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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Back in Wonka-Land

Last week, my Russian teacher's daughter fell ill.  She wasn't terribly ill, just tired and feeling low, which could be caused by any number of issues.  My teacher started getting worried, however, when her daughter lost her sense of smell and taste.  She got tested, and on Monday discovered that both she and her daughter were positive for COVID.  

I consulted with the medical provider at the embassy, and she put us back in quarantine.  It was convenient timing, as Brandon had spend all day out doing cotton observations and had to complete two weeks of quarantine himself.  I said a silent prayer of thanks that the quarantine came after Brandon and I spent a nice overnight at the Hilton in town without the children.

We are all getting used to quarantining, but getting used to things still doesn't make them enjoyable.  The children were most disappointed about not being able to go to the store for their candy fixes and Kathleen was frustrated with having to wait two weeks before her next horseback riding lesson.  Brandon didn't much care.  I texted a friend who had offered earlier to get us extra cash if we needed it, and got her husband to pick up our mail for us too.

After a very quiet half a week, Eleanor came down with a fever Wednesday evening.  Joseph fell ill that evening also, and by the morning Sophia had a sore throat and William also had a fever.  The fevers were quite low and everyone was in reasonable spirits, so normally I would have thought nothing of it.  I hate taking people to the med unit for something short of hemorrhagic bleeding or compound fractures - mostly because it takes a two-hour chunk out of my busy day.  

However, having four people display symptoms of COVID within five days of exposure to a COVID-positive friend was too coincidental for my taste.  I got in touch with our medical provider, and she generously offered to make a home visit to collect samples for testing.

I had heard that the nasal swabs were long, but I didn't quite realize how long they were until I watched as our masked, face-shielded, gloved, plastic-aproned NP stuck it up and up and up Joseph's nose.  He was not happy about being held in my death-grip and let the entire neighborhood know about it as he screamed like someone was trying to kill him.  

I had thought that his example would reassure Eleanor, but Joseph's screaming didn't inspire much confidence in his younger sister.  This time I held her head still while Sophia held her arms down and our intrepid medical provider crammed another impossibly long swab up both of Eleanor's nostrils.  I think that Eleanor's screaming started before the swab even reached her nostril.  Her screams, if possible, were even louder than Joseph's and went on longer.

Sophia held perfectly still for her swab and didn't utter a sound.

William didn't get swabbed at all.  I could only imagine he would take that probe being shoved up both his nostrils, and if three of us were sick with COVID, it was nearly impossible for anyone in the house to escape getting sick also.  

Within three hours we had the results back - negative.  I was both relieved and also a little bit disappointed.  I'm grateful that everyone just had a regular cold, but it would have been nice to just get the virus done with and not worry about exposure any more.  But mostly I was happy to get back to regularly-scheduled quarantine.

We live a pretty secluded life, only regularly interacting with our housekeeper, the piano teacher, and Russian teacher.  But I shouldn't have been surprised when someone we knew eventually got sick - everything here is pretty much open and while the virus isn't tearing through the population, it also isn't going to be gone anytime soon either.  But now that our Russian teacher (who is doing perfectly well) no longer a carrier, a third of the likely transmission routes is no longer possible.  So hopefully we won't have another quarantine for some time.  Fingers crossed.  

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