Life's returning to normal, two weeks after testing positive.
We're grateful for all of you who checked up on us, dropped off meals and treats, and arranged virtual playdates with Emma. We feel well-loved through this experience and will do our best to pay it forward.
We're grateful that we caught Covid in 2022 instead of 2020. Grateful for vaccines, grateful that Omicron is relatively mild, and grateful that toddlers are good at fighting this thing. Like most stories you've heard, Omicron manifested for us as a cold: sore throat, coughing, sneezing, fatigue for 2-3 days, followed by a week of stuffiness. Julia got it the worst with a fever of 103.8 for a day and congestion that screwed up her sleep for a week. Her fever was, by far, the scariest part of quarantine. We're grateful that she's back to normal and that she started to walk this week!
Quarantine was surprisingly difficult, despite all our practice in 2020. Quarantining to avoid Covid is psychologically different than quarantining because you have Covid. Advice for families who find themselves in this spot:
- Expect a longer-than-best-case quarantine
- Expect your family's recovery to be non-linear
After we tested positive, we naively thought, "We'll be done in ten days: five days of quarantine, then five days of cautiously re-entering society with a mask." Reality was more complicated. The quarantine clock resets at the onset of symptoms, and our symptoms were staggered – Rachel lagged a couple days behind Emma and I, Julia lagged a couple days behind Rachel. So while I could justify walking into a grocery store last weekend by a letter-of-the-law reading of CDC guidelines, it didn't feel right with an active infection still in the house.
While we're grateful that Omicron manifested as a cold – having four folks under one roof in various stages of sick for two weeks still sucks. It sucks way less than getting put on a ventilator, but it sucks nonetheless. Routines go out the window, everything becomes about just getting through the day, and life starts to feel like Groundhog Day.
There were a lot of false finishes. The whole time, we had a deep desire to say, "We made it! We're in the clear!" But one person's symptoms would subside and then another's would start. Julia's recovery was nonlinear – thankfully the fever never came back, but her congestion and sleep were touch and go for a week. On Day 9, I caught some kind of seemingly unrelated stomach bug that kept me between bed and the bathroom for 12 hours. We went into this thinking that Covid would be out of our house in five days, but it kept stretching on.
The hardest part of quarantine was keeping Emma occupied, especially since she was the least sick of all of us and had the energy of a seven year old girl trapped in a Brooklyn apartment for two weeks. The CDC guidelines are, "return to school on Day 11" where the day of first symptoms – not the positive test – counts as Day Zero. This meant Emma didn't return to school until after MLK weekend, a full fifteen days after her positive test. We didn't realize this until we were deep into our quarantine, and moving the goalposts late in the game was a gut-punch. It was hard not to feel resentful that she missed two full weeks for symptoms so mild. Last night Rachel and I were laugh-crying at the thought of a future false positive keeping Emma home for another ten days.
All that said, we're grateful to have gotten off so lightly compared to how much so many others have suffered through this pandemic. Our quarantine was relatively comfortable, we ate well thanks to good friends, and there were a number of sweet moments that we will appreciate with more distance – like Julia learning to walk!
We're also thankful to be re-entering society with, if I have my science right, immunological invincibility.
Thank you to each of you who have reached out over the last two weeks. Seriously. The love and care we received from friends during quarantine will be a bright spot of our year.