Day 14.

While such a count sounds like the number of days that have passed since a major military operation was undertaken, in fact it is the number of days that have come and gone since my wife, Nancy, began battling the COVID-19 virus. During the fight Nancy has been quarantined at the home of her ailing father, where she was exposed to the “bug” by another family member who was also there caring for him.

Before her exposure to the coronavirus, Nancy was doing her best to help care for her dad and meet my needs which are related to the Parkinson’s Disease with which I am afflicted.

Initially, when Nancy’s dad was in a St. Louis area hospital and after he was dismissed from the medical facility, my oldest son, Caleb, stayed with me at the Henley hacienda where among other things he did the grocery shopping, cooked, made sure bills were paid in timely fashion and hung out with me, making sure that I would not fall and then be unable to get back on my feet, which has happened on more than one occasion.

Eventually, however, Caleb had to return to his home in central Illinois in order to generate some income. At that point my care landed in the lap of my youngest daughter, Anna, who is the only one of my five children who still resides in Hannibal.

While watching out for me is a big responsibility, Anna has done an excellent job, a point I make on a regular basis when I see her. And while Anna assures me that my care is not a major imposition on her daily routine, I know that my daughter, who has two jobs, two dogs and one husband, is not being completely honest.

The task of watching out for me was initially billed as a part-time gig at most, but the job description changed once Nancy was diagnosed with COVID. Suddenly Anna found herself needing to carve out of her busy day time enough to swing by her childhood home anywhere from two to four times a day.

After over a week of this responsibility I fully understood when Anna entered into negotiations with her older brother aimed at having Caleb return home and give her a much deserved break.

I certainly had no objections to Caleb returning home and helping out since he had done an excellent job previously. However, my attitude changed last Monday night when Caleb called to report that he felt he was coming down with a cold.

“It is scratchy in the back of my throat, but I am not running a fever so I do not think it is COVID,” he said. “Do you still want me to come in?”

Since Nancy has been infected with COVID I have learned a good deal about the illness and its many symptoms. One thing I remembered her saying was that during its onset COVID felt much like a garden-variety cold coming on. I also recall my ill bride saying that at no point has she felt like she was running a higher-than-normal temperature.

Whether Caleb had a cold, or something far, far worse, I knew that whatever he had I did not want it. Consequently, much to Anna’s disappointment, I declined Caleb’s offer to come and help out.

If there is one lesson to be learned during the COVID pandemic of 2020 it is that it is better to be safe than sorry.

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