COVID-19: Musical Quarantine

Herman | 10:10

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"I got out of bed and had all these chills."

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Confronting COVID-19

Coronavirus New York Music Teacher Nasal Swab Ibuprofen Quarantine Symptoms

Story Transcript

I live in New City, New York, which is in Rockland County, just north western suburbs of New York City. I'm a music teacher, and I travel around to a number of different schools, teaching music to young children. And so there's a lot of different districts, a lot of different counties, four or five different counties in the area, some are in New York City, some are in Westchester County and my home county, Rockland, and then some in New Jersey as well. So last, to the past Tuesday, March 10th, I woke up, and I was gonna get ready to go to the gym, but then I realized that I got out of bed and had all these chills, and that's not like me, so I took my temperature right away. And sure enough, I had elevated temperature, which was 99.6, which for me is something of a red flag. So I took some ibuprofen and it helped right away, but I wanted to get into my doctor that morning, so I did, I had been there Tuesday morning to my regular doctor. The doctor said, You're not really a … the doctor did a strep test and a flu test, and then said, You're not really a person of interest for coronavirus. But we'll test you anyway, just cause you go to all these different schools.

And so the test was done Tuesday morning. I should say that I got a call back from the doctor's office Tuesday afternoon, asking if I could come back in later that day after business hours, because they had something of a miscalculation in their testing equipment or something. They had to retest me. They had to reswab me. The first swab was something ... It was all internasal if I'm using the correct term. And they had to redo it with a different sort of material more like a headcleaner, less like a Q tip. So, I don't know where the fault was with that, there was a broken telephone and what they needed to be using to test. They did that again later on Tuesday, after business hours. And then it wasn't until Thursday that I got the call from the doctor saying that I was positive, that was Thursday night. In the meantime, the doctor had said that I should not go anywhere for 3 to 5 days until I heard back. But it didn't take a full three days. It took only two days to get the call back. And then during that time, my kids have been going about their business, and I really didn't tell them anything because I didn't want to freak anybody out. But of course, after finding out from my doctor that I was positive there was no, there was no hiding it from anybody. The kids found out, and we had to sort of calm their jitters. It took a little while. I've got three kids and their ages 11, 9, and 5. So they were kind of hoping that I wasn't gonna drop dead right there. And that's fine, because that's I think something that the media has made this out to be that people are just dropping dead. But I wasn't, and I had no symptoms by that point.

I was really, I feel I was pretty lucky. I had only an elevated temperature for about a day and a half and I kept it down. Really no problem with the ibuprofen. And I didn't so much as have a cough. I didn't so much as have any throat trouble or any breathing trouble. So, but I felt like I needed to start calling my employers and letting them know. So I started emailing a lot of these, a lot of schools, a lot of kids and a lot of people in their communities that needed to know this. So, by Thursday evening, when I started telling everybody, there was a lot of speculation growing as to who it was and then I felt pretty quickly that remaining anonymous is gonna be futile. So I started to, by Friday morning, I started to craft this post that I wanted to put out on social media saying that this is me and I tested positive and I have no symptoms, and we're just going to maintain our quarantine. When the doctor called me to say that I was positive, he said, Now your whole family has to stay in. They have to remain in separate rooms from you as possible. And you're kind of locked in and everyone else kind of locked out. So, that takes us to Friday, and Friday I was talking to the Department of Health in my county a lot. They were pretty good help. But I have to say that the information has been sort of a trickle from them, and it's also been changing from moment to moment. At first they were saying things like, You have to let everybody know the places that you visited, starting with two days prior to your first symptoms. If my symptom was on Tuesday, then that would take us back to Sunday.

Well, Sunday I was in a lot of different places. I was also in a lot of different places on Wednesday. I went to work, I went to a few different places, into my synagogue because it was Purim and so all those places where I was, Sunday and Monday, they let their communities know that it was a teacher in their community or a family member, and everybody was recommended to begin quarantine for 14 days, just as I had been at the beginning. Well, the health department at first was telling me that everybody needed to start a 14-day quarantine of all the places that I have been leading up to my symptoms the two days prior to that. Well, suddenly the information changed, and on Friday afternoon, they said that's not the case and only the places where I visited on the day of my symptom, which was Tuesday, needed to impose that quarantine. Well, Tuesday, the only place I went was my doctor's office, and then I came right home, and I hadn't gone anywhere since. So that sort of alleviated, and I let all the places know that I had been, that this new information had come from the Department of Health. I'm not a doctor. I'm not the Department of Health. I'm just saying what they said to me, that all these places I know were in contact with either my Department of Health in my county or their own county's Department of Health to I guess confirm everything. But I think it was a little bit of a comfort to know that they did not have to all quarantine, because the information had changed. I guess at the same time, it's a little disconcerting to know that information like that is changing so rapidly. And who really knows? I guess you could say, if you're the least bit skeptical about what they're telling us. But the Department of Health has been very good about reaching out to me at every point. And, some also say that the Department of Health at first, was a little bit surprised that my own doctor had any test. They did not know that the doctor's offices in this community were doing their own tests. So, I just take that for what it is. I will also say that based on my symptoms and what I'm hearing from everybody since then is that places are not doing tests for anybody who has symptoms like mine. They need to, I guess, meet certain requirements, of more severe symptoms and more symptoms than what I just had. So part of me thinks that maybe I was a guinea pig for my doctor. And my doctor just said, eh, let's see how it goes, let's test somebody. But the doctor did say that I was only the second test that he had conducted. By the time that he called me on Thursday night with the positive diagnosis, he said that there were only eight people that were tested. I was the first one to have come back with the positive. I don't know if anybody else came back with positive, since then.

But, so that's I guess that's where we are. So since then, my symptoms have remained nil. I'm 100% fine and I have been going about my work as much as possible. Been making lots of audio and video recordings of playing music to send out to the schools that I go to. And hopefully they're letting all their communities know and the kids know that I am fine. And the response has been just fantastic. Everyone seems to be very supportive and I don't think … while at first I was afraid of a little bit of a stigma, being the only person or the first person to say that this is what I have got. I don't think that that's the case. And I think people are just relieved to hear that someone could have it, and it would be very mild. So I'm feeling very lucky. I also know that not everyone that has it is as lucky. So, that's where we are, and that's my story.