8 a.m. — My husband, who is tested regularly as a preventative measure at his job, had felt achy but calls to say his results from previous Friday were negative. Go about day.

6:30 a.m. — Wake up achy, especially behind the kneecaps, and super thirsty. The feeling lasts all day. Push through to cook dinner.

7 a.m. — Wake up achy but not as thirsty. Wallow in sickness feeling.

7:30 a.m. — Husband calls to say his Monday test came back positive. I feel three distinct emotions: Anger, remorse and, “Oh, shit.” Domino effect is engaged. No picking up the car from the mechanic. No shipping of presents. Bribe my older two children to babysit the toddler by approving the early opening of one present each so I can work. 

7:45 a.m. — Cancel babysitter for the foreseeable future. Text neighbor whose daughter came over Monday. Cancel volunteering at school holiday shop. Cancel rescheduled dental appointment. Cancel hair appointment.

8 a.m. — Give up on day. Email editor: “Don’t worry! Column is coming!” No idea what to write about. [Editor’s note: COVID, maybe?] Cancel photo shoot for clients and gift-guide article for blog. A co-worker is quarantining for something unrelated and can’t take photos.

10 a.m. — Cry a little at the thought of not knowing how to return to work. I work for myself, but I can’t work with a 3-year-old running around and am mentally not OK when he’s watching YouTube and Siren Head all day.

7 p.m. — Turn away little neighbors who knock on the door wanting my son to play. Feel weird telling them we are quarantining for 14 days. They look confused.

10 p.m. — Contact teachers through Bloomz and ClassDojo to say children won’t be coming to school on Thursday or Friday. 

8 a.m. — Put my cutest clothes on to pump myself up to work. Get my kids onto virtual classrooms. Learn that despite attending remotely, they will be marked absent because they are missing in-person days. Still feel slightly achy.

10 a.m. — Receive call from school nurse, who is concerned, of course, and lets us know we need to quarantine for 14 days. 

10:15 a.m. — Confirm with principal that children will be marked absent. I don’t like this rule. She says they have been reconsidering it.

2 p.m. — Drive to urgent care to get tested. There is no line. Yay. Leave with ice pops and login information for lab results.

4 p.m. — Learn from editor that Garrison Middle School closed for an exposure. Also learn this column can wait a week and I won’t be marked absent.

7 a.m. — My son walks into my room, crying. He has been achy since 2 a.m. and couldn’t move his legs. He got flashbacks from February when he and I were sick and he couldn’t move his legs and I couldn’t get out of bed without fainting. I give him Tylenol and a backrub, and he goes back to bed.

8 a.m. — Blow dry hair and receive call from pediatrician, asking if my sons have symptoms. The office heard we tested at urgent care. The question triggers me to cry a little more. I sit on the side of the tub and make a note to call in overdue prescriptions for inhalers for my kids, who have asthma cough.

9 a.m. — Call Vogel Pharmacy to see if they can deliver inhalers and vitamins, and cry a little more. The pharmacist, Anthony, tells me it’s all going to be OK.

10 a.m. — Text friends with the update and take them up on their offers to help. Think about which friends shop where and begin piggy-backing on their errands.

10 a.m. — Nebulize my youngest after a night of coughing.

11 a.m. — Start making eggs for breakfast. Visit with friend who brings over kids to have a porch-sidewalk, 15-foot social distance hello shout/wave visit. 

11:30 a.m. — Call from husband; his best friend had a heart attack. The friend had been one of many mourners at a funeral in Ohio where 20 people contracted COVID, although he tested negative. He is a smoker. He received a stent. My biggest COVID fear for my husband is a random heart attack or stroke.

11:50 a.m. Finish making breakfast.

12 p.m. — Start making lunch: box mac-and-cheese. Look for screwdriver to open Nerf gun battery door. Melt powdered cheese in milk.

1 p.m. — Take call outside to get results for middle child. Positive. Come back in and call husband so we can give son the results together. Son covers his mouth as his lips nervously turn up in a smile. He turns somber. His best friend, whom he’s been Facetiming with for hours, calls, and son declines the call. I go upstairs to log in to find daughter’s results. Negative. Mine and the youngest: Not posted yet.

1:30 p.m. — Another request for the Nerf gun to work; I head to the basement to find the power drill. 

2 p.m. — Stir the box pasta cheese. Still salvageable. Whoops.

2:30 p.m. — Continue texting with friends and family about everyone’s symptoms and condition. Phone becomes ever-more an extension of my brain.

5 p.m. — Stretch in backyard. Grocery order arrives. The kids take it inside. I jog up and down driveway in the dark for 15 minutes.

5:30 p.m. — Son cooks his first box of ramen. He feels proud and liberated.

6:30 p.m. — Dodge Nerf gun bullets.

7:30 a.m. — Wake up feeling better. Texts come in to see how everyone is doing. Run the driveway again, between the swing set and the soccer goal. Attend birthday party on Zoom.

1 p.m. — Feel like water gushed up my nose, into my brain, and drained back out, yet no runny nose. Just swollen head and random pain in collarbone.

2 p.m. — Children have been great with boredom, but new measures required. Elves deliver No. 1 requested gift to daughter to enable her to draw and design stickers for her new business.

3:30 p.m. — Put on the Christmas music.

4:30 p.m. — Have video call with doctor to get inhaler prescription. Neighbor kids begin texting videos of games they are playing in their houses, including a pully-swing system around a Christmas tree.

9 p.m. — Crawl into bed with fully swollen head and shoulders while kids play Roblox. Luckily, Advil keeps head throb at bay.

4 a.m. — Wake up when toddler has a bad dream. Feel my own asthma, and measure oxygen. It’s 94 — a number they like you to call the hospital about. I wait. Maybe everyone has low oxygen while they sleep. Use daughter’s inhaler.

9 a.m. — Call Vogel to get them to deliver my inhaler. Oxygen back to 98.

4 p.m. — Answer texts from neighbor and mother about oxygen levels and asthma.

10 p.m. — Pull an all-nighter writing session and string lights on the tree. Inhalers make me jumpy.

8:30 a.m. — The results are in. The youngest is negative. I am positive. Take to bed because I’m dizzy. Take inhaler. 

8:30 p.m. — Kids fix themselves goldfish and ramen for dinner. I cut them oranges and yellow peppers. At least there’s a theme: orange.

11 a.m. — Lungs are good. No tightness. Jog in driveway. Finish this column.

Katie Hellmuth Martin is the publisher of A Little Beacon Blog and owner of Tin Shingle and Katie James Inc. She is happy to be raising her family in Beacon.

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

Katie Hellmuth is the publisher of A Little Beacon Blog and owner of Tin Shingle and Katie James Inc. She is happy to be raising her family in Beacon. Location: Beacon. Languages: English