Having Covid has completely emptied my brain of thoughts, just scooped it clean like what you do to a pumpkin when you're making a jack o'lantern. I've spent the past 9 days in my apartment, with one or both of my children at all times until finally, today, we sent Raffi back to school. Ilya went back (under duress, he had gotten very used to being at home over the course of the previous 2 weeks) on Monday. Even though I was sick, am sick, I still had to take care of both of them to some extent, even when Keith wasn't at work, because they're 6 and 3 respectively and simply do not understand the concept of me being sick. I made dinner last night for the first time in a few days, my brave great return to making dinner, and afterward I was so tired I had to lie down and scroll mindlessly through my phone. I lay down in Raffi's upper bunk but I didn't lock the door because when I do that the kids just stand outside the locked door and whine and cry until someone lets them in. They both took turns clambering up the ladder and offering me little gifts to help me feel better: hearts made out of play-doh, scribbles on construction paper, a pipe cleaner sculpture. "Wow, thank you" "I love it" "Oh, it's so cute," I said. I wanted them to disappear and I wanted to disappear.
"Do you have any dreams?" Keith asked me at some point in the past week, which for a while now has been his joking-not-joking way of asking what I need to get through the day with our kids. I told him that I wanted to disassemble the molecules of my body and have them fly through the universe for some amount of time, until this is over, and then reassemble when we are all done having Covid. He couldn't make that happen for me, unfortunately. All my molecules are still here, in the same configuration, and it's not over.
So that's where I'm at, psychologically. Physically, I don't know, it's not great but I'm definitely on the way out of the land of sickness. My final lingering symptoms are congestion and a disgusting cough. I'm taking a lot of Sudafed and trying not to do anything. I haven't taken a test to see if I can un quarantine myself because the idea of leaving my apartment makes me tired just thinking about it. This is still a million times better than I was doing a week ago.
Two Sundays ago -- so, four days after Ilya tested positive -- I felt a little tickle in the back of my throat around bedtime. When I woke up and tested positive I felt vindicated. After two years of wondering whether I had Covid, it was exciting to finally have a definitive answer: Yes! Official Covid! My throat hurt and I felt tired, but nothing else was really wrong with me. This continued through Tuesday, and I was happy to just convalesce with Ilya, reading and napping as he watched Frozen 1 ("Regular Frozen"), Frozen 2, "Olaf's Frozen Adventure" ("Anna and Elsa Christmas Movie"), Lego Frozen, Frozen Fever, and Olaf Presents. Disney, I am begging you, please expand the Frozen cinematic universe as fast as you can via whatever means necessary.
On Wednesday though I woke up and I was dying. Unfortunately this was an in-person teaching day for Keith, who had tested negative and who has continued to test negative throughout this whole ordeal. Also, Raffi had tested positive, though he had no real symptoms to speak of, so I was destined to be at home on my own with both kids for the remainder of that endless day, as well as the next one.
What was the rest of last week like? I don't even really know. I had a fever that didn't respond to advil or tylenol. I tried to parent from a prone position as much as possible, but Ilya is still young enough that he needs help with things like using the bathroom and getting a cup of water, and Raffi is just plain lazy. Neither kid was too sick to get into wrestling matches. I tried to keep them separate and glued to separate screens as much as I could. My friends wanted to know how they could help and I was too braindead to think of anything to even ask for. I finally hit on "art supplies," because Ilya has been on a painting tear. My friends came through with bushels of dress-up princess gowns, puzzles, games, paint and paper. These things bought many small but valuable breathers from screen time. Breathers from screen time are necessary to keep the screens riveting, not to protect my childrens' developing brains or anything like that. No one has had the luxury of caring about that since March 2020. Another friend sent a homemade Indian meal (!!) and other friends sent luxurious gift certificates for food delivery. I always forget what a perfect gift that is. Of course it is always possible to just order food delivered, but being giving permission/expressly told to by a gift certificate is so liberating.
I think the lowest point of the week was when I was up at 5am, barfing bile because I had such a high fever, and then Raffi got into bed with me and I was just ... awake. The rest of that day was pretty bad. I don't remember which day that was.
I scrolled to the end of Instagram, challenging the algorithm to provide me with enough content. The algorithm badly wants to sell me various probiotics and hair products even though I keep trying to teach it to want to sell me a new duvet cover. I want to buy a cheerful new duvet cover. If I could afford this kind of largesse, I would throw out the duvet cover that I experienced the most Covid under, but it's linen and has a lot of life left in it, so maybe I'll just try to sage the bad vibes out of it somehow.
I read a galley of Teddy Wayne's forthcoming book, which was so good and funny and suspenseful. Like many of Teddy's books it's about a guy who is the worst, but in a completely understandable way that you have some compassion for, at least at first. I got Keith to read it too by telling him the guy is what would happen to him if I divorced him, which is mean and probably not 100% true.
Teddy wrote this book during the pandemic but it's about 2017. I haven't managed to write a new novel during the pandemic. The most I have ever not written was in 2020 and at the time that seemed like the only way to survive. Now though as the first crop of novels written during the past two years begin to be published I'm feeling like the cost of that decision is becoming more clear. The literal cost I mean. Of course, I might not have finished another novel in the past two years regardless, but it does seem possible that I'd at least be a lot further along on the one I only managed to start in September 2020.
I'll spend the next few days resting while the kids are in school and then it will be the weekend, and then on Monday I'll fly with the kids to visit family during their (the kids') "February break." In the month of February, Ilya will have attended preschool a total of 8 days.
"Do you have any dreams?" I think so? I used to, anyway. Maybe in March I will remember what they were.