One Last Pandemic Story

Melissa Miles McCarter
3 min readMar 6
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s been over a week, and I’m still sick. Well, it’s “we” now. My daughter started having similar symptoms a couple of days ago. Sore throat. Fever. Fatigue.

Our last COVID two-pack test in the cabinet that had solely housed those tests — was negative for both of us. I had almost forgotten the disease existed until the urgent care doctor online suggested taking the test for my daughter. I was already diagnosed with strep and on antibiotics.

But, no two lines. Three years later, since the pandemic started, and we never had those two lines. I’m sure we’ve taken at least a hundred tests, those cute white cartridges my daughter would sometimes steal to play doctor with.

It’s not that we were never exposed. My husband had it about a year into the pandemic. His test came up positive before the the test line even came up. He was a walking Petri dish of disease that we slept by, ate with, and coexisted with for the two weeks he tested positive.

We never bothered to quarantine from him. He needed us. Imagine a full-grown man taking care of himself with COVID. It’s not pretty, and my sense of humanity prevented me from throwing food into his room and running away.

Three years — no COVID, even though it haunted our house, like a specter out of a Stephen King movie, ever lurking, laying in wait. What about us prevented us from getting it, my daughter, my stepson, and I? It’s not that we have super bionic immune systems.

Six months ago, my daughter and I had Scarlet Fever. Yep, something I thought only happened in Little Women era times. Before that, once the masks came off for good, we had a series of colds and lost voices and fevers and stretches of strange ailments that never tested positive. We were human. We bled. Just we were never COVID-positive.

The odds are we had it but being boosted to the degree we were, we never had enough of a viral load to test positive. At least, I kind of hope that’s the truth, not really wanting those three years of sacrifice to really be for nothing.

How can I say to my daughter, well you are immune to COVID but we spent all that time quarantined for absolutely no reason?

It’s better to stick to the story about the viral load.

And now we are sick, which even post COVID restrictions, we don’t get very often, and I’m thinking about how long we tried to avoid getting sick. And we are blessed since we can take antibiotics for this, and there’s no sense that doctors don’t know what the fudge they need to do with us.

But, even when you are blessed having survived a pandemic with no real scars to speak of, you have to remember that as life goes on, sickness goes on, death goes on, and disappointment goes on…post-COVID is not heaven.

It is lying beside my seven-year-old daughter’s feverish body and waking her up with ice cream to soothe her throat while my body cooperates with modern science. With a couple of negative tests beside us.

Melissa Miles McCarter

Mommy who writes on the side about mental health, family, pop culture, feminism. Editor, — Find out more