The day began with a lot of stress as my first news from Dan came:
I have felt so helpless; having not seen my husband in a week, having no say in his care, not being there to stay with him help him as I normally would have done…it has been a true nightmare. However, my nightmare has been nothing compared to what Dan has faced alone in the hospital. My heart breaks for the countless families dealing with this situation, some losing loved ones without being there to say goodbye. This virus is true evil.
I left soon after that to get my second test for COVID-19. Dan and I swear that our first test almost three weeks ago was a false negative. We were both so sick in a way we never had been, and that first day of testing in Birmingham was incredibly chaotic- they had no idea how many people would show up wanting to be tested- it was madness. We’ll never know for sure, though.
I was really proud of UAB and how they had organized the testing. Instead of the disorganized three hour fiasco we faced the first time, there were many police officers there to direct traffic and keep things moving smoothly. They had a special radio station with instructions, different stations along the way for information to be collected, and large hand-held signs so that you did not open your window until the exact moment of testing. The test itself is not pleasant- the swab is inserted into the nasal cavity and feels like it is scrambling your brain. I will hopefully find out the results by this evening, making how I will deal with quarantine with Dan much more clear.
I took Marley on a walk when I got home, looking for moments of beauty along the way. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Marley and Shiva during this time; they have given me purpose, as well as providing company and affection- even Shiva, my normally wacky Tortoiseshell cat. It still amazes me that people are out in public gathering with others, acting like nothing has changed when everything has changed.
When I spoke with Dan on FaceTime, he seemed much improved. He had met with this fifth doctor of the week (they are rotating crews at the hospital during the outbreak), and this doctor said Dan’s abdomen X-ray looked good and after listening to his bowels in the area that had been blocked, said that things seemed to be working as they should be. The hopeful news: if Dan could keep solid food down and if his incessant and painful hiccups stayed away, the doctor would consider releasing Dan. I burst into tears when he told me this news. Other than an overseas trip for my professional organization, this is the longest we have been apart in seventeen years.
Yesterday was intense yard work; today my mission was to finish getting the house ready for Dan to come home. I had been searching for Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and bleach for two weeks, but Birmingham shelves are completely bare. People have panic-shopped until there is nothing left. I mentioned this to my best friend and she put the word out on Facebook to see if anyone could help, as I will have to constantly clean surfaces once Dan is home. There are true angels out there; several people offered to send items, and our former music secretary left a bag of wipes and sanitizer on our stoop. Times like these unveil the real in people, both good and bad; I am so grateful to see so much of the good and will pay it forward.
I cleaned right up until our 7pm Gainey family Zoom meeting. The special treat was that Dan was going to join us briefly. As we waited for him, we enjoyed talking and laughing while we shared a glass of wine together virtually. I love this family, and we all decided that a gift of this sad time is that we are making a more concerted effort to connect with each other.
Dan couldn’t get the Zoom link to work, but as I was in my music studio and had my large iPad on a stand set up for lessons, I FaceTimed Dan and turned my phone on him so that his family could see him as he gave them an update. It made my heart so happy to have us all together, even virtually. Technology can be a huge pain, but it is also brings an amazing gift of connection. At the end of Dan’s update, he casually said, “…and my doctor said I can be released to go home tomorrow.” and cheers erupted from the Gainey family and tears of joy from this wife.
This morning I am waiting to hear from Dan. If he had a good night, I will be able to bring him home to quarantine; if not, more waiting. This is my busiest teaching day, but my students are aware that we may need to go to plan B if I get the joyous news that it’s time to bring Dan home. Severe storms are predicted for this afternoon, but I don’t care; I would swim through a sea of sharks to bring him home to me. It’s time for my heart to become whole again.