SALT LAKE CITY — Well, folks! We're late to the party, but the Brown family has arrived. While I don't recall ever receiving an official invitation, or even knowingly mingling with any persons who would have invited us in, we are officially COVID-ing within the comfort of our own home.
Some party, right?
The "invitation," which is what I am now calling it, was reluctantly accepted by my husband who is a middle school physical education teacher. Whether the invite came from his place of employment or the sky itself, we do not know. What matters is that my big, strong husband has spent the last several days in bed whilst binging various episodes of 1990's television comedies (namely "King of Queens" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," if you must know).
But this party is not one I would like to be invited to again, nor will I be inviting others to join in. In fact, our introduction to the virus began subtly with my 43-year-old husband having a sleepless night, followed by an irritable day with slight body aches and a deep cough. The next night and day were much worse with waves of chills and sweat while his body tried unsuccessfully to regulate his body temperature.
On the third day, my husband tested positive, confirming our suspicions. I and a couple of my older children tested negative after experiencing some mild symptoms, and we are currently doing quite well, thanks for asking.
But this is where it gets interesting.
Thankfully, on that third day, my husband began to feel much better. But it was also the day when I needed to notify my children's schools of the positive test result.
Being newcomers to the COVID-19 extravaganza, I was not totally prepared for what I was about to hear.
"Have you been able to keep your husband isolated in separate living quarters?" I was asked.
"Uh, yeah — he's in the west wing," I said out loud (although I meant to keep it in my head).
There was a silence on the other end. Was I joking? Of course, I was joking! We have nine kids who occupy every single inch of our house including my bathroom sink, the top of the refrigerator, inside the cupboards — and I'm sure if I were to do a quick scan of the house right now, I would find one hanging from the chandelier that we don't have.
Kids are literally everywhere!
"If you can't keep your husband isolated from your children, they will need to quarantine for 20 days because every day that they are exposed to your husband counts as an exposure, and we count 10 days from each exposure day," the kind school nurse explained to me no less than five times.
After several patient repeats by said nurse, it finally clicked in my tired mom brain that if my children were to return to school and other activities in a (relatively) timely manner, I would need to either add on to my home or get rid of my husband.
"There are other options," she said. "The health department has contracted with hotels where people can quarantine without charge."
I had to do a double-take — with my ear.
"Wait! What?" I said. "You mean to tell me that my husband can stay in a hotel for 10 days, have food brought to him, and sleep all day if he wants to without as much as a toddler peep within a 10-mile radius of his earlobes?"
That last part I said mostly in my mind, but she got the point. Suddenly, I felt like I (who had not tested positive for the novel virus) got the short end of the stick.
After a few deep breaths, I realized this option was put there for a reason that was larger than me, and I needed to be humble and consider it as a possibility.
After all, as much as this invitation to a non-party-party is not affecting my family in the slightest health-wise, that isn't the case for everybody. Ten days. Twenty days. As annoying as it is to miss school, practices and athletic competitions, it is a mere blip on the timeline of our lives, and we are grateful to see the light at the end of our tiny tunnel.
Now, if you, too, end up finding yourself on the receiving end of an invitation to the coronavirus jamboree, let it be known that it will not have been notarized and passed on by anyone who lives in the Brown household. Our invitation has been ripped to shreds and thrown into a fiery kiln forever and ever. Amen.
Has your family had to quarantine due to the coronavirus? How has it been for you? Let us know in the comment section.