It started with a night of coughing: “I didn’t sleep a wink last night,” Don told me Tuesday morning. That’s all my partner (my living alone-together partner) said, though we both remembered he’d “felt something coming on” the day before.
“Get tested,” my D-I-L said, loud enough for him to hear over the phone.
Not surprisingly he was adamant: “No. I don’t need that. I’m vaccinated!”
But an hour later he called back; “I’d better get a test.”
Walgreen’s in Camden has the at-home tests, available right at the checkout counter where you get candy, etc. Two to a box, the tests cost $24. Apparently, they work like the pregnancy tests, though the last time I was pregnant I think there was something about killing a rabbit to find out.
Anyway, it’s simple to do; the nose swabbing is gentle, not like the nostril-violating procedure we all dread. You put the swab in the little vial of liquid and viola! Things start to happen, lines appear on the swab and within half an hour you know.
We knew. He had Covid.
MONDAY, Oct. 11
Town Office Closed
Schoolhouse Museum, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road
TUESDAY, Oct. 12
Library open, 3-6 p.m., 208 Main Street
Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Town Office
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13
Library open, 2-5 p.m., 208 Main Street
THURSDAY, Oct. 14
Cross-country meet, 4 p.m.. Troy Howard Middle School
Broadband Committee, 5 p.m., Town Office
FRIDAY, Oct. 15
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
SATURDAY, Oct. 16
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Community Building
Lincolnville Community Library, For information call 706-3896.
Schoolhouse Museum open M-W-F or by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m. outdoors or via Zoom
Oct. 21: LIA Meeting
“See you later,” I said, grabbing my jacket and making for the door, mask firmly in place.
Wait a minute. We were both vaccinated. This shouldn’t be happening. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people, right? He’d been one of the first we knew of to get the vaccine back in February, and I’d been only three weeks behind him.
We never thought one of us would get a “break-through infection”, even though we read about them all the time. Even though we’d heard of vaccinated people right here in town getting it. Denial is indeed a powerful tool of the dark side.
He spoke with his doctor and I called mine. By the next day he had a tentative appointment at Pen Bay for a three-hour infusion, conditional on whether someone else needed it more. An unvaccinated patient having serious symptoms could bump him.
As it turned out, he did get the infusion of Regen-Cov, as scheduled. They take two at a time; he shared the room with an unvaccinated young woman who’d apparently been struggling with the disease for quite a while. By the next day he felt noticeably better.
Though his age puts him in the at-risk category, the vaccine that apparently failed him seemed to be working to keep him relatively symptom-free. And that’s what the data says. That’s why they’re recommending a booster shot.
In the past couple of days, he’s resumed his daily walk, working back up to the 2-3 miles he usually does. And he’s mowed his lawn. It’s a very big lawn.
Most distressing at the moment is his loss of smell and taste.
His doctor says he’s contagious for ten days following the onset of symptoms, the day preceding the night of coughing when “something was coming on.” We’re keeping count.
Where on earth did he get it? We’d been to a gathering of friends a couple of days before that Monday, everyone vaccinated of course. Thanks to a lively email exchange, everyone involved got themselves tested within a day or two and all came back negative.
That leaves the dreaded, mysterious “community spread” as the cause. Where? At a McDonald’s drive through? Hannaford’s? At a Nautilus lunch? We’ll never know.
But with this disease the patient isn’t the only victim. I’m the close contact of a COVID patient. We drove in the car together, both masked, to get the test, I sat at the table while he took it, and drove him to the infusion appointment. That day we knew enough to open the sun roof and all the windows and double mask.
By the third day I was imagining all sorts of symptoms myself and took the second test we hadn’t used. Negative. Phew. Two days after that, I got tested up at Waldo (thankfully nobody seems to be doing that deep dive into your nasal cavity anymore; it was simple and quick). They post the results in the middle of the night to My Chart, and you can be sure I woke up when the phone “dinged” with a message.
I live in a house with two unvaccinated people upstairs – both of my grandsons are under 12. And of course, they go to school. The last thing any of us wants is to jeopardize the school population.
Our rules are strict: “Stay away from Grammy. Don’t go into her house.”
We put a closed sign on our shop door, just in case someone should come in when I’m there. Tracee and I communicate via text; we wear masks on the few occasions she comes through my kitchen.
We feel safe enough outdoors, and I even got to help with this weekend’s wood-stacking. I visit Don on his deck at least once a day, masked and bundled up in blankets and winter coats. It’s pretty chilly these late afternoons when the breeze is off the water.
This was the weekend my son was coming from New Hampshire with plans to stay with me for two nights, for a big family dinner, for lots of time to talk. Talk is what this family does best. I”d been looking forward to it for weeks.
I felt sorry for myself for about a minute, then remembered the millions of people around the country, the world, who’ve had such awful struggles, upsets in family plans, lost their jobs, lost their loved ones. Not only had I been smug about being vaccinated and “safe”, I was upset at the disruption of my plans.
Good grief. Yes, we’re entitled to our own feelings, and my disappointment is as real as anyone else’s disaster. But not equal.
Since staying indoors with a Close Contact wasn’t in the cards, we spread out around the fire pit in our garden, cooked hot dogs in place of that big dinner, and talked for hours. As soon as I finish this article we’re meeting up, Bill and I, for a long walk.
And at least as I write this, Don seems to be getting through COVID pretty well. Though with all we’ve heard about it, nothing’s certain. Fingers crossed, prayers said, good wishes and thoughts sent. That we all get through this, that more of our fellow citizens get vaccinated and that Covid becomes a seasonal nuisance, not a killer.
This week’s Lynx newsletter has several interesting articles including pool testing (a way of Covid testing a group of students), talking to your kids about the Facebook whistleblower, rundown on last week’s cross country and soccer results, and a detailed report on October’s School Committee meeting.
Today, Monday the 11th, is the last open day for the season of the Schoolhouse Museum. Stop by this afternoon, 1-4 p.m. for a look around. Though the Museum doesn’t hold regular hours during the winter, we’re always willing to open up by appointment. Send us an email or call Connie, 505-5101.