Last fall my husband tested positive for Covid-19. Thankfully, my daughter and I were able to avoid getting Covid as he self-isolated in our home. It was not easy but I am sharing our story in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Maybe some of the things we did could help you and your family.
We were already taking our Covid-19 mitigation efforts fairly seriously as my daughter and I both have asthma. So we were doing things like grocery pick-up and not interacting with people without masks. No dining out. My daughter hasn’t had friends over. We had been living a pretty solitary life as a trio since March of 2020.
One day in early November, someone at my husband’s office tested positive; something we all have experienced by this point. We still felt safe, he wore a mask at work and had been avoiding common areas. Within the next few days, a few more people tested positive. That is when we started to think the possibility that he had interacted with people who were positive was increasing.
The first thing he decided to do was move into the guest room to sleep. In retrospect, I feel like this is probably a huge factor in me not getting Covid-19 as well. If you have the ability to do this in a location in your home I would encourage it if your roommate is possibly exposed to Covid.
Around day five of our separate bedroom decision, he started to exhibit some symptoms of Covid. He made a testing appointment for the next day and kept his distance from our daughter and me. While he was getting tested, I removed all of my daughter’s things from the shared bathroom across from our guestroom. I did this wearing a mask and gloves. I sanitized her things and put them in a different bathroom. This became just his bathroom and the door was shut at all times. I wiped and sprayed down all doorknobs and things he might have touched throughout the entire house. The spraying and the wiping continued every day after he tested positive even though he was not in our shared spaces.
When COVID Hits Home
I wanted to share some of the other things I did that kept the rest of the house Covid free. Our house is a split level with three bedrooms very, very close together. We felt it best to take these measures since keeping my husband in the guestroom to recover was really our only option.
- I used disposable plates, cups, and cutlery whenever I could. I know it is not environmentally sound, but it seemed like a good choice for a few days.
- Hydration is key as you recover from Covid so I would fill up a gallon-sized jug of water for him and refill (with gloves on) as needed.
- Anything he used that was not disposable was rinsed well with HOT water and put into the dishwasher as soon as possible.
- I wore a mask and gloves whenever taking anything to him or getting things from him.
- My husband would text me before leaving his room to go across the hall to the bathroom to make sure no one else was upstairs. We would wait at least 10 minutes after he was back in “his room” to head that way.
- My daughter and I kept our bedroom doors shut at all times as well.
- My husband wore a mask every time he would walk across the hallway to the bathroom.
- He had a supply of masks, gloves, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer in his room and the bathroom.
- I handled his laundry with gloves, washed it alone with hot water, and set the fabric laundry hamper outside to air out while his laundry was going.
- We ordered air-purifiers for each bedroom using a same-day delivery service.
- I put his morning and evening medication (he ended up with bronchitis as well) in disposable small paper cups that he could throw away.
Make no mistake, this was difficult. Difficult on my husband. Difficult on me. Difficult on our 11-year-old.
I only saw my husband two times over a 10 day period, and that was from very far away. This including not seeing him on my birthday. We would talk via phone for a few minutes on days he was up to it. We communicated most often by text. He would text me updates on his temperature and his oxygen levels several times a day as well as general status updates.
For my family, it was worth it to make these choices and separate as best we could. Every day, all I wanted to do was throw the door open to the room he was in so I could take care of him. In the over 20 years that we have been together that is what we do, we take care of each other. This was the one time that I had to take care of myself and our daughter by not being near him.
I had to take care of him with a door between us. I had to take care of him while wearing a mask and gloves while in a perpetual cloud of Lysol. In the end, after being tested twice, my daughter and I remained Covid-19 free so it was worth the sadness and the effort.
I’m sure others have great tips for how to care for a loved one with Covid while trying to maintain safety, please share them!