December 11 Day 278: Wait is a Four Letter Word

Just when I’m thinking, “It’s Friday of the last teaching week of the quarter. I have finals to go but then there will be a brief reprieve,” everything turned upside down.

While working on manuscript edits, my phone rang. It was my husband. I ignored it because my co-authors and I only had sixty minutes together to work through 15 pages of referee’s comments—that’s more pages than the original article. Then I noticed he had also texted a message. I took a moment to glance it over.

I had to zoom in on the attached image in order to read it.

He had a positive result for SARS-CoV-2 from a nasal swab test two days previously. My head started to spin.

I politely excused myself from the discussion, promised to get back to the final revisions ASAP, and called my husband back. He was home, only two rooms away, and reassured me he felt fine. No symptoms. No fever. Nothing. But still he was going to have to isolate in our bedroom, where we had set up his office/broadcasting space, for 10 days.

I donned a mask in my own house and went to talk to him. He was simultaneously skeptical and scared (me too.) Was it real or was it a false positive? If real, where did he contract it? We have been quite careful and he even masks up when walking outdoors at 6 am. If real, will symptoms develop? Is he in danger?

It’s too soon to know. So we wait.

After our youngest finished online HS, the boys and I headed out to the Pierce County Free Mobile Testing site. Today it was at Tacoma Community College and took less than 40 minutes (including travel time to get to the location. ) It tickles. When my nose gets swabbed it makes me want to sneeze. Two to five days for test results. And now we wait.

Currently, everyone in the house feels fine. We wear masks when we check on my husband or bring him sustenance in his isolation. I have temporarily set up a sleeping situation in my office. So far this is nothing but an inconvenience and I hope that is all it remains.

I hate waiting.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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