Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Being In Close Contact With a COVID-19 Patient [OPINION]

Photo provided by Madison Korta

It was mid-March when Mom started coming down with something we had initially blown off as flu-like symptoms. She was coughing, feverish, and had chills, some of the many hallmark symptoms of COVID-19.

We had just gotten our flu shots a few days before, and we kept thinking, maybe she had a reaction to that. The nurse even said you could have flu-like symptoms as a reaction to the vaccine. Little did we know; things would get worse.

Hearing my mom coughing up a storm after and having a rising temperature, she made the decision to call the doctor’s office, and sure enough had a tele-visit with her primary care physician. After a few phone calls, she received an e-mail with her testing location and a date: March 20. When we arrived, it was very calm, with only a car ahead of us, and very orderly. She did both the nose and throat swab and went back home. On March 23, we got a call back from the doctor. It was positive: My mom was diagnosed with COVID-19.

We were officially in quarantine. We were cordoned off in our rooms in the house with my dad being the primary caretaker for my mom. He also made sure to completely clean all of the surfaces in the kitchen, as well as doorknobs, etc. Anything you could clean in the house, he was cleaning. We had hand sanitizer at almost every door. That week, I was also dealing with a few issues of my own, having migraines almost on a daily basis that would not go away with medication. I had read that migraines are also a symptom of COVID-19. I called my doctor and she recommended I also get tested for COVID-19.

On March 25, it was my turn to get the nose swab, which was not a pleasant experience. It’s a long Q-tip, in which you have to stick completely through your nose, and it was very uncomfortable. I almost felt like I was tasting blood with how far back it went, but that’s how you do it. Luckily I was able to hold the swab myself, but I’ve heard that a lot of times those administering tests are the ones who stick them up your nose. Two more days of waiting and still quarantining later, and I received my results: Negative. I was surprised, but also relieved in a way, as we wouldn’t have to be quarantined for a longer period of time.

The quarantine itself was an interesting experience. My family bonded a lot more than usual, and we took it in stride. We would check in on my mom periodically, making sure to wear a mask to deliver meals. Afterwards, we went directly to the sink to wash our hands. In quarantine, we did puzzles, watched a lot of movies, and kept active on social media to chat with friends and family. The sweetest gestures came from our neighbors and mom’s work colleagues, who stopped by to provide meals and groceries that we needed, since we were confined to the house.

After about a week, my mom started to gradually get up and venture out of her room, and then it was like nothing had happened. We were still quarantined for another week, but she was feeling a lot better than what she had been. It was a nice feeling getting to finally talk to her again. One week later, our quarantine was officially over, and my mom’s first request was a bike ride. She was back to her old self again, and life was back to normal. We were able to leave the house, go grocery shopping, and do normal tasks yet again, but we wiped down everything we bought as soon as we got home. We weren’t taking any chances, and continued to wear masks. It was nice to know we were officially in the clear. 

A few weeks ago, my doctor’s office sent an e-mail, saying COVID-19 antibody testing was available on site. I immediately jumped on the thought, as I most likely was exposed to COVID-19 at some point due to my mom. Another tele-visit with a nurse later, I took the test on May 4. It was a simple non-fasting blood-draw, and was a pretty quick process. Once the test was done, I went about my daily activities. 

On May 6, I got my results. It was negative. I did not have the COVID-19 antibodies. I was stunned, but also my dad must’ve done something right with his cleaning tactics. My experience with being potentially exposed to COVID-19 is officially over, for now. I still take precautions and wear a mask frequently, but am always vigilant. With Texas opening up, I’m glad to get back to my normal lifestyle, but I’m still cautious. It’s starting to be business as usual, and I’m glad to be able to get back out and continue to be vigilant, as there’s still a chance I could get it in the future.

A few takeaways from my experience: 

At the time my mom and I were tested, you had to have exhibited symptoms in order to receive a test. The lab location was confidential, and not yet open to the public. The lab scheduled us to come in at a designated time, and asked for our names and doctors’ names, and then we were able to be tested. Nowadays, testing is becoming more widespread, and the independent labs are opening for more testing. I felt extremely fortunate to have been tested. They are now opening more testing locations, and you can check with your local county’s website to see which sites may be in your area if you’re feeling symptomatic.

I feel extremely grateful to my doctor’s office, as they offered the antibody tests in-office. I’ve heard that the tests can be hard to come by in terms of finding the ones that are the most accurate. According to my doctor, the test given at my practice was 98 percent accurate. There is a window in which they say is the best time to get the tests. They want to make sure you are out of quarantine. With all of the controversy surrounding the original COVID-19 tests and some being false negatives, it was a welcome sight to get to be able to get the answers I needed, although I hoped for a different result than what I got. 

I am so relieved and blessed we weren’t affected as badly as some people have been. I’m grateful, and I have a new appreciation and admiration for my mother, as she was the one who really went through it. I’m glad it was mild-moderate for her, and it didn’t get worse. Every time I check to see the number of cases in my city, it’s sad to know this disease has taken so many lives, and my heart goes out to all of those affected by this disease. It can affect people differently. I have family in the medical field, and I am so thankful for them being there for others, as well as friends, like my neighbors and family friends who brought care baskets to us. I’m relieved my family’s story ended on a good note, but for many, that can change in an instant.