Nino, my still-an-ex husband, got out of his really-just-a-mattress-on-the-floor bed for the first time two days ago, so that he could go get a test for Covid.
I thought my son would have the scoop on how to get a Covid test because he volunteers at a very busy needle exchange five blocks from our apartment.
He said to me, “Why do you think I would have information about Covid?”
The structure of his question and tone of his voice made me certain he was about to tell me I’m making some sort of assumption that reveals something offensive about me. It’s like when someone makes a racist joke and you’re supposed to say, “Can you explain to me what part you think is funny?”
I am not walking into his trap. I say, “I thought you’d have insider information about Covid because on days you go to the needle exchange I think you might lick the sidewalk outside our apartment building.”
My son looks at me like I’m crazy, which, trust me, is preferable to other looks he gives me.
My other family members have information about Covid testing.
My mother lives in NYC and she says the lines in NYC are 3.5 hours long and Task Rabbits are making tons of money waiting in line for people.
My brother in San Francisco says no one can get tests this week because no one is supposed to be traveling for Thanksgiving.
My brother in San Diego says when there are tests, the line is three blocks long.
My brother who lives in Montana says his local school board announced that they were going back to 100% onsite learning, as if their town has a magical version of Covid that prevents kids from getting it in school.
When Nino arrived at the testing place in Boston the line was about five blocks long. Everyone wanted to get away for Thanksgiving. The healthcare workers were pissed: We are in the middle of a pandemic! Support healthcare workers! Get sliced turkey delivered to your doorstep! Then the healthcare workers told people to go home. No more tests.
“Wait,” one said, “Except for you. You look terrible.” She walked Nino over to the emergency room. His temperature was 103. They gave him a Covid test and then an IV. The test takes a day but the doctor told him he should assume he has Covid and that the rest of the household should start quarantining.
I am sure I’m not the first person to immediately risk exposing everyone at the liquor store. But believe me, I won’t need to go back for a while.
The next day the ER doctor, who is not even working at that point, calls Nino to tell him personally that the test came back negative. But the doctor says the tests don’t really work, and he is near certain that Nino has Covid and he says (I am summarizing here) that right now doctors have to pretty much guess and he is calling Nino because it’s really important that Nino acts as if he has had a positive test. The doctor basically tells Nino it is his duty to his community to act on doctors’ orders and not on the result of the test.
I am shocked that this is how doctors are functioning right now. Also, WTF. We don’t even have tests that work???
The next day my younger son wakes up with chest pain. I run through possibilities: Acid reflux. Heart attack. Covid. The one to hope for is acid reflux for sure. So I give him Pepto Bismol. He has a fever. I guess that rules out a heart attack.
I have a flashback to two weeks ago when my older son was telling me he had chest pains and a dry mouth. I told him every high school senior feels that way when college applications are due. I told him it’s normal. He told me he was sweating and also chilled. I took that to mean they cancel each other out and he should do another round of edits on his common application essays.
The good news is, college applications are done, everyone else in the family is knocked out with maybe-Covid, and I think I’m about to have a four-day-break where no one will even remember that I’m supposed to be cooking for Thanksgiving.