Our Week

This week has been intense, to say the least. Anel, Amalia, and I have all been over here just trying to survive day by day hour by hour. Surviving self-quarantine. Surviving what everyone else is surviving.

On top of it, we’re all sick but I’m the only one who qualified for COVID testing because of my medical history. We still don’t have the results back yet, but based on what’s going on, I’d say there’s a decent chance they will be positive.

This is our story…

We started social distancing at the end of last week. On Saturday evening, Anel started feeling a tingling in his throat, but he thought it was allergies because his eyes were also itchy so he took a Zyrtec and went to bed. To be safe, he slept in the guest room, I disinfected every doorknob, high-touch surface, and Amalia and I washed our hands to the point of no return. On Sunday morning he had a full-blown fever, body aches, and a dry cough. We made him stay in the guest room all day except to come outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air.

His doctor had him call our local COVID hotline and they told him he didn’t qualify for testing because he didn’t have any underlying issues. They (and his doctor) told him to stay at home, rest, and drink liquids… Everything you hear on the news.

So we continued our self-quarantine and Amalia and I tried to make the best of it. But on Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I have had a cough for over a month (unrelated) so I thought if I got it, I’d at least get some sort of warning. But it came on hard and it came on fast. By Monday morning I was shaking hard and the body aches were intense. Each cough felt like fire in my lungs.

I called my doctor and she said I should call the hotline to see what they say since I have a frequent history of bronchitis and pneumonia. So I called, assuming they’d turn me away. But apparently I was considered high risk and they urged me to come in. Despite that fact, I didn’t want to go. So many people out there would kill to get a test right now and I’m young(ish) and healthy. But the person on the hotline convinced me that based on my history I should go in because my case could potentially be worse and I might need further treatment. You know, something you definitely want to hear when you’re potentially sick with a global pandemic.

I also felt terrible leaving Anel with Amalia because he looked and felt like a real zombie. #momguilt They sent me to Stamford Hospital’s ER where I walked in and was handed a mask upon arrival. They asked why I was there and I told them I needed to be tested for COVID-19.

They pointed me to a corner of the waiting area designated for the potential Coronavirus cases and took down my info from 6-feet away. When they also decided I qualified for testing, a security guard escorted me to another building that was double locked. I walked in and it was like a scene out of a movie. There were about 20 people waiting to be tested, all sitting as far from each other as possible, wearing masks and looking as miserable as I felt.

They eventually called my name and brought me into a back room. Two nurses took my vitals while a doctor asked me a bunch of questions. At the end of that, he said they were going to test me for strep throat and the flu first, and if those came back negative, they’d test for COVID. I sat in the waiting room shivering in my mask and trying to hold it together while I waited for the results. Never have I ever wished for the flu until that moment.

20 minutes later they came out to tell me that both were negative so they would do the COVID test next. It was a swab in each nostril and a mouth swab. Uncomfortable but totally fine. They informed me I would get results in 3-5 days. Don’t even get me started on that timeline… Today is day 4, FYI. No results yet.

When I got home from the hospital, things went downhill fast. The two worst symptoms for me personally have been the headaches and skin pain which is interesting because Anel didn’t experience either of these. The headache feels like the worst unrelenting hangover of your life x10. Motrin helps for a few hours but it always comes back about an hour before I can take another dose which is a fun little surprise every 5 hours. And the skin thing was really weird. It’s gone now but lasted for the first 3 days. Anything that touched my skin hurt. Taking a shower hurt. Clothes hurt. I couldn’t wear a bra because the tightness hurt.

So that day I did the bare minimum but we were setting up Anel’s online group workouts and I had sponsored content to post. Monday was my toughest day. We were both laying on the couch wrapped in blankets while Amalia played that evening and apparently I fell asleep because I woke up and it was dark and Anel had already put her down. He’s been amazing throughout all of this.

That night, Amalia woke up with a fever. She was up for about an hour, shivering until her Tylenol kicked in. Then she slept until noon the next day. When we went in to get her, she could barely open her eyes. She was weak because she hadn’t eaten much the day before and was just listless and sleepy. The pee in her diaper was brown. Any parent knows how hard it is to see your child in pain. That was the first time I cried. I got scared and I felt sad and helpless and sick as a dog on top of it.

She didn’t want food or water so I made her drink Pedialyte and eat as many popsicles as I could get into her little body. At one point I had her chewing on ice just to get hydrated. We sat and watched a movie as she dozed in and out of sleep with a washcloth on her head, wrapped in blankets on my lap.

While we were zoning out, Anel had to see his clients virtually which he probably should have skipped but we’re really nervous right now about our businesses so he pushed through it. He’d come up from each session looking as white as a ghost. He has the immune system of an ox and rarely gets sick so to see him in this state is shocking to me.

A few hours later, Amalia asked to nap and slept for another 3 hours. She woke up in bad shape again so we went back to movies and popsicles. That night she was up on and off all night so I slept in her bed to comfort her. We both sweat through our clothes and had to change twice. It wasn’t a great night if we’re being honest here. But the good news is that she popped up at 7am and said she was ready to go downstairs.

On Wednesday she had a little bit of smoothie and a bite of toast which felt like a win, and she chugged water all day. She was able to play and read books and do low-energy activities. Anel and I were both still in pain and feverish but had to work and take care of her so we took turns and just did it.

But it was pretty much survival mode. The kid has had more screen time this week than she has in her whole life I’m pretty sure. I had to stop looking at Instagram because everyone else is posting schedules and activities for their kids and here I am just trying to sit upright and eat a saltine.

Work-wise, I had two blog posts lined up from last week so I let them go live. But I had terrible anxiety over my client work. Out of everything going on, that is what I couldn’t stop focusing on. But that’s how my anxiety works sometimes. Instead of focusing on the major issues (you know, like a global pandemic and a sick toddler), I focus on things I can control. But this time I really couldn’t do much. Every time I tried to work it felt like a fog rolled in over my brain and my head would start to hurt. I eventually just had to stop.

As far as respiratory symptoms go, we all three of us have a pretty intense cough. It started dry then got deeper and now (sorry if TMI) stuff comes up when we cough. It feels like a burning in our chests when we do cough but besides that, neither of us has shortness of breath which is what my doctor said I really need to be looking out for.

Wednesday night, Amalia’s fever spiked again before bed and she was inconsolable saying Mommy, I’m so cold which just broke my heart, but yesterday she was fever-free. Just very low-energy and still not eating much. Her pediatrician said to keep pumping fluids and let her rest as much as possible so that’s really all we can do right now. She has definitely bounced back quicker than we have which is the best news of all here.

That is where we are now. We are getting better and better each day. We will be ok. Anel says he’s at 75% and while I’m not quite there yet, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I no longer have a fever and my body aches are pretty much gone. My headache is still there but getting better and the cough is unrelenting. I just feel like I’ve been hit by a giant bus. Very tired and kind of dazed out.

While everyone may experience it differently, it was most certainly nothing like a regular cold for us. It was physically and emotionally trying. The best way we can explain it is that it’s like having the flu with bronchitis and a hangover. So if that sounds fun, by all means, go out and shake some hands…

Obviously that’s a joke. Please stay home. I cannot imagine anyone who is old or sick doing well with what we went through. Please. Please. Please stay home. Please follow the CDC guidelines. If not for yourself then for everyone else.

But also know that people do survive this. We did. We’re almost on the other side.

As far as my anxiety goes, it has been oddly in check besides the work stuff. I think being sick hasn’t allowed me to think about much else so I’ll report back on that anxiety front once I feel better.

Our friends and family have been so supportive and loving and check-in on us by text or phone calls multiple times a day. One of my friends even texted me to look out my window and just waved and smiled from her car. She said, “I thought you could benefit from seeing a friendly face.” You can imagine the waterworks when that went down. It was so touching and it’s a great way to make anyone feel a little better right now.

One thing that this experience has taught me is how people can come together in a really beautiful and powerful way during the hardest times. I’m sending each and every one of you love and hope and support from our tiny corner of the world.

I’m sure I forgot some pieces of this story. My brain still isn’t functioning at 100% so forgive me if there are holes. I’ll fill them in as I get questions or as I think of things. And I will, of course, keep you all posted on our test results.

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  1. Katherine said:

    I am so sorry you had to go through this. I cannot believe they wouldn’t test Amalia. I know they say it’s not impacting children but how do they know if they don’t test! We are staying home and taking it day by day. While I am salaried employee it’s been incredibly difficult to work at home with a 4 month old. I know everyone is in the same situation and doing they best they can. Hope this weekend brings more rest and recovery.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  2. Maeve said:

    Your blatant disdain for the healthcare workers who treated you at the hospital is sickening. These people are putting their lives at risk, every single day. Not everyone has the luxury and privilege of self-quarantining. They have families and loved ones who are at risk too, yet they come to work every day to serve people like you. And all you can do is complain that they asked you the same questions and that the test results are taking too long. Obviously it is scary that you think you and your family may have this disease, and frustrating that the results takes longer than you would like, but these people are working round the clock to treat those who have it and try to find a cure. Not to mention the risk to themselves and their loved ones. How rude that you have nothing but selfish complaints.

    3.20.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That was not meant to be disdain. I am merely trying to show how thorough they are being. It’s a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. I would never in 1 million years complain about that. How dare YOU accuse me of that. I have zero complaints about the healthcare workers who are working their asses off for the greater good. I cried at the hospital and thanked them for what they did. I changed my copy so that it’s not misconstrued again. I hope you are able to have a peaceful day.

      3.20.20 · Reply
      • Missy D. said:

        I honestly didn’t get any complaining or disdain from your post Julia. I commend you for talking honestly about what you all went through. I don’t know you personally, but have always enjoyed your posts and LOVE anything you post regarding Amalia. She is such a precious little girl. Keep doing what you do, I love it. Shame on people for posting such disheartening comments during this terrible time in our country. XXOO

        3.20.20 · Reply
    • Zoe said:

      Slow your roll Maeve! She didn’t do any of that. How about your complete insensitivity with regards to Julia and her family going through a very scary experience? Give her some grace. If you follow her here you know Julia is as kind hearted as it gets. I’m shocked that your go to would be to criticize her instead of giving her love. The world does not need your negativity right now.

      3.20.20 · Reply
    • Megan said:

      Uncalled-for.

      3.20.20 · Reply
    • Annie said:

      YIKES, Maeve. What a comment to post when you’re well aware that this was a horrible and scary week for her and her family. You know in your heart she meant no wrong.

      Sending a little grace your way.

      3.20.20 · Reply
    • Francesca said:

      Maeve…Totally didn’t get that from her writing! You seem on edge and that’s to be expected right now. I hope you can find some peace and love right now. Don’t take it out on someone you don’t even know.

      Julie, I hope you don’t take what she said to heart. I hope you and your family feel better soon. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      3.20.20 · Reply
    • Maggie said:

      I’m a physician working in the frontline and do not feel she said anything negative. Hoping a speedy recovery for you Julia and your beautiful family.

      3.21.20 · Reply
    • Dana said:

      I did not get that impression at all. Instead I was reading the account of someone going to get tested and the fear she felt. We are all scared and fearful and if anything should come out of this situation is being thoughtful of other people’s experiences. Kindness and empathy is so necessary right now. Please be kind to others and put yourself in there shoes. Every day we are waking up to anew normal and just trying to do our best ❤️

      3.21.20 · Reply
    • Dana said:

      I did not get that impression at all. Instead I was reading the account of someone going to get tested and the fear she felt . We are all scared and fearful from the uncertainty and if anything should come out of this situation is being thoughtful of other people’s experiences. Kindness and empathy are so important right now. Please be kind to others and try to put yourself in their shoes. Every day we are waking up to a new normal and we are all navigating the best we can. Let’s battle the virus not each other❤️

      3.21.20 · Reply
  3. Megan said:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a difficult & scary time in your lives. I’m so glad you are starting to feel a little better, and I’m sending lots of love to your family! xo

    3.20.20 · Reply
  4. Mackenzie said:

    Julia. I am SO sorry. What an intense, heartbreaking week you have had. I can’t imagine the worry and fear of the whole family being sick, in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis. Sending all the positive vibes and thoughts, and hoping that your test comes back negative. Hang in there – we are all doing our best <3

    3.20.20 · Reply
  5. Melissa NICHOLS said:

    I pray you guys are better soon. Certainly not what i was expecting to read on the blog today. Thanks for sharing.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  6. A said:

    Thank you for sharing this story of strength and perseverance! I hope you all feel better soon. Sending health and good vibes x

    3.20.20 · Reply
  7. Angry former reader said:

    So I was furious with you over the weekend. They closed Compo beach because of rampant spread of COVID-19 in your town and your solution was to take Amalia to the next town over’s beach. I thought you were irresponsible and selfish at that decision, but now this brings it to a new level. If she needed to ride her bike, do it outside in your neighborhood. There is a reason they shut them down! People like you and your family who thought they were the exception and would be fine!

    3.20.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      We were outside and touched nothing or no one. Literally. I made her take home even every single shell she touched. We did not come within 15 feet of another human being. We are all doing our best here. Please try to remember that.

      People at Compo were letting their kids go on the playground and play with other kids. This was different in my opinion. We are allowed to be outside and follow the CDC guidelines.

      3.20.20 · Reply
  8. Annie said:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Julia. It’s SO important for others to understand that this virus is hitting young, healthy people. PLEASE take care of yourself as much as possible. Take a break if/when you need to – your readers will still be here. I hope you and your family feel much better soon.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  9. Susan said:

    Julia, you are so strong! I am so sorry that you have had to endure this. Keep doing what you’re doing, resting, and this too shall pass. Sending prayers and good vibes your way for your whole family!

    3.20.20 · Reply
  10. Mo said:

    Wow! People are assholes! (Talking about commenters) So sorry you have had to go through this and then have gotten negative reactions on top of it for things you can’t control?! I hope you and your family start to feel better very soon. I also question the numbers we are seeing in the news… for instance with your fam the number is potentially 3 when only 1 has been tested. I wonder if for every sick person there are one to two other very sick people within close proximity that don’t “qualify”. So the number could be double? Triple? Yikes. Down the rabbit hole I go!

    3.20.20 · Reply
  11. Lalena said:

    I’m so sorry you and your family have gone/are going through this. I’m glad to hear you all feel on the mend and I hope you feel 100% soon. Praying for everyone out there.

    I was curious why it’s so important to know the results of the COVID test immediately?
    Obviously yes, we want to understand who tests positive for it but outside of knowing you’re actually positive, will anything change once finding the results? Isn’t the recovery plan to stay home, rest, drink fluids, etc.? Would people not do that anyway since they already feel so ill?

    I understand in your case it might be different since you have pre-existing factors that could potentially get you admitted but if Anel doesn’t, isn’t it better that the test is saved for someone else? (I understand the lack of tests is an entirely different conversation…). This is not meant to be rude or ignorant, I’m just trying to understand. Truly. Not meant to come off rude or confrontational.

    Sending lots of love to you, your family, and friends.

    3.20.20 · Reply
    • Abby said:

      I would think the results matter because the quarantine period would differ. With other types or viruses, you may not be contagious for as long of a period.

      3.20.20 · Reply
      • Alison said:

        I would also think that if it comes back as a positive, you’d want to warn those you were in contact with during the incubation period to be extra mindful of symptoms and self quarantine… its always better to know.

        3.20.20 · Reply
    • patty said:

      1. To track the pandemic. We all need to be globally minded right now.
      2. To know when it’s safe to be around anyone else – requires 2 negative tests.
      3. To inform anyone the family saw in the days prior to becoming ill.

      3.20.20 · Reply
    • Caroline said:

      Healthcare workers can probably go back to work faster if they don’t actually have COVID.

      3.20.20 · Reply
  12. Kristin said:

    You’re the best Julia. You’re doing what all of us are doing, trying our hardest with what we know, while trying to remain sane by going on walks, being outdoors while social distancing, etc. It’s inevitable that that we all will probably fall in the categories of becoming sick with this, unknowingly pass it to others, or in some cases both, despite our best efforts. It’s an unbelievable amount of ongoing stress to endure and you’re brave to put your story and family out there as a warning and assist for others who have a high probability of having a similar experience.

    Best wishes for ongoing recovery and looking forward to supporting your content as we all weather through this.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  13. Ali said:

    Thank you for sharing with us! What an awful ordeal for you and your family. I’m glad to hear things are getting somewhat better, but wanted to reach out to tell you I appreciate your transparency and willingness to share during this awful time.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  14. Karla said:

    What your family is going through is really scary. I hope you all feel well very soon!

    3.20.20 · Reply
  15. oh my word.. I feel for you and your whole family..thank you for sharing this..serves as a great (in the literal sense of that word) reminder to all of us.. I am local to you and even though I am staying home, will need to go out for food sometime soon and can bring you stuff if you need it.. <3

    3.20.20 · Reply
  16. Sara said:

    I’m so sorry you’ve been sick. I am sending you thoughts of each day bringing back your health. <3

    3.20.20 · Reply
  17. Shannon Given said:

    There is nothing worse than having a sick child. I’m so sorry you are going through this. My heart is in my throat worried about Eva’s baby as you were at the birth just days/hours before you showed symptoms. What precautions is she taking?

    3.20.20 · Reply
  18. Erica said:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is very helpful. Ignore the rude comments and keep us posted

    3.20.20 · Reply
  19. Cara said:

    Longtime reader here. Sending so much love and so many positive vibes to your family. Was so disappointed to read the truly rude comments above, especially at a time like this. Get well soon, Julia, Amalia, and Anel!! We’re all wishing you the best Here’s to the bright times that lie ahead for you and your family

    3.20.20 · Reply
  20. Colleen said:

    I wish you and your family all the best as you recover! This is a very scary time, and I so appreciate reading a detailed first hand account of how serious this virus is from someone who is presumptively positive for it.

    It’s disheartening to see how abhorrently some people are still behaving. Now is not the time to attack each other, it is the time to come together against a mutual enemy.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  21. Christina said:

    I hope you feel better soon! I have heard the news that nsaid’s May make symptoms worse? Maybe try Tylenol and see if that helps with the headaches. Thinking of you all and hoping for a speedy recovery!

    3.20.20 · Reply
    • Julie said:

      Was going to mention the same! There’s been a few articles indicating Motrin isn’t nearly as helpful as Tylenol in treating this (and can actually worsen some symptoms.) Worth a try! Feel better, thank you so much for sharing your family’s story. You guys are awesome and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers for a speedy recovery for all.

      3.20.20 · Reply
  22. Jessica said:

    Julia – I’m sorry this has happened to you and your family. You did nothing to deserve it. This virus, and all it has wrought and will continue to wreak, is truly dreadful.

    I’m a healthcare provider, and had my first exposure earlier this week. I also have a chronic illness. I am scared. Hearing your story gave me some peace. Sharing this took bravery. Very sincerely, thank you.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  23. patty said:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sending you healing thoughts.

    As for some of the commenters in this posts: Take a deep breath. Think about the example you want to set for your family / friends — this ain’t it. Be well.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  24. Lindsey said:

    Thanks for sharing your story. What an amazing story of resilience. Sending love to you and your family.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  25. Michelle said:

    Get well soon

    3.20.20 · Reply
  26. lynn said:

    You were very honest and informative telling your illness story and timeline. I know by now you friends in the room during the birth of your friends baby and the new mom, her kids, ex , midwife and new baby’s pediatrician and staff are all aware of their possible exposure to Cvirus. I am sure by now they too are self quarantine themselves and their families, co-workers etc.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  27. Peggy Cutter said:

    Dear Julia,
    Thank you so much for your post and your concise details of the illnesses you, your dear hubby, and precious daughter have been experiencing this week. I do not have the words to say how sorry I am for this difficult week. Thoughts, prayers and hugs ( even though I am a stranger) to all of you.
    I was at Comp Beach with my husband on Monday for some solace. I was hoping to see you! One day I hope I do! I always enjoy your posts that have so much passion, openness and honesty! Keep on keeping on! xo

    3.20.20 · Reply
  28. Stephanie said:

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

    3.20.20 · Reply
  29. Aly said:

    Julia, you are so brave to share this story. There is too much stigma for those with the virus and not enough personal stories for people to understand the human side.
    The news is only reporting numbers and political figures…not about the personal experience.
    I think a lot of people who have it are afraid of sharing what has happened because they could face anger and hate (like some of the comments above). And I believe those comments were also trigged by someone else’s state of mind at this time. When people are in fear, they are not thinking with kindness or compassion.
    We need to rally as a global community right now! Sending love to you and everyone.

    3.20.20 · Reply
  30. Lauren said:

    I hope you all get well soon.
    Your story is very helpful to all of us. Please keep us posted.
    Being, young, fit and having kept a healthy diet will all play in your favor. This shall pass

    3.20.20 · Reply
  31. Margot said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Julia. Really appreciate all of the candid information. I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this firsthand. I hope you, Anel, and Amalia feel better soon! You will get through this!!

    3.20.20 · Reply
  32. Jaclyn Casali said:

    Hi, I have never before commented on any blog but I felt compelled to thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you and your lovely family a full recovery.
    Best
    Jaclyn

    3.20.20 · Reply
  33. Caitlin said:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever commented on a blog before either! I also felt compelled to say – thank you for sharing your story – that took a lot of bravery. I hope that you all get better soon. <3

    3.20.20 · Reply
  34. Caroline McKelvey said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I hope you are feeling better!

    3.21.20 · Reply
  35. Shannon said:

    Thank you for being so candid and sharing. Westport has been hit really hard. Wishing you all a speedy recovery!

    3.21.20 · Reply
  36. Kara said:

    Praying for you guys! I’m so sorry that you guys got hit with this, but am relieved to hear it’s improving. Praying for a quick recovery. Sending lots of love to you and your family!

    3.21.20 · Reply
  37. libby said:

    wow, so glad you are all starting to feel better. so scary!

    3.21.20 · Reply
  38. Lisa McGann said:

    Thinking of you and your family – hang in there – it sounds as though the worst is behind you. Thank you for taking them time and energy (I’m sure everything is a huge effort now) to share what you went through. I think all of us out here are scared, worried, and overwhelmed. To hear a personal story of perseverance and recovery helps. Take care of yourself.

    3.21.20 · Reply
  39. Regan said:

    I appreciate hearing about your experience. I’ve read/watched your stories and I don’t think I would have said or done anything differently than you have (although I don’t have kids so I doubt I’d have as much grace as you have had worrying and taking care of your daughter). Bless your thick skin! I hope you all recover soon! (Also a fellow CT resident if you ever need anything)

    3.21.20 · Reply
  40. Ashley M. said:

    I am so incredibly sorry, Julia, Anel, and Amalia. My heart is truly breaking as I read this. Thank you for the vivid detail here… we need to hear it. Sending you all a sanitary virtual hug… I hope you’re 100% again very soon.

    3.22.20 · Reply
  41. Liz said:

    I’ve been following your IG updates over the last week, and am so glad you’re all starting to feel better. Thank you for taking the time to share the experience. Also, I’m really over this epidemic of “quarantine shaming” that has taken over the internet! Most of us are just doing the best that we can in our own unique circumstances.

    3.23.20 · Reply