Quarantine! Redux

The hits keep on rolling at our house. I wrote before about my partner coming down with mumps — a form not indigenous to the US and not included in our immunizations — and while she was never officially quarantined, she’s been out of work for three weeks (so far). Of course, she’s going steadily out of her mind with boredom (though she has gotten a lot of knitting done).

Now the kids are sick, and while we don’t know for sure that it’s mumps, the health district has flown into high gear to avoid an outbreak in the schools. So they’re on isolation (the new way of saying “quarantined”) for 9 days. No school, no Christmas shopping, no playing outside with friends. You can imagine the fun! Especially since none of them feel all that ill; my step-daughter doesn’t feel ill at all, and has no symptoms, but is included as a precaution.

Let me say that again: Three kids, nine days, none of them particularly ill, no leaving the house.

My partner just said we should be keeping a journal: “Day two. The natives are getting restless. We can hear the drums beating in the night…”

Since she’s a trained phlebotomist (that’s someone who draws blood, if you didn’t know) she usually does all the kids’ blood samples herself — it is generally much less traumatic to be stuck by a caring mother than an anonymous doctor or nurse. Plus, she’s really good at it, not always guaranteed with whoever the doctor’s office or clinic has on-duty at any given moment.

So yesterday she had to draw all the kids blood for the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Since this strain of mumps virus isn’t indigenous to the US, CDC wants to track it closely and make sure it doesn’t spread, and I’m assuming add it to the general immunizations. The older kids, no problem. She took my blood last week, no problem. (I’m not sick — except for a nasty cold last week — but they wanted it as a baseline in case I do get sick.)

Then there’s our 5-year old. He was not thrilled at all about the prospect of mom sticking him with an inch-long needle. We tried everything, even at one point holding him down on the floor, but eventually I called “enough”. While the needle-stick itself isn’t likely to be all that traumatic — you really don’t even feel it — I didn’t think we wanted our child to associate us forever with the trauma of being held down and jabbed with needles. Let some stranger carry that burden!

So. Day two. The natives are getting restless. The 12-year old will be fine; he’ll stay in his room playing PlayStation and we probably won’t hear from him until it’s time to complain about going back to school. The others, though — how are we going to keep an 11-year old girl and a 5-year old boy from driving us insane over the next 8 days?

Oh, and since you asked, no, we haven’t worked out the logistics. It doesn’t look likely that worker’s comp will cover their mom staying home; I have a week left of classes that I can’t miss so while I can be home a half-day Monday and Thursday and all day Friday, I can’t take care of the kids on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meanwhile, the health department wants their mom back at work after three weeks — so how do we take care of the kids? We don’t know, but obviously we’ll work out something.

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