March 25, 2020 5:43 pm

Schrödinger’s Coronavirus

We are, like many other people around the world, holed up in our house and have been since last Wednesday.

However, what I did not expect during this quarantine was to have developed an intermittent, very mild fever.

I feel mostly fine during the day and my temperature is always normal in the morning. Toward the afternoon, my head will start feeling slightly throbby and my temperature is 99.0°-99.4°F. I did have some mild throat discomfort (I wouldn’t even call it a sore throat as it didn’t really hurt; mostly I was just aware I had a throat when normally you don’t notice it) for the first couple of days, and a headache for one or two.

I have been quietly panicking and waiting for the other (respiratory) shoe to drop, but it’s been six days of this and it has –thankfully– not yet dropped. I think there is a smallish but non-zero chance I have COVID-19 given that there have been several tests performed in our town and all of them have come back negative, but I am still scared.

The trouble with having Schrödinger’s Coronavirus is that without adequate testing and timely results, you have to assume it is Coronavirus and proceed accordingly. With my symptoms, I doubt I’d be able to obtain a test and even if I did, I’d be doing the same things – staying at home, resting, hydrating, and not being in contact with anybody else. I’m currently unemployed (though I theoretically have a job to go back to once the immediate danger has passed) due to COVID-19 so work has not been an issue. Daniel developed a fever the day after I did, so he’s been in the same boat. We had a friend pick up our online grocery order this week since we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house, just in case.

Wesley’s 10th birthday is today.

We had to cancel the small trip we were going to take him on for his birthday. I felt like a hypochondriac canceling it and that was only twelve days ago – now I can’t imagine voluntarily taking a trip ANYWHERE, and our Governor has forbidden nonessential travel now anyway. We had planned the trip in lieu of a party or presents because it felt like a nice, non-consumerist thing to do and I felt would probably be more memorable than whatever toy we’d buy him, but functionally what this meant was that he ended up with no trip, no party, and no presents.

I had a last-minute brainwave and remembered that our local Waldorfy-type shop does online orders and has a local pickup option. I asked a friend to get my order for me, and voila! Wesley got to open a new game (Set) and some of those fancy Waldorf giant clothespins for blanket-fort-making today. Daniel included a dozen doughnuts on our grocery order so Wesley could have the doughnut breakfast he asked for. It wasn’t the giant glazed doughnut he wanted but it was the best we could do given the circumstances.

I have a feeling his birthday is still going to be memorable but for all the wrong reasons.

The things getting me through our quarantine have been:

  • Disney+ – my first emergency quarantine purchase and it has served us well so far.
  • Instagram – I have thoroughly enjoyed watching @danielkanter painstakingly restore his entryway, @instadanjlevy cooking and telling everyone to stay home, and @roxanegay74 baking all the things. I have also enjoyed keeping up with friends and family even though we are forcibly parted during this time.
  • The NIN album “Still” which I somehow completely missed in 2002 and am making up for now.

Thora has been having daily meltdowns, and I think it’s a combination of being hangry and all the upheaval to her life. Her kindergarten teacher was out on maternity leave for the last couple of months and was supposed to return after spring break. With the extra school closures (we’re off until April 20th at the earliest) I think there’s a distinct possibility she won’t get to see her beloved teacher again this school year and I’m so sad for her.

She is otherwise having a great time on quarantine – crafting up a storm, making her own math worksheets, playing with LOL dolls and narrating her entire life out loud.

The most difficult thing for me has been the overwhelming noise. The other night, Daniel tried to play me The Gambler by Kenny Rogers because I was insisting I’d never heard it, and Thora began loudly narrating the fruit snack math she was doing and Wesley took that opportunity to galumph through the house like a herd of elephants and I burst into tears. I knew it was silly so I started to laugh too, but it really was so overwhelming that my brain short-circuited and I cried.

Speaking of crying… this upcoming paragraph is a whole series of blog posts unto itself, but I grew up in a family where feelings were not a thing and you don’t talk about them and also you don’t have them. Outwardly displaying my emotions feels like an enormous, manipulative burden on other people, so I try my best not to do it, and part of me prides myself on not burdening people. The thought of crying in front of other people is so tremendously embarrassing!!! I still have flashbacks to the time I was so thankful for my coworker who stepped in to help while I was recuperating from my leg break that I blubbed in front of everyone at the company holiday party (it was mostly therapists, but still). I don’t often cry in front of my husband.

I sobbed in my car after Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race. I had gone to a slow flow yoga class and silently wept during savasana and then I got in my car to leave and just… lost it. Full, heaving sobs about sexism and injustice and patriarchy and all of it. I’m still not really over it, to be honest. I don’t know that I will ever be.

I knew that a Trump presidency would be bad. As the meme says, I did not have being unemployed and forcibly shut in my home during a global pandemic on my personal Bingo card, but I knew it would be bad. This administration’s response to the pandemic is actively making the problem worse and I just feel like my brain cannot comprehend A) how bad it currently is, and B) how bad it’s still going to get. We are nowhere near the end and I am terrified he is going to insist we reopen businesses and schools to boost his own investments and I’m really afraid of what that will do to us, collectively, physically and emotionally.

This has been an enormous brain dump of quarantine thoughts, but I am also genuinely interested in how everyone else is doing. I’m still too unfocused too read anything so I’ve mostly been trawling social media to keep busy.

Are you suddenly homeschooling? Unemployed? How are you holding up?

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