Dear Fellow Americans in the Twilight Zone of 2020,
It’s summer..and by the time this post is live on the blog, many moms will be finding new routines amid the start-up of school, the continued re-opening of workplaces, and the continued politicization of a pandemic. At this moment, right now, as I write this, my family is stopped in our tracks, LIVIN’ LA VIDA LIMBO IN QUARANTINE, just as we were finding our way and thriving in the new normal.
Remember when it was March, and we all truly went into “hunker down” and it was pretty obvious the first couple weeks what that meant? Strict. Stay in, Essentials only – true essentials, not a run to go out solely for wine – and that was it. We even wondered collectively if we should even take walks outside those first few days.
Over time, we would see our neighbor post that they are heading to a Florida condo mid-April, or a high school friend was hosting a bonfire during that odd “Pearl Harbor” time period, and we all just weren’t even sure if these visuals were safe, but hey, live and let live.
Then it was Memorial Day, and summer was starting to kick up with the angst of having been “captive” looming. So a socially distanced BBQ here and a socially distanced workout partner outing there…we were trying to find sanity as society. My family masked-up, drenched ourselves in hand sanitizer, and did all the right things, staying out of indoors with mass groups. We also have a home where hubs has a newish job (after getting the ax in March from a job like millions of other Americans) where he is overseeing projects and can’t readily just opt to stay home, in his field. Our child also had to return to his Autism Therapy Center under common guidelines and protocols under insurance coverages. “Opting out” wasn’t in our cards, so we proceeded to do this opening-up schtick that America was touting.
As I type this, at this exact moment, I hung up the phone with that very therapy center, just trying to inform of a concern for a staff member having had a cold symptom, and that person getting tested. I didn’t bat an eye…because this scenario hit us five days ago, with a simple, “My throat kinda started hurting a couple hours ago…,” From my spouse in the car, on the way to an outdoor social gathering with friends!! Stopping us dead in our tracks.
And not the loosy-goosy-still-getting-drive-thru-food or still grocery shopping “quarantine.” We immediately opted to “cut off at the knees” and in that moment – with no prep or planning or mass toilet paper bought, we, once again, were fully shut-in and opting for caution. Now here’s the part where things just baffled me…
We only had visuals of what the news shared. So, I took to the internet for a test we could access day-of. That would be the easiest part.
We did a drive-thru test at a local pharmacy. Zero contact with anyone and over an intercom system through a window; Handling the sample and the swab my husband completed was easy enough, but we were baffled when he had to place the sample in a collection bin himself. Touched by hundreds before him, FILLED to the brim by those before him, and having to CRAM it in there. HOW WAS THIS THE BEST WE COULD DO, AMERICA?? So this was a Saturday, the day after the initial sore throat. Then we were told the most shocking news – A WEEK FOR RESULTS. A WEEK!!!???
Now, I went into “WTF Mode”…finding out what lengths others were waiting. Mind you, still quarantining ourselves. I found a mess of decisions aloof in the world – some were getting test results in 24 hours, some nearly three weeks, and I was shocked that the vast number of people getting tested weren’t fully quarantining because they didn’t have a specific answer to give their employer or they didn’t feel AS COMPELLED to respect the health of others when the dang economy was opened up and in full swing.
But we did. We hunkered down, and it was awful – more so than the stay-at-home order in March. Why? I can only think it was harder mentally because we live in a “FOMO World” and it was the high point of freaking summer and we were the metaphorical kid that broke his leg the first day at summer camp and couldn’t do ANYTHING!
However, my take-away from this experience has been the sanctity of knowing that no matter the test results, WE did our part. WE opted to protect our peers and fellow citizens. I can’t control other people’s choices to not quarantine when they have symptoms. I can’t control others and anticipate that they will diligently stay home while they await results within their household.
I can’t control anything. WE can only control our home and our actions. And even then, a result may crop up positive and take away even more of our control in living in 2020. (Exhausted sigh…)
Staying Positive about Being Negative
(and crossing fingers for the dang results to arrive soon)!