Self-Quarantine Blog Day 6: Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results

For the latest status on our fight against the Coronavirus, check out my COVID-19 Diary.

Hello from our cozy little cabin. Daniel and I are now both sick and we’ve gone from practicing social distancing to full-blown quarantine lockdown mode. Three days ago, Daniel came down with a fever of 101. That’s when we decided not to leave the cabin for any reason at all – not even to walk around the neighborhood.

The only exception was when we drove to the health clinic on Wednesday. Due to the limited supply of COVID-19 testing kits available in the United States, the tests are typically not made available to adults our age without underlying health conditions. Our recent travels to Spain, however, combined with Daniel’s high fever made him eligible for a test.

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Sunrise from the yard. Photo taken a few days ago before we both got sick.

Daniel’s COVID-19 Test

Getting Daniel tested for COVID-19 was a quick and easy process. When Daniel came down with a high fever, I immediately did a little research and found an article about drive-though testing available nearby. I called the hotline first to confirm eligibility and pre-registered Daniel with the clinic. Then we reluctantly changed out of our pajamas and piled into the rental car for a 35-minute drive to the nearby town where the facility was located.

The hospital was well-prepared to receive us and had clearly posted signage guiding us to a tent set up in the back parking lot, far away from any other patients or staff members. We were instructed not to get out of the car, which was fine by us. After Daniel confirmed his identity by flashing his ID, we rolled down the passenger window and a nurse approached to administer the test. She was really nice and put us both at ease, although I worried about her safety. She was only wearing gloves and a paper mask to protect her in addition to her hospital scrubs.

To conduct the test, she inserted a cotton swab on a long stick into both of Daniel’s nostrils and shoved it *way* back in there. It triggered Daniel’s coughing reflex but thankfully he was able to hold it until she got her arm out of the car. Daniel said the process was uncomfortable but he handled it like a champ.

After the test was over, we drove back to our little cabin getaway. I was grateful that the process was so easy. It was also completely free. This was a huge relief after the horror stories that I’d been hearing from people trying to get tested for COVID-19 in other locations and paying exorbitant costs.

Daniel has the sick. This photo was taken on Wednesday when he had a high fever; he’s doing a little better today.
This way to COVID-19 testing

From Self-Isolation to Quarantine

We are now in waiting mode to find out the results of Daniel’s test. The clinic’s official line is that it may take 5-10 days to get test results back, but the staff assured us that the results typically come back faster. Until then, we stay inside.

As it turns out, there is a big difference between social distancing and quarantine. Social distancing means you can go for a walk around the neighborhood while keeping away from anyone else you might run into. Quarantine means you don’t leave the house at all – we’re not even walking around the yard. Social distancing means you can go to the store; quarantine means you ration your food. (Don’t get me wrong – we bought enough food to last for two weeks. We just need to control ourselves and not eat the good stuff all at once. Also, I apparently underestimated by craving for gluten-free cookies. Sigh, first world problems).

I look fondly back on the beginning of our stay when we drove to the beach and strolled along the sand at low tide (while keeping a big distance between us and everyone else, of course). It seems like such a luxury.

Daniel practices social distancing. Photo taken from our first day at the cabin.

Cabin Fever

Unsurprisingly, I now have a raging case of cabin fever. Since Daniel is sicker than me with an *actual* fever, I don’t think it is getting to him as much. Even though he is feeling better now than he was a couple of days ago, he is still pretty fatigued and taking a lot of naps. Thankfully I don’t have a fever. I have some nasty cold-like symptoms but otherwise I’m just bored.

This cabin is a bit on the small side for the two of us to be cooped up in 24-hours-a-day, but we are trying to make it work. When Daniel and I booked the place, we were under a lot of pressure to make arrangements quickly as we didn’t want to get stuck in Europe when borders started closing. I assumed that we’d be going for walks and hikes when we arrived at the cabin, not stuck inside the entire time. In hindsight the cabin has some shortcomings for our particular situation (no stove, no washing machine, close neighbors) and we probably would’ve picked a different place if we had time to think it through.

Despite its faults, the cabin is charming and I feel comfortable here. The building has a homey wood-paneled vibe and there is a nice view of the Puget Sound from the bedroom window. High ceilings and a skylight in the living room room make this tiny house feel bigger than it really is, which is nice.

Finding Joy

While we wait for the test results, I try not to be too anxious about it and I usually succeed. Frankly, I’m more worried about the fact that we don’t have a permanent home right now. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that our traveling days are over for the foreseeable future and we’re going to have to stay put somewhere for a while. The thought of trying to rent an apartment and furnish it during this crisis is not a pleasant one. Especially when we are both sick. If a shelter-in-place order comes will we even be able to move out of this tiny cabin to someplace else? That’s what I worry about these days.

So I try to find joy when I can. I am in constant communication with my family and they help to keep me sane. I cook meals with the limited supplies and food available here in the cabin. We watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark with my stepson Brendan on Netflix Party the other night and made funny comments in the chatroom the entire time. Now that Daniel and I are back in states, we subscribed to Disney Plus and we’re finally watching the Mandalorian (baby Yoda is ADORABLE!). I signed up for an online yoga and meditation class that my close friends taught this morning. I only participated for half an hour before I was too worn out to continue but it was nice to see their smiling faces.

Most of all, I’m grateful for Daniel’s company. I’m so glad I’m not here by myself. I was feeling bummed out yesterday so he insisted on cooking dinner last night even though he was running a low-grade fever. Since there is no view from the living room, we sit in the bedroom a lot with the windows open, breathing the fresh air. It’s almost as good as being outside. Almost.

The messages of support from friends and family are also heartwarming and have been appreciated. We have some friends on the island who have offered to drop off supplies on the porch if we need it. It’s a relief to know that that option is available to us should the need arise.

Thanks everyone.

To read about the results of the text, check out my next blog post:

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Vagabonding Journey Status

Date: March 21, 2020
COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Status: Day 6

For more details on what we’ve been up to recently, see my previous posts:

2 thoughts

  1. Thanks for all the info. These are uncharted waters for all of us, and I appreciate your willingness to share and your commitment to looking for silver linings. We too are living in a “cabin”, but not quarantined, and we have lots of room inside and four acres. We also have all the modern conveniences, so I am thankful. Peace, joy and patience for us all. The fruit of the spirit is available for picking at all times 😉

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