COVID Comes to Sluiter Nation

Masked up at the Imagination Station in Toledo, Ohio (July 2021)

We follow the rules.

From March of 2020 until school started in September 2020, we did not interact with anyone–our extended family included–without masks and/or six feet of distance. We had ONE family in our quarantine bubble.

Once school started, we masked, washed hands, sanitized constantly. The only person from our house still going anywhere other than school/work was Cortney. We still get our groceries delivered (this isn’t even because of COVID, if I am honest. I just hate grocery shopping).

I signed up to be vaccinated in January of this year the minute the email came through saying I could. I was fully vaccinated by the beginning of February. Cortney was fully vaccinated about a month after that. Eddie happily bared his arm as soon as he turned 12 this summer.

Even going into this school year vaccinated and masked, I STILL wash and sanitize my hands between every class, before and after I eat, and before I leave the building.

And yet, I tested positive for COVID last month.

It started on a Thursday morning. We had slept with the windows open Wednesday night. I woke up on Thursday with sinuses that were under pressure. I knew having the windows open was a bad idea given the field of ragweed we had growing back there, but I did it anyway.

At some point on Thursday I realized I couldn’t smell much. My face was full and I was wearing a mask all day, so I just made a mental note, but mostly pushed it out of my mind.

I complained about it on Friday when my salad at lunch was rather bland. Then I complained some more at dinner. And after the kids went to bed. I was getting very annoying, apparently, because after assuring me for the 100th time that my sinuses were clogged and that I should just forget about it, Cortney finally said, “Then get a damn test tomorrow if you are so worried about it. Ugg!”

Fine. I made an appointment to get a test at Walgreens after Charlie’s last soccer game.

Saturday morning my face was less painfully full, but still full. I felt like maybe I didn’t need the COVID test after all, but I made the appointment, so I did it. That night we had pizza and I could clearly taste the salty olives on our half.

Sunday I had a HUGE sneezing attack, my face was suddenly not clogged, and I could taste and smell everything.

Oh. Well. No COVID, probably.

Went to school on Monday.

Monday night around 7pm I got an email from Walgreens. I assumed it was to tell me I was negative. You can imagine my shock when it said POSITIVE FOR COVID in bold letters.

Well, shit.

What do I do? I called my principal and gave him the craptacular news. He had our HR person call me and we worked out my quarantine would have to be the rest of the week. I could come back on Monday.

Cortney, in the meantime, set up COVID tests for himself and all three kids on Tuesday. I emailed the offices/teachers of all our kids to let them know they would be out on Tuesday for testing due to a close contact.

I also messaged my primary care doctor to find out what, if anything, we should do.

No one else had any symptoms, and I didn’t have any anymore either.

Tuesday morning, I got a message from my doctor saying that if no one else has symptoms, they don’t have to test or quarantine, but that I need to quarantine for 10 days since my symptoms started (which is what I was already doing per our HR requirements in my district).

Cortney went to Walgreens and got them all tested, but when he got back, I read the message from my doctor to him.

Everyone went back to work and school on Wednesday.

Until the elementary schools sent Charlie and Alice home. Because the close contact was in the home and they were not vaccinated or masked around me, they had to quarantine.

Eddie was fine because he was vaccinated. Same with Cortney.

According to our county, Alice and Charlie had to quarantine the rest of the week and all of the following week.

By the way, they still have zero symptoms.

My house, on the other hand, suffered immensely having those two home and us not being able to have much contact.

Thursday the rest of the family’s results came in: Eddie and Cortney both tested negative. Charlie was positive. Alice was inconclusive (she scrunched her nose during the test).

No one had any symptoms.

We treated both the Littles as positive cases and kept them away from everyone.

The second week of COVIDmania meant I could go back to work, but the Littles could not and we couldn’t exactly get a babysitter for them. This mean Cortney and I had to get creative with taking more time off.

We decided I would take Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings off to stay home. Cortney would move all work meetings to those three mornings, and come home in the afternoon so I could go to work. He also took all day Tuesday/Thursday off.

Working from home felt grossly like being virtual since I had to still do lessons and create instructional videos and do eight hours worth of parent/teacher conferences all from home. I felt glued to my computer all over again and it sucked.

I was very happy to walk into work at 11:15am on that Monday morning!

Just as the week began, we got the bad news that Cortney’s uncle, who had been battling the lung damage from COVID pneumonia, passed away. It was a pretty big blow to the family. Rather than taking a half day off on Friday, I took the whole day so that I could attend the funeral with Cortney in the afternoon.

The entire COVIDmania made me so crabby, but I was reminded that because of all the precautions–other than being inconvenienced–our immediate family was fine. Sure we had some positive tests, but no one got sick. At all!

We are pretty sure that I did not bring COVID into the house, I was just the first to test for it and happened to test positive. It’s more likely that it came in with Alice since they had some outbreaks at her school. She probably passed it to me and Charlie. My doctor thinks I tested positive because I was in the early group for my original vaccines.

But now Cortney and I have both had the booster, and the Littles each have dose one in their arms too!

Our house stayed healthy even with positive results because of the precautions we took and because of the vaccine.

My hope going into the holidays is that more people will get vaccinated. That is the only way we will get to be back to some semblance of normal.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

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