• Personal

    A Fever and Bedroom Quarantine During Covid-19

    Thermometer, A Mom's Diary During Covid-19: A High Fever and Bedroom Quarantine, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/03/16/bedroom-quarantine #Covid-19 #coronavirus #quarantine #Seattle #mom #momlife #diary #teen #bedroomquarantine
    Saturday, Day 3

    As I wrote in my last post, my daughter came down with a flu late last week. She’d been getting the chills and couldn’t sleep after her band trip to Ireland had been cancelled. While I’d hoped the mild fever she’d had of a 100.5 would go down overnight, it didn’t. She only slept a few hours and so the fever shot up to 103. She felt ragged. Tired. Depressed. She coughed a lot. So I sent her upstairs for a bedroom quarantine, worrying about whether she had Covid-19.

    A Mother Investigating an Illness

    I jumped on the net and searched the Washington State Department of Health website, checking the symptoms. My daughter had some but not others. For instance, she had a solidly high fever, now slightly above the range from 100.5 to 102. But she had a runny nose, which had been reported among symptoms but not regularly. She did not have shortness of breath, a somewhat common symptom, but she had a consistent cough. Very consistent.

    I agonized over what to do. I could call her doctor but her symptoms had only lasted a day. And with masses of people sick in more serious ways, I didn’t want to clog the system. So I waited and I fretted. The one fact reassuring me was young people recovered with little trouble.

    A Bedroom Quarantine Inside a Quarantine

    At dinnertime, I dropped off a plate of tacos and vitamin C water at her bedroom. She spent the evening there. She texted me that she was bored. Wanted to know if her dad, a cancer survivor, was more susceptible to corona virus. I told her I didn’t think so. The truth was I didn’t know. Later, when I went upstairs to see if she wanted a cookie for desert, her light was out. So I let her be.

    The next morning, I decided to look into getting her tested. What if she was contagious and might spread it to my husband, or me? How long would she be contagious? What if she gave it to her brother or sister and they, perhaps without symptoms, gave it unknowingly to an elderly person? The questions spun constantly in my mind.

    Still, with the Trump administration skimping on tests for even the confirmed ill, I knew getting her tested would be difficult. I’d read medical professionals were frustrated by the federal government’s lack of assistance. Tests were few and far between, especially for a low-risk teenager. So I went to the Gates Foundation website. A week earlier, I’d read an announcement that the foundation would be offering corona virus home test kits. But I couldn’t find any more detailed information about how to obtain the tests. Frustrated, I closed my laptop.

    Time Passed, Worry Grew

    I kept checking the time. Ten o’clock came. I texted my daughter. “You awake yet, hon?” No answer. I read more about the virus on the King County website, the CDC, The Guardian, The Seattle Times, and on and on. Eleven o’clock came. Tried to distract myself with actual work. Then eleven-thirty. I texted her again. Finally, an answer came. She was awake. “How do you feel?” I texted.

    “A lot better.”

    It turns out she’d slept 14.5 hours. From nine o’clock the previous night to eleven-thirty the next morning. I was thrilled. She came into the kitchen hungry. She ate a decent breakfast. We took her temperature: 98 degrees. Thank goodness.

    In all of my obsessive reading about the virus, I learned that she needed to be free of the fever for 72 hours. At least that’s what one website said. Others said 24 hours, others said 5 days. So I knew we had to take her temperature every day for a few days, but that night at least, I slept well.

    A New Concern

    Unfortunately, my husband didn’t. He got slammed at work. He’s a software architect for an internet hardware company, the biggest, the one you probably know, the “human network.” But because so many people across the country were working from home, they were using the company’s teleconferencing software and it was creaking under the traffic’s weight. He and a vast network of team members spun into emergency mode.

    I’ll write more about that tense day in my next post.


    If you’d like more information on the Covid-19 illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control corona virus page here.

    If you’d like stories of inspiration, tips on gardening, book and music ideas, and more, subscribe to my monthly digest, a Vine of Ideas. In it, I send a list of short links to stuff I think is worth checking out. Also, the latest on my new books and offers. Oh and you get a free ebook featuring a special tree!

  • Personal

    A Mom’s Diary During Covid-19

    Highlander uniform, Diary of a Mom During COVID-19: 46 Days at Home, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/03/14/covid-19-diary/ #COVID-19 #coronavirus #Seattle #mom #diary
    First Day Home From School, Thursday

    The virus Covid-19 has turned our family life upside down, in more ways than one. Plans cancelled, illness, work surges. We live just north of Seattle, not far from Kirkland where the first cases in Washington state appeared. Our governor has closed all schools until April 27th so we are home as a five-person family with not much to do but so much to worry about. I’ve been distracted by the virus’s rapid spread, its related news, and caring for my family so I’ve decided to keep a Covid-19 diary that covers the obstacles we’ve encountered and how we’re dealing with them. As you know, it’s a crazy time!

    A Special Trip Planned for My Kids

    The corona virus first hammered our family last Tuesday. Not through illness, thank goodness, but through a travel cancellation, an enormous one. Our son and daughter were scheduled to travel from Seattle to Dublin on Thursday. The school marching band was to march in not only Dublin’s huge St. Patrick’s Day Parade but several others in Limerick and smaller cities. They would perform in multiple venues. They’d compete in competitions. They’d tour and sightsee Ireland and Northern Ireland. They would experience another culture half-way around the world and in general have a blast.

    During the winter, our kids practiced the line up of songs at home religiously. My seventeen-year-old son plays trumpet, my fifteen-year-old daughter, saxophone. In the band, they’d practiced their formations in the rain and cold and dark for almost three hours every Monday night. They’d prepared their uniforms and met all of the requirements. Meanwhile, their dad and I paid fee after fee, knowing this tri-yearly perk of being a “Highlander,” was well worth it.

    Excitement Buzzing

    As February progressed, the band trip solidified. The kids got their itineraries. They learned where they’d sightsee. They dreamed of ancient cities and mossy landscapes and friendly Irish people. Room assignments were handed out. It was happening! The directors shipped the uniforms, which are noble looking Scottish highlander uniforms complete with kilts. They shipped their instruments, including bagpipes, flags, etc. One of the assistant band directors even left early to retrieve the cargo. No one could wait for those planes to take off.

    Meanwhile, the corona virus was circulating in Seattle. But in small numbers — or so we thought. Then, the first community case was announced. That was okay, it didn’t really affect our community. Then the Kirkland nursing home outbreak happened. The trip looked iffy but still likely. I, as well as other parents, wrote the school superintendent, voicing we were ready to take the necessary risks. There were meetings. A lot of wait-and-see. And the band directors, who’d worked for years to make it all happen, were reluctant to cancel. Everyone was ready to wear masks and travel with bleach if they had to to get to Dublin.

    Sad Circumstances

    As the outbreak spread, more and more people got sick. Cases popped up in Ireland. Then the Irish government cancelled the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Still optimistic, the band directors thought perhaps the kids could simply perform in their other scheduled venues. But then the Irish government cancelled all parades in Ireland. And so, the final sad reality was with no parades to march in, the entire trip was scrapped. I felt gut punched.

    Not long after I heard the announcement, I went to my daughter’s room. She’d been feeling under the weather and had stayed home from school. I opened the door to a red-faced sobbing girl who’d heard the news from her boyfriend. The Ireland trip was off. And worse, it probably wouldn’t happen next year.

    Welcome to a Different Way of Life

    That night, we ate dinner with two morose teenagers. My son had said that at the band meeting, the directors choked up as they announced the cancellation. A devastating blow for everyone. 175 teens had worked their butts off to show the world what a kick ass marching band they were. Now, with football season long gone, they had nowhere to perform and no reason to even play again.

    After dinner, the kids went to their rooms, processing with friends by text and facetime. My husband and I wondered if we’d ever see the money we’d dedicated to not one but two children going. It could be a small financial disaster for us. Time would tell.

    But the next couple of days only brought us another, more concerning effect from the outbreak: my daughter’s illness. I’ll cover that unexpected turn of events in my next post.


    If you’d like stories of inspiration, tips on gardening, book and music ideas, and more, subscribe to my monthly digest, a Vine of Ideas. In it, I send a list of short links to stuff I think is worth checking out. Also, the latest on my new books and offers. Oh and you get a free ebook featuring a special tree!