Wednesday, September 30 2020 - 4:51 PM
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When It Hits Too Close

My heart began to beat a little too fast as my sister talked. I was pleased to hear her voice until I realized it wasn’t a happy one. I’d only been home for three days from a wedding celebration at her home in Tennessee. I’d flown back to New York with another sister and my oldest granddaughter was waiting for us, visiting from Washington State.

“I’ve got bad news,” Wendy said.

Why is it when someone says that your breathing nearly halts as you instantly imagine all of the worst things? Car accidents, shootings, and heart attacks rushed through my mind. But in two seconds I knew her reason for calling.

“Emma tested positive for Covid.”

I gasped and put the phone on speaker. Emma was the bride and only 23 years old. What in the world? Then a flood of questions came as we tried to grasp the situation.

There had been about 40 people at the wedding celebration. How had it been contracted and how long had she been sick? Should we all get tested and where could we do that on a Saturday?

“Let’s go inside and check our messenger page,” I said.

What chaos. About eight family members belong and we’d all been at the party. More questions and a few angry outbursts flew. The bride’s mom, another sister, was wracked with guilt. We tried our best to comfort her.

I hastily researched Covid testing in our area and found one urgent care facility about 15 miles away. We were able to go online and claim the last three appointments for that day. While waiting to leave for our appointments, my throat felt a little rough. That’s when a mild form of paranoia struck – for all of us. I was pretty sure I had it. What are the symptoms again? I asked my sister how she felt.

“I feel fine,” she said with a touch of defiance.

That’s how I wanted to feel, too. We hadn’t been around the bride that much, being the older members of the family. The bridesmaids and friends had more to worry about – we thought. Was everyone else getting tested? Some yes, some no, some were wait and see.

A few hours later we headed to urgent care. I imagined a big old swab up my nose. I was called in first. My initial reaction when the practitioner pulled the swab out of my nose was to giggle. Absurd, I know. It was just so surreal. The thing we’d heard about for months on the news was now happening to us. I was given paperwork telling me about an online site where I could get my results, and then dismissed. I told my sister and granddaughter it was no big deal. They glanced nervously at each other as their turns came.

It took the better part of a week for us to get our results back. Negative. But while we waited, we went back and forth about symptoms and berated ourselves for not being more careful. Perhaps we should have worn full body armor and social distanced at 12 feet for good measure. Was that coughing a Covid symptom, or had I just swallowed wrong? Until we had our results, we were tightly wound blobs of nerves and self doubt. My sister got her results first online. My granddaughter got hers the following day by phone and mine came a day later online. I was pretty sure the whole county heard our collective sighs of relief.

We laughed and fretted and comforted each other throughout the ordeal. We prayed and kept track of the rest of the family. No one else has tested positive, even the bride’s husband. When something like this hits so close to home, it puts a whole new spin on what a pandemic is and what it can do, and we’re grateful to God for deliverance.

Susan Sundwall writes from New York.

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About Susan Sundwall

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Susan Sundwall

writes from New York.

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