Covid comes to Carly’s House

It was the masks.

On May 3rd our local schools stopped requiring masks for students. There were four weeks of school left in our year. The reasons were many and varied as we’ve all seen on FB. School Boards have yet to learn that you can never make everyone happy, but by all means, grease away on that screeching wheel.

May 11th my oldest daughter begged off school with a headache and sore throat.

May 14th my husband is complaining about his scratchy throat and dry hotel air from his job site in the boondocks of North Dakota.

May 16th my youngest complained about her throat, worrying about her upcoming choir concert.

May 18th my oldest daughter cannot taste the truly vile (it was liquid Mucinex, can you imagine if I had to get her to swallow Paregoric?) medicine I’ve been giving her. Off we went for Covid testing. She tested positive and is quarantined through May 23rd

May 19th my youngest child and I go for our Covid Tests. She tests positive on rapid testing and is quarantined through May 27th. I test negative.

May 21st I can’t decide if it’s seasonal allergies or Covid or both. My lab test results come back positive for Covid. I am quarantined through June 1st.

May 24th Older daughter completely recovered, able to attend last week of school and now waiting on her parent’s hand and foot.

May 25th Husband returns home after testing positive for Covid, he is quarantined through June 1st.

May 28th Youngest child is completely recovered and able to go to last day of school. After seven pretty uneventful days, I begin to have fever and chills and only want to lie in bed.

May 29th I tell my husband his birthday is postponed. He’s too sick to care.

May 30th I spend the day arguing with myself about whether or not I should go to the urgent care clinic. I lose, or win and take myself to the clinic where I get chest X-rays, an O2 finger monitor, a new thermometer, and a diagnosis of mild to moderate pneumonia. I panic. I mean, I’ve been panicking since I got the test result. My doctor is very good at reassuring me, gives me her number to call if I feel our plan isn’t working. Our plan is five days of steroids and lots of sleep.

May 31st Husband fully recovered. Fever drops from 102 to 96.5 which is a pretty normal reading for me on my old thermometer. Still feel like crap and sleep all day. I’ve not had pneumonia before and the difficulty breathing freaks me out.

June 1st I feel hungry for the first time in four days. In the afternoon I feel energetic enough to take a quick shower which hasn’t happened for almost a week. I take a nice hot steamy shower and by the end am in full panic mode. I am struggling to breathe. Turns out, if you have pneumonia, you should shower with the door open or a fan on, and not it hot steamy water.

June 2nd No temperature, steroids are starting to kick in, I fix myself eggs and toast. I go back to bed, still feeling a hitch in my chest when I breath.

June 3 I turn the corner and realize I’m going to get better.

June 4 Last day of steroids and I feel much better.

It takes another week to really feel like myself again. The fatigue was fairly mind-numbing. I would be fine then one second later the crabbiest b***h you can imagine.

June 11th I move my oldest to Fargo for his new job. I’m flummoxed by the mask-less horde then walk in to Sam’s Club completely forgetting mine! You see, I’ve just recovered from Covid and my brain isn’t firing on all …..

What did I learn?

Masks work (though honestly I never questioned this, it’s common sense in my opinion)

Kids are good germ factories, even in the teenage years.

The insane amount of information online and coming at us from everywhere is disconcerting. I was terrified. I consider myself logical and rather more science-oriented than otherwise and I was terrified. Every death I’d read about was blown up poster size and slapped on the wall of my gray matter. I couldn’t be logical, I didn’t know how to sort it all. Now it’s all about, are you a long hauler? you don’t need the vaccine, you should immediately get the vaccine, I know people who’ve had it twice, you could have died, your kids should have the vaccine, your kids don’t need the vaccine…

I still wear a mask in public and keep my distance.

Power equals Autonomy

I’ve said before, how much I like my Pocket. At the moment I have three separate emails in my inbox because I won’t delete them until I’ve read the story or stories that catch my eye. On this pleasant Easter Sunday afternoon, I propped myself on a stack of pillows in my bed for some leisurely reading. As I scrolled down the list of headline in the first Pocket email, this jumped out at me, People Want Power Because They Want Autonomy. It is a fascinating article about a study of why people want more power in their workplace. It got me thinking.

The other day I was emailing a friend and we spoke briefly about building escape routes. Using my 20/20 hindsight, I sighed, “Escape routes are important.”. Today as I read this article, I realized that it isn’t an escape route I’m wanting, it’s autonomy.

Through a series of decisions made over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve given away my autonomy a piece at a time. I’ve traded it for feelings, for acceptance, to make others happy or comfortable, for sex, for my children and because I believed it was the right thing to do. Let me be very clear here, it was all my choice.

Truly, I never gave my own autonomy a second thought, until I realized I had none. I had nothing of my own left. Yes, I run a household and my kids think I have the power,if they only knew.

I made the choice to stay home when my first child was born. I gave up a lucrative job in a burgeoning branch of corporate travel, one that has gone on to become vital in many global corporations. It was a job I greatly enjoyed, but I adored my son and in my culture at the time, I received heaps of positive reinforcement for my decision. In the intervening years I’ve done good by my kids; I love my kids. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered a few years ago that I, a loving, giving, kind person, despised myself.

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Not me, but boy do I recognize the look on her face.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, they range in age from 9-16. They need something different from me now. They no longer need me to be in the house, to sit on the couch and give them bottles, to teach them to walk, to talk, to not be afraid of raindrops and thunder. Now they need me to keep up, to be around when needed, to chauffeur, to listen, to buy them stuff and model for them what successful adulthood looks like.

It’s that last part that gets me. I have two daughters. One beautiful boy and two young impressionable daughters. I don’t worry so much about the boy. My kids have a hard-working dad, one who takes seriously his responsibility to them, is straight as an arrow and strives to be an example of temperate living.  The boy will be fine.

The girls, they have a great example in their dad, but what about my example? What am I teaching my girls about living a full life? Those of you who know me, won’t be surprised to hear the name of Richard Armitage here. You might be giggling, that’s okay. He helped me understand that the joy is having something to share, something of yourself to share. I believe my girls need to see me filled with joy and having so much to share. Not joy that comes from them; joy that comes from me. I am a separate being from them, a whole other person with thoughts and hopes they have not imagined. I want them to see me, to know me. Not just as mom, not just as a facilitator to their dreams, but as a woman they are lucky to know and associate with every day.

My mom died eighteen months ago. This April 4th would have been her 78th birthday. When she died, she was only my mother. I didn’t realize the great disservice it was until my siblings and I found that so much of what we have left are unanswered questions. Who was this beautiful woman?

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Mom

I will make many more mistakes in my life. Some will affect my children directly. In the dark of the night I worry they won’t like me as a person. But in the end, it’s my life, and that’s what I want for them to see. It’s their life and it should matter to them most of all.