She said I was negative and I hooted with happiness. For someone who’s been characterized as Pathologically Positive, that’s really saying something. But when it comes to Covid-19, being told You’re negative is cause for celebration. Break out the champagne.
I emerged from a restless Saturday night with a sore throat, headache and queasy stomach. As the day wore on, I realized that I should get it checked out. I was guessing it was a sinus infection; the long shot, because I’ve had my tonsils removed, was strep throat; and then the niggling thought of Covid loomed large over those possibilities. So, yesterday, I took myself to a nearby ER, was seen by a doctor, and was tested.
I had reason to worry because two weeks ago I was forced by circumstances to interact inside my home with more than a dozen strangers. Believe me, I did so with a considerable amount of gravitas.
Technicians who performed diagnostics on both of my air conditioning units and furnaces, sales reps, plumbers, men who installed a new air conditioning unit, and local movers I hired to rearrange heavy furniture throughout my house sailed in and out and up and down and all through my home.
When I scheduled all of these services, I emphasized that everyone would be required to wear masks at all times, and, for the most part, things went pretty well. Once, I had to gently remind a very nice man that he needed to pull his mask up above his nostrils. And then there was the sales rep who thought my request was silly, only reluctantly pulling a mask from his pocket when I reminded him. At the end of each day I disinfected light switches, hand rails, the guest bathroom, the floors—it was a lot.
But Friday was particularly worrisome. I had been awake all night (insomnia sucks), finally falling asleep at 7:45 am. Forty-five minutes later I was awakened by loud knocking. I staggered to the door in a groggy daze. Two men from yet another company were there to carry out some basement carpeting that had gotten wet from a leak caused by a loose seal on the washing machine. I let them in, opened the basement door, and gave directions on how to get to the problem area. It wasn’t until they had finished the job and were on their way that I realized neither one of them had been wearing a mask. Dammit!
I dreaded the ten-day period of self-quarantining I’d have to go through. This whole isolation thing is tragic and horrifying for someone like me. “Come one, come (almost) all” is one of my mottos. But there was no question I would do it.
And so when I got feeling a little sick, and the thought poked into my mind: hey, maybe . . . I had to act on that thought.
And oh by the way, friends: the Covid “swab” ain’t no Q-tip tickle. It’s aggressive! My nose bled for hours following the Roto-rooter procedure that was performed on my left nostril! Meanwhile, three of my closest friends went through fresh hells as we waited for the test results. I feel bad about that. Maybe I shouldn’t have told them.
The moral of my story is: we shouldn’t have to remember to tell strangers to wear a mask when they come to our homes. But if you love life even half as much as I do, be proactive. Hang a sign outside your door.