Quarantines and Plagues and Earthquakes – Oh My!

Last I checked, April Fool’s Day is tomorrow, but it sure felt like the universe was trying to prank us today.

Everyone rushed to the windows yesterday evening when the rain started pouring down.

Yesterday I felt like absolute crap. After two days of waking up fever-free and then having it return around lunchtime I was starting to hope I was making progress. But then yesterday I woke up with my fever still burning, at the highest it has been. It’s still low grade, but it sucks all the energy straight out of me every time it comes back. I immediately feel chills and all my strength is – poof! – gone and I feel like if I don’t lie down I’ll fall down. I also experienced quite a bit of throbbing in my head yesterday as well, and my dry cough had deepened to a walrus-like bronchial bark. I was feeling quite depressed, to be honest. It had been two full weeks of fevers and ten days of waiting for my coronavirus swab to come back. Then, in the late afternoon, I finally got my results: negative.

This left me feeling pretty deflated. If I knew it was coronavirus, I would know why I’ve been so sick. So I called my doc and they got me scheduled to be seen first thing this morning. At 8am, I left the house for the first time in ten days. I wasn’t sent to my usual doctor at my usual clinic. Because of my COVID-like symptoms I needed to go to a specific clinic where all potential COVID patients are being sent in order to minimize exposure to anyone else. I had to walk up to a tent outside, where I was given a mask and asked to wait in my car. When they were ready for me, they brought me in a back door to a designated room.

The doctor who examined me was wonderful. She did a really thorough exam and history, checking through all of my risk factors, both for exposure and for potential of getting really sick if I do have coronavirus. She told me that she believes there’s a good chance my test was a false negative. They had done a throat swab, rather than nasal, and it was really more of a throat “poke” because my gag reflex is so strong (another wonderful souvenir of vomiting for months on end through four pregnancies). This doctor told me what to do and allowed me to use a mirror and do my own swabs in order to get a truly good, deep nasal swab without triggering my reflexes. We did two, first ruling out influenza (negative, just as I knew it would be. This feels nothing like the flu) and then swabbing for COVID.

I could overhear the doctor speaking with another doctor (I assume) on speaker phone outside the room. She was ensuring the protocol had been done correctly in terms of which kind of swab to use, and wanted to make sure my sample got sent to the Idaho state lab this time. She said the long turnaround time on my last test suggested it had been sent out of state. In theory, I should get the results in just a few days this time.

Before leaving I spoke with the doctor some more about what to do if this test is also negative and I’m still sick. My lungs sound really clear and good to her, and my oxygen levels were fine so there was no indication of the need for a chest x-ray at this time. She said that if I’m still sick on Monday (which would mean three full weeks), I should return and they would treat me for atypical pneumonia, meaning antibiotics. In the meantime, we’re back to waiting in quarantine, still assuming I’m COVID + and able to spread it.

Dinah, removing shoes from the bin, pairing them up and organizing them.

In the afternoon, Alden’s test (done at the same time as mine) came back negative as well. We weren’t surprised at this, as the nurse wasn’t able to get a good swab on him either (and, again, it was a throat swab) and it was questionable whether he had symptoms or not, as he also had a cold at the time.

I went home and promptly took a nap, followed by another nap a couple hours later. Because that’s how I roll these days. In between, I woke up to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a smiley face mug that my parents had ordered to be delivered to cheer me up. It even came with chocolates!

My parents are the absolute BEST.

Zach (my incredible, never-flinching, wonderful husband) had just called us all to dinner when the earthquake hit.

Yes, because a biblical-level plague desecrating the masses isn’t enough, let’s just add an earthquake into the mix! Why the hell not?

I was upstairs and hurried downstairs to find Zach had all the kids with him in the safest place he could quickly get all of them together. This was not my first earthquake – I rode out the 6.8 Nisqually quake in 2001 in a portable classroom at my high school during my junior year. That was definitely a ride! This earthquake was also a “roller” like that one (rather than a “shaker”) and a similar magnitude, at 6.5. It was the first earthquake Zach or the kids had ever felt, though. We hugged them tight and then I quickly exclaimed with excitement, “You’ve felt your first earthquake now!” to try to push away their fears. Zoey and Eleanor quickly realized it was over and were eager to jump aboard the excitement train. Alden, however, continued to fluctuate between excitement and anxiety for the rest of the evening. He’s a really sensitive one, and I think he wasn’t quite sure what to do with how he felt about it all. Zoey happily told me all about how she realized it was an earthquake before Zach even did – she was so proud of herself.

Eleanor, Zoey and Alden worked for two days, creating costumes and props for a performance of “Moana” (acted out with the soundtrack playing) that they treated us to post-earthquake. I wish I could share photos with you of Alden as Maui, but as they had him wearing only underwear and a paper “grass skirt” and necklace, I won’t. But is was amazing. Zoey, incredible big sister that she is, let her siblings have the limelight as she acted as stage manager and director.

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