Yep. That’s right. We tested positive for COVID in Toledo, Ohio. It affected my co-workers, my family, and yes – even my small business. Despite the stigma that is associated with something like a pandemic and illness, I want to be the Mom that puts that aside so I can HELP other Moms. It wasn’t clear what to do and there were a lot of questions unanswered and we still aren’t certain. I don’t believe there is any reason to hide that we were COVID survivors! I hope we can help your worries and anxieties by sharing my experience.
The uncertainty of everything is so overwhelming.
I mean it, we really don’t have absolutely definitive answers. The virus has become controversial and there are a lot of hot button topics that come up (we won’t be discussing those) when you mention COVID-19. All of that aside here’s an authentic and normal experience with COVID from my perspective.
How it started: We can’t be certain, of course. It may be related, but I had been experiencing dizziness, fatigue, and headaches for almost one whole month prior to developing some of the more common symptoms. I had a CT scan, MRI, doctor appointments, all that jazz. It never failed, every single day I would wake up, and as soon as I started to move around and get things done – BAM, dizzy. Not the vertigo kind either, the seasick kind. UGH.
We still don’t know of course but I want to mention it in case it DOES end up being relevant. Either way, one day I woke up with congestion. That was it. Honestly, after all this build-up can you believe it? That’s how this started.
Okay, so it’s just a cold right? Or maybe it’s allergies?
It didn’t honestly feel that different than either a cold or allergies. I just noticed I was grabbing tissues and really running low on sanitizer all of a sudden. Luckily, I’m blessed enough to have an employer that accommodated working from home once I started feeling it, regardless of what it may be. When my symptoms didn’t subside as my allergies would have, my husband had realized that he had been feeling run down for a few days too. Yep, it was time for us to at least get tested. Okay…. where? Well, I will tell you now it’s not easy. You have to be exhibiting symptoms for some questionnaires to get approved through to appointment times. Places are getting booked faster as of me writing this (out of the woods, more than two weeks from testing).
We decided to make appointments for COVID testing on a Saturday and we had to wait until Monday. We drove through CVS on Byrne and the pharmacist gave us instructions on how to self-swab. It was just a Q-tip held in your nose for 10 seconds per nostril, then you drop it in the tube, seal it up, put it in the box, and drive away. Okay, so that part was easy. We also had to be sure to register within 24 hours for their Minute Clinic portal so that we were able to receive our results online. FYI – Downtown on Jefferson is a phone call, not online results. I know one person in my contact tracing still waiting for results!
Welp, we have COVID. Now What?
It took about two days for us to receive the ‘Detected’ result of our COVID-19 swabs. I don’t believe it is that quick in this area any longer, but again I don’t know anything for certain. Of course, it was the holiday weekend, so perfectly timed. As in, I felt immense guilt for the gentleman in HR having to be the one to contact everyone on a company holiday to tell them, let alone WORK on his day off. Not everyone I thought would be considered exposed met the qualifications.
In order for the Ohio Health Department to consider a person in my contact tracing as exposed, that meant we had spent more than 10-15 minutes within 6 feet of each other and within 48 hours prior to my symptoms starting. Luckily, that narrowed down the possibility of exposure to a lot of people in my life.
Oh no, what about my orders?
Thankfully, I packaged my orders that week before the 48-hr exposure window. Hand-washing, hand-sanitizing, masks – all normal practice since the beginning of this anyway. Since I was informed of the risk, I managed these worries easier. I had already been taking precautions. According to the CDC, there is still so much unknown about the virus but it is extremely unlikely for it to transfer through the mail, as long as you wash your hands. Either way, I wasn’t risking it to prepare open orders despite the recommendations.
I contacted all my customers within my exposure and isolation windows and informed them. All of them were understanding and happy to wait for their orders until after I felt safer preparing them. I did have one customer cancel a subsequent order, but I don’t ask why in this day and age. Everyone is struggling. As my symptoms subsided and the isolation period ended, I was able to resume business as normal.
Thankfully, the normal shift in the market from COVID-19 is the only real effect on my business. Since my volume is low and my customers loyal, I was able to take that break for two weeks and still resume. However, it was hard for me to push past the fear of being the center of gossip when I started to tell my customers in a tight-knit online community. But it was necessary for me to be transparent for my business, non-negotiable.
Why am I afraid of telling people?
People will know we had COVID now that I wrote this. That makes me terrified! The stigma is very real and the CDC even has an entire page on their website about it. I am sure the people who love and care about me are no issue. However, writing this out for an extremely public forum is a different story. I don’t mind in the end. The good outweighs the bad in any instance. All I need is to know maybe someone will feel better knowing what to expect with testing.
I am so privileged and lucky to have had this type of experience and that’s clear. We didn’t have severe symptoms and only one of us had to go without work. We are able to stay home for the full isolation period and we have a support system. Not everyone in our area is this privileged or lucky, and some people may not even be able to do the right thing and isolate for 14 days.
There has never been a time where ‘the struggle is real’ has felt more relevant. If you or a loved one are experiencing a hardship, please dial 2-1-1. It will connect you to someone at The United Way that can help. Stay safe and wash your hands!