taking a risk of exposing my family to Covid-19 by going out for groceries. My kids were attending in person school from September through Thanksgiving being exposed to the virus. If I was OK taking these risks, knowing we could contract Covid-19 at any time, because we leave our home and come into contact with the public regularly- then I had to be ok with contracting the virus.
Strangely enough we were fortunate not to experience any type of direct exposure to the coronavirus for just over 9 months. On December 12, 2020 we attended my niece’s first birthday party at my parent’s home. I was a little skeptical about attending only because there would be members of my sister in law’s family in attendance that aren’t in our Covid bubble. But I wasn’t going to miss this beautiful babies special day- and more then that- I wanted my brother and sister in law to be able to celebrate their baby girl how I celebrated my boys on their first birthday.
Brutal honesty coming in: There were 20 people gathered at my parents’ home that Saturday. We lucked out on 60 degree weather so we were able to gather outside and inside. We shared food, conversation, and sang happy birthday over the course of about four hours- no one wore a mask. The following day my sister called out of work because she felt tired. She has been working two jobs for the last two months and she was rightfully run down. Joanna wasn’t experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19. But, because she called out of work at a hospital for feeling tired they required her to have a Covid test. On Monday morning December 14th my sister made the dreaded phone calls to everyone at Saturday’s gathering that she was positive for coronavirus and we had all been directly exposed.
SHIT! I started the morning by calling my pediatrician’s office as well as my primary doctor to find out what the current CDC guidelines would advise us to do in this situation. Both doctor’s told me that with a direct exposure we should quarantine for seven days being tested between days 5-7. If we were symptom free after seven days with negative test results we could resume normal life. It was a long seven days. Every dry throat- I checked my temperature. My mind played tricks on me and I thought I was losing my taste around day three. I wasn’t- I was just panicking. In the meantime, my sister was becoming sick. She felt extreme fatigue, lost her taste and smell, and was lightheaded. Joanna never experienced a fever or any respiratory symptoms.
On day five everyone who had attended my niece’s birthday party was tested for Covid-19. On day seven the results came in. 19 people with direct exposure to Covid-19 tested negative for the virus. Today marks day 17 from exposure and not one of 19 people ever experienced any type of symptom.
I share this story because it is the untold tale of this pandemic. We heard over Thanksgiving of how one a-symptomatic person attended a gathering and infected the entire family- or worse killed their grandfather. We are lucky this didn’t happen to us. But it did raise many questions for me personally.
My sister later was informed there was a Covid-19 outbreak amongst staff at her outpatient clinic job. This was likely where she contracted the illness. She wears a mask and goggles at work all day- so do her co-workers and patients. IF the masks work- why the outbreak? No one at my niece’s party wore a mask around a person sick with Covid- and not one person become sick. So do the masks actually work?
Before you go hating on me for questioning masks or pointing out that 19 exposed persons to Covid-19 tested negative- remember- I just wanted to share what actually just happened to my family because this isn’t a story you ever hear on the evening news. There ARE situations with positive outcomes- they just haven’t been mentioned often.
Stay safe- follow the rules- live your life how you are most comfortable during these unprecedented times.