Hello! We are currently on day six of isolation, day four of quarantine here in Clegg House. Last Sunday evening – waaaaaay later than was considered acceptable by many Boiseans – the Boise School District finally decided to close school for the oncoming week. We had just had our first confirmed case of coronavirus in the state Friday evening. Luckily, I had been watching what was happening and new it was imminent. Friday morning I had done a large grocery shopping trip to make sure we’d have what we needed for the week. Once the news broke on Friday evening, all the people in Idaho started panic-buying and it suddenly became impossible to get anything.
I started out the week feeling run-down and not great. Monday I woke up with a sore throat. Tuesday my body was feeling achy, stiff and sore, but I was chalking it up to doing yoga for the first time in two months and chasing after four kids all day long. Tuesday evening, however, I kept feeling abnormally cold and finally took my temperature: I had a low fever. I never get fevers. In the past thirty years, through chronic sinus infections that had me on antibiotics every three months for years, through ear infections and UTIs, the only times I have ever had a fever are when I was puking my guts out from norovirus or had influenza. A total of about four or five times, in over thirty years. So yeah, this fever is unusual for me. I also had some mild headaches – just a bit of pressure in my forehead and temples. Again, a very unusual symptom for me because I never, ever, get headaches.
Wednesday the sore throat and headaches were gone, and the body aches were less, but the fever remained. No congestion or runny nose or any other sign of a cold. I knew it wasn’t influenza because it feels drastically different. Flu hits you suddenly, like a truck, and everything hurts, so bad you want to cry. This came on gradually, was relatively mild. I was still functioning, taking care of kids all day, albeit with an increasing level of grumpiness and rapidly decreasing patience. Wednesday night, a dry cough started. By Thursday morning, the cough was worse and I still had the same low fever. I finally called the triage nurse at my doctor’s office. She went through all my symptoms and their order of presentation. She agreed that it sounded very much like I have COVID 19 (the illness caused by the novel coronavirus). I was told to stay quarantined, along with our whole family. I was also told they wouldn’t test me because I hadn’t had direct exposure to a known confirmed case.
Here’s the lovely catch-22 going on in Idaho: the only reason we were one of the last two states to have a confirmed case is because we aren’t testing hardly anyone. They wouldn’t test you without known exposure. The governor refuses to mandate closures of schools or anything else until we have known community transmission. But we are never going to find that community transmission if we don’t test for it. Beginning to see how things work here? Then Blaine county finally tested some people and found sixteen positive cases in one day, including the first case of community transmission. Our governor? Only restricted that one county. We KNOW the Treasure Valley (where Boise is) has community cases, we just can’t prove it because they wouldn’t test anyone even if all their symptoms fit perfectly.
By Friday afternoon we had jumped from five confirmed cases to more than thirty because some people had the intelligence to start testing a wider sample of people. I was having significant increases in my cough and shortness of breath. I couldn’t walk across the kitchen without breathing hard to catch my breath, which would then make me cough more. We heard that St. Luke’s hospital was now testing people without known exposure so we headed over to their drive-thru testing site just before it closed for the day. All they needed to hear was that I’d had a fever for four days and they tested me. They also tested Alden because he has had some symptoms as well and may have been the source of infecting me. It should be four to ten days until we get the results.
In the meantime, Zach is now working from home. This weekend he is taking advantage of the nice weather to get out and stain the fence like we’ve been meaning to do for over two years now. This coming week would have been spring break anyway, and we had no plans to go anywhere. We are homeschooling in the loosest sense of the word. I have dyed my hair, done a face mask, plucked my eyebrows and painted my toenails. Zach is halfway done with a 1000 piece puzzle. The kids have written several letters and are learning the fine art of emailing. We’re considering potty training Dinah as long as we’re stuck home anyway. We switched from Verizon to CREDO mobile and got new phones, which is great because the camera had stopped focusing on my old phone (which is a big part of why I’ve done so little blogging the past few months – I had no non-blurry pictures to share). If it turns out I do have COVID, then Zach and the kids will have to stay quarantined until fourteen days after the end of my symptoms. If Alden and I are both negative then we can all come out once we’re 72 hours symptom-free. Although I strongly suspect that social-distancing and isolation is going to be the new way of life for all of us for many weeks – if not months -to come.