“When it rains, it pours.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve texted or spoken that expression in recent days. After my dad being diagnosed with leukemia and having to spend 18 days in the hospital with a long road still ahead, the doctors gave him the ‘okay’ to go home. But this doesn’t mean we get to leave his troubles in the lobby. There will be multiple appointments per week, with at least two more rounds of chemotherapy, transfusions, weekly checkups, physical therapy and probably many other things I’m not thinking of.
On top of all that, right before all this started, my mom accepted a new job. There’s nothing a new employer likes better than finding out his new assistant (she’s a nurse) will be having to duck out the door multiple times per week! But we made a plan to make it easier on her. I would come up for some of the appointments and work out of their house for a couple days a week and my brother, who lives in Maine, would fill in where necessary.
Early Monday morning, I met with Fisherman writer and friend Rowan Lytle for some carp fishing and filming. When my alarm went off at 4 a.m. I felt a little more run down than I typically do for a fishing wakeup call. I had a dull headache too, and wondered if maybe there was some kind of pollen being sucked in through the fan in my bedroom window. We met up and got some great video, Rowan caught a decent number of fish and I proceeded to lose every fish I hooked—sometime fishing is like that!
By the time we were walking back to the parking spot, I was feeling pretty wiped out, scratchy throat, tired, headache… etc. But still nothing worse than a minor cold, just annoying. And certainly not up to par with the flu or when I had COVID back in 2020.
Chemo pretty much destroys the immune system of the person receiving it, so I called my mom and told her I’d probably have to wait until the end of the week to help out, “just to be safe.” In that same conversation she gave me the news that my dad would be coming home that evening. In an effort to be overly-cautious, I pulled one of the COVID tests out of the closet and read the directions.
With all of the components of the test laid out in front of me, I swabbed each nostril and then went through the convoluted sequence of preparing the sample, ringing out the swab, tapping it on the table, taking the cap off the nozzle and carefully squeezing three drops of the clear sample solution into the filler slot. I watched as the liquid soaked in and crept along the test strip, igniting the ‘control’ line and then racing toward the blank space where the positive result would show, if I were, in fact, infected.
Those 10 or so seconds passed in slow motion. Suddenly a feeling of dread came over me, like I was caught in an awful lie, I felt like I knew I was going to be positive. The directions said to wait 15 minutes before declaring a positive result. But that stupid little line lit up like a Christmas tree in less than 15 seconds! I don’t think there could be a more resounding and definite positive result registered.
So here I am, sequestered in my office for the next 7 to 14 days, sleeping on a couch and watching FuboTV on my laptop. Worst of all, my positive test landed like an anvil on my mom’s lap. She’s going to have to shoulder it all until I recover.
When it rains, it pours.