Episode 16: Close Encounters of the COVID Kind

Person wearing gas mask sits on couch surrounded by toilet paper.
Just chillin’ in quarantine. I knew this gas mask I got for that steam punk costume would come in handy. TP is the new currency, right?

We know, we know. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID 19. Tired of the politics and arguing and masks and quarantine and distance learning and Zoom meetings and … yeah, we’ll stop now. Anyway, it’s all been exhausting, and there’s no end in sight.

But sometimes, it helps to hear the stories of those who’ve been exposed or who have loved ones who’ve tested positive. Especially if those people are some salty bitches who will keep it real.

Hillary’s COVID Exposure: My COVID Close Encounter was pretty tame, all things considered. And I know how lucky that makes me. 

Four friends and I had been getting together monthly to watch movies together. These were friends who I knew had been being careful and acting responsibly, so I had zero worries hanging out with them for a few hours.

One of my friends thought she was suffering from allergies, which was pretty common at the time, especially given how much smoke was in the air from fires raging to the west of us. But she ended up testing positive for the ‘rona a few days after we’d had our monthly get together. 

The worst part was worrying about how the virus would affect her and if she’d have any lingering health concerns once she recovered. Fortunately, she had a mild case, and though she sometimes still has trouble breathing, she’s mostly doing well.

Two days after I’d been exposed but before I knew about it, my husband and I had dinner on the porch of the elderly mother of one of his friends. That was really scary because I was sure I’d given it to her, even though I didn’t have any symptoms. Again, luckily for us, she didn’t end up getting the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus. But I ended up having to check and recheck the CDC’s website to figure out the latest recommendations.

Five days after my exposure, I thought I was having symptoms. After a frustrating process to figure out where I could get tested, I ended up getting the quick test from one of the urgent care centers in town. Did I say “quick test”? I mean “nasal cavity violation.” Seriously, that was a super unpleasant experience. Pretty sure the nurse swabbed the front of my brain with that Q-Tip. 

I tested negative but still was advised to quarantine for two weeks from the date of my exposure. That meant I wasn’t able to officiate my boss’s wedding, and that was really disappointing. She was able to find someone to take over at the last minute, but I felt like a total dick for leaving her in the lurch only a few days before her big day.

Again, I know how fortunate I was that my friend wasn’t sicker, that I didn’t contract it, and that I didn’t spread it to anyone else. But still, it was a scary and stressful experience.

From the Desk of Pastor Tom, AJ’s FIL

It’s very difficult to give advice that is comprehensive because COVID comes in so many forms and results in so many different symptoms from person to person.

My personal experience began with an initial feeling of “Well, yet another adventure!” That was followed by much coughing, some intense body aches, temperatures that wouldn’t drop below 100 for about 10 days and extreme fatigue.

The goal was to return home after the diagnosis and try not to die.

For the ten days of the quarantine, I drank lots of fluids, took some Tylenol and ibuprofen, and rested as much as possible. Blessedly I did not experience any respiratory difficulties.

I am glad when I see folks wearing masks in public, and I would urge those in my age bracket (upper 70s) to stay away from large gatherings where it is impossible to maintain a safe distance from those around you.

toilet paper and a mask

Teenaged angst + COVID 19: One Mother’s Tale by Kristin, a FMATMIP friend

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; this is merely advice from my experience. Also, I can be light-hearted about this because my family didn’t have any pre-existing health conditions and no one got terribly sick. 

  • Supplies: I don’t think COVID looks for a convenient time to descend upon your life, so you’ll likely be surprised and inconvenienced by this news. It’s helpful to be a little prepared because the only supplies you’ll be getting while quarantined are from well-meaning friends and grocery store deliveries/pickups. I was very thankful AJ had provided intel on Clorox wipes this spring, and I had some stashed away. I also had Extra-Strength Tylenol in the cupboard (once touted as the remedy for COVID symptoms) that I picked up when I saw it in the store. Lastly, I recommend having disinfecting spray around because you’ll want to disinfect everything. 
  • Mental Preparation: In my situation, everyone in the house didn’t get sick at once, so mentally preparing yourself for a two week quarantine isn’t realistic. If it takes up to two weeks for you and others in the home to develop symptoms after someone gets sick, THIS COULD GO ON FOR A WHILE. Don’t put undue pressure upon yourself and your family, just cancel all social engagements and obligations for the time being. This may actually be a benefit for some people.
  • Financial Implications: If you live with two teenage boys, prepare to spend a small fortune on food while everyone is at home (which, remember, can be longer than two weeks). Remember the money you saved from not going on vacation this year? COVID is the experience you are now paying for.
  • Am I sick?: When you live with someone who has COVID, you’ll spend most of your waking hours wondering if you have it too. Every cough, sneeze, nose twitch and headache might be a symptom. You’ll take your temperature 10 times a day. You’ll “worst case scenario” yourself getting sick, or maybe I’m the only one who does that. Your brain will experience this as if it’s being chased by a tiger for most of your quarantine, so plan to be exhausted.

Have you or someone you care about had a ‘rona experience? What helped them or you get through it? How are you dealing with the effects? Tell us about it in the comments or drop some knowledge on our Facebook page!

Info and Further Deets

National Institute of Mental Health: Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19

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