My father came to live with us in May 2020. At that time, communal fear and speculation over the emerging pandemic had me wiping down each grocery item with clorox wipes as I religiously watched the news on new cases and CDC guidelines for staying safe during the pandemic. We made it through the 2020 winter without any holiday celebrations. We persevered with a strong belief in our sacrifice being a necessary caution and it being a temporary problem. We all stayed healthy, we all got vaccinated, and we all got tired of living in fear and limitations.
Fast forward to Winter 2021. We had plans to actually get together with family, but they quickly crumbled with the emergence of the Omicron variant. As more and more people got sick, we trimmed down the guest list to just my mom, and she would wear a mask the entire night visiting. Thankfully she did this, and it prevented her from getting Covid-19 like everyone else in our home.
I live with my husband, my six-year-old son from my first marriage, and my 76 year old father. My son is a high-energy, only child growing up during this pandemic and dealing with the lack of involvement of his biological father in his life. My husband suffers from Bipolar Disorder (BPD), and is currently in a “no medication” phase again. My father is rapidly declining cognitively, physically, and most recently, emotionally. I balance a full time position (usually with 5-10 hours of overtime weekly), part-time graduate student, and part-time intern (therapist) for my field placement.
Some weeks, I feel like a barely see my family. The past three weeks, has been very different. We ALL got Covid-19.
The day after Christmas, I took my Dad to the ER at 12am. He was coughing uncontrollably and afraid they would cancel her second cataract surgery the following day. The ER evaluated him, ran tests, and confirmed he did not have Covid-19. The VA hospital still cancelled his surgery. The following day, I began to feel ill. My son had, had a cold prior to Christmas, for which we took him to the pediatrician and had him tested for Covid-19. Again, we were told it was not Covid-19, probably just a cold, and life went on as usual. Meanwhile, more and more people at my job were testing positive and having to quarantine. I happened to go get a PCR test out of an abundance of caution for my co-workers. When I finally got my results many days later, it showed I was positive for Covid-19.
I got really sick. I lost my voice and couldn’t eat anything for a few days due to the pain my throat was. I was a zombie in bed for those days. The day after I got my positive result, my husband got his positive test back. Next was my son, as we took him back to the pediatrician after some strong convincing to let me bring him and after he had developed a fever. He had Covid-19 too. Thankfully, my husband and son did not get as sick as myself or my father, and bounced back in a couple days.
My father had been sick this whole time, and we just assumed he had it as well. He stayed in his room, and no doctor would see him due to our positive tests. Over two weeks after we tested positive, I was able to get my Dad in to an urgent care facility. He tested positive and they gave him steroids and cough suppressants. He is still very sick today.
It was a shock and disappointment that we all got Covid. After a year and a half of caution, diligent social distancing measures, and after obtaining vaccinations and boosters, we still got sick. The most infuriating part of dealing with getting Covid-19 as a family was trying to get care: testing and medical attention. Myself, my husband, my son, and my father had to all go to different facilities to get tested and treatment. It was difficult, delayed, and generally unhelpful to get in to see doctors. If we had been able to have access to free at home testing, it would have saved a lot of time, money, and risk of exposing others. My father had to wait almost three weeks to be seen by a doctor who could prescribe him any medication, and he is still not out of the woods.
What was helpful was the grocery delivery/pick-up options expanded by multiple stores during the pandemic. We were pretty much able to get anything we needed, except some medicines due to high demand and shortages at all the stores around us. Friends offered to drop things off at our door, and we took turns taking care of eachother while we were sick.
It has been surreal to see how Covid-19 has affected each one of us differently. I still have a bit of a cough, but I feel well most days. My father feels ill all day, and has become depressed and confused spending all his days in his room. Please take care to be extra safe during this Omicron variant surge. It hasn’t mattered much that we got vaccinated. Perhaps we would have gotten sicker without the vaccines. But we still got it, and we all got pretty sick.