Some Of My Kids (And Husband) Have COVID — This How We Are (Barely) Coping

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

COVID is in my home. We are currently on day 13. My husband tested positive first; he was isolated immediately. My children haven’t seen him since the night before he was tested. I was confident that he was the only positive person because the rest of us felt fine. I trusted that my vaccine would keep me safe and that our kids just needed to be careful around each other not to get too close and be too physical. Silly me — I thought we were good. Not a chance.

On day seven, I took our children to be tested to see if they could return to school the next week. Thankfully our school requires a negative test to keep the asymptomatic kids from returning and potentially infecting more kids. My son was one of those kids who they are keeping out. He was positive. No symptoms. So it’s no big deal, right? Kids don’t really get sick with COVID anyway, so it shouldn’t matter, correct? No big deal if he is around the other kids, if they get it, they’ll be fine too, right?

No, you freaking moron, that’s not how this works at all.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

My son reacted to the news immediately. As soon as he got the result, he moved across the room and apologized. Talk about a dagger through a mother’s heart. He had guilt because he was sick and could pass it along. That little boy knew that he was extremely contagious and that in order to keep others safe, he would have to stay away. He is smarter than many adults. You know, the ones who are walking around spouting off about conspiracies. The ones who say that putting a mask on a kid is abuse because they make them sick and don’t work. Those same adults who are not bothering to take care of themselves and are passing this shit around every damn day. Those are the ones that he, my little boy, is superior to.

As soon as we got home from the doctor, my son went into isolation. Do you know what that means for someone who’s eight years old? That means fear and loneliness. It means that he would have to eat and sleep and do school work all in the same room for the next 10 days. It means that the only communication that he will have with his siblings is via FaceTime and text. How much fun does that sound? A minimum of 12 hours a day alone. When you do have human contact, it’s with your mom; you’re doing school work at a card table next to your bed, and she is wearing a mask. In your bedroom. And she can hug you and kiss you on the top of the head, but the face is off limits. She can’t risk getting sick or passing it along. It sucks. It sucks a lot.

And then the health department called. This is when it really hit what was happening in my home. We talked about isolation and sanitation. Do you people who think that kids with COVID don’t get sick also think that those kids can’t spread the virus either? Guess what, they can … and they do. So in order to keep this shit contained, there were some serious sanitation protocols put into place. This includes using only paper plates and plastic utensils because the delta variant is so contagious and powerful, that your dishwasher may not kill it. Did you know that? I sure didn’t and fuck that’s when I lost my mind.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

I realized that in order to keep everyone else in the house as safe as possible, we were going to have to split up. So I began the process of isolating everyone. My children were relegated to bedrooms and one to sleeping and living in the family room. They were allowed to have their personal devices, but that was it. No community time. No dinners at the table and no watching movies together. They were told not to leave their designated space. I would come to them. There were exceptions, like my daughter doing distance learning at the kitchen table. She is five and in kindergarten and there isn’t another viable option. But when we are in the kitchen, we are masked. She is on Zoom calls with her class in a mask in the house. You don’t want to wear a mask at Target, I certainly don’t want one in my house, but here we are.

And about that distance learning, I am bitter. Really fucking bitter. My kids were in school for four days when COVID hit. That’s just sad. They deserve to go to school and be with their friends and to be learning in a school environment. I am not a teacher and I suck at virtual learning. Having to do that with four kids while trying to not cross contaminate is almost impossible. If we continue to test positive, this could go on for weeks. It’s not fair to them at all.

When you are the only adult in charge of five people, one who is very ill with COVID, and four who are now isolated from each other, you are exhausted. No one is allowed to touch anything. If they come into the kitchen, it is one at a time with me only and we are masked. They may not touch the fridge, or the cabinets, or the sink. I am the one who has to get everything. The food, the pencils, the garbage bags, no one else touches a thing. Every time that someone uses the bathroom, I have to sanitize it. So I am wiping down toilets and sinks and doorknobs after every use. It is maddening.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

When asymptomatic COVID is in your home, everyone is a suspect at all times. You never know when the other shoe is going to drop. And when you are a very physically affectionate family, it kills you. I hug and kiss my children dozens of times a day. My daughter climbs into my bed nearly every night and rests her cheek next to mine. I have slept alone for almost two weeks. I hate it. But I don’t hate it as much as my kids do, who are used to talking to one another before bed and staying up later than they are supposed to. They are lonely. And they want a hug. But you can’t hold them in your arms because you don’t want to pass it along to anyone else.

And here’s the thing, just because he is asymptomatic doesn’t mean that my son isn’t sick. He could very easily end up with long-haul COVID symptoms in a month. I don’t know. And that terrifies me. This could have life-altering effects on him and I won’t know until it happens. And why? There is no reason why. This is preventable and by now, we all know how to prevent it.

I have no tolerance for adults who are not vaccinated and are continuing to infect others. I do not want to hear another word from a parent who says that masks are not necessary and they are causing more harm than good. And I will fucking explode if I hear you say that COVID doesn’t affect kids and they’ll be fine. Tell that to my kids, who I have had to separate for the last seven days. Explain to them why, in your infinite wisdom, you are denying the science.

Adults, do your job! Wash your filthy hands, put on a mask, and get your vaccine. Do your part to make this better. And if you don’t, you will feel the effects. You cannot escape this forever. You will get sick. And you will be sorry. But I pray that your children are passed over; they don’t deserve it. They are the innocents. And, if they are anything like mine, a hell of a lot smarter than you.

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