Why write this: This is written to briefly document our family’s experience with getting COVID June 2022. As I’m writing, I’m well aware that our experience is not unique as this virus has visited so many millions of people by now. I just wanted to write because this is an opportunity to document a snapshot of a family’s experience regarding our attitudes towards this virus two years into the pandemic.
Our family experience comes at a time when all precautions have been lifted. Our extended family went 2 years without turning up positive for COVID-19. 3 teens, 2 parents and 4 grandparents, we all avoided it. As a family, we joked that it was our introverted nature. We live in different states to one another which has meant we have not seen each other all at once.
We did continue taking precautions longer than was socially comfortable. Precautions were lifted at schools and airports. Eventually our kids got colds at school that didn’t test positive for COVID-19. We started thinking that colds were just colds again and then we stopped testing when someone had a sniffle. Omicron is in the news but less prominently than shootings and wars. And then we all got together for 2 graduations for the first time in 2 years.
Both sets of grandparents flew to Butte, Montana wearing their N95s and upon arrival we had big dinners all together without masks. We hadn’t been all together for 2 years. It was wonderful. It was cathartic.
Two days into her trip, one grandmother felt a sore throat and withdrew. She started wearing her N95 after a rest day thinking even though “it’s just a cold”, it would not be nice if we all got it. We didn’t think about testing because we were in denial.
All of the grandparents wore N95s to the graduations and nearly no one else in the crowd did, including our kids and us. I now wonder if the only people wearing masks are those who are sick with “something that might be a cold” or are over 80 like our grandparents. I wish in hindsight that we had, sorry everyone.
We tested grandma 6/3 Friday evening, 5 days after her symptoms started because she started having chest tightness. She was positive for COVID-19 within the first minute of the instant test. We were stunned. Our family had tested often over the last years for work and for symptoms always negative. Luckily, all of us are vaccinated fully.
Then my son who had been achy since his graduation party 6/1, positive on 6/3. The rest of us tested negative and were feeling fine. We made plans to cancel plans.
Our teenage girls calculated that their exposure had been minimal and went to friend’s houses so they could continue with work and their last summer in their home town. I argued against this move because we had been isolated from grandparents for so long and now our girls were missing time with them despite being in the same town. Also, the girls could be exposing their friends. But, teen angst won and their fear of being exposed further at home seemed valid.
The girls have been testing daily, checking in with us and are still negative and asymptomatic. Edit: 6/8 one teen and her friend are now symptomatic but testing negative.
6/6 My mom and her husband flew home after testing negative several times and continue to be asymptomatic. Mom had to cancel a trip she had planned with cousins she hadn’t seen for years.
Both she and her husband thought getting home and being close to their doctors would be best in case they become positive. 6/8 they are still doing well, wearing masks when out, limiting their outings.
So far, all of us who are positive have the range of symptoms all within what is considered mild COVID. We all had been vaccinated to the fullest extent of recommendations although many months have past since the younger generations have been boosted. I’m grateful that we have COVID now rather than before the vaccines. Mild COVID is still very disruptive.
4 of the 5 positive cases in our family have seen a medical provider. (2 in their 80s, 1 in his 50s and one 14 year old). They were being seen primarily to get pavlovid but one needed a letter to provide return to work guidance. The oldest and youngest got the pavlovid. The 50 year did not. Different providers, different days
We all have lost a day or two to deep sleep. We have sent our girls on Walgreens runs and ordered takeout, cooking seems impossible. We all can remember having a really bad cold or flu that felt like this. We are all grateful it’s not worse. The dollar cost to the disruption in change of tickets, medicines, hotel stays runs over a thousand dollars in the family. Plus lost shifts …
In an attempt to register positive home tests, I submitted record of our results to the county public health website. I left a message with our county COVID hotline. We all called the people we had been with days before testing positive. We are hopeful that we are keeping our positive circle small. I don’t know what to do about all of the graduation people we talked with. Sorry.
My personal experience: My personal experience was that I tested negative despite having disruptive symptoms on 6/4, the day after our first positives. My rapid test was negative although I ran fevers, experienced connective tissue pain in my wrists, feet and elbows and felt best when sleeping. I lost my voice to congestion. I’d get up to find juice, tea or water and then quickly be chased by chills and aches back to bed. Despite Theraflu, ibuprofen and lots of fluids, I was uncomfortable unless in bed and asleep. Still, I tested negative.
The next morning, I really did feel a little better. I was able to check on my son, talk with my girls, talk with my mom (who by then was in the Denver airport) and visit my parents in law. They were starting to look better too. Grandmother was now the only one not in quarantine. She was 2 days past her positive test and 6 days past her symptoms start. She ran for juices, take out and cough drops.
Monday late afternoon, I tested positive. It did surprise me to witness the lag of the positive test result compared to onset of symptoms. I wonder how many people test once while sick and then go on with life thinking “it’s just a cold”. Or just not test anymore.
We have read about the higher incidence of false negatives with the antigen rapid tests but I didn’t understand how sick a person could be and still have a false negative.
Lesson learned, you are not COVID negative unless you test at the right time with a PCR test. I’d recommend testing at home several days while sick and isolating because our expectations of the tests are flawed. If I hadn’t had my family’s positive results around me I would have tested once and gone on with this “cold”. I imagine that that’s going on all around us.
How we got our tests: After Grandma tested positive on Friday, we used all of the tests we had in the house to test the family. The next day, my father in law and I went to Walgreens to pick up 8 tests for each of us, free through our insurance. I was also able to grab 8 through my husband’s insurance.
An exposure of 9 people eats a lot of tests. None of us have pursued getting the pcr test. That would be the correct test for our exposed asymptomatic family. There is a sentiment that enough effort has been taken and making an appointment is asking too much. This is pandemic fatigue.
We have had a family conference and will postpone our leave to South America by a couple months. There are just too many details to throw together before July 1st. We need more time in Montana. Besides, it’s just so beautiful.
Best to all of you and word to the wise, we are still in this pandemic. Hoping that as this virus circulates we all get to avoid more severe illness. Be outside in the open air and enjoy. Consider wearing masks when indoors in public places, we are still in this spread. And for sure, we as a community are feeling less willing to sacrifice staying home for “just a cold”.