Life Stories

‘Rona, is that you?

Unfortunately, it was and still is.

‘Rona stopped by for a visit several days ago and she has decided to take up residence, though we wish she would move on. That seems very inhospitable I realize but I will be honest, ‘Rona is a nuisance. She has been very inconsiderate sharing her germs and disrupting our oft tenuously healthy home that is necessary for trying to keep Bruce healthy and safe. In truth, she has made everyone here ill (minus the kids ages 14 and 10 (so far) thank goodness). ‘Rona is very generous, I will say that, as she has shared so much of her germs that we now have a myriad of illnesses. The symptoms range from sneezing, runny nose, headaches, sore throat and cough to fevers, chills, rigors, INCREDIBLE body aches and unrelenting FATIGUE that makes it difficult to do even the most mundane of household tasks, currently even the Swiffer (that’s a feather duster for those that don’t know) seems exhausting in hand. We have gone through a necessary but inordinate number of cleaning supplies trying our best to keep ‘Rona from sharing more of her glorious germs but the battle seems ALL UPHILL at this point. You know when you see your 34 year-old brother scrubbing the handrails so hard that the stain has rubbed off, shit is serious!

Who is ‘Rona? ‘Rona is the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, or more affectionately, the ‘Rona (short for corona and no, not the beer).

When we first heard of this illness it seemed a distant problem that was of course, some other country’s problem. Still, we watched the news and watched in horror as other country’s grappled with unprecedented situations that haven’t been seen in decades (1918 to be more exact). Again, we comforted ourselves with the notion that here in America, we would somehow not be affected.

That unrealistic thought gave me some comfort while I regarded our own fragile home situation with Bruce being immunocompromised. Surely, I am a good housekeeper and overall, the rest of us are pretty healthy so even though it was on my mind, I wasn’t worried.

My sister Roxy though, well we call her Shirley, as she took up my mothers “worry reign” once she passed away, was updating us daily, actually several times every day that this virus, the one that was wreaking havoc in China, would find it’s way here and it would be “BAD”. At first, I largely ignored her until my own employer, a classically conservative healthcare entity that is world-renowned started to activate potential covid plans for us here…in the Midwest.

That’s when I really started to pay attention, even to my sister.

Then when our ‘boy next door’ Tom Hanks and his lovely bride shared they had tested positive for the ‘Rona, shit got real, real fast!

It is somehow both humorous and surreal that we would be among the first households to contract COVID. Yet, here we are. We now hold the title of the “first household to have multiple members ill with COVID” in our area. I have always wanted to be the first at something…..

We have always been an active household. Everyone working full-time with 24/7 Vegas action it seems most everyday with a large number of family in and through the home. Beyond that, we have a project property that WE also have largely demolished and are putting back together ourselves. That along with the normal household and yard duties mean that we are quite active, overall healthy and in good shape. And yet, here we are, the first members STRiCKEN with the ‘Rona, and now forever a part of the first members of the nonfan ‘Rona club for our area.

Bruce started with symptoms first. CLASSIC COVID symptoms: cough, fever and shortness of breath. We were on it right away and got him right into the hospital. They brain-swabbed him (okay, not really a swabbing of the brain but it feels like it) and it came back positive. That meant the rest of us were on quarantine for 2-weeks and because Chad and I worked for Mayo, it meant brain swabs for us as well (you know, we had contact with the enemy, the ‘Rona). They came back negative! We were ecstatic thinking we had evaded the ‘Rona, until my son Darek became ill, fever, body aches, headache, etc. Hmmm……surely it could not be the…’Rona….

Then followed Chad the day after Darek, and me the day after Chad, all symptomatic and all suspicious for yep, you guessed it, the ‘Rona! We all had a smorgasbord of the same symptoms, all vacillating and crescendoing at various intervals. A few days after the first brain swabs came another round of brain swabbing for Chad and I. This time the ‘presumptive positive‘ diagnosis came (that’s how all the COVID diagnoses are assigned).

I assure you, there was no presumptive anything! I assumed that part of the virus meant that there was new bone growth because that is what my bones felt like. By far to date, that was my worst symptom and it lasted for days with it peaking last Friday (10 days ago Friday), the day they had me retest. That day was miserable and without a doubt, my worst day! As I rolled around on my bed for 2-3 hours praying the Tylenol would do something, anything to relieve the INTENSE body aches, I couldn’t help but compare myself to the Wolverine. Remember when they made his normal bones turn to metal bones? That scene always stuck with me because it looked “not fun”. Of course, as the Wolverine ascended from the water scene all superhero like at the end of his ordeal….

I simply laid in my bed, in a mess of blankets, spent and exhausted.

Now we have a new normal: wake up. check our temperatures. compare symptoms. eat. stare at each other. check our oxygen saturations. rest. snack. stare out the window. eat. stare at the TV. snack. go to bed. #repeat

Its sort of like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. I keep looking for that one loophole to get out of the repeat conundrum but each day just leads to the next. It’s funny because time is both moving so slowly and yet flying by. However, if you ask Madi and Noli, I am sure they feel time has all but stopped for them. I mean is there anything worse than being barricaded in your home with your boring “old” aunt and overprotective dad for a 14 year-old girl?

All joking aside, being diagnosed with the ‘Rona has been anxiety provoking. It is almost better to not watch the news because I am waiting for the moment when I can suddenly no longer breath, like the situations that they tell us about on the news. The need for oxygen and assessing our oxygenation, as evidenced by the finger probe that you see us all using at various point of the day are ever a reminder of our human fragility. Beyond that, the worry increases ten-fold for those people around us, like the kids.

For example, Madi and Nolan will one day look back, understand acutely the situation and then procede to tell their grandkids about the time school got cancelled, they had to S.T.A.Y in the house for D.A.Y.S, social distancing from the most important people in their lives (their friends) while a deadly virus lingered outside their home, and well, I guess in it also…. (you know, like the stories we heard from our parents about how they had to walk up hill both ways to school in blizzards when they were young). Seriously though, the intense worry and angst this has caused their dad is real, who at times has exhibited his own symptoms of shortness of breath and chest tightness, with an ER trip on record for himself as well (all fine!).

As parents, the only thing we want is to protect our children and how does one do that with something that you cannot even see?! However, the microscopic infestations did find difficulty getting beyond the ever present Clorox bottle in Chad’s hand (I think he sleeps with it) and at least yet, the kids have not exhibited, or only had very mild symptoms. Kudos to their father and his every ready cleaning wipe!

For myself, the worry escalated not for me but when Darek became ill. He literally never gets sick. Like ever. The problem is that I was just settling into the worst of my symptoms as he was in the throes of his and caring for him became difficult. He felt so rough that unless I brought him stuff to drink or eat, he just wouldn’t. And he was so fearful of making the kids sick that he simply never left his room. So, I would huff and puff up the stairs with food, medicine, liquids and cares for him, checking his temp and being sure he was hydrated and eating at least a little, all while battling off my own fatigue and praying I didn’t do a “Carla Special”, which is passing out on the stairs (we do that for some reason in our family, ok well I do anyway). Additionally, I have literally forbade Darien to leave his apartment. All I could imagine is that he would become ill and need help and I wouldn’t be able to get to him.

And of course, more than all of that, our worry is constant for Bruce who is still battling back the ‘Rona. My sisters have said more than once that Bruce has more lives than a cat does. With all of his hospitalizations, he just always continues on! He is currently in the hospital for round two of the ‘Rona (no he didn’t get it again, he is just still battling it with a second hospital run). He has started a clinical trial drug called Remdesivir that should he receive the med (always a chance for the placebo) will help Bruce get beyond this current hurdle, while helping scientists and clinicians to find a vaccine or cure for ‘Rona.

We are in quarantine for another week, at least. We have to be symptom free and also test negative x2 before we are allowed back among the masses.

My friends have been amazing bringing food and anything else we should require. I wave at them through the window, like a bad movie that never ends.

Boots and Doug (aka Britt and Heather) know the drop point (front porch) and each day they check-in for updates (same shit, different day) and assess any needs we may have (from Clorox wipes to donuts). Although they have yet to try to break us out of quarantine, apparently they do not want the ‘Rona. All joking aside, I will owe them both BIG TIME if the ‘Rona visits them and their households (though I pray not).


Overall, I would not want to do this again, the ‘Rona one time is definitely enough for me.

However, they did take mine and Chad’s blood in the hopes of using the antibodies to help those that are struggling more with this illness. So there is that. The idea of being one of the first with this virus and then potentially helping others fight it, is heartening.

How did we get the ‘Rona? NO IDEA! We haven’t traveled. We had already limited outside contact prior to getting the virus. I am sure that however or whomever happened upon it, Bruce was the most susceptible and then it snowballed from there.

A thought….

I started this blog post because I am so, so, so tired of people that think that because this virus leaves (mostly) the elderly and the immunocompromised as it’s victims in it’s destructive path, and that somehow this doesn’t apply to the “young and healthy” is infuriating.

This virus know no boundaries and every person is susceptible.

There have been horror stories of young and healthy people that have died from this virus. Our bodies are unique and the wrong cascade in the right circumstance can lead to anyone’s mortality.

More than that, our elderly or immunosuppressed are not expendable. They are someone’s family; someone’s grandpa, grandma, aunt, cousin or in our case Bruce is my husband, he is the father of my children, an uncle to many nieces and nephews, a brother to siblings (both in-and-out laws) and mostly, a son to a mother that desperately does not want to outlive her baby.

Mother Nature and God determine our timelines, we (humans) should not have to. #weshouldnothavetodecidewholivesanddies

Staying home is not a curse. Staying home is not a punishment.

Staying home is simply necessary so that we can help flatten the curve of this pandemic so that our healthcare systems can care for those people that need it.

So please just stay home!

This is not a government control conspiracy. This is simply what happens when we push further into indigenous areas and we happen upon animals that are not a normal or frequent part of our eco-system.

This is Mother Nature at her worst.

But this is also Human Beings at our best.

A SALUTE to the healthcare and EMS workers on the frontlines ALL over the country and world!

A salute to the (customer) service workers here and everywhere! Never has it been more obvious how much we need our service industry workers!! KUDOS!

  • Garbage men
  • Grocery store personnel (in store and delivery)
  • Delivery men/women
  • Truck drivers
  • Public Transportation
  • Pharmacy clerks
  • Mail men/women

And a SOLUTE to our military as you are deployed to help the hardest hit regions of this illness!

We got this! haha, not the ‘Rona, well I mean we DO have that but I mean as humans we got each others back and we got this fight!


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