Health And Wellness

Covid-19 Hits Differently When It's Sitting On Your Couch

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
I Got Covid

My husband, Cody, started showing symptoms of COVID-19 in late December 2020 and had a positive rapid test on Saturday. He had mild symptoms, most noticeably being exhausted and full of cooties. Last night things got a little worse, but I was told by my doctor the real garbage starts 5-10 after symptoms begin.

After an unpredictable year the garbage is right on time. Praise be.

Despite having symptoms myself, my test on Tuesday was negative. I am being *aggressively* tracked by the Indiana State Department of Health, just as Cody is being aggressively tracked by our dog, Tucker.

Rather than locking Cody away in a tower, downstairs has become his bubble. We both agreed the risks to my mental health were higher if he were completely isolated. This may have gone differently in summer or if we were in high-risk age category — we're not — but right now I cannot be completely cut off from him.

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Even better, in true teenager fashion our 16-year-old Addie has been out of her room for a combined total of 3.7 minutes since Tuesday. Our younger daughter, Vivi, is going insane.

While what's going on inside our house may horrify some, we're not leaving the house — we're keeping our disaster 100% to ourselves. We're doing the best we can.

Also, a word on doing the best you can: I am not a runner, I understand the logistics of it. I know there are books and programs and clubs for running but if something came up and I had to run to the store tomorrow? I'd do the best I could with the knowledge I have and what my actual physical body is capable of and it wouldn't go great, but I'd push myself to my limits to get the job done without hurting myself.

I have never been in a pandemic before — neither has anybody else. Clearly there's a lot of information out there — but it's still all over the place — and it gets even more scattered when the pandemic is literally sitting on your couch.

It's just different when it's in your house. I don't really know how to describe it. It just is, and I'm doing the best I can.

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Cody moved back into the bed last night after 7 days of separation. He's on the mend and hopefully sleeping in an actual bed will help further that even more.

I've had all sorts of weird things happen, and yesterday was the worst of it so far. I don't know if I have COVID but all signs point to yes. I'm not going to get another test; I just don't want to. I do have an appointment to give blood in January and an antibody test is a nice perk.

I have a pretty good immune system — but whatever this is — COVID or not — has my body wildly confused and not sure what to do so it's trying everything.

Give her a fever!


Make her cough so hard she gags!


Try a runny nose with drainage down her throat!


Go for the GI!

Still nothing?

Headache! Yes! That will do it! Turn it up to migraine! Now make her cough at the same time! She'll feel like her head is going to explode!


Still nothing?

Put her to sleep folks, we'll try something new in a few hours.

*wakes up sweating after going to bed freezing*

It makes a lot more sense as to why those with weakened immune systems are so vulnerable.

Our family was  beat down hard in the home stretch of 2020.

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I wish I could tell you we all overcame the great adversity that is a house full of Covid on Christmas to have the most joyous holiday of all but we just didn't.

It's not lost on me how lucky/blessed/privileged we are, and we tried. We did our best, but Christmas this year was a flaccid party horn toot.

I've handled this tire fire of a year pretty well as a whole, but losing complete taste and smell on Christmas Eve was just — *throws hands up* — a big kick in the nuts.

It makes me so happy so many of you had such simple, beautiful holidays this year — in years past that's exactly what we've had and I'm thrilled that so many of you learned new ways to thrive in such a loaded season.

It was time for many of you to have Christmas be magical, and I've loved watching it unfold in these tiny little square glimpses into each other's lives.

Personally, we needed a new worst Christmas for perspective and boy did we get it. (Previous record held by Flumas 2012.)


Here's what I've learned in the last few weeks:

I know we can get through this. When I add up everything I will need to do in order for us to make it through these next few weeks I feel apathetic. Kind of crushed. Deflated.

"Here we go again, only this time turned up to 11."

Throughout 2020 I have stared down and worked through some very big things: Uncertainty, disappointment, the true meaning of mindfulness and the practice of it.

I accepted that I am *achingly* lonely. Yes, I have my family here and wonderful friends in my phone — but I am charged by contact, by interaction — and that has been all but gone since March.

For the foreseeable future even the contact I had with my family is gone.

It has literally become dangerous to be around my own husband.

I'll slog through this, knowing that soon enough the good will level out with the bad — it always does. Eventually.

There will be joy in the coming weeks, but I will have to really go after it with intention.

At present moment I'm letting myself cry when I feel it, I'm mediating overtime, and relying on the habits and routines I've set up for myself since spring.

I have developed an internal backup generator and this morning I have decided to turn it on. It will keep the basics going until full power can be restored.

I feel angry, sad, scared, tired, spiteful, overwhelmed, and frustrated — but I AM resilient.

I can and will do this, I just. don't. want. to.


'Mudita' is a Sanskrit word for unselfish joy, vicarious and empathetic happiness for another's good fortune.

The complete opposite of schadenfreude, void of jealousy.

Mudita is what won for me this year.

So many of you needed a win this year and so many of you got it.

Pure mudita.

Some of you didn't though, and that's okay. I see you. You can come sit outside my window and eat all the treats I can't taste.

We got through the rest of this year together, we can get through this together without leaving us bitter and resentful.

Yes, I'm upset it didn't go better, and that's okay. I had a few momentary pity parties (like crying over the Christmas dinner I couldn't taste) but I didn't let myself get comfortable in them.

We've learned a lot this year and hopefully we can take everything we were forced to adapt to this year into the next and choose it for ourselves — instead of having it chosen for us.

Casey Mullins is a professional photographer and writer based in Indiana. Follow her on Instagram for more.