Living with COVID

Living with COVID

It was April 2, 2020, just 1 week after Texas’ governor imposed a stay at home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. My husband, Rob, had been complaining of a headache and body aches for a couple of days, both of which I chalked up to not drinking enough water or sleeping funny.

Maybe it’s my “doctor’s daughter” upbringing (I mean, I was sent to school with chickenpox in first grade) or the fact that I feel like my 6’4”, former pro-athlete husband is a wee bit dramatic when he’s sick, but it takes a lot to get sympathy from me. Well, when he woke up that Thursday morning with 101.7 degree fever, I knew it probably wasn’t just a headache.

Rob works as a Joint Reconstruction Sales Representative for an orthopedic company. He is always in and out of hospitals all over Houston every day, but at this time, COVID was still just an anomaly you heard horrible things about on the news, not a reality that might affect your home. We didn’t actually know anyone who had the virus. Since every hospital was taking temperatures for admittance, we knew he wasn’t going to work, so off to the testing site he went…and off to the disinfection races I went!

I put my infection control skills to the test (thank you, dental hygiene school) and my type A+ personality was finally coming in handy! If it could be washed, I washed it, and if it couldn’t, I drowned it in Forward Science Hand Sanitizer or Surface Disinfectant spray. I’d never been so grateful that I worked for a company that had been forced to pivot from their usual product line into the infection control market as I was in those 2 weeks. Lysol was nowhere to be found (and still isn’t), but I had access to an unlimited supply of hand sanitizer and surface disinfectant, so I wasn’t holding back!

After an hour of waiting in line behind hundreds of cars, but only moving one car length, Rob called and said he couldn’t keep sitting in the car feeling as bad as he did. I made some calls and found a local urgent care center that was doing testing. They required a pre-screening call with a doctor to determine symptoms and because he is a healthcare worker, he met the (current at the time) criteria to be tested. By the time he returned home, I had a spot carved out for him in one of our guest bedrooms and planned for him to stay isolated to the back half of our house until we knew the results.

The days were long and hectic. I was doing everything I could to prevent exposing myself more than I’d already been, while keeping up with my full-time job, becoming a nurse and a maid. And can we talk about the grocery situation?! Obviously, I had to be in serious quarantine myself, which meant grocery delivery was my only option, but 17 substitution requests in my first order were way too much for this control freak! Of course, my patient didn’t sleep through any meals (aren’t sick people supposed to sleep?!), which sure seemed to come often when it was such a process. I only handled anything he’d touched with gloves, eliminated touching as much as possible (dishwasher and trash were open before I got his dishes), and made sure to disinfect everything I had to touch immediately afterward.

Despite taking Tylenol every 6 hours, Rob was still running a fever. His symptoms were textbook: head and body aches, cough, loss of sense of taste and smell, and fatigue. After 5 days of symptoms, we still didn’t have test results. At that point, Rob’s doctor felt sure he had COVID-19 and didn’t want to take any chances on his symptoms progressing, so he started him on the trifecta: Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and a Medrol dose pack. This was in addition to the supplements he was already taking (Zinc, Melatonin, Vitamins C & D). As it turns out, the shipment Rob’s test was in got lost and he had to go get another one- only to find out several hours later that they’d found the test (I know, I can’t make this stuff up) and it was positive for COVID-19.

Suddenly, my mind flooded with fear. Even though I knew he probably had coronavirus, receiving confirmation that he did was terrifying. Was it going to get worse? What if he had to go to the hospital? What if I got it; then who would take care of us? And the biggest fear of all: what if he became one of the fatal statistics?

Fortunately, the medicine kicked in quickly and after 6 days of fever, it finally broke! Things were looking up and now the 72-hour clock started for him to be fever-free so he could come out of complete isolation. On day 8 we celebrated Rob’s 34th birthday socially distanced on the patio with pizza delivery. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but we were so thankful he was on the mend.

Once Rob hit 72 hours fever-free, he got another test to ensure he’d cleared the virus. This time we got the results in about 3 days (it sure helps when it’s not lost) and he tested negative! It’s not very common to clear the virus in such a short time span, but I attribute that to the medication, Forward Science Disinfectants, and my mad infection control skills. He has since taken multiple antibody tests (thanks again Forward Science) showing he does have raised antibodies, IgM / IgG, proving the virus has played a role in his body and he has since cleared it.

Now, 4 months later, I’ve still never tested positive for the virus and don’t have any antibodies. I did, however, test positive for pregnancy. Yep, you read that right, just before Rob came down with COVID, we conceived our first child, a little girl, due this December. We had no idea at the time, but rest assured, we will not be naming her Rona.

There’s so much that we don’t know about COVID-19, but what we do know about preventing disease spread works: wash your hands (and when you can’t, use Forward Science Hand Sanitizer), stay away from sick people, and sick people should stay at home (and isolate from their family as much as possible). The entire team at Forward Science hopes you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy—and don’t forget to disinfect your hands!