The Nightmare Came True
My Whole Family Is Sick With Coronavirus and It’s All My Fault
Remember not too long ago when we could go on a vacation?
Even in current times, I went on vacation.
Let me clarify. My husband was in his busy season at work. We’ve been confined together for so long that even the dog needs some alone time. Everyone was sick of being stuck together and longed for a change, even if it was only a change in location. Hard as we tried, we couldn’t rent an Airbnb anywhere.
We all longed for some semblance of normalcy. My Dad extended an invitation to spend some time with him at his vacation home. He also invited other family members, and all of them had been safe. Everyone had taken precautions, and no one had gone back to an office setting. We had all been “safe” in quarantine, so we agreed to gather with other family members who had taken the same precautions.
And that’s where I went wrong.
I trusted those who were closest to me. But, they lied. My dear little brother, sarcasm intended, hosted a gathering at his home and posted the pics on social media less than 20 hours before arriving at our vacation destination. None of the guests had masks on. They were hugging, clearly not keeping any physical distance, and these were the risks he was bringing to my family. If he wants to take risks for himself and his family, that’s one thing, but those are the risks he brings to all of us.
Dad, we’ve been safe. You promised me that this was safe. What he’s done is not safe! What the hell? I need to pack the girls and myself up right now and go back home. You promised safety.
So far, we’ve been cautious and safe. My girls haven’t been inside any of their friends’ homes. We’ve masked every time we’ve gone for food or any necessities. And he’s putting all of us at risk. Dad, in your age demographic, you’re more at risk than we are.
You hope, pray, cross fingers and toes, that the virus will not find its way into your home. You live with some awareness of what’s happening, but it’s happening to someone else when you turn on the news. The virus hasn’t found its way to you, at least not yet. It’s not the thing you want to bring home to your family. Not the friend you leave an open chair for at the dinner table.
This virus touches anyone it can reach, invisibly. Not by race, creed, age, or how much money you have in the bank. Not by how pretty or how smart you are. It can’t read your credentials as a human and choose who to weed out. It has no boundaries.
When the news of this virus first broke, it was somewhere on the other side of the globe. In China, then Italy, in death camps in Spain. Our global family in LaOrotava, Spain, sent pictures of make-shift tents set up as hospitals in fields. They pleaded with us to keep their family — us — safe. Then it hit stateside. We found it in New York, California, and in my home state of Texas as “hotspots.”
We used to think that kids were safer than others. That kids couldn’t catch the virus readily and didn’t feel symptoms as severely. The Miami Herald tells the story of a nine-year-old who died. This news hit hard because my youngest is nine. The virus used to target older people and those who have health risks, but now claims the lives of kids and people in their 20’s and 30’s.
Some people are having coronavirus parties so they can intentionally expose themselves to the infection. This virus is not like the chickenpox or the flu where you get together and expose yourself to get it over with. Exposing yourself can be exposing yourself to death, and there’s nothing cool about that. We don’t know enough about how this illness acts yet. To be cavalier with it is to flirt with death. Unless you’re so strong and resilient — ahem, are more arrogant than intelligent — you should be careful.
We weren’t hospitalized, but I feared we would be. I got the virus one week after returning home from said vacation, and my brother is still in denial that he has anything to do with getting us sick. I want to send him a thank you card with our positive test results, but he’d likely still deny that he’s the cause. Look at the timeframe. You did this to us. But what good would that do? I’m convinced, and he’d likely throw the card in the trash. It would feel good for a minute to get my pound of flesh, but it could permanently hurt our relationship. In the end, he will still be unconvinced of his actions.
Benjamin Franklin’s quote applies here:
“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
It came out of nowhere. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up about 3 am, weak and with fever. Within a few days, the girls showed different symptoms. They were exposed at the same time I was, but we didn’t recognize their signs right away because they were less severe.
They were terrors to each other for the next solid week. Equate it to the worst kind of sibling fights you can imagine. Probably, because they didn’t have words for what they were feeling, and they lacked the wisdom to articulate in words what was happening to their bodies. While they were sick themselves, they helped care for us and did minor household chores.
One week later my husband got sick. As he lay in bed each night struggling to breathe, I wondered if we were going to the hospital that night. And the next. And the next. And the next.
The threat of imminent death is enough to take you to church.
We all had different symptoms. So much so that we didn’t realize at first, we all had the virus. Many of the traits we had weren’t on the recognized list, but have come to be included as known symptoms. I had intestinal issues and minimal shortness of breath. I couldn’t get out of bed for four days and slept nearly round-the-clock. My fever skyrocketed. It hurt to lift my legs, a symptom one of my daughters complained about later. Beef broth was the most solid food I ate for a week while I lost over seven pounds.
The girls had different issues: tummy aches, weakness, horrible migraines, hurting legs, and general disagreeability.
I was most concerned about my husband. He’s overweight, has had pneumonia, and the thing I was most afraid of for him happened. He had trouble breathing. I was scared he would die.
At night I would lay still while wide awake and listen to his breathing. I hoped and prayed his chest wouldn’t stop rattling so that I knew he was still alive.
Nearly a month later, we’re still out of commission. We’re better, but we’re still not back to normal. I’m frustrated by my brother’s actions to bring this illness to us. Family is supposed to protect each other, but he had no care for any of us. Instead, he willfully or unwittingly took actions that made us all sick.
The biggest takeaway from the whole experience is that you can’t trust anyone with your health. You alone are responsible for your well-being. Nothing is entirely safe. We take calculated risks every day and have to live with the consequences.
Don’t be like my brother. Don’t be a Karen or a Ken. Be smarter and wiser. Please, don’t make someone else sick because you’re too proud or too anything other than sensible and safe.