My kid over the weekend got sick. Fever, coughing, chills – all of the fun stuff one wants someone in your house catching while there is a COVID-19 pandemic going on. Do I think she has it? Who knows. She is in a theater production, and it seems they have passed some bug between each other at least three times so far since they started rehearsals.
But, given it does not manifest in kids and teens the way it does with adults AND I work in an industry where I can’t risk it, I decided to quarantine myself.
The first day, it honestly felt silly. And it has taken me three days (and lots of reassurance from my cohorts that I’m not being silly) to figure out why I’m feeling this way.
We are a culture of workers (in the US) that generally does not value caution when it comes to illness. There seems to be this old school undercurrent that if you aren’t dead, you should be at work. “Screw those pansies who can’t handle your germs.” Someone who takes too much sick time is looked at negatively – rarely positively, in my experience. They are germophobes, faking it, or whatever other negative image you want to put on them. Rarely is it seen as “thank you for not coming to work when you are sick.” Add into the mix the still wide-ranging beliefs that people can actually work remotely and be effective, and it can be a hard thing to navigate.
Yet here we are. Needing to be cautious. Needing to worry more about what we bring into a room (germ-wise) than fearing we are missing out on something. Because, well, we don’t know.
My company right as this thing was starting to blow up in the US had a large (150 people) meeting for three days in one big conference room. We brought in people from all over the country – forcing them to travel through major airports with international flights of people still coming and going without pause. During the meeting, someone asked the leadership about this COVID-19 thing. And the response was downplayed as “not a big deal, but we’ll keep an eye on it.” Conventions in my area were already getting cancelled due to the travellers coming in from other parts of the country and the world – and here were were in a conference room with each other.
Now – two and a half weeks later, I just hope no one in that room unknowingly carried it. We would be just now finding out.
So now I am here at home working. Last week, I had started bringing my laptop with me home every night – not something I always do. But was glad I did.
Late yesterday, the company sent out an update saying anyone sick or with sick family members were to stay at home. Guess that decides it for me. Question is -when do I declare my kid better enough for me to return? Currently I’m thinking 24hrs without a fever – old daycare rules?
Add into the mix that my allergies are going freaking insane right now as spring explodes. This has lead me (and a cohort) to play a game called “is it a cold or is it allergies?” And that leads to another game called, “am I being too cautious – or is that even a thing right now?”
I have been checking in on people I care about. I miss them, but also worry about them. This morning I realized I hadn’t heard from my best friend from high school – so I texted him “Hope you’re still alive and safe from COVID-19 and have toilet paper and alcohol”. The laughing emoji back followed by a text assurance told me all was well. But sadly he is expected at work each day too.
G’s new business venture (otherwise known as a bar) has been shut down due to mandatory closures. He is now working on preserving what food he can, giving the rest away to friends and employees, and generally making a to-do list of all he has wanted to get done but could not. Thankfully he has had a good couple of months and squirreled money away. He should be good for a couple of months – better if some rent relief comes through. We worry about our bartenders though. They can’t exactly work from home or even if they could, the tips won’t be as good.
Ok, I’ll stop rambling now. Clearly I need an outlet.
Take care of each other. Don’t be a stranger. Reach out using technology. And seriously, check in on your friends who suffer from depression or are extraverts. They will definitely be suffering though all of this.