The antibiotics are working. My headache has receded some and my throat no longer pinches in agony when I swallow. The fatigue is manageable and I fought it on day 13 of the coronavirus containment.
Hope is back. Hope that I didn’t have covid-19 or that if did it I was one of the people who don’t show serious symptoms. I’m still taking the medicine and without paracetamol my head hurts but it’s alright. Mint tea has become my go-to, guzzling pot after pot, letting the vapors waft up my nose. I smell the mint distinctly, another sign that I don’t have covid.
I manage to leave my bed for large swathes of the day. In the absence of respiratory symptoms I’m taking the risk of not isolating myself completely from my family. I clean off all surfaces, but there is no realistic way for me to not help with the kids, especially after my wife has fought for days alone to keep them occupied. Without access to testing I don’t know what sort of risk I’m taking. Without complete information about the disease it’s impossible to know what to do. The best I can do is try to get through this mess with the family intact, physically as well as mentally. That requires making decisions, the consequences of which we will have to wait and see.
There was unexpected help on day 13: the time change. The clocks jumped forward to summer time which meant losing one full hour of confinement. The kids awoke an hour later meaning an hour less of entertaining. By the time breakfast was over it was 9:30, about as good a Sunday as a parent can hope for. It was still Sunday, though, and at many moments of the day I found myself staring at the clock as the minutes ticked away. Trying to find something that would occupy everyone for 10 minutes at a time. It felt like the school days when the second hand on the clock above every door moved like dripping molasses, waiting out time until recess, waiting out time until the end of the day, waiting out time until the weekend, until summer came when time found its accelerator and the only thing we wanted to do was slow it down.
But I’m feeling better, healthier, back closer to that old feeling of normal bodily functioning. And we need to focus on something positive because mentally this is getting harder with each day as wave after wave of hard realizations washes over me: maybe this won’t die out until a cure or vaccine is found, that our summertime will be compromised like our springtime, that I won’t be able to see my parents or brothers or their families in 2020. That the only thing I will see is the inside of this apartment that we have been trying to move from since July of last year, watching the laundry machine spin in front of the toilet where I write this now, the only place of peace I can find.
Positivity comes in many forms. The rate of death from coronavirus is flattening in France (new infections vs. deaths). Germany has kept their deaths way down despite the increase in total infections. Places like Seattle and Taiwan have managed to flatten the curve through containment efforts similar to what a quarter of humanity is living with now. The world’s entire scientific community is working on testing, treatments, and a vaccine. Never before has such mindpower been focused so singularly. If we can eradicate other diseases, this particular coronavirus should be crackable too. It’s just a matter of time.
That’s what we’re all doing now, waiting. Waiting for lunch, waiting for the kids to take a nap, waiting for the end of the day when the kids go to sleep, waiting for liberation.