Corona Chronicles: A True Florida Story

Most of you know me to be a “reasonable” person, so I hope you will listen to this story with your “reasonable” person ears:

July 11th my 18-year-old daughter texted me and apologized for not coming home in time to drive with Dwight and me to help her sister move. Her best friend had been kicked out of the house and she and another friend went to help him. The three spent the night together at the first friend’s house.

July 12th she sent a frantic text to me saying she’d reconsidered all of her 18-year-old choices and would be doing something different with her life. The reason why? The best friend’s dad was in the ER with COVID-19.

Cue wtf responses.

July 12th my daughter’s best friend supposedly had an expedited test (48-hour return) because he was in contact with his father.

July 13th my daughter was able to be tested because she’d been in contact with the best friend. Her test was due back within 6 to 10 days.

Prior to this, I had planned a solo trip to another part of Florida for some peace, relaxation, and solitude. Shelter-in-place, etc. had gotten the best of me and I needed to leave my home. The trip was planned for July 17th-20th.

Part of my trip would include stopping and spending the night with my goddaughter, whose friend had also been staying with her. I’d decided to alert my goddaughter of the happenings and let her determine what she wanted to do. We’d wait for my daughter’s best friend’s test results to plan next steps.

Are you still with me?

creative poster with various numbers on wall on street
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

Time moved slowly. While you’re waiting for a COVID-19 test, you’re supposed to self-quarantine.

Because my daughter lives with us and her best friend had been to our home, Dwight said that should include us, too. I agreed, but I wanted to take my trip…just saying.

July 17th came. My daughter, husband, and I had been home 5 days by then. Neither my daughter nor her best friend had received their results. I decided I was still going on my trip. My goddaughter said it was fine to stay with her. (Just for the record, I offered to stay at a hotel). We wore our masks at the restaurant, as required, and she made breakfast the next day. The friend stayed at least 6 feet away from me…for the most part.

July 18th I left my goddaughter’s home, headed to my vacay spot, and received a text from my daughter. Her best friend was positive.

Damn.

His dad was back home and building a new porch for their home. I also found out his father had been coaching high school basketball this whole time. Why? His family needed money.

My goddaughter’s friend was supposed to go back home with her parents. She decided not to in case she’d been exposed. My daughter still hadn’t received her results. I briefly had a thought: what if our whole family is asymptomatic? What are we to do…remain in the house socially inactive, until a trusted vaccine surfaces?

Oh…and my daughter was supposed to begin a new job, but they told her to wait two weeks.

img_4685July 18th-20th I had a great time on my solo trip. I sprayed Lysol in the hotel, wore my mask, ordered to-go, socially distanced, and otherwise relaxed.

July 21st my goddaughter’s best friend was tested.

July 23rd my goddaughter’s friend’s test was negative. She was safe to travel to her parents’ home, so she did.

July 24th (11 days after her test), my daughter received her results: negative.

I decided to share this anecdote for a few reasons:

  1. The only narratives we’ve had are those of people dying, which I do not take lightly. However, like many things in this society we don’t seem to realize there’s a range of stories. We’ve been led to believe that we can either catch COVID-19 and die or stay home and not die. But there are many in-between situations. I’m not saying we should remove our masks and visit the nearest bar. I am saying we should begin to make decisions based on our respective perspectives and states.
  2. Being critical of the world is different than being judgmental. I’m critical of the consumerist, capitalistic society we’ve agreed to participate in. Unfortunately, the entire world relies on businesses being open. However, I do not have any judgment about my daughter’s best friend’s father having to work a job to support his household. I just don’t. I do think we all have personal responsibility. For example, if I had a basketball-playing son, he would’ve sat this season out.
  3. I know it’s fun to point fingers at those Florida beach photos, but testing is a huge problem here. Around Day 5, when my daughter was restless, I asked her a rhetorical question: How is anyone supposed to do the right thing? If my life (and others’) depends on a positive/negative test result, but it takes 11 days to receive…how can you expect an adult person, who may rely on their minimum wage job to pay rent to make the “right” choice to stay home and self-quarantine?

Finally, I hope you saw yourself in one or more of these situations, kind of like a real-life John Quinones What Would You Do if you were any of us? I’m looking forward to any comments.

kg ~ 7/27/20

66 thoughts on “Corona Chronicles: A True Florida Story

  1. The real problem is that we have been abandoned by our own government which has abdicated its responsibility to provide clear accurate guidance based on current science and understanding. Instead, we are left at the mercy of each of our own often ill-informed interpretations of what we can glean from sources available to us.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “I agreed, but I wanted to take my trip…just saying.”

    That is such a Doc thing to say! LOL!!!! I hollered.

    Girl, I’m trying to catch up on my reading!

    You are right. But I think that you and your family still acted responsibly when it came to the safety of others. I have had 2 family members who were positive but are Ok. Another one was hospitalized, no underlying conditions.

    You just can’t tell, so I say, be safe and considerate of others…. and as they keep repeating on the overhead at Publix…”We’re all in this together.” LOL!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s so hard! After months at home, we finally started letting our son see friends at their houses. Or I should say, my husband did when I was visiting my mother one weekend, so that was that. He also signed our son up for football, after he begged because his friends were signed up, again I was told after the fact. But really, I can’t blame my son. He’s 13 and very social. He will be DL in the fall. Then my brother texts me one night and said he saw our 22 year old son on the outdoor patio of a local pub on his way home from a softball game

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so frustrating. I mean we were very strict with our daughter in March, but then it was pretty much like wear a mask, socially distance, etc., etc. Good luck with your son, especially on the football team!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wild ride! And I can’t believe that we did the podcast I middle of this! I am teaching a clinical psychology course in the Fall and I will 100 percent be including our Situational Anxiety Interview as part of the curriculum plus this blog! Thank you for sharing. Are you sure you weren’t a journalist in a past life? The world needs these raw, unedited, FACTUAL accounts of what’s going on. You are a light worker (and journalist and professor and author) and so much more. Grateful for your wisdom (and friendship :)))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you Dr D! I feel much of the same about you. You’re a necessary voice on this earth. And yeeesss! It was like crazy town around here (for me anyway) for a while, but I knew I COULD NOT re-schedule our interview! The show had to go on 😉

      Thank you so much for adding our convo and this blog to your class! This is news I need to add to my gratitude list ❤

      Best of luck this semester!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is going to be what life in America will be like for a while. A lot of scares, close calls, and tragedy. I think there are a LOT of policy decisions that could have ensured we were not forced between eating and risking our life, but thats America for you.

    I totally feel you on the feelings of wanting a break and finding out you may have come in contact with the virus. Its not a good feeling and social media only seems to highlight the worst case scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this understanding of all of the things ❤ It's tough out here, unless you really are just going to stay locked in the house for the remainder of the year.

      Policy decisions are absolutely the issue here in the States. We…are…the…worst.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree that the wait for test results is excruciating, especially when you’re worried you have it and start thinking about every person you’ve recently came in contact with that you could’ve potentially spread it to!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No judgement from me! As this thing drags on, and we learn more about the virus and how it’s transmitted and get better at treating it, we all just have to make educated decisions and weigh the amount of risk we’re willing to live with. Like so many issues, there’s an enormous gray area in between the two extrmemes (“It’s a hoax!” verses “We’re all going to die!”) And I believe that the truth is in the gray area. We just don’t hear about it on the news because the news thrives on keeping us angry and at each other’s throats. Finding the truth and living peacefully requires patience and discernment, which are becoming increasingly rare. All of which is my long-winded way of repeating, No judgement from me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ann ❤

      I believe this is where we always meet, in the middle of understanding and live and let live, kinda sorta.

      So, yes…life is always presented in these binary terms, like you've mentioned: hoax vs dying. I've been exhausted with society since March and I truly wish we could all learn to dive a bit more towards the middle with everything (e.g., politics, education, COVID-19).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Its pretty hard living in a hot spot . I’m in a simlar area when it comes to Coronavirus. My fiancé and I help his bro next door take care if their 80 year old grandpa and try our best to stay away from everyone . We do wear masks and such . But the whole thing can be pretty scary . One week his brother couldn’t go home and had to quarantine at his aunt’s house . His aunt and him had to swap spots taking care of the grandfather . And my fiance and I had to help her . His brother had been exposed to Coronavirus at his tech job and there had been at least 5 cases periodically at his work since the quarantine orders in March . He was okay thank goodness and after two weeks came back but I do have one friend who had it , and know of at least one of my fiance’s brother’s coworkers that had her whole family die from the virus . The poor lady herself is having to have some therapy as the virus messed with some of her motor skills . I do feel bad for the father of your daughter’s friend . Alot of people who are laborers or contract workers are still having to work with no government aid . I do feel like at this time in US history the government ( even though they really suck now ) should be doing more safety net things for its citizens rather than sending out secret police to mess with protests . We’re supposed to be one of the richest countries but we can’t even get enough testing for people , or help people stay safe and healthy .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding these stories Krystle. This is what I’m saying. Even in your life, you have a range of experiences. I empathize with someone losing her entire family from this disease. I cannot imagine how she’s coping.

      Yeah, I’m starting to think we’re not one of the richest countries in the world, just the country with the most rich people :-/

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I heard that from my fiancé’s aunt , and it really scared me . I’ve taken a break from FB because there was just too many people on denying the disease or just saying it was hoax . Some were unfollowed and others I reported . But I really have lost patience with them and the FB platform .
        Oh yeah and for that , its definitely something I tell my family in Mexico . We have rich people , but everyone is movie star , music video rich . I try to point out the faults as most of my family that live in America and talk to family in Mexico try to paint this other reality . Its not that I dislike America , but I think the best thing is to be realistic , criticize and look at ways to fix our problems. I think its possible , but will just be an uphill battle . My fiancé and I both try to talk to people , our friends, some family ect to educate and get them think about how it could be . But there is a lot disenfranchisement.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s a lot going on and so many decisions and weighing up of risks! Your desire to get away for a bit is totally understandable. We are now forced to confront issues of ethics, inequalitity, and personal responsibility on a daily basis, but some people don’t have the privilege to do so, snd have yo expose themselves and others to risks simply to survive. I’m glad you’re all well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know the Garlands always have a lot going on over here lol And because you know me personally, I know you understand my need to get away was under the Mental Health Matters category. I literally felt as if I was suffocating.

      Anywho, thanks for understanding all that I tried to convey here. I think we all have a lot going on, to be honest, and these moment-by-moment decisions are weighing heavily on a large part of society, which hasn’t totally developed healthy coping mechanisms.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Breath is such a big part of all that matters right now. Denial of the right to breath, a virus impeding the ability to breath, confined spaces making it hard to breath, masks ensuring we don’t pass on a virus as we breath, the only way out of the stress being a focus of breath …

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Well yeah, maybe not the only way. It’s good to know what we need to recalibrate. I had a hard week last week and slowing down and not trying to immediately solve the problems really helped. I’d love a holiday by the beach and I’ll make it happen as soon as lockdown ends.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. All of this reminds me of some basics we don’t have in our country that others have: access – for everyone, not just symptomatic or high risk- to testing, and strong social programs that ensure no one will be homeless should tragedy strike and they cannot work. That’s an underlying theme in America…and the Republican majority is calling anyone getting emergency assistance “lazy” (like Reagan back in the day…but now on steroids).

    The question my husband and I ask each other is this: is it worth it? Kind of like sex without a condom…are you willing to suffer the consequences if you do it? The thing about this is, yes there are a lot of survivors, but we have no idea who those asymptomatic folks may have infected. Masks don’t prevent the spread, they lessen the spread, which people forget.

    I was emailing my massage therapist this morning in a high stress moment, to see what her safety measures were, and they literally don’t require masks for clients even though they wear them themselves. That was to me a sign that, unlike my husband’s employer where everyone who sets foot in his store has one on, they’re not taking this seriously.

    Everyone is stressed right now, but wouldn’t it be amazing to see how less stressed folks would be if they didn’t HAVE to endanger themselves by working when they shouldn’t, because of programs that took care of their basic needs?

    We haven’t, and won’t, set foot in someone’s house during this time. My husband is now the sole breadwinner and he won’t shop anywhere beyond his store, we have to keep him healthy no matter what. In the larger scheme of things, we know this is a sacrifice we can handle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for mentioning all of this.

      One thing I’d been thinking about and forgot to add, that you reminded me of is the mask situation. Although I understand the importance of masks, of course, I really am beginning to hate the rhetoric surrounding it, as if wearing a mask is THE cure. It’s just one thing that we’re all supposed to be doing, no matter who we are.

      Also, I’m appreciative of this comment because it’s part of what I’m saying…we each have to do what’s best for ourselves, depending on our health conditions and where we are in the world. What you and your husband are doing makes perfect sense to me and shows personal responsibility.

      And YES to all of the social justice inequities you’ve pointed out. We’re in a mess, pandemic or not. Our overwhelming health disparities are just further out in the open now.

      And good for the 48-hour testing, but I would expect nothing less from the West 😉

      Like

  11. What a stressful time. It’s become hard to know what reasonable risks and measures are any more; one doubts one’s own judgement, especially when close family are involved. The observation that being critical of the world is different than being judgemental is an excellent one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, and especially because information is conflicting and changing. I try to go by the CDC’s rules as well as what I know to be good hygiene, in general. Thanks for the last part. I think there is a distinction.

      Like

  12. Katherin, as I read your story, I could feel your frustration. I hesitate to go to a political slant, but the idea of waiting for a test result for 11 days is totally unacceptable. Of course, it is the reason the virus is spreading so much faster.
    It is absurd that our President sends a coordinated federal response to “vandalism” – but is not onboard with getting testing and tracing done efficiently. Our country is a failure in this regard, and as a result we will continue to have needless deaths. Certainly, testing his staff and himself is a priority with instant results. Just writing this has me angry. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s about his priorities and the virus has not been a priority. History will judge him for it.
    Sadly, what you wrote is exactly the reason things continue to worsen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Judy. I’m glad you could feel my sentiments. Politics are fine here. President Trump is not a good leader; however, I also blame all the other “leaders” who follow him and don’t do what’s best for their constituents.

      Thank you also for understanding. I wanted to show the way in which some results are going, which seem to be more common than not.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I will sit this one out, dear Dr Kathy, because I am just as confused as everyone else, including people who are supposed to know what they are doing. Granted, I have my Covid stories to tell, but my stories added to other stories will not produce definitive and expeditious test results. Your story makes this point very clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy to explain Jina! So, here, the rule is you must wear a mask while walking around the restaurant (e.g., to the bathroom, your seat, etc.). Many restaurants have social distancing rules and are working at 50% capacity. And because we’re in Florida, there is outdoor seating, which according to guidelines is the better option should you choose to eat out. I hope you didn’t think we ate with masks on lol

      Like

      1. Ha, if you only knew. I read the other day a critique on British guidelines about people eating at restaurants. The critique went something like: mash your food with your coffee and filter it through the mask 😉
        They didn’t say anything about being able to take off the mask, so I thought it was an oversight on the guidelines hahah.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Trying to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID is a convoluted and confusing affair. My sis is an essential worker, a nurse in a (thus far COVID-free) old folks home in a neighboring state. She wants to come visit me in the worst way, but we’ve decided not to risk it for now. I won the Erma Bombeck humor essay contest back in Feb and I’m dying to attend the workshop (one of the prizes). It was postponed from April to late October. I hope they will postpone it again as I don’t want to miss it and think fall is too soon, considering the surge in cases. My mom hinted about me visiting for weeks, so I did. She did not wear a mask and admitted she had been all over God’s green acre, to church, doctor appointments, the bank, the grocery, Amish country (multiple stores and eat-in restaurant), and, oh by the way, she’d recently hosted a gathering for her five sisters, who live all over the state! M-I-L invites us over (she lives 5 min away) and when we accept, she calls up the whole family as if we were having a reunion. Our nephew came home on military leave (from New Mexico). He was shipping out to Turkey the next day, so safe or not, we had him over, hugged him, etc. I mask up and wear gloves to the market, wipe down my groceries with bleach, and stay in unless I have a pressing need to go out. I have a season pass to the local amusement park that will go to waste, I’m afraid. No routine medical or dental visits. No vacations or workshops. I even cut my own hair. Family is a different animal, however, and only we can determine what level of risk we are willing to take.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s exactly my point 24-48 hours should be the rule; otherwise, I think we’re asking the public to do more than what they either may be willing to or actually can do (i.e., go to work).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know why, but this part “she had been all over God’s green acre” made me literally laugh out loud.

      I agree about determining what level of risk to take. As reckless as some may read this story to be, we really haven’t done much this summer, but for some reason, when it comes to helping someone or visiting, the guard is down.

      Oh, and I agree about the EB workshop…all academic conferences have been cancelled through next year! Maybe it can be held online, like other things?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect that’s how it will go down, considering the risks of meeting for real. Which would be disappointing beyond belief. Seats for this workshop sell out within 15 minutes. Winning the contest was my only chance at going, and there’s a lot more to it than just sitting in a classroom. Anyhoo… guess that’s how the COVID cookie crumbles. Glad my mom’s antics gave you a laugh. I got the impression she was living life as a forsaken shut-in, dying for company. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow! That’s my first gut reaction…

    I have a similar feelings about everything. I find the inundation of information from a multitude of different sources to be so overwhelming and conflicting and it’s so hard to decipher what SHOULD be done. And I think, ultimately, that an attitude of caution and a mind of “better safe than sorry” is the best route to take.

    And I think the scariest part of everything is that we lack total control over any outcomes here. We just simply don’t know everything.

    Granted, nothing I said here is advisory at all, but I certainly empathize with the situation. Obviously, my heart is filled with compassion – as inept as that might be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow is appropriate, I think lol

      I think you’re right about not knowing, and I’ve been willing to accept that part. I only know what I know, which seems to be not too much because the information changes too quickly.

      You’re a pretty compassionate person, so I’ll take it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The worst part is the waiting for test results… (Relatively speaking). My partner got tested here in Toronto and it took 48 hours. My friend in this same city knew 24 hours after testing.

    But. My partner’s doctor said the rate for false negatives is high thereby encouraging (but not forcing) him to quarantine anyway.

    I have a friend in Tampa who was tested at the same time as his girlfriend (they live together) at the same location. She received her result back under 5 days, he was still waiting after 7 days. I just don’t understand all these inconsistensies.

    I don’t know if the vaccine will solve all the problems, frankly I am not holding my breath.

    Good to read this timeline! I wish you all well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this comment! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. 7 days is too long, actually. I’m guessing funding is the reason tests cannot come back sooner? Anywho, we are doing very well (so far)…and even if there is a vaccine, I’m not sure I’ll be the first in line to “try it out” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We are faced with so many difficult situations. Choices right now are not easy. How much do we retreat from life? Can I risk being with family and friends? How will I live with myself should I pass it on to someone who does not survive? A small community not far from us fought for the right to congregate at church. They had only one active case in their community (that they knew of). Days later, there are 25 cases. This virus is like none other. The issue that runs through your storyline is the time it takes to get results. It makes harnessing this beast almost impossible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. V.J., thanks for sharing the congregating church story. That’s amazing, really. I agree that this is not anything we’ve seen, thus the scare. There are some who haven’t seen their loved ones since March, which is unfathomable to me (but at the same time understandable), and others who’ve been partying and having sleepovers :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  18. These are hard questions. I think there’s a difference between going to a crowded beach/bar/event without masks and spending time with close friends or family and trying to socially distance, wash hands and mask up.
    I’ve seen people who I know not taking precautions that seem simple enough and I’ve also been shamed/reprimanded by a friend for not wearing a mask on a trail that isn’t crowded and where it’s easy to stay 6 ft away from others.
    It’s a challenging time no matter what.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely agree (of course lol) and I think that’s the thing. At some point, we’re all going to have to make informed decisions about what to do and how to act with one another, and subsequently, deal with consequences as well.

      For example, there was no way I was going to NOT let my daughter go get her friend, who was wandering around his neighborhood.

      Liked by 2 people

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