Reflections of stress: Let's hope COVID-19 more bark than bite
March 29, 2020
The coronavirus has hit home. Hard.
Hundreds of businesses across eastern New Mexico are closed or limited in services they can provide. Schools have been closed for two weeks and soon switching to a "learn-at-home" model. And Curry and Roosevelt counties have both received notification that residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
It's not just something we see on the news anymore. This thing has walked in our front doors and settled into our most comfortable chairs.
And most of us don't even have the disease.
n Jayden LeClear, 13, was feeling rundown and had developed a nasty cough.
"He said, 'Mom, I feel like my lungs are too big for my chest,'" said Jayden's mother, Sarah LeClear.
"That scared me, so we took him to the ER."
That was on March 16 when Plains Regional Medical Center staff treated Jayden with antibiotics and tested him for COVID-19.
It took 10 days before the family was notified Jayden's test came back negative. He was forced to stay in his room the whole time.
Jayden is feeling better, his mother said on Thursday. He still has the cough, but is breathing much easier. The waiting was hard on his entire family.
n Rachel Bryant traveled to her native Ireland from Clovis on March 3. She returned, along with her husband and 10-month-old baby, on March 16. Soon after arriving home, they all began feeling ill.
"So we self-quarantined because we knew there was a chance we could have picked something up (on their travels)."
Bryant's husband suggested they all be tested for COVID-19, which they were on March 22.
Four days later, they received an official all-clear.
But in looking at the online test results, Bryant said she was frustrated to see a report indicating results were available 20 minutes after the test had been completed.
"What harm would it have done, if they have the results, to just tell people?" Bryant said.
"We were just sitting here not knowing anything."
Clovis hospital officials seemed just as surprised as Bryant about that supposed 20-minute result. Some states are experimenting with a blood test called "rapid testing," a hospital spokeswoman said, but it's not even available in New Mexico.
"This appears to be a technology issue, and our teams are working to determine the source of the problem," the spokeswoman said.
OK, Bryant said when told of the hospital's response. She hopes it's just a computer glitch and that a delay in reporting wasn't intentional "for some convoluted reason."
The Bryants were all feeling better late last week also. "The brain fog has kind of lifted," Rachel Bryant said.
That's good news.
Hopefully, let's say a year from now, we'll all look back on these days as loud barking with little biting.
Today, all the barking is a little intimidating.
Curry and Roosevelt counties have tested dozens for COVID-19, and communities not that far from here - Artesia and Oldham County in the Texas Panhandle - have reported deaths caused by the virus. And New Mexico last week soared past the 100 count for positive tests.
Waiting just might be the worst part.
Let's hope so.
- David Stevens