quarantine AGAIN

April 20, 2020 at 11:19 1 comment

team gilmore is back in lock down! after 2 weeks of quarantine because of my illness, and 3 blissful days of freedom**, we’re going back in. derek’s covid-19 test results came back positive, and public health called him last night to tell him the expected news.

i didn’t want to make a big announcement, or draw attention to our illnesses. i’ve sort of let the information ooze out over various social media posts, hoping to avoid adding to the panic.  when someone you know becomes infected, the pandemic seems to stretch it’s claws a little closer to where you’re safely sitting in isolation. i get that, and there’s enough fear out there without my contributing to it.

i’m writing out my story in the hopes that confusion is cleared, and fear is dismissed. i must mention however, that i hate this blog. haha. i started it almost 20 years ago, and it needs serious decluttering. i couldn’t think of a better place to post the information though, so cringe-y blog it is!  do not dive deep!

caution: i’m wordy.
permission to skim: granted.

my most-asked question is “what were my symptoms?”.  i’ve typed these out so many times, in so many private messages. people want to know if they’ve had it, or what to expect, and i understand that.
for about a week, i had a slow onset of sore throat and headaches. those aren’t supposed to be symptoms, so i dismissed them as part of cold & flu season. they intensified though, and then a slight cough came. not a hacking bronchial cough, but more of a polite response to the growing tickle in my throat. at the first cough, suspicion set in. the suspicion grew when a few hours later, my chest began aching.  i started checking my temperature then. often. it cycled between low fever, then back to normal; in sync with a circuit of chills and sweats.
if you know me, you know that i’m super-active. i know my heart rate patterns, can anticipate my energy levels based on the macro nutrients i’ve ingested in the hours preceding activity, and i follow strict schedules of exercise and recovery. this is context for covid’s defining moment in my life:
i walked up the stairs to my kitchen from my basement; stood at the counter to slice some bread. then i watched the kitchen begin to spin and fade. i dropped to the floor, desperately sucking in air to keep myself conscious. the lightbulb turned on as the confusion cleared. all of the symptoms swirled together with this bizarre inability to breath, and that’s the moment i knew.

my second most-asked question: “where did i get it?
my response is always the same- i can’t confidently say.  it takes one random point of contact with air containing the virus. i can tell you that i was diligent to stay safe, though i didn’t stay home exclusively. i went for walks almost every day, and out to the grocery store once a week. everything and everyone that came back into this house after being outside, was thoroughly sanitized.  all i can say to this question is that doing your best is not a guarantee of success.

third-most:  “how are you sure? did you get tested?
most people aren’t asking for my credibility, they’re preparing and looking for direction. i called telehealth as soon as i suspected a lower respiratory infection. what would be required of me? did i have to get tested? after being on hold for an hour and a half with telehealth, the call dropped and i lost my place in the queue. so i called back and chose the “leave a message and we’ll call you back option.”
the next day derek found out about a doctor group set up by his work to provide support for their employees due to the overload on telehealth. so we pursued that route and within half an hour i was on the phone with an actual doctor. he went through my medical history extensively with me, interrogated me on my symptoms, and told me that i could not be tested. testing was reserved for high-risk patients. being otherwise healthy, i would have to do with a phone diagnosis and an order to quarantine for 14 days.  some people do ask me this question to assess validity, so that is my response. i don’t know why anyone would fake covid, but in case there was any doubt: a doctor diagnosed me.

another question i’m always asked: “are the kids and derek okay?
yes and no. the kids had cold-like symptoms about the time that i started collecting mine. their symptoms didn’t evolve into anything concerning, though they’ve certainly been exposed to the virus.
derek is not well. he’s a private man and i respect that, so i’m not going to tell his story for him. i will say that he has been only home for weeks, and yet he contracted covid-19. he actually qualifies for testing, so he went through the multi-day, multi-screening process. he started with telehealth, and that is what we (and our government) advise. start the process early, because it takes a long time to get from the initial phone call to the swab.

i have two more questions that i’m often asked, and then after that i’m done, promise!

how can i help? this one is so hard for me and my fiercely independent spirit. accepting help has been one of the most-difficult yet biggest blessings to come out of this ordeal. i can’t believe how much people actually care about us! thank you times a million to all of the people who have brought us groceries, sent me care packages, and provided for my family in ways that i was unable to.  i’m truly overwhelmed by the amount of people who have lifted our family up in prayer. i know that God’s hand has been on our family, and that He’s been pouring grace over us. thank you to everyone who has gone to our Father on our behalf.

how am i feeling now?  i keep saying that healing is two steps forward, and one step back. this virus truly beat me down. i’m not exaggerating when i say that i wasn’t sure i’d survive it. at its peak, the chest pain and inability to draw a complete breath had me convinced that i would not be waking up the next morning. it’s been a week and a half since my worst day, and i still have chest pain. i’m just telling you this because while i don’t want to contribute to the fear mongering, i also don’t want to feed into apathy.  i don’t want to underplay this thing and accidentally persuade anyone to abandon caution.  if you get sick, you might get REALLY sick. expect and prepare for that. things that really helped me were lung exercises, chest stretches, and lots of hot herbal tea. this virus did some long-term damage to my lungs, and it will take a while to feel “normal” again.  i like to look at the general trajectory versus the day-by-day.

so that’s it. i tried to highlight the topic of each paragraph so that you could quickly find what answers you were looking for. i hope that our story helps you to know what to expect and how to proceed should you suspect that covid is coming for you. please feel free to privately message me. i’m not against answering specific inquiries, i just admire the efficiency of blanket-answering questions.

**worth noting that the 3 blissful days of freedom did not include derek, who was still showing symptoms. the legal protocol is to quarantine for 14 days from onset of symptoms, and end quarantine ONLY if your health is improving at the end of the two weeks. derek was still tanking, so he did not take his infection out of the house, and i wore a facemask to the grocery store. we good!


Entry filed under: goings-on.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Darlene  |  April 21, 2020 at 16:36

    Sending love support and prayers Joan Derek and family ❤


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