the coronavirus diaries: week whatever

Monday morning, my older son woke up not feeling well. He had a sore throat and headache. I slapped a mask on him and called MedExpress.

Yes, we have tests, the woman said, but only a limited number so come in as soon as possible.

At the doctor’s office, they ruled out strep and ran a Covid test. We should get the results in two to five days, they said. However, based on all the firsthand accounts of testing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer to two weeks.

Back home, we banished my son to the clubhouse — he’s been sleeping there, but he avoids being out there during the day because of the heat — and I borrowed an AC window unit from a friend. My younger son helped him prop it in the doorway and nailed up a heavy blanket as a makeshift door. Now we’ve renamed the clubhouse “The Refrigerator.”

I spent the morning rearranging my week: canceling a dentist appointment and a pool playdate, letting the bakery know, and emailing everyone he’s been around.

It’s two days later now, and he’s almost completely normal. He had a fever at the doctor’s office but, even though I make him check throughout the day, he’s never had one since. No one he’d been in contact with has had any symptoms. Probably it’s just a cold.

I’m sort of kicking myself for reacting so swiftly. I had to miss Magpie’s opening day — I was so excited to be there, too! — and now we’re doomed to waiting, at the mercy of the sluggish testing system. Even then, he could have a false negative. I can’t help thinking: when so many covid-positive people are asymptomatic, or with symptoms so mild they don’t even notice them, isn’t physical distancing and mask-wearing our only real defense anyway?

On the other hand, if it is covid and I hadn’t reacted responsibly, I’d feel terrible.

So there you have it. Thanks to Coronavirus, I’ve turned into the sort of mother who freaks out over a stupid little cold. Next up, I’ll probably do something equally uncharacteristic, like dye my hair platinum, mount a flatscreen TV above the woodstove, or put my kids in school.

Oh wait — can’t do that.

Damn coronavirus.

Update: He got the test back: it’s negative!

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (7.29.19), hill of the martyrs, in the kitchen, dance party, the story of a trusty skirt, do you strew?, heading north, the boy and the bike ride, July evening.


  • Kate Clark

    Glad to hear he's negative. As a public health nurse, no, you didn't overreact. We've had patients with exactly his symptoms or even more mild who were positive. Our only chance of staying ahead of this is to be overly cautious, especially when feeling "off" (as Fauci said, "if you think you're doing too much your probably doing almost enough")

  • Anonymous

    I'm glad it's negative! We're out here in Oakland, CA. The littlest one and I both got a cough/sore throat for a few days. They didn't even offer us a test. We avoided my mom who lives downstairs for two weeks, and didn't go on walks until we were done coughing. My question is, given how darn careful we're all being, how did we even get a cold OR coronavirus? Apparently not careful enough, because some little bug snuck through.
    Were the results quick, or this all started a few days ago?

  • Anonymous

    We have friends here in this local area that have those same symptoms and seems like it's a virus of it's own. But like you said anymore, you freak out over every sniffle. Glad it was negative!
    Sorry you had to miss the opening at Magpie.looks like a place to check out sometime.

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