The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 23, 2020 1:00 am

Virus presents as many questions as answers

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

After my husband tested positive for the coronavirus, many family and friends asked the same questions:

How did he get infected? How did we get him tested? And, after a visit to the ER, how did I know he needed immediate medical care?

Of course, everyone's experience is unique, but here's what we went through.

We are lucky to be able to work from home, so he wasn't exposed at the office. We haven't gathered with friends or family – including for Thanksgiving, so it wasn't in a small gathering. We always wear masks when we go out in public, so it wasn't that.

All he could think of was one time, a few days before numerous symptoms hit, when he offered to push an older gentleman's shopping cart back into the store for him from the parking lot.

My husband then used that cart for his own shopping trip without sanitizing it. That's the only lapse in his many precautions he can remember.

I know he also picked up some carryout food for us during that rare trip outside our house. I wonder whether the virus was on the restaurant's door handle. I suppose that's another possibility.

After he spent a full day feeling like he had a bad case of the flu, I went online and googled "free covid testing near me." One option that popped up was the Allen County Health Department. Their locations weren't convenient for us, so I opted for the federal government's site at

One of the locations offered was a CVS store near us. We chose that and filled out the required online form for an appointment the following morning. My husband was told to enter a sort of temporary shed located in the store’s parking lot. He received the news in a phone call while we were still sitting in the parking lot.

And how did I know to go to the ER? A colleague suggested we check my husband's blood oxygen level with an oximeter. I bought one at Walgreens and found his percentage was 93%.

Normal, according to the Mayo Clinic's website, is 95% to 100%. After finding that out, I called a toll-free number offered by my health insurance company and talked to a nurse.

After I listed all his symptoms and his chronic medical conditions, I asked whether we should go to the hospital. She told me: "Leave now. Drive carefully."

Somehow, even months into this pandemic, the realities of dealing with these decisions come as a shock. I don't know if we did everything right, but he's slowly recovering, so I guess our decisions were good enough.

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