Last week was a roller coaster ride. It’s always a hectic time, preparing for Passover, what with all the cleaning and switching over our kitchen to our special Passover dishes and cooking, cooking, cooking. But this year, for the first time in three, we had planned to host the first seder on Friday night in person. Like so many families readying for the big holiday weekend, be it Passover, Easter, or the evening meals of Ramadan that coincide this year, we were really looking forward to, at last, celebrating together across a real table, rather than on Zoom.
Al had worked late in the kitchen on Tuesday, getting things ready so I could begin cooking the next morning. But when I came downstairs on Wednesday, he seemed weary and not himself. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I’m just tired,” he said. About an hour later, he was retching in the bathroom. My heart sank. I had recently learned that the Omicron BA.2 variant of Covid often presents with GI symptoms.
I sent him to bed, donned mask and gloves, and gave him a rapid test, which turned up negative. But I also knew that the rapid tests aren’t necessarily accurate in the first few days of symptoms with this variant. So I called our clinic and was able to get us in for PCR tests early that afternoon. They said we’d have results by the next day. I emailed our family that we were in a holding pattern for Friday night.
Al spiked a fever that afternoon and evening, but fortunately, he was fever-free by Thursday morning, not yet hungry, but able to eat a bland diet. I spent the rest of the day food shopping, cleaning, and cooking more food that evening. His condition continued to improve, but no PCR results. I emailed family that things were looking better, and we would confirm plans in the morning. I went to bed dog-tired.
Friday morning, still no PCR results, but Al was back to normal. We decided to green-light the seder, understanding that anyone who felt uneasy about coming should do what was best for them. All had to take rapid tests and have a negative result to attend. Our cousin’s husband, a physician, decided to stay home because he had been fighting a cold, which he told me with “97% certainty” was not Covid, but he went ahead and got a PCR test anyway, at his wife’s insistence. Finally, late morning, our PCR tests came back negative, a huge relief. Our daughters arrived late afternoon, and our other relatives that evening. I finished all my cooking just before everyone came. We had a wonderful seder together, and all felt so good to finally be able to share the meal and all the rituals in person.
Saturday morning, our physician cousin, whose family was hosting the second night, sent us all an email. He had tested positive. Now what? To my surprise, I did not freak out. There was nothing to be done. And I wasn’t going to spend the weekend fretting about the possibility of developing Covid symptoms. We ended up with just the four of us for the second seder. Our eldest returned to Boston that evening, and our younger daughter left for Philly the next morning. None of us have developed any symptoms, nor have our cousins who were exposed at home, who came here. Given that, if you’re infected, you can shed the virus 24-48 hours before becoming symptomatic (and most people do have symptoms), but all appeared to have spent the weekend symptom-free, we are most likely in the clear of a second-hand Covid infection.
A good thing, because Monday was my 68th birthday, and I really didn’t want the gift of Covid! I spent the day writing, which was wonderful.
So goes life in Covid times, which are not really over. Not yet. I hope you and yours enjoyed a lovely weekend, whatever holidays you may or may not celebrate. Stay safe out there.