Living with someone who has COVID-19

Senior+Kailey+Blazier+is+the+opinion+editor+for+Elkhart+Memorial+GENESIS+who+specializes+in+opinion+writing.

Jahlea Douglas

Senior Kailey Blazier is the opinion editor for Elkhart Memorial GENESIS who specializes in opinion writing.

Kailey Blazier, Opinion Editor

Before I begin, it is to be noted that when my mother began feeling unwell, my family and I distanced ourselves from her as much as possible in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

With the current pandemic, we ask ourselves with each cough, sneeze, headache, or just odd feeling if this is it. Those were the questions that my mom was asking herself Tuesday and Wednesday when she was experiencing a dry scratchy throat and a headache. Without so many of the other symptoms being reported associated with COVID-19, she didn’t give it much thought–that was until Thursday when she developed a dry nagging cough.

Thursday night she had a low-grade temperature, which did not make her feel any better about the situation. She knew she had the day off of work on Friday to evaluate how she felt and decide if this was indeed a really bad cold or something more. After waking up on Friday morning feeling exponentially worse than the day before, she immediately knew to call her work and let them know about her symptoms and see how they wished to continue.

They requested that she contact her family doctor for evaluation. The doctor’s office said she didn’t qualify for testing given that she hadn’t traveled recently; however, they recommend she self-quarantine for 14 days to be safe.

They also said to keep an eye on her symptoms and if she got worse to let them know. My mom reported this information back to her work and they asked her to update them on her condition on Monday.

Saturday was not any better than Friday. She woke up even more fatigued and she was developing body aches. It is not like her to spend a good amount of the day in bed or laying around, yet that is what she did. Sunday was just another day of all of the same symptoms.

Given the weekend’s progression, she contacted her work on Monday, letting them know that she wasn’t feeling any better and they informed her that she needed to contact Employee Health to get set-up for testing. She made the call and things were quickly scheduled. So even though it was the last thing that she wanted to do, she got in her car and drove herself to the site.

When she arrived, a woman approached her car wearing (basically) a hazmat suit, already knowing all of her basic information (name, date of birth, etc.).

I recall her saying that she felt like she was in a movie, the way that it all went down. They stuck a swab in both nostrils all the way into her nasal cavity, verbally gave her information, handed her a paper, and then she went on her way. The test results would take 4-5 days to come back.

My dad and I had both contacted our jobs letting them know the situation and we were both told to stay home until her results came back. It was a long week of boring. My mom was all over the place with symptoms, trying her hardest to keep house life as normal as possible.

Finally, Thursday came around and we were waiting for the call. At 2:05 her phone rang and we were all so excited. My dad and I had convinced ourselves that this was most likely just a bad cold. That was until the woman on the phone informed my mom that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

She was on the phone for at least 10 minutes answering their questions, telling them how she feels along with how the others in our household were feeling. The woman let her know that the Indiana Health Department would be in contact with her shortly. They called probably 20 minutes later with some of the same questions. That is when we learned that we will all have to remain under quarantine until April 6, also known as two weeks after we started our quarantine. We were told who we should contact (people who we have been in direct contact with), but we were also reminded that it was not necessary to go overboard and raise red flags with people who were most likely in the clear.

My mother’s job will make necessary contacts as needed regarding her coworkers; however, aside from leaving the house for testing, she has not had any additional contact with anyone else. My mom will continue to keep to herself, keeping as much distance from the rest of the household as possible in order to keep us healthy. We are continuing to be diligent about washing our hands and keeping surfaces wiped down several times a day. So far, I have been feeling 100% fine, but I will be monitoring anything that might come up. 

My mom did not take the introduction of COVID-19 in the United States lightly, as she quickly made sure to only go out when necessary and reduce exposure outside of work. While at work, she washed her hands frequently and refrained from touching more surfaces than necessary. She was not in contact with more people than necessary, yet she still contracted the virus.

COVID-19 is a very contagious virus and is not something that should be taken lightly. When the government asks that we self-quarantine, it is not because they want us to be stuck in our houses for no reason. This virus is serious and the only way for us to decrease the cases and eventually bring it to a stop is to remove any chance of contracting/spreading it. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the main symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, shortness of breath, and a cough. They state that you should seek medical attention if you are having trouble breathing, have persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or begin to feel confused. 

Please remember when seeking medical treatment to advise staff prior to your arrival that you are experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus, most health care facilities have a plan in place to ensure that they are able to protect not only their staff but also potentially healthy patients from contamination.  

Now speaking from a personal stance, I ask you to please stop looking upon people with the virus like they are some sort of creature. Many of the people infected did not do anything that was not necessary before getting infected and are now making sure that they are not spreading it. Please do not assume that every person who has been infected “did something” in order to get sick. Many people have contracted it through their work, grocery shopping in order to provide for their families, or through other routine activities.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Kailey Blazier at [email protected]