Walking on the sidewalk that first day was something out of the “Twilight Zone” for me. At noon, Highway 75 in Sioux Center was usually packed with vehicles driving to and from lunch, business and doctor appointments, road tripping, etc.
“Surreal.” That’s what I thought and felt the first day businesses started to shut down due to the coronavirus. To be honest, I thought Tuesday, March 17, when Gov. Reynolds recommended most restaurants close was somehow a mistake or would be over in a few days — that someone would tell us “Oops. Our mistake. Come out, come out, from wherever you are!”
So began the social distancing quagmire. Do we? Don’t we? How far do we stand apart? Six feet? Is there a difference between inside and outside social distancing?
To protect our parents from getting COVID-19, my husband and I decided to stay away. That decision was a tough one but I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I had given them this terrible virus. After a few weeks, I started making meals for them about once a week. Then Kevin and I could at least see how well they were doing or if they needed something.
The Saturday before Easter Sunday, we took Easter baskets to our grandkids, dropping them off on the porch, wanting to hug them so badly but for everyone’s sake just staying back.
But even when you try to do everything perfect, perfect is not what you get. About a month into the coronavirus shutdown, I got a call from my very worried son, Sean, asking me to come stay with my 2- and 10-year-old grandsons, Konrad and Brody, respectively, because my 6-year-old grandson, Kohan, was sick.
He had been diagnosed with mononucleosis, streptococcus and tonsillitis the day after Easter and was put on antibiotics, but throughout the next few days his high fever would not get under control.
By the Thursday after Easter he was taken to a Sioux City hospital where he got his first COVID test. Two nasals swabs later he was admitted and given several other tests during the next 24 hours. It all led to being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels and, if not treated, can damage the heart. Continuous high fevers is one of the symptoms.
Of course, I said yes to watching my grandsons. Sometimes calls from your kids at night can make your heart go pitter-patter, but I was glad to be able to help. And it was enjoyable to see my grandkids also after keeping my distance for a while.
Kohan was put on a 14-hour antibody treatment that would continue at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha, NE. That included a ride in a high-tech ambulance sans parents, making for a stressful time for Kohan and his parents, who were following in their own vehicle.
My grandson received another COVID-19 test at the Children’s Hospital that gave more immediate results than the first test so he could get off the COVID-19 floor at the hospital. They told Kohan the test would “tickle.” He knew better and said as much.
With restrictions at the hospital, only one parent at a time could be in the room with him, so Sean and wife, Katie, would take turns and then would meet for lunches and suppers in their vehicle in the parking lot. There were no restaurants or businesses open at the time. Thankfully, they were able to stay at the Carolyn Scott Rainbow House near the hospital.
After a 36-hour monitoring period following the antibody treatment, which included a bad reaction to the high doses of aspirin he was put on, Kohan was released from the hospital.
With Kawasaki being questioned in conjunction with the coronavirus, Kohan had an antibody test done later and was tested negative for COVID-19. His previous tests were negative too, so the diagnosis from the doctors is that he got Kawasaki disease because he had a weakened immune system from the mono, strep and tonsillitis.
Thank God the treatment was successful and he is doing a lot better. He still has moments of fatigue but that should get better with time.
The absolutes of what life and the world bring us can change in a heartbeat when it comes to family. This terrible time of coronavirus has given us all a chance of reflection of what is important in our lives.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” — 2 Timothy 1:7.