It was Tuesday evening. I was getting my four-year-old daughter ready for dance, when I got a call from my husband saying, “I was exposed to a co-worker that tested positive for COVID today.” He was headed to the doctor to be tested himself, but they told him to go home and to come back in three days to be tested. This would give the virus time to present itself, if indeed he had it.
My husband came home that evening, and I canceled everything we had going the next few days. Dance, school, church activities, etc. Since my husband was showing no symptoms, I thought for sure we would be back to normal after he got tested on Friday. We slept in the same bed, ate our meals together, and just did what we did back in March when this whole COVID thing started.
Friday came and he headed out early to get his COVID test at a local emergi-care that did rapid testing. He sent me texts updating me on what was going on. “They just called me back to get tested,” “My other co-worker tested negative,” “Just got the test” . . . it was all ho hum. We prayed and waited and since he still had no symptoms, we thought he would be another negative case.
And then came the call, “It was positive.” I laughed and told him to stop joking with me. He said he was not joking. He really was positive for COVID, and we would now need to create a plan of what to do.
After calls to both our pediatrician and the school nurse, we came up with a plan of how to quarantine at home while my husband had COVID. Below are some of the things we did to help my family and my husband stay healthy (and sane!) during our 10 days of quarantine . . .
How My Family Quarantined My Husband with COVID
Bedroom and Bathroom Only for the COVID Patient
The first thing we did was map out our house to figure out where my husband would stay for most of the 10 days of quarantine. Since we don’t have a guest room or a basement bathroom, we chose our master bedroom and bathroom because it was connected and he would have them all to himself. I got all of my bathroom stuff, packed clothes for 10 days in a laundry basket, and made my bed on the couch. He pretty much stayed in the master suite for the entirety of the 10 days. He would get stir crazy, and so when I would take the kids on a drive to see Christmas lights, etc. he would go outside just to breathe and walk around. If I ever had to go in his room, I would wear a mask and gloves.
Get Plastic EVERYTHING
One of the tips that my mother-in-law gave me that she learned from a nurse friend, was to get paper and plastic silverware, plates, and cups to serve meals to my husband. That way he could eat and then throw it all away, and I wouldn’t have to worry about washing/cleaning his dishes. I also bought bottled waters and canned drinks for easy delivery and cleanup. He had a trash bag in his room, and he could throw stuff away and then I could take it out when needed.
A friend sent me a list of medications that are good for COVID positive patients to take, that I also verified through my asthma and allergy doctor. My husband and I both took a Zyrtec (allergies and nasal congestion), Vitamin D (immunity), Magnesium, and Aspirin (keep good blood flow and relieve aches/pain/fever). We also heard Zinc was good to take. (PLEASE REMEMBER: check with your doctor before taking a new vitamin or medication). I also bought a new thermometer for him to have in his room so he could keep checking his fever. He never had a fever, or a big cough. His main symptoms were loss of taste and smell, headache, and sinus congestion. If his cough got really bad, I was going to order a pulse oximeter. Fortunately, we did not need this product.
Delivery and Pickup
As none of us could go inside places, we researched ways to have things brought to us. I discovered DoorDash and let me tell you . . . it was wonderful! This delivery option was one of my favorites because you can customize almost every menu item from each restaurant. As a mom of picky kids, I have to be able to ask for “plain” and “no sauce.” There are so many great local restaurants that will deliver right to your door. I also did Walmart pickup and Shipt grocery delivery. These are faves in our house!
When or If to Get Tested
They want you to wait at least 3-4 days after exposure to get tested to make sure if you have the virus that it will show up on the test. My husband tested positive on a Friday, and I got tested on the following Monday. I was also showing no symptoms, but thought it was wise to get tested since I was the main caretaker for my kids. The test was negative and I never developed any symptoms. I decided not to get my kids tested since they were also not showing symptoms and I tested negative. Since we were staying home for 10 days I knew that even if they were asymptomatic we waited the appropriate amount of time for them to not be contagious any more.
Kids’ Mental/Emotional Health
When I told my kids that Dad had coronavirus, they were worried. They know this virus is serious, and that people have died from getting the virus. While we didn’t know at the time how my husband would feel with the virus, we knew he was generally healthy. And we were going to do everything we could to make sure he was going to get through this and that we could help!
My kids enjoyed delivering meals and drinks to his door. They would leave them in front of the door and he would grab them when they had left. They also would yell goodnight each night through the door, and we would pray for him often. We loved FaceTiming him so we could see his face, and when we went outside he could talk to us through his window. It sounds silly, but they really needed to see his face to make sure he was okay.
Our school did a great job of including my son in virtual learning via zoom. He enjoyed seeing other kids and learning. I also set up some Facetime calls with just him and some friends. It really perked him up! Both of our kids missed their Christmas parties and making ornaments and such at school. They really missed their friends and teachers. At times it felt like quarantine would last forever — for Mom, too! Seeing friends (even over FaceTime) really helped my son, especially.
What I Wish I Had Done
One thing I did not want to do while my husband had COVID, was to tell anyone. I think because it felt like we had done something wrong, we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do, or that people would look down on us or judge us. Slowly, we told some of our friends and everyone was so sweet and supportive, many offering to bring things to us and help us. I wish I had done this sooner! Maybe it even would’ve helped my own mental and emotional health, just liked it helped my kids. So if you are reading this looking for tips on how to handle all of this, reach out to friends and family, even if it’s just to hear an encouraging word! Don’t feel ashamed. Know that lots of people around the world are experiencing the same thing, and many people want to help you.