Well, That was Traumatizing

It’s 8:30 Tuesday morning and I am sitting on my couch trying not to lose my mind.

Late last night I got an email that I am a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID. Thursday afternoon I was outdoors with a BU class, their professors, and a BU Today writer, shooting photos for a story about the class was was getting a tour in a nature area in Boston.

Two people from that assignment now have pretty substantial symptoms considering they are both likely vaccinated.

“The health services told me I was contagious on Thursday so you should get tested” the person told me. During the assignment I did not wear a mask, and I spoke with the COVID positive person for about five minutes. We were standing very close together because a lecture was taking place and we didn’t want to disrupt.

My heart jumps and my gut drops. I have been around more people since Thursday than I have been around in months.

Friday night I went out to dinner with my parents. My dad is high risk. Usually when we go out to eat, the two of them sit across from me. This time Dad sat next to me. Is that better? Is that worse? Does it matter? Is sitting in either spot equally risky?

On Saturday I shot six mini sessions. Six families back to back, outdoors, in a park. Twenty minutes each.

The next morning, I had a newborn session with an eight day old baby in their home. Prior to meeting with the family, I let them know I was vaccinated, but that I would be happy to wear a mask for the session, no problem. They told me they were totally comfortable with me being unmasked in their home. So I did. So that three more people, one being a brand new human

After the newborn session I went to a close friend’s house for a pumpkin carving party. Eleven adults, one kid. We stood in the kitchen for a while chatting while we ate, then went outside to carve pumpkins. We all chatted about being vaccinated.

On Monday I met with a friend for coffee for about a half hour. One more adult that I could have potentially exposed.

I take solace in knowing that I am symptom-free, but also know that before a recent trip to Switzerland, I went and got myself a booster shot. I was nervous about the travel and all the people, and Switzerland’s numbers are pretty bad right now.

I wonder if I am positive but symptom-free because of that booster.

I drove in to campus very early this morning. At BU we are tested weekly, so I took my sample in for the earliest drop off possible, leaving the house just as the sun started to come up. I do not know if this means I will get my results sooner in the day, but we do generally get the result the same day.

During the drive home, the gravity of the situation hit me more. If the two fifty-something year old people who have fallen ill from this are coughing with fatigue, body aches, etc, and are vaccinated, my dad is fucked.

I think about our recent trip to Switzerland and how this scenario could not be more perfectly horrific. She got in a trip with her Dad right before giving him COVID and killing him!

I exposed my parents, twenty eight more adults, seventeen children and a newborn before the weekend was done.

As I made my coffee this morning I wondered how I could forgive myself if any of these people got sick. How I could even live if anyone died because I hadn’t worn a mask during an outdoor photo shoot.

The few friends I’ve spoken to since last night told me I’ve done everything right and that I did nothing wrong. My parents said the same thing. But the thing is, none of that matters if I end up positive. Me being diligent doesn’t matter if people still contract COVID from me. I will not recover if someone else does not recover.

Next I find myself thinking about Harlow. Maybe I’d wait until she was dead before leaving myself? Because who would care for her? I think about my Little and consider how me “leaving” would affect her. And my friends and family. They like me and it would hurt them. In my lowest days, which thankfully are few, I do not think about ending my life.

But also, I don’t see how I would live my life the same way I do now, be the same person I am, if someone died from COVID from me. Perhaps I would simply have to live with being a different person. A person who feels like they committed a crime while they were blacked out drunk and woke to realize the damage they caused.

I could have not gotten drunk to begin with. I could have worn a mask outside to be extra extra safe. That’s what I should have done. And I didn’t.

If I get an email, that means my results are negative. If someone calls, they’re calling from health services with bad news. It’s going to be a long day.

10:45AM One of the people who fell ill has tested negative for COVID. A bit of optimism because that means that the one COVID positive person didn’t appear to infect another person while outside in fresh air.

3:35PM – I get my email. COVID test negative.


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