Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
The past several weeks has seemed a bit unreal as other parts of the world have been subsumed by Covid-19. Stories of overwhelmed hospitals coupled with social media reports of people who got it and didn’t even realize they had it until the symptoms had passed. After all that time, reality came home.
My wife and I watched the news as the Mayor of Charleston announced he would be proposing to the city council a citywide ordinance for people to stay in their homes for two weeks as the current growth stage of the virus began to run itself up the curve in South Carolina. We knew that the odds of it not passing was slim to none but fortunately had already been well-stocked with food for hurricanes and the like. Earlier that same day we’d gotten bad news. My line of work is small business I.T. The countdown until we were all stuck in our homes was obvious more than week ago so our clients started getting ready to work from home. One such client had an employee that had a personal computer that needed to be fixed before she could use it for work and for her kids to use it for school. After working on it over a weekend and returning it to her we found that she couldn’t get it to work with a monitor she’d bought just for the occasion. I’d told her I’d meet her the next day at her job so I could test it out and figure out what was wrong. After speaking with her Monday evening to schedule that I got a text the next day saying she’d called in sick and that I didn’t have to come. Turns out she had flu-like symptoms without congestion in her nose, a bad sign. Could I now have the virus? How long was I with her when I dropped it off? Did I touch my face? Did I wash my hands? What do I do now?
As it turns out, none of that really mattered. I’d likely already been exposed, and so had my wife. She had been experiencing a dry cough that she thought was allergies, it’s nearly spring in Charleston, after all, half the air is pollen at this point. This morning, Wednesday, we both had a cough and a slight weight on our chests when we took a breath, and while she ran a low fever I was running under the norm 98.6 and was feeling a little lightheaded. The more we talked the more we figured we should reach out to our medical network over the internet to see what they thought. A few minutes on an internet video chat with a doctor and we heard the words we were worried about. “Ma’am, with your symptoms we think you should be tested for covid-19.” I would have to make my own video call, but it probably wouldn’t matter at this point.
Like something out of a movie, the doctor described what she needed my wife to do. Wash up and head to an address on Rivers Ave, not the hospital. She wanted us to know that the people she would meet would be in full hazmat-like suits. Don’t get out of your car, follow their instructions, do not stop anywhere else to or from the location. Most importantly, from this point forward, no one is to leave your house for a week or until the results come in. Not to the pharmacy, not to the grocery store, nowhere. You are quarantined. We knew beforehand that was how it worked, but we also weren’t sure if what we were worried about was just in our heads or not. We also knew that tests were scarce and were pretty sure they were only testing people they really thought had the virus, and now my wife was going to be tested. Since we have three children she had to go on her own. After she left I took another call from a client who was in a panic about their computer and I found myself scrambling for the “customer service” attitude that I turn on when I take such calls. I struggled not to say, “Your laptop won’t connect to your Wi-Fi? Wow, that’s terrible, my wife just left to go get tested for covid while I sit at home coughing watching my kids entertain themselves. I hope you survive this…” Fortunately, I found my inner professional and took care of my client. Paychecks are even more important now.
My wife and I are young, nearing our forties and if we truly have covid-19 we’ll likely be fine, so long as we don’t get something else along with it. At the same time, it’s surreal. We are now likely part of the pandemic, a statistic. We can’t leave our home for the fear that if we have it we might infect someone who could potentially die from it. We’re well-stocked now but if it turns out we’re infected we’ll have to depend on other people at some point to bring us some of the staples as we run out of them. I’d never really thought that I’d find myself sitting in my house under quarantine. My wife and I are not scared, but we are worried. The virus runs the gamut on severity, and while it tends not to infect children we know it still can. Knowing all of that, all we can do…is wait.Published in