On March 14, Kristina Gregory, a CT-based mom of two boys (11 and 13), felt some tightness in her chest, but attributed it to a tough workout. By the next day, she was experiencing flu symptoms including chills, aches, sweats, low grade fever and headache. Luckily, her boys and husband immediately isolated from her. Over a week later, she found out she was positive for Covid-19. By completely quarantining herself until three days post fever, wiping down furniture, changing bedding and even wiping the outside of her plates with bleach after she ate, she was able to prevent her family from getting sick. Now that she’s finally feeling better, she’s sharing her experience to help others prevent the spread of this virus, and educate people on how to deal with it if you do get it. Here’s what she wants moms to know:
As moms, we can’t imagine how hard it would be to be quarantined away from your kids. What was this ordeal like for your family?
As soon as I woke up that Sunday very, very ill, we assumed the worst. My husband and kids closed the door and he said Mommy is in quarantine. My youngest son is very attached and likes hugs, and that was hard on him. My older son got it and is more pragmatic. But not having Mom around to do what moms do every day, day in and out, is really hard on everyone.
One thing they did get out of it, which is amazing, was that my husband said ‘we all have to pitch in now and we all have a role, whether it’s folding your laundry or making mom tea or breakfast.’ As much as it was difficult for me to be away from them and them to be away from me, it did teach everyone some independence.
I read an article where you mentioned talking your older son through a recipe on Facetime?
Yes! It was really fun—I coached him through cooking dinner. He set up the iPad and he showed me what was in the fridge, and he pulled out ingredients. I explained dicing up an onion, adding chicken and making your own broth. They brought my dinner to me that evening and I was happy to say how well he did!
Were you surprised by how fast this came on?
Yes, very. There was very little lead up and I chalked up the tightness in my chest to an excessive workout earlier in the week. Then this Sunday when I started to wake up and cracked an eye open, I thought, holy smokes I am down for the count.
What would you tell other people who are saying “I’m healthy and I’ll be fine”?
I’m incredibly healthy. I work out five days a week and I eat very well. I’m a very active person and this took me out completely. You have to be with just your family—no playdates, no quick coffees. You’re extending the life of this illness and giving it legs.
As a mom of teens, who can have a hard time social distancing, what would you tell other parents?
You’re the parent—lay down the law. What if your teenage son or daughter interacts with someone who has it they become a carrier and they see Grandma or an uncle with asthma? They may not get sick, but they are transporting this illness to the next person who may not be able to fight it. Who’s running the show here? The inmates are running the asylum at some point.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, is there anything you want to share with people who can’t turn off the news and are feeling panicked or overwhelmed?
Yes—if you suspect if you are sick (and I’ve had friends with just the sniffles who have tested positive), just assume you have it and lock down for two weeks. Clean your home, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. But also, turn off the news! There are things you can do to prevent it from spreading to your family.
Can you please share about your plans to donate antibodies?
I have registered at Mt. Sinai and with the American Red Cross. And I just was registered at the local health center (in Stamford, CT). [If you’re local to CT, email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate for Covid-19.]
Anything else you’d like to share?
The responsible thing to do is get in touch with anyone you’ve been in contact with. I felt very responsible that I was putting other people at risk. I had a lot of guilt. But it’s the right thing to do.