I once thought there was nothing more dreadful than that time I had to admit, tearfully, to a teacher that I had lost one of only two kids I was supposed to not lose, when I volunteered to join a school field trip with my son’s class. That is, until just over a week ago when…
My eight-year-old son, Holt, tested positive for Covid. Just like I had a pit in my stomach, knowing I had to tell on myself to the teacher, after 20 minutes trying, and failing, to find the kid I lost at the Science Centre, I had the same pit in my stomach, knowing I had to make a number of uncomfortable calls to everyone who had been in close contact with my son.
There was no doubt in my mind I had to make these calls. Of course I had too! But I also know what it feels like to get that call, which I got from my children’s caregiver who texted me at an insanely early hour on a Saturday morning, to tell me that both her and her husband had both tested positive. She had obviously been staying up, anxiously, awaiting their results.
My immediate reaction, of course, was worry. I immediately booked a Covid test for my son and myself that same day at noon. My son had no symptoms. But I was on edge, which is a nice way of saying I was freaking the F***k out! Our results came in that night, around 10:30 p.m.
I opened my email with my test results first. Negative! Then I opened Holt’s results. Although he had no symptoms, his test came back positive. My heart sank. I really was in disbelief! Holt now had to quarantine and self-isolate for 14 days.
Even though I tested negative, I was still considered to be “in close contact” with someone who tested positive – my eight-year-old son — so I had to quarantine and self-isolate with him. And I had to make those dreaded calls immediately.
It’s quite eye-opening, and concerning, when I thought of the number of people I had to call, all because of one positive Covid test. I dreaded making these calls, mostly because I had no idea how people would react. I was right to be nervous. Let’s be real; No one wants to get that call because at best, it’s an inconvenience. But at worst? I couldn’t even let my mind go there…
Because all this happened near the end of “April Break,” I was lucky that my daughter, Rowan, had already been staying with her father, at his girlfriend’s house, for almost an entire week prior to us getting tested. But, just a day before Rowan left, she had spent the entire day playing with her brother, so there was a very slim chance she may have contracted Covid too. And, just three days before my son tested positive, my boyfriend (who has been in my “bubble” for the last year) watched a movie with me and my son, all three of lying in bed together.
When my children’s caregiver told me she tested positive, right after I booked my son and I Covid tests, the first phone call I made was to Rowan and her father. This led to Rowan, and her father, and her father’s girlfriend and his girlfriend’s son, all going to get their own Covid tests, to ease their instantly worried minds. Rowan was bawling, worried she could have contacted it and passed it along. Her father was angry at me, asking me questions like, “When did the nanny get tested? When was her husband symptomatic?” I couldn’t answer all these questions! Why?
First, our caregiver’s husband is an allergy sufferer. He thought his stuffy nose was from seasonal allergies. My nanny, who happens to be pregnant, had symptoms that could have just as easily been first trimester pregnancy-related symptoms, like sinus issues and morning sickness. It was her doctor who suggested she gets a Covid test, just to be sure, so her husband got one too. So, aside from knowing when they got their results back, it’s hard to trace when they first got actual Covid symptoms, as opposed to allergies or morning sickness. And I’m not 100 percent certain that’s how my son got Covid anyway.
In any case, I was reprimanded by my daughter’s father, who lectured via text that my nanny should have told me about having symptoms and that her “lack of info has put many at risk and she should know that.” He ended his email with the word, “Nightmare.”
To which I responded, that my nanny had just told me that morning, and that if my son or I tested positive, that our daughter would have to stay with them, for at least ten more days, and that there was no sense in blaming at this point, and did he really think I wanted to be in this position either, not seeing my own daughter for so long, making this call, with my worry at an all-time high?
The next call I made was to my son’s father, although he hadn’t seen our son in more than a week. Holt was with me for April Break. His initial reaction to me telling him that I was taking our son for a Covid test was, “That sucks ass for you guys.” (Gee. You think?) That followed up with a barrage of questions too. To his credit, he did send me news stories like, “What do do if Your Child is Sick!” And he regularly has been checking in.
Then I had to make another dreaded call, this time to a mother friend who I really, really, really like, one I feared who would not like me as much, once I reached out to her. This was definitely a call I didn’t want to make, and you’ll understand why in a minute. Just a couple days before my son’s positive test, my son and my friend’s son had back-to-back playdates, each lasted about six hours. One day, during April Break, my son went over to my friend’s house to play basketball in their backyard, with her son. The following day, their son came over to my backyard, to play on the trampoline.
This, to me, was the most difficult call of all. My friend was not only in the midst of moving, but she was also about to start a new job. She also has two other children and a husband at home. Her reaction, after I broke the news, was understandable, since she was already under an insane amount of stress. “I’m freaking out,” she said. “I’m freaking out. I’m freaking out! Tell me not to freak out. I’m freaking out! I’m freaking out! Okay, I got to go and figure this out!” I felt horrible!
That phone call led to my friend taking her her three children, herself, and her husband to get Covid tests, adding even more stress to her already stressed out and incredibly overwhelming life. How terrible would I feel, if she or anyone in her household got Covid, because of my son, especially since she was starting a new job, with a new boss, in two days!
And, then, of course was the call to my boyfriend, who luckily lives alone, when he’s not here. I told him he definitely needed a Covid test, since he was lying in bed with us, in very close contact to my son and was, over this past year, at least until now, in our “bubble.” He, too, immediately went to get tested.
Then I remembered that the next door neighbour’s kids had also come by to play on my trampoline with my son, a few days before my son’s positive test result. I don’t necessarily like these neighbours, especially since they seem to just dump their kids in my backyard, without ever asking me, usually coming to get their kids hours later. I’m not sure if I’m appalled or impressed with their gumption. But still. They, too, were notified, leading to three children, the father, the mother and their nanny, the nanny’s family, getting Covid tests too.
By some miracle, everyone who I had told that my son and I were either going for a Covid test, or who I had to tell that my son had tested positive for Covid, all came back with negative test results. I felt a huge sense of relief, even though I still feel horrible for making them worry, and also the inconvenience I caused them, having to get their entire families tested. In total, my son’s positive covid test, and my calls, led to at least 15 other people forced to get Covid tests.
Luckily, too, after April Break, my son’s school was back to online learning, so while I left a voicemail for the school, because they didn’t pick up, I didn’t have to face the wrath of numerous parents blaming my kid, which really means they would blame me. (And I can’t tell you just how cautious I’ve been! I wear masks even when I’m walking outside. I wash my hands a thousand times a day. I haven’t travelled. I’ve barely even left my house, for almost an entire year!)
And now, I already feel like the new girl at school, who no one wants to sit with, because no one wants to be near me either. My trainer, who worked outside with me, dumped me immediately and told me to call him in two weeks. I haven’t seen my nanny in almost two weeks.
We are near the end of this quarantine, but we’re not exactly out of the woods yet. My son could, technically, still get symptoms. I could get symptoms or contract Covid. So while my boyfriend, who tested negative, has been absolutely helpful, dropping off prescriptions and food, I can’t see him, until I know for sure, for sure, everyone is healthy. Trust me, he’s happy to drop off food, but I also think he’s happy to not be around me or my son. And I get it!
I just know everyone is going to be extra-cautious around me and my kid, possibly for months to come. And I get it, too. Would you be running to have a playdate with someone who tested positive, even after they get the all-clear that they are safe now? I’m not sure I would be so eager to set up a playdate, either.
While my nanny is off quarantining for another week, it’s been only me and my eight-year-old son, prisoners in our house, while I’m supposed to self-isolate from him, which is ridiculous, because I can’t really self-isolate from him entirely, because, well, he’s eight! Someone needs to feed him, make sure he’s not logging out of his class, and ask him every 30 minutes if he has a sore throat, a headache, a stomach ache, any rashes and to check his temperature, and that person is me.
I can’t sleep, either, unless my son’s in bed with me, because I’m terrified he’ll suddenly get sick in the middle of the night. So it’s kind of impossible to truly self-isolate from your child, when you’re a single parent. (I wrote about custody, confusion, and covid here.)
The other day, someone from public health called to ask questions and remind me about the rules. Over and over, when the nurse told me the length of time we have to stay at home, not seeing anyone, reminding me gently to try and self-isolate from my son, and then telling me that even after my son is in the clear, that I needed a follow up Covid-test, or I would have to self-isolate for an additional 14 days(!) because, again, technically, I was in “contact” with someone who had Covid. This lovely woman kept apologizing, over and over and over with, “I know. I’m sorry. I know. I’m sorry. I hate making these calls.” I told her not to worry, that I felt the same way when I had to make those dreaded, “My son tested positive for Covid” phone calls too.
How could I not miss those days when the worst call you would get was from the principal at school saying, “This is NOT an emergency, but your kid ran into a wall, and when he got up, he ran into another wall,” which is actually a true story.
It is horrible to have to make those calls. The reactions are never, “Well, thank you so much for telling me. That was very thoughtful and kind of you.” But, as much as my phone calls ruined many people’s days, it could be much, much worse.
And I’ll leave it at that.
Tagged under: isolation,tell the truth,positive thinking,judging parents,positive thoughts,dealing with sick children,custody schedule,parenting truths,mom truth,sharing custody,how do I know if my child is sick,covid,covid-19,Ideas for families during covid