The schools are closing, states of emergency are being called, my 65+ father is watching my son and I've got a fever and chills.

This is not a good Tuesday.

This was my Tuesday this week amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

It started out like any other day, maybe a little on the tired side but I still went in to work.. Maybe a few minutes late ... but, still, I got in and did my shift. My stomach was a little upset that morning but, it happens. I was asked to go home early to be one less potential germ carrier in the building.  Mmkay, not going to say no!

So, I got home to my dad watching my 2-year-old son, like he usually does a few days a week, and my older kids home since schools were canceled. I started feeling a headache come on, but, again, nothing that had me worried. Dad left after a while and it was time for my son Jack to take his afternoon nap. I felt ready for a nap myself with the hopes that this growing headache, and now growing bodyaches, would disappear.

I laid down after putting my son down. And, that's when my whole perspective of coronavirus, now we're calling COVID-19, changed.

I restlessly napped waking up with a pounding headache, body aches, chills. I was watching my children, all alone and my body and mind didn't want the responsibility of caring for them because I could barely think or even open my eyes.

As Iwrestled with sleeping, I realized what was happening and it hit me: I'm sick!  Is THIS coronavirus??!?!  Do I have what everyone is trying to avoid? This mysterious, elusive, invisible enemy that is causing world leaders fear, stock markets to crash and confining people to their homes all over the world?

But, more importantly, am I the enemy now? Am I the foe? Did I infect everybody at work? Will my father get sick and be hospitalized? Has my husband carried this to work with him to infect people who are immuno-compromised or elderly?

Am I the pandemic?

After some time, my husband came home and I could calm my anxieties about my children and rest. In between my restless sleeping I still had to communicate with work and babysitters and whatever else was a nagging responsibility that my anxious mind would not let go of in order to get a restful sleep.

Also, checking the Maine CDC site and, finally, the COVID-19 symptoms.

I finally realized that my symptoms were not the same as COVID-19 and with that little ounce of reasoning that I could summon during my fever, I was finally able to give in and fade away into sleep.

Waking up, I felt better but still had this residual feeling of being tainted, of having this stigma. I felt better, but, I still had this feeling of what if I'm what people need to avoid?

I disinfected the house while still trying to acclimate my still healing body and brain from my 12-hour sickness. But, now I awoke to a day where I may have crossed that threshold of what it was like for other people who have the COVID-19 symptoms - not just some of the symptoms themselves but also the stigma and fear that takes hold when it could possibly be reality.

For those going through what everyone is trying to avoid right now, you have my sympathy and I hope this 'open letter' sheds a little awareness on something that most people aren't even thinking about when it comes to the realities of being sick right now.

Stay safe. Wash your hands A LOT. We're all in this together.

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