I’ve been absent lately. I haven’t really written in months, and now that I am finally putting my fingers to the keyboard, I’m struggling to find the words.
Why haven’t I been writing?
Things have been weird for me for a while. Our D/s has taken a hit and we both struggled. While in London, we decided to put it on hold for a time, which ended up being exactly the right decision. It all got to be too much for both of us.
I have several unpublished posts that I wrote towards the end of February. Knowing that I would be preoccupied with Eroticon, I planned ahead and had posts lined up and ready to go. I thought our trip to London and Eroticon would provide loads of content to write about. I was so excited to meet everyone and to experience all Eroticon had to offer. But, as we all know, that didn’t go as expected.
The Coronavirus changed everything.
We left for London on Wednesday afternoon and were somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean when Trump called for the travel ban from Europe to the US. I received a text message from my mom when we landed early Thursday morning but didn’t share the news yet with my husband. I didn’t want him to worry, and the ban didn’t yet apply to the UK. I also wasn’t surprised to find out that Eroticon had been canceled. I was devastated, but I knew it was best for everyone. We were tired and I wanted to focus on navigating the tube and finding our apartment. We took it easy on Thursday, walking around Camden town and having our lunch at the pub below our apartment. We didn’t have masks but we did arm ourselves with sani-wipes which we used just about every other second. Friday morning we woke up and had a serious conversation about whether we should stay or not. We decided to ask our two most trusted relatives and if even one of them advised us to come home, then we would do just that. I messaged my mom and he called his sister. Both of them agreed that we should finish out our vacation and make the best of it.
And, that’s exactly what we did! We had an amazing time in London. We rode the underground, the over ground, two boats, a black cab, and even got the front window seat in the top of a double decker bus. We walked miles, shopped, ate amazing food and drank loads of gin. We saw all the sights, went to the British Museum, the Tower of London and the London Zoo. We got to do all of these things with almost no one around. The city had already begun to hunker down even though they weren’t yet required to. It was eerie, but we also recognized it was a rare treat for us as tourists.
On Monday March 16th, I woke up with a slight fever. I was in denial though. Surely, it was just a hangover! I took some ibuprofen and it went away very quickly. I coughed a few times that day, but otherwise I felt great! On Tuesday morning, my fever was back and I still coughed every once in a while but it definitely wasn’t a dry cough. I was still in denial. My husband assured me that I was fine. Our flight home was Wednesday morning, and that was when I started to worry. The fever was still there, still low, but I was scared they wouldn’t let me go home. I didn’t know what to expect at the airport. Would they line us up and test us? Stick swabs up our nose and check for fever? Would they cart me off to a hospital in a foreign country, far from home, far from family? I dosed myself with more ibuprofen and we got on the tube to Heathrow.
The lines were longer and we were handed a safety print out at some point, but otherwise, it was just like any other flight. We arrived in Toronto to find that our flight to Atlanta had been canceled, but the airline was helpful and got us a hotel room and rebooked the flight for the next morning. It worked out better for us to get some rest between flights honestly. We ate a room service dinner in our hotel room, took a much-needed hot shower and got a good nights sleep. This is when things got weird.
We checked in for our flight and proceeded to the customs checkpoint. I walked up to the counter and handed my documents to the customs officer. It took me by surprise when he began to yell at me. He scolded me for traveling, and he had no patience when I tried to explain that it wasn’t bad at the time we left. I get it though. He was right. We shouldn’t have been traveling, but at the same time, we didn’t know. We didn’t know it would get this bad this fast. The warnings weren’t clear or severe enough. This man was probably scared, having to work a job that could potentially expose him or his family. He grabbed my passport and escorted me to a room with a bench and walked off without explanation, taking my passport with him. My husband was escorted to a different area. I was scared. Alone in a foreign country without my husband, without my passport, and I had no answers to the questions knocking around in my head. The fifteen minutes I sat there seemed like hours. I sent text messages to my husband to see where he was, but he never answered them. Finally, a different officer pulled out a file, looked at me and sighed in frustration, telling me that I was in the wrong room and taking me to sit with my husband. I was so relieved. We spoke with another customs officer as he typed on a keyboard and asked us questions about what we did while in London and how we were feeling. It took another half hour or so before he sent us on our way with nothing more than a strict warning to quarantine for fourteen days after arriving home.
While we waited for our flight, my husband got a terrible headache and I felt my fever begin to rise. I was still in denial though! It was stress from travel. It was lack of proper sleep. It wasn’t Coronavirus. It couldn’t be!
Our flight to Atlanta had only five passengers on it. It felt like we were on a private jet. When we landed in Atlanta, I expected to be tested or questioned. I’d read about the long lines of passengers, all crammed together, waiting to be allowed back into the country, but there was nothing. We just walked off the plane and grabbed our bags. It was bizarre.
I’d made arrangements for my mom to come pick us up from the airport, warning her that we were exhibiting some symptoms of the virus. She said she was fine taking the risk and even went to the store for us and picked up a few essentials before dropping us at our car. I couldn’t hug her. I couldn’t show her the affection she deserved for helping us out.
We were prepared for quarantine. We always have a pantry stocked with canned vegetables, flour, sugar, coffee, quinoa and beans. We have a huge freezer filled with various meats, homemade soup, chili and spaghetti sauce portioned into perfectly sized containers, dated and labeled. We always have toilet paper and paper towels, cleaning products and toiletries. We took quarantine very seriously. We had to because we became very, very sick.
Friday, I still had a low-grade fever and a slight cough, but my symptoms were nothing like I expected. They were so mild, they didn’t quite fit with the vague descriptions given by the CDC and the WHO. The information I had just didn’t convince me that I had this terrible virus.
Over the next six days, I got sicker. My chest began to ache, it hurt to take in a deep breath, and I noticed that I would lose my breath just walking to the bathroom. I became so tired and lethargic. I slept twelve hours each night and still napped during the day. Just turning over in bed or taking a shower was exhausting.
My husband’s symptoms were so different from mine. He only had a fever for two days, higher than mine, and he had a terrible headache that just wouldn’t go away. He had a cough similar to mine, infrequent and mucus producing. He was tired as well, but not nearly as severely as I was. His symptoms came and went quickly, so he was able to care for me when I was too tired to cook or clean. He made sure I ate three meals a day, he made me tea and drew a bath for me when I felt completely terrible.
On Thursday March 26th, I had a phone appointment with my doctor, and she told me that I had Coronavirus. She apologized that she couldn’t give me a test to confirm it, there just weren’t enough to go around. She told me I was doing everything right but warned me to go to the hospital immediately if my fingers turned blue or if my breathing got so bad I couldn’t finish a sentence, and she wished me luck. I felt better having a diagnosis, but it’s odd not being able to confirm it with a test. I don’t even want to get into how unprepared the US was for this pandemic, how it was grossly mishandled from the very beginning.
I woke up on Friday and my fever was gone. It was like someone turned on the lights! I had energy, I could move and breathe. I felt completely changed.
Our official travel quarantine ended on Friday April 3rd, right as our government instated mandatory Stay at Home orders. My husband’s job was deemed essential so he went back to work the following Monday. Our lives largely went back to normal at this point. We still had plenty of food and supplies, so we went to the grocery store on occasion, we ordered take-out on Friday nights, and we spent lots of time outdoors hiking or doing yard work. Because my work was not yet essential, I cleaned and organized the entire house, painted the living room and finished a 2000 piece puzzle. Then my job was labeled as essential and I started working again.
It’s strange, having gotten sick right as the virus started to spread through the US. As the world distanced and sheltered, I felt safe in this post-sickness bubble. I know that reinfection is possible, but my doctor said it was unlikely, at least for a little while. I don’t have the same fear as others. I don’t feel vulnerable anymore, and when I was vulnerable, I was too ignorant to know it. I’m careful of course. I wash my hands, keep a safe distance at the grocery store and use hand sanitizer, but I don’t yet worry about reinfection. I know that many do not feel the same, and I know that I am lucky not to experience that level of worry.
I don’t know if the virus weakened my desire to write or if I just needed a break. Maybe putting our D/s on hold made it difficult to find inspiration. I do know I really needed the creative reinvigoration I thought I would find at Eroticon. Life happens and sometimes I just have to accept that things don’t go according to plan, I have to allow myself the space to be imperfect or uncommitted. I’m here now and that makes me happy. And, that’s all that matters!