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The Rona (June 30th - September 7th, 2020)

When we left off on June 29th, Azlan was with my parents in Miami, Ted's back just went out and the 4th of July was cancelled - like no fireworks, and beaches would not be open. The month of July was calm and boasted boat rides, sunshine, really hot Florida weather, rain, Ted's 44th Birthday, an MRI trip at the VA, marriage counseling, a new roof on the house and a week's worth of art classes for Azlan. I also made Apfel Strudle from scratch! On the 30th of July, Ted flew to Texas while Azlan and I drove to Miami for the weekend. I made Ted promise to wear a mask wherever it was required, wash hands, and use hand sanitizer. He made it there and back in one piece but handed me back an almost full bottle of hand sanitizer (eye roll) and he also posted pictures of the party he went to - no social distancing and no masks - but there is no sense in trying to hide where we go or what we do, we live our lives how we want and are honest with those around us.

Speaking of being honest, we caught the Rona (another eye roll). As soon as the person that I was in direct contact with tested positive, we locked down inside our home. I only left to get tested the very next day and came straight home after the nurse at the Urgent Care Center rightly instilled the fear of God in me "Do NOT come in contact with ANYONE - you CANNOT come in contact with ANYONE - Go home and QUARANTINE. Quarantine means you stay home, you do not leave your property, you only go outside on your property, groceries are delivered, no one comes into your home, you don't go anywhere off your property"...basically, don't be an asshole and potentially spread this virus that you may or may not have, stay home until you get your results. This was August 10th. She gave me a packet of paper and said to call my doctor if I started to feel sick. Well, I had a bit of a sore throat already, but I was hopeful until I got home and took my temperature 100.3...well shit! I went straight to bed and stayed there almost the entire day. That night coughs started. The next day I had a virtual appointment with my doctor which yielded to an antibiotic prescription and advice to take Ibuprofen and Tylenol as needed. I was also taking Delsym for the cough. I started to feel exhausted, like it took a big effort to lift my arm off the bed...a shower was about the most activity I could tolerate at one time. Headaches had started as well and I felt like I had a head cold. That same night Ted started to feel 'off' as he described it, and Azlan developed a fever. Our first scare was that night. We had given Azlan children's Ibuprofen when we first caught the fever at 101.5 around 5pm. The temperature came down and we put him to bed with the intention of checking his temperature again at 11pm to give him more medicine if needed. At 11pm we checked and I just about had a heart attack, 104.8....FML! We immediately gave him Ibuprofen, got him out of bed and into a cold bath. Needless to say he did NOT like the cold - lots of screaming, crying and begging us to stop pouring freezing water on him. It was heartbreaking seeing him delirious and so upset. His temperature started coming down so we pulled him out of the bath, wrapped frozen veggie packs in towels and put them on his skin moving them around to cool his body down. We had to get in the bath one more time which got us into a safer temperature zone. Whew. If that hadn't worked, we were going to take him to the ER. From that moment on, we were on him with that thermometer like white on rice. We alternated Ibuprofen and Tylenol for him every 3 hours for the next 3 days until his fever finally broke. I still checked him through the night for 2 more nights just to make sure. That shit was scary! Throughout the week the exhaustion would come and go, one day I would feel good and the next I couldn't get out of bed. Luckily Ted and I were feeling good on opposite days which meant we could care for Azlan. We had signed him up for in person school, but we kept him home for the first 2 weeks because of Rona.

Then, on Friday the 14th, I lost my sense of taste and smell. It is the weirdest feeling to open one essential oil after the other and not smell a thing! Tea tasted like warm water, food was just texture and temperature. I could distinguish sweet, salty and spicy after the 2nd day but not the flavor of the food. By far this was the strangest symptom I've ever experienced - and the most disappointing one. When chocolate, popcorn, steak, coffee and everything else has no taste you can't help but be disheartened.

On the 17th, around 9pm, Ted looked at me, pale faced and worried, and spoke these words very deliberately, seriously and slowly "Daisa, I am having trouble breathing." Here comes scare number 2. We laid him on his stomach which we had read helped ease the breathing process but it wasn't 30 minutes before he said these words in the exact same way "It's time to call an ambulance".

Alright, I need to explain what just happened because if you don't know Ted personally you won't know what it meant for him to admit he was in bad shape. He is one big, tough, hard, strong, invincible guy who is not one to show a sign of weakness - no matter how much he might be hurting. The Army trained this bad-ass mofo pretty well: never complain or make a fuss, be cool headed and calm in the face of chaos. He was a really good plane-jumping, gun-shooting, door kicking soldier! So when my vigorous husband spoke those words to me, they weighed like a ton of bricks. With that said, on more than one occasion this week he had to tell me to calm down - if it wasn't for him I would have been in straight out panic mode (like jumping up and down in circles while crying and screaming). I called 911 (and was really proud that I stayed calm), they came by to scoop him up within 30 mins or so. I couldn't help but wonder if that was the last time I would see him alive. He texted me throughout his experience and at 2:30 in the morning Azlan and I drove to pick him up at the hospital - Thank God. He had strict instructions to do nothing but breathe. They gave him steroids, an inhaler and a Zpac. The next day he did his job and worried only about breathing. I felt pretty darn good on the 18th but decided not to push myself into physical activity quite yet, I waited until my 10 days of quarantine were up which was the very next day - the 19th. That morning I went to Zumba and it was AMAZING! I felt so blessed to be able to dance and move and feel good and healthy. Granted in the first 20 mins I could tell I had not exercised in over 10 days, but it felt good just the same. The same day, Ted felt good as well and had no problems breathing - it seemed like we were over the harsh part.

It was that evening we got the call from the Contact Tracer at the Health Department. The conversation started off amicable until she tried to tell me that Azlan had to quarantine for an additional 14 days after Ted’s quarantine was over because he didn’t get tested! The requirements for him to go back to school (briefed by the school itself) were 10 full days of quarantine from the date he first felt symptoms, 48 hours fever free with no medicine, and no current symptoms. No test necessary. We chose not to have Azlan tested as he gets bloody noses a lot and the testing experience is less than pleasant to say the least. We felt no need to have him tested since all 3 of us got sick. If testing was a requirement, then it should have been briefed by the school. Well, Ted jumped into my conversation with said Contact Tracer and it got a little heated. She was adamant that Azlan stay home from school another 2 weeks and Ted and I were telling her no, he was going to school on the 24th based on the school’s published requirements. After that call, we even went back and checked with the school and their policy just to make sure he could go back...the answer was that he could go back on Monday. Well, the next day, the 21st of August, I get a voicemail from the School Nurse (which also works for the Health Department). She stated that I needed to pick up my child from school and that I should be aware as to why. I got so mad!!! 1. My child is NOT in school, we have been doing virtual schooling in order to protect the other children and avoid spreading the Rona. Why does the nurse think my kid is in school intentionally spreading Rona? 2. The Contact Tracer must have flagged us and started up a stink because we did not agree with her additional quarantine policy (which happened to be on the CDC website that day, along with all the other constantly changing information). Ted also got a call from the school saying that Azlan could not return to school and we had to call the Contact Tracer to clarify. Ted spent the rest of the day trying to find out why they thought Azlan was in school and why, all of a sudden, he wasn’t allowed to go back to school even though we confirmed yesterday and fulfilled all the school’s published requirements. Turns out that the school tracks attendance by virtual or in school. If you signed up for virtual then you get marked as present virtually and if you signed up for in person school you get marked as physically present....but they didn’t have a system to mark a child virtually present when they had signed up for in person school and had to stay home for quarantine because of sickness. This was probably a very good thing that happened so that the school can enhance their attendance logging procedure. That solved #1.

Here is the kicker for #2 - apparently you need more than one symptom to assume you had the Rona according to the Health Department. When we told the Contact Tracer that Azlan just had a high fever, it wasn’t enough for her to assume he had the Rona. It wasn’t until Ted talked to the nurse at the end of the day Friday and stated that Azlan had been more tired than normal and had coughed a few times that she said “Oh, ok, he can go back to school Monday then.” Y’all, please explain to me how this makes any sense? How is it possible for one symptom of sickness not to be enough? You must have more than one symptom to assume you had Covid-19 according to the Health Department. What about the asymptotic people...they have no symptoms! How about testing accuracy? My friend and her husband were super sick and it took 3 tests before they got a positive. How about the fact that you can test positive months after you recovered? Why does my now healthy child need to isolate an additional 2 weeks at home? This situation really pissed us off. The school going back on their policy, the Contact Tracer making a stink, the school attendance issue....at least everything worked out in the end and the Health Department and the School agreed that he could go to school.

On the next day, the 22nd (best day ever), when Ted and Azlan’s quarantine was over, we went to a friend‘s house for the afternoon to play in the pool, hang out, sing Happy Birthday to me and my friend’s son, and eat some birthday cake! They had also been sick so we were all on the same page. I may or may not have drank too much champagne...it was a great time with amazing people regardless! The next few days I was working out hard and on Tuesday, I woke up feeling very very tired and a little nauseous. I got really scared that I might have caught the Rona again, even though there is like less than a 1% chance of that happening. Just in case, I cancelled all appointments for the week and went to bed. I stayed away from Azlan and Ted, isolating myself as a precaution. I was tired until Wednesday evening but promised myself that I would just rest, giving my body time to recuperate even if all I wanted to do was workout and dance. I did another virtual appointment with my doctor to explain the exhaustion and see what she could advise. Apparently symptom relapses are not uncommon. She recommended rest, fluids and antibiotics. As long as I did not develop a fever (which could mean a pneumonia), I should be fine and Azlan could stay in school. I am just guessing that the symptom relapse was due to my 40th Festivities and perhaps the 4 workouts I did on Monday. Oops! By Saturday I was feeling like myself again but still took it easy. Some of our neighbors came out that evening for driveway cocktails. We hadn’t seen them in a really long time and it was great to catch up. The 1st week in September passed with no issues, I got to go back to the studio for workouts and taught Zumba too. On Friday, September 4th we drove down to Key Largo. My parents rented a fantastic apartment at Mariner's Club so we could celebrate my brother’s birthday (and mine too). There is no question that I splurged on food and drinks but I also got 2 workouts in so #poundwinning. We went on a snorkeling tour at John Pennykamp Coral Reef State Park. The reefs were pretty alive and we saw lots of colorful fish despite the rough waters. On Sunday we went out to lunch at Snook’s Bayside Restaurant & Grand Tiki Bar. The food was delicious and we even got a Happy Birthday Serenade from the band. Dinner was at Bayside Grill & Sunset Bar, the view was great but the food was just ok. The best part of the weekend was spending time with my family, by far. No major fights broke out, no one cried, it was glorious!

Right now we are on our way home from Key Largo, feeling pretty blessed and relaxed. I’m looking forward to getting my food back on point and getting in some workouts. Friends will be visiting next weekend and we are super excited to be spending time with people, real live people, not a computer. The shut down, lock down, and quarantines have had some severe consequences for many people. It certainly has taught us that we need people, we need human contact, we need to look at faces in the flesh. I pray for all of the children growing up during these insane times. I pray for all those that have been sick or are sick - not just with Rona but any sickness. May our people and our country recover and continue to thrive soon. Love,

Daisa, Ted and Azlan



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