What’s that? Duh! Quarantined!
I consider myself quarantined. It is twelve minutes before three o’clock in the afternoon on the seventeenth of March, 2020 as I begin writing this. What is weird is that I am physically isolating despite my doctor’s current belief that I show no clear Covid-19 symptoms. Yet, I am determined to isolate because the lead argument for general isolation and social distancing is the belief that a significant portion of the infected in this pandemic have and will prove asymptomatic i.e. they show little or no clear signs of illness, even while contagious (they can pass the virus to others in amounts enough to infect them), for part or all of their infection .
I am limited to my anecdotal description of the course of my possible illness. Saturday: Woke to throbbing headache, strqange sensations low in the throat, and slightest loss of equilibrium. Medications: Ceterizine and Aleve. Actions: Copious water, food, and bed rest. Sunday: Further throat irritation, fatigue, some nasal/sinus discharges. Copious water, food, and entertainment indoors. Monday: minor chest/back discomfort, sore throat, fatigue. Medications continued. Tuesday: Sore throat, chest discomfort, and finally a mild fever. That’s four days. I had interactions with at least three recently ill individuals with unconfirmed diagnoses between Friday the week before and last Tuesday. Everything I have experienced is plausibly consistent with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 according to my understanding. My doctor has taken samples for testing for other ailments.
Therefore, because my father is a physician with many high-risk patients and my mother works in his office, I have to act within my ability to protect even them despite being told the chances are low that I am ill with the novel corona virus responsible for Covid-19 and its complicating conditions. It’s like a drill for working more closely with the illness, but under more difficult circumstances. We won’t use true masks. I am using a bandanna, regularly washed. We may cut some corners with full sanitation. We may not always remain sufficiently distant (two arms and a hand!). The bleach solutions may be weak.
Part of the challenge, if my parents and other elders I know are any indication, is that older generations are going to be slower to think creatively with tools at there disposal, especially for direct communication over distances. If there is time, call. If the message is specific and time-sensitive, then text. If the issue is important enough to put to paper, but too complex for a text or two, then email or call. The advantages of text and voice are mutually exclusive. Text can wait; voices can converse. Both have their place. Ours is to use them wisely and diligently to better contain pathogens and meet essential needs.
We are an interconnected people. Physical separation has never been less limiting to our connectivity. What is the internet for, if not times like these? And there are other ways to limit the risks throughout life long enough to make the differences we need to make to prevent disaster. We just need to play our parts as presented. Cheer up. Even those of us at home can and should have plenty we can do if we are thoughtful. Enjoying yourself with less physical proximity is one of your responsibilities now – health status doesn’t matter for at least two weeks.
I should be honest. I would rather help deliver and select food or care for children missing school whose parents must work outside the home than be at home cleaning after myself and trying to take care of myself as much as possible while presumptively ill. If I can be cleared of the infection of concern, then I will probably volunteer to do so. Until then, my place is at home, learning from my own experience as many practices and ideas as I can to help contribute to an effective community response. Whether I further help through communication or through direct assistance, time and symptoms will tell.
While I write this, I retook my temperature: 99.4. I will be retesting…
and … 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit!
See you all in at least two weeks, fam.