My husband, Aaron, and I are from the opposite ends of the Baby Boom. He was born in 1946, and I was born in 1960. We came together 25 years ago, an unlikely match, but we have each other and our children, and that’s all that counts. I am the hypochondriac and he is the voice of reason.
Before and after her bout with coronavirus, Patricia Greenberg-Grunfeld was and is a chef and nutritionist. Please join us for a virtual cooking demonstration on Tuesday June 2nd, when Patricia will show us how to make healthy dishes with staples in most fridges and pantries, a useful skill as we’re all trying to reduce our shopping trips. Details and RSVP here.
Our age gap seems to be closing. We are both now seniors, and need to pay attention to the risks that come with age. Knowing this, I was on board with home isolation as soon as the coronavirus started to spread, which seems to have really hit the news around March 8. We attended a family gathering on March 10, but made sure we did no hugging, and no shaking hands! I went food shopping once that week, had a short doctor visit to follow up on a minor surgery, and we were home for the weekend.
During this time I was arranging for our 18-year-old daughter to return home from her study program in Israel. She didn’t want to leave, but I was begging her to come back.
Aaron started to feel hot. I took his temperature, 99.6 degrees. By 10:00 PM, it was 100.7. He took a Motrin and slept through the night.
7:45 a.m.: Aaron’s temperature was 101 degrees, and he had a sore throat, sniffles and a cough.
2:00 p.m.: His temperature was 103.1. We switched over to Tylenol after hearing the warnings that Ibuprofen was harmful to corona patients. Our doctor said there is no reason to come to the hospital and get a test unless he couldn’t breathe.
Aaron’s temperature varied from 99 to 101 degrees and fluctuated all day and night. He became progressively weaker each day. Then came a roller coaster of chills, sweating, and loss of appetite. The hospital would not see him as long as he could breathe. Then the cough started.
I was so distraught with what was happening I didn’t even notice that I was getting sick too. I woke up with severe muscle aches, a sore throat, throbbing head, and the most severe pain across my back. My temperature was 99.9 degrees, and by that evening, I was 101.6 degrees.
Aaron’s cough was so bad all he could do was drink tea and sports drink. He was so weak he couldn’t hold the Tylenol in his hand. We tried Tamiflu and Z pac, but no improvement.
I was very lucky! My symptoms were more mild so I continued to take care of my husband. I didn’t notice at first that I had lost my sense of taste and smell, tell-tale signs of coronavirus. This is strange since I’m a chef, but I was so preoccupied with my husband, I suppose that’s why I didn’t realize it till later.
His fever hovered from 100 to 102 degrees, and he was down 11 pounds by then and coughing up blood. The hospital would not see him as long as he could breathe.
This was the height of the illness for both of us, and wouldn’t you know it that’s when our daughter finally returned from Israel. We sent a friend to get her at the airport. When she got to the house, she stripped everything off, threw it in the laundry, and quarantined herself away from us. The pain of not being able to touch your child for two weeks was excruciating!
Aaron’s fever ranged from 99 to 102 degrees. We were always hopeful when it came down but then it would go up again. During the time, I arranged for a mobile nurse and X-ray tech to come to the house and take a chest X-ray. The results showed no pneumonia and no chest infection.
Our daughter was staying in her room with her own bathroom on one side of the house, and we took turns going into the kitchen. She was able to prepare her own meals, and we texted or yelled across the house to communicate.
Aaron’s fever started to come down to between 98 to 100 degrees, and then finally stayed at 98.6
I no longer had a fever and I was able to get up and walk around. My taste and smell was slowly returning, and I was so grateful that we were recovering.
Aaron was still getting tired easily but had a normal temperature. The most remarkable part in this is that he never complained once during this whole experience.
We survived accidents, surgeries, the loss of all of our parents, financial ups and downs, but nothing has ever come close to the fear I have felt during the three weeks he was sick. Watching my husband become so weak, so thin, and so sick was harrowing. Yet our story is a happy one, because we are here to share it with you, and to let you know that most people make it to the other side. Our daughter never contracted the virus, thankfully.
We are positive with COVID antibodies so we are very happy it is behind us. We have been assured that we are not contagious. Unfortunately our doctors are not sure how long we will be immune. We are disappointed that our daughter doesn’t have the antibodies because this means she has to continue being diligent and it causes us a lot of fear.
I feel the experience has changed me in some key ways. I’m so much less concerned about my possessions. I started out being terrified that we would run out of what I thought were necessities, and now I see how much we can live without if we have to. Having been through this experience, going forward, I would like to help people learn to live with less, love themselves more, be happy and grateful everyday.