The Streak Is Over


The streak lasted 961 days.

My wife and I did our best to avoid getting it. We took all the precautions, including wearing masks out in public when required.

In the beginning, we self-quarantined and avoided large crowds, even after some restrictions were lifted. I’ve been working from home, so my exposure to the general public has been limited. My retired wife spent plenty of time outdoors, at the barn with our horse Stormy and walking Louie the Labrador.

I worried about getting it before my surgery in June and having it canceled, but that never happened. We suffered through the loss of a loved one at the hands of this terrible sickness that has claimed the lives of over a million people across our country.

We even attended a wedding where more than 20 people were infected (none seriously), and somehow, it missed us. Virtually everyone in our circle of family and friends came down with it at some point, a few of them twice.

There were times when I thought about the Stephen King novel The Stand and how the virus in the story killed 99.9% of the population, with the other 0.1% being immune for no apparent reason. How else would you explain us not catching it?

My wife has been visiting her mother in a rehab center or nursing home, on and off, for the past 18 months. For each visit, she needs to take a test that comes up negative before they will let her enter the building. She tested negative on a Saturday visit in early November.

But she tested positive the next day.

When she called to tell me, I grabbed one of the home tests we had stashed and read the directions. I stuck the swab up both nostrils, swirled it around in the liquid, then put a few drops into the testing device. There were two lines marked “C” and “T.” If you got a red line only on the “C,” you were negative. If you got a red line on both the “C” and “T,” you were positive.

The testing instructions said to wait 20 minutes for the results. I set my phone timer to 20 minutes.

Having no patience, I checked the device after just a few minutes – two very red lines had already formed. I had no illusions of grandeur that after 20 minutes, they would disappear. I had taken a home test earlier in the year when I didn’t feel good and got only the “C” line. Two red lines appearing almost immediately were not a good sign.

I checked again after 10 minutes and saw the same result. When my phone timer went off at 20 minutes, I didn’t even have to look.

The streak was over.

Although I felt a little fatigued, I wasn’t exhibiting any other symptoms, like congestion, sneezing, or coughing. I went to see my doctor that Monday and got an official “PCR” test, confirming the positive result of the home test. Without any debilitating symptoms, I was told to keep taking Tylenol and call them if things worsened.

Unfortunately, the timing could have been better. I had scheduled a much-needed week of vacation time from work. With both of us sick, we can’t go anywhere.

We are so thankful that we were up to date on our vaccines, which may have helped keep the virus in check. Since I was on vacation anyway, I had planned on sleeping late during the week, so that mission was accomplished thanks to the virus. Instead of going out to dinner a few times, we ordered in.

I just can’t believe it finally caught up with us after 961 days. Since it was scary movie season, I fired up the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In that movie, you became a walking zombie only if you fell asleep.

After 961 days of avoiding it, that’s all I felt like doing…

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