In Which I’m Angry About the Virus in General and Childcare in Particular, or I Finally Got a COVID-19 Test

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I don’t know when we are counting the pandemic as officially beginning here in the States, but whatever, I made it until December 2020 before getting a COVID-19 test.

Things are not great right now. Several family members have COVID-19. Other family members were exposed but look to be in the clear. The fear is real. My family had second-hand exposure, prompting the testing. Why? How? It boils down to: I need childcare.

If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll see sleep and shelter at the bottom of the pyramid, indicating that these are the fundamental things a person requires to, like, stay alive and sane. Well, in order to have shelter, I need to work so I can pay my bills. And in order to work, I need to have childcare.

There is a flip side to taking care of your infant during this pandemic, in which you get to breastfeed for six months (with some bumps in the road, for sure), get to nap with your baby, get to play and be near him all the time. This post is not about that. I’ll share that with you another time.

It was possible for us to function without childcare for several months. But–shocker–babies are pretty needy. And they go through these periods of sleeping terribly, which makes us sleep terribly, which means I need naps or my mental health goes into the gutter. And that will trash the pyramid, because it eats up working time and that threatens my livelihood–and frankly, my sanity, as I try to do everything all the time.

I’ve given up being the employee I used to be before the pandemic. Now, I’m all about just getting by. That was an uncomfortable adjustment because, like a lot of people, I tie much of my identity into the work I do and I took pride in the quality of my work. I cannot do it very well and also have a child at home and also do all the other things that come with being a person.

In the pandemic environment, I am an alright employee. I meet expectations. But I have to work evenings and weekends… and that’s not sustainable for months at a time. I’m not a workaholic. I’m a person who needs to eat and sleep and have down time and at least a little exercise and blah blah blah. I’m a person, period. Right now, I feel like I’m “on” all the time.

Anyway, we asked for help from family to watch the kid. The person who helped us works in a gym. He had exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. So, I got a test done.

I have no hard feelings about this. He has to work, he has fewer clients than usual and we thought this arrangement might be mutually beneficial. Maybe it would have been, if so much of America wasn’t filled with complete assholes who aren’t taking this thing seriously.

Pardon my fury.

So what was the test like? If you haven’t gotten one yet, congratulations, I guess. There are different kinds out there, and the one I took wasn’t the brain tickler that I had heard about and feared. It was a simple 10-15 second swab in both sides of my nose. Into a beaker it went! Off to the lab! Swish, swish, magic (that’s the sound of science) and boom–two days later, I have an email telling me no virus was detected.

…Which, I have to say, is an interesting result. It’s not no virus at all, it’s no virus detected. Which leaves just enough room in an anxious person’s excitable brain to latch on to, if you let it. But, I digress. It’s good enough.

So, lucky me. No virus. Yet.

Photo by Jean-Pierre Brungs on Unsplash

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