What Happens When Three Bad Things Happen at Once?

No hot water. No heat. Covid. All three of these things descended on our household at one time, on Thursday morning. What is the likelihood?

It began with my husband Peter feeling lousy on Wednesday evening and deciding he didn’t feel like going to his swim practice at the County Pool. After dinner, I suggested he take a nice hot bath.  Ten minutes later he informed me, “No hot water.”

With dirty dishes in the sink, I tried the faucet in the kitchen and it stayed icy cold. Then I looked at the thermostat in the hall and it was down to 66 degrees. It is usually between 68 and 70 degrees. The weather outside was still relatively mild for winter, in the forties, so we weren’t worried. But, I had to boil some water to wash those dinner dishes.  Our plan was to call the plumber about the heating system, first thing in the morning. What was worrying was the weather prediction of frigid temperatures and strong winds arriving on Saturday. If we didn’t get the system fixed we would need to drain our pipes and find a hotel, one that would take our dog.

Thursday morning, I was already dressed in my gear to go the Pilates studio (Chesapeake Pilates in Annapolis) but Peter was feeling worse.  After we walked our dog Chloe and had left a message with the plumber, I said, “You better take a Covid test. Just to rule it out.” We’d been moderately cautious, wearing masks when we’d attended a community theater performance the previous Saturday, but in his work day my husband encounters a lot of people.

Carefully reading over the directions and laying everything out, Peter went through the steps to swap the inside of his nose and use the testing device which will show a control line in red and an additional line in pink or red IF you test positive. Wait a full fifteen minutes to receive the test results.

Within three seconds, he had a second red line! Amazed, he decided to try a second test. Using a different brand, he did the test again. This time it took seven seconds.

Okay. We put a call in to the doctor’s office. In the meantime, I started canceling appointments and plans. Then, I took a test myself and waited the full fifteen minutes. No second line in pink or red. According to the test, I did not have Covid. I moved into the guest room.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

The plumbers came by midday and informed us they needed to replace the furnace blower and ignition, and those parts would have to be ordered. If we were willing to foot the bill for overnight delivery, they could be installed the next day.

 We brought in some space heaters and ran our gas fireplaces. By relaying water we had boiled and combining it with tap water, we were able to take a bath of sorts. The temperature Thursday night in our house downstairs was in the fifties. This gave me greater empathy for all the people in the world without heat.  Even with a wool hat, long underwear, and sweaters I was still cold. A temperature of sixty in the house doesn’t sound so cold, but when you are sick, and I was starting to cough and feel congested, it takes more stamina to maintain a comfortable body temperature. 

Friday morning I took another Covid test. I was till negative. How could that be, I wondered, when I had the same symptoms of my husband? The only difference was that he had gotten his most recent booster in October and I’d gotten mine in November. Doing some research online I learned that there were a number of instances of families getting infected and receiving different testing results depending on their vaccination status. It was possible that I had Covid, but because my vaccination was doing its job, my viral load was much less, although I still had symptoms. Too bad my cough was actually worse then his, interrupting my sleep.  

The parts arrived, via overnight delivery, in time for installation on Friday, just before the artic blast our heat was restored and we were able to take hot showers. Joy. Some cough syrup reduced my coughing fits. Now it is wait and maybe test again.

The United States Government has declared they will be ending the Covid-19  National Emergency Declaration and Public Health Emergency Declarations on May 11th  2023.  Right now we still have access to free Covid tests, telemedicine, and reduced costs for Covid treatments.  This could all change, come summer. And while everyone is tired of all the restrictions on our lives, the truth is, people are still getting sick with Covid-19. Stay vigilant and retain your sense of humor. When things get bad, you have to laugh. Follow me on Twitter at SN Maril.  Check out one of my published short stories, “Trying to Be Normal.”

Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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