I was infected with novel coronavirus in California for 44 days

On January 23, 2020, at 2 am Beijing time, noon in Los Angeles, I saw the news that wuhan was closed.

On March 16, six bay area counties and cities in California made headlines when they announced the nation’s first shelter-in-place program to suspend school and work.

On the same day, the family was diagnosed with novel coronavirus.

Novel coronavirus went home with her grandfather

On February 28, when my father and I asked about my location in our regular video bulletin, I worked as a tour guide for a while, mixing Chinese and English.San Francisco is a weekend theater destination;El Granada is a place to live. It’s in San Mateo County, between San Francisco and Santa Clara County.”

Apart from “San Francisco,” “silicon valley” and “Stanford,” I struggled to translate English places that seemed strange and distant to my father.

Looking back now, there is only one thing to say: the American version of wuhan.In late April, California news reported that an autopsy showed that California’s first novel coronavirus infection was suspected in Santa Clara county on Feb. 6.

As the epidemic in the United States continues to dominate the domestic news, I kept asking my family and friends back home in January, “are you all right?” and I kept answering the question.

“How are you?The first English sentence I learned became the most difficult question to answer these days.

The Chinese gene in my blood told me to carry forward the good tradition of international students who report good news but not bad news, so I muddle through with the words they have given me since January:

— “just stay at home, just like you.”

The pink area is Santa Clara County,

Look at the collection sites I’ve marked,

So what’s my range of motion

Even in the United States, the images in the daily news cameras and my life seem a little distant.

Before the family was diagnosed on March 16, a hummingbird’s nest was found in a lemon tree in the yard.

After being isolated at home, I often feel trance when looking at the calm Pacific Ocean and listening to the novel coronavirus news.

El Granada, the world’s highest surf Mavericks surf beach, is only a five-minute drive away.The small town in the mountains is so unremarkable that it doesn’t even have its own zip code.”If you go back 20 years, there are more deer in the wild than there are people in the town.”It was grandpa who said that.

My grandparents are an American professor and his wife.After I flew to Stanford last year to improvise and emailed my professor, she invited me to stay at her house to save on housing costs.Earlier this year, she invited me back to be her ta at Stanford.After living together for a long time and sharing similar academic interests, my professors and my wife treated me as a family member and I called them “grandpa and grandma”.

My grandparents, who moved to the bay area in the 1970s to watch silicon valley grow, also experienced many firsts during the epidemic — from home orders to running out of toilet paper.

After the supermarket ran out of toilet paper, the town’s love box was stocked with food and toilet paper from nearby residents

Since grandparents over 75 years old are high-risk groups, in early February, we bought some disinfectant and hand sanitizer rationally, so our family’s activities were limited to going to school and shopping for daily necessities in supermarkets — the town was too remote for fresh food to be delivered on the website.Therefore, I, a city girl who grew up in Shanghai, described the “Chinese speed” with my grandparents, such as fresh hema, instant delivery in the same city, abundant takeout, jingdong express that could be delivered in the morning and afternoon.Of course, the “Chinese speed” that they admire and admire even more is the video of the construction of huoshenshan hospital on February 3.

As improvisers and professors, “every moment is fresh,” “embrace change,” “go with the flow,” and “focus on the moment,” are just the things grandma teaches in Stanford classrooms, at Google and in many silicon valley companies.Life and the classroom, finally perfect convergence.The first six weeks of the winter semester, like the last four decades, were the same highway, the same classroom, the same time every Monday, the same syllabus, the lessons I took last year, the notes I took this year, and everything was familiar, well documented, step-by-step.

On Thursday, March 5, grandpa got on a plane to Las Vegas.Every year, my grandparents took the Stanford women’s basketball team all the way to the finals.They expect Stanford to continue to win, as it did last year.According to the plan, grandpa will transfer from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in the early morning of Monday, March 9, and then fly back to San Francisco airport.Even though the connection was a bit of a hassle, he was able to get home early and drive us to class as usual.

On Friday, March 6, grandma’s staff email received a notice from the school: “the first case of covid-19 (novel coronavirus) infection has been confirmed on the Stanford campus. All classes on campus are cancelled and all classes are transferred to the online video software zoom class.”

That weekend, grandma used zoom for the first time, and for the first time moved her improv class, which she had taught for 40 years, online.A lot of business as usual is broken, including the famous line “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.

Novel coronavirus went home with her grandfather ona day when Stanford was without a championship trophy and the hustle and bustle of campus life.

Before the sixth class began, he patted the empty stool he had prepared.

It turned out to be the “last lesson”

March 16th was supposed to be the last lesson of the year.As has been the practice for the past 40 years, the final lesson will be an impromptu performance by groups of students against each other.On this day, the improvisation in class was cancelled, and we were pushed into the more unknown improvisation of life by novel coronavirus, the unpredictable “master of improvisation”.

After 28 days of asymptomatic infection, I began to vomit

The English word “Positive” has two meanings: “Positive”;In a test report means “positive”, meaning infected.Negative also has two meanings: Negative;When a test report means “negative,” it means not detected — which often means good news.In the United States, a novel coronavirus test is available only if there are suspected symptoms such as cough or high fever, or if there is a history of close contact with a confirmed case, due to a shortage of testing agents.Usually, the expected result is “negative.”

Improvisers who live with uncertainty on the stage are the most “positive” people in my mind.What’s interesting is that in the improvisational play about covid-19, when you see “positive”, you feel “negative” instead.

“Stay positive” on the road

On a typical Saturday morning, March 14, an unusual call came to my grandfather, who had been coughing for a week. The department of health received a report from the hospital confirming that he was the second person in San Mateo County to be tested.As close contacts, my grandmother and I immediately drove to the Stanford emergency room for a drive-through test.

Roll down the window, and the nurse pushes a mobile monitor over.With a slightly shorter than the chopsticks of a cotton swab, forced into the depths of the nasal cavity, ramming for 10 seconds, very uncomfortable.

I took a drive-through test,

Stanford hospital moved the testing equipment into the garage, and the suspected patient stayed out of the car,

Get tested in the car

Two days later, on Monday, March 16, I received two “positive” reports.Then we all got calls from the county health department asking for information about where we had been for several months. We were sent on “quarantine for 2 weeks”.Neither the Stanford hospital nor the county government gave us more information about “how the disease will develop,” “what drugs can be used,” “how we need to stop the progression,” or “where we are.”

A simple detection report with the word “detected” changes us from an uninfected to an infected person.We are still glued to the nightly news as the source of the most information.

Is this American “covid-19” the same style as the Chinese novel coronavirus?Why did the hospital and the government only make one phone call when they knew we were infected?Why are my grandparents coughing and I have no symptoms at all?What medicine should we take?Can we infect each other?What can we do to keep the situation from getting worse?Did grandpa get it at the airport or in Las Vegas?Do the supermarket cashiers we have contacted need to be quarantined?Will the supermarket we went to be closed?Will someone come and disinfect our house?

I tried to “prepare” the rest of the story from the Chinese news.The real story is that for the next two weeks, in addition to our neighbors bringing us fresh food, we can only answer the nervous and curious relatives with a lot of “don’t know”.

Every day, I listened to my family’s landline telephone being called into a hot line.

“I’m infected and have no symptoms.”

When can I go back to China?How is it treated?You have medicine?

Imagining a series of questions I’d like to know the answer to myself, I’m a little envious of what I’ve seen on the news about covid-21 patients in China — at least the sense of “someone will take care of me” in the hospital.

On March 27, one day before our two weeks of self-quarantine, the government health department told me two weeks ago, “call the day before and we will arrange a staff member to give you a free test.”As I drew the word “positive” in anticipation of my release from prison, I nervously contacted the real “hot line” — the San Mateo County health department open line.The super-warm health worker on the phone told me, “I’m very, very sorry, but we’re so short of testing reagents that we can’t do a second test for you.Now, based on your description of a week without symptoms, three days without fever, and two weeks of home quarantine, I declare you are back on track to a normal life.

That ‘s it?!Is that all?!

The free test I promised two weeks ago was “stood up” and my “freedom” was announced curtly over the phone. I could not digest the disappointment, distrust and unexplicable emotions.After consulting with my grandparents, we agreed that the way the government health department calculated the two-week quarantine period from the day of the test was inappropriate.In the sense of responsibility to others and the community, we decided to continue our self-isolation, still refraining from going to the supermarket or going out for a walk, and to extend the quarantine for two weeks after my grandparents’ cough had completely disappeared.

Before our own “overtime” whistle blew, on Easter Sunday, April 12, after 28 days of asymptomatic infection, I suddenly started vomiting without warning.After throwing up six times in two hours, I was so weak that I had to call my grandmother upstairs and, accompanied by my grandparents, he drove to the Stanford emergency room.

When we arrived at the emergency room, we wrote “covid-19 positive” (novel coronavirus positive) on A4 paper in the car to alert the nurse.I was taken to the independent clinic, and my grandmother was allowed in as a companion to the family.The nurse wore a surgical mask, goggles, and only half of the disposable protective clothing and gloves that covered the front to take my temperature and connect me to various monitoring devices.

Compared to what I saw in the national news pictures, I worried about the “underarmed” nurses.

When the emergency room physician came to inquire about my illness, I first informed him that I had been diagnosed as positive for novel coronavirus in March.Determined doctors insist that eating something bad, or coming into contact with another virus, caused the vomiting.Grandma insisted on another test for novel coronavirus.The doctor insisted that the vomiting was one of the novel coronavirus symptoms, but he finally agreed to let me have another test at my own expense.

Emts focus on stopping vomiting and preventing dehydration.Antiemetic agents are unpleasant to eat but have the effect of anesthetizing and tranquilizing the entire respiratory tract.When I swallowed the thick, toothpaste-like potion, it spread from my mouth and throat to my chest, and I felt it was getting harder and harder to breathe.After more than half an hour, as the numbness dissipated, breathing slowly resumed.

Arriving at the emergency room more than four o ‘clock in the afternoon, the doctor received the blood and urine reports at 10:30 in the evening as two bags of normal saline dropped drop by drop from the eyedropper, accompanied by the rhythmic “bee-bee-bee-” of the testing instrument.Lying in bed, I use Google search with a strange medical vocabulary, one of the index for 4 “lymphocytes (lymphocytes) caught my attention, is far lower than the reference 15-45.But the doctor said, “all tests are normal and we’re not sure why you’re vomiting.You know, sometimes You can’t figure out WHYs at ER.”Armed with an X-ray report and a novel coronavirus report “under test,” I was allowed to leave the Stanford emergency room on my own.

At that moment, one emotion was clear — disappointment.

The next day, I got a call from the emergency room at Stanford. “your novel coronavirus tested positive. You will be quarantined at home for two weeks.”

Two weeks, two weeks, how many “two weeks” do I have to stay at home?

I have been quarantined at home for two “two weeks”, why is it still positive?I don’t understand what “two weeks” means in hospitals, in the government, in the news.Psychological helplessness, helplessness and the feeling of “you thought you were well, but bad luck suddenly came” out of control, along with the physical suffering tortured me.

After returning from the Stanford emergency room, he lay in bed for three days, unable to eat or talk.Grandpa’s lungs hurt when he laughs at jokes.In the afternoon of the third day after vomiting, I began to feel the heat on my cheeks, and the number of the electronic thermometer shot up rapidly. After running to 38 degrees, I put down my phone and lay in bed, listening to my increasingly heavy heart beat, slowly losing the feeling in my hands and feet.

Maybe a lot of people have the feeling of fear afterwards, “if I didn’t do this or that, I might have been killed”.Always feel and death brush, should be a kind of fear feeling.

I shall always remember that moment when I had no strength to say or do anything, and I closed my eyes and said my last prayer.When death is not passed by at some point in the past, but when all is done, done, and faced, it is easy.

Inside and outside the world was quieter than ever.No emergency monitor “beep, beep” sound, for the first time in your life care about heart attentively the organ, all – hope has been waiting for the next jump, as long as have the next dance.

Originally, the novel coronavirus caused the news all over the world to explode. When it was in my body, it was so quiet.

No matter what happens, no matter what the future holds.Expectations become so easy to satisfy, as long as there is another breath, the next heartbeat.The hymn, “I know who will be in charge of tomorrow”, plays on a loop.

I really, waiting for tomorrow’s sun.

In the days without treatment,

We drank Chinese medicine prescribed by Russian TCM

On January 31, President trump announced that the country would be closed to non-us citizens who had visited China within 14 days.On February 5, major us airlines United and Delta sent their last flights to the Chinese mainland.

It turns out that China and the United States are not just separated by the Pacific Ocean at home.

After march, there were no flights, and my self-isolation was remote.China’s psychological distance suddenly far a lot, has been growing up in Shanghai, living I never thought there is a more difficult way home than the Spring Festival travel rush.But the familiar word “China” appears frequently in the news every day.

Even though the President of the United States has not said a good word about China.In our family, east and west were a wonderful mix.We also learned all kinds of knowledge about fighting the virus by ourselves from the English epidemic materials Shared on the alibaba platform.

During the epidemic, grandpa, grandma and I went to three hospitals for emergency treatment five times, and basically fully understood the emergency procedures of American hospitals — telephone registration, sampling, X-ray — home report, etc.

She once fainted at home and was taken to Stanford’s emergency department for overnight observation, which she described as a “non-star experience” that was “worth $58,000 and not very well served.”

Fifty-eight thousand dollars, about four hundred and ten thousand yuan.I can’t believe my ears.

“You heard me right.Capitalism!Capitalism!Evil capitalism!””The grandmother said angrily.” hospitals are supposed to cure people. Now what?It’s just business, business, the whole country is business.”

As a professor emeritus at Stanford university, Stanford paid for his grandparents’ expensive medical insurance directly.During the outbreak, the U.S. government provided a subsidy of $1,200 to taxpayers earning less than $99,000 a year.

If there is not enough health insurance, this $1200 subsidy for novel coronavirus test bill exceeds $1000;The more than $6, 000 bill for an emergency room for anti-vomiting, water suspension and testing is still a drop in the ocean.

Western medicine can give us, in addition to expensive bills, only “home and so on report” helpless.

Although it is not certain how much of our recovery is self-healing, the whole process, the traditional Chinese medicine and the Oriental way of living, did have an effect.

After grandpa was diagnosed, his best friend introduced a Chinese doctor from silicon valley, a Russian woman doctor who studied Chinese medicine in nanjing.Before the outbreak began, grandma was undergoing acupuncture and moxibustion to treat her cervical vertebra.After the infection was confirmed, Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) of Chinese descent gave grandma a prescription in time, but the TCM in San Francisco’s Chinatown could not keep up with the goods and did not send the medicine.With grandma’s cough getting worse day by day, the three of us were asked by Russian female Chinese medicine “without delay, report the symptoms through the video software, and take a photo of the coating on the tongue to send over”.As the Chinese medicine was ground into powder one by one, I saw the familiar pinyin — “huangqi” (huangqi), “lingzhi” (lingzhi) guess the ingredients in the Chinese medicine.Our way of life is also slowly changing according to Chinese medicine – from salad to stir-fried vegetables for dinner, from American sandwiches to Chinese porridge and rice.My grandmother practiced tai chi, which she had learned 40 years ago, and my grandfather gave up ice water and drank hot ginger tea. I found intimacy in the tao te ching, a book written in English by feng jiafu, who was born in Shanghai in 1902.

Russian TCM is $100 for a consultation and $20-40 for a traditional Chinese medicine.The price is much lower than at Stanford hospital. The only difference is that the bill at Stanford hospital is just a number to my grandparents, because the insurance company directly reimburses the hospital.And the bill of traditional Chinese medicine, need to pay in advance first, apply for reimbursement to insurance company again brushstroke.

Extract part of the TCM diagnosis email

These days in early may, the news is eagerly awaiting the results of a control trial of Remdesivir, known as “people’s hope,” against a novel coronavirus.Because our family was not severe enough to need to use drug “sympathy” (if patients in emergency and life-threatening disease, doctors can consider to use the special application has not yet approved, still in the process of research and development) drug, Stanford hospital did not give us the use of “the people of hope” – Remdesivir (rhett west wei).

As it happens, our neighbor, Dr. Tariro, is the head of one of the research teams at Gilead, the pharmaceutical company that developed Remdesivir.The harvard from Zimbabwe, m.d., learned that after we confirmed, from time to time at our door with bread, salmon, every day after work will give us a call to greet the day, and we also share her as the frontier researchers will be coronavirus cognition and views, as well as her new crown outbreak in her hometown, spreading anxiety in Africa.

In the days when Stanford did not treat us, we drank Russian herbal medicine and felt comforted by the daily phone calls from the zimbabwean PHDS.So far, I don’t know if reddesiwe will really become “the hope of the people,” but at least the name Tariro means “hope” in Shona, the local language of Zimbabwe — we do get a sense of transnational, cross-cultural hope.

Same emergency, ice and fire

My feelings about the Stanford emergency room were mixed and tangled.

The medical department left me when I left.

After I had recovered for a few days, a serious report on the news said, “Dr. Stanford found that novel coronavirus can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting.”When grandma heard the news, she said, “well, it’s all Stanford. I wonder if those first-line er doctors have time to read the news.How does the system synchronize information?The er doesn’t seem to know any more about the virus than we do.”

Stanford is known for its “design thinking,” and I had been thinking about writing an email to the emergency room director about the terrible experience I had when the emergency room nurse was connecting the monitor cable to me and the finance department called me and said, “the estimated cost is about $4,000.”

Stanford is the heart of silicon valley, an incubator of all kinds of high technology.I did experience the advancement of technology during the treatment, but I miss the temperature of humanity more.

The whole process is paperless.All the information — test reports and bills — is on the APP.A “luxurious” private room in an emergency room, spacious and private.Lavabo, small closestool, operation equipment, monitoring equipment all ready.The nurse’s desk was monitored by a TV, and the doctor talked to me on an ipad.The only time you encounter a nurse is when you take a sample or deliver a medicine — it seems the robot is not mature enough to be on the front lines.

A separate room in the emergency room, each time the paramedics come in and go out,

Throw away disposable protective clothing, masks, rubber gloves, goggles,

X-rays are beamed remotely through the glass

Humanity, Humanity, is really important and needed.

A full two weeks after the first diagnosis, the Stanford er routinely followed up with a follow-up call and asked, “how have the last two weeks been?Is anyone bringing you food?””– after listening to the grandmother, said,” thank you for taking the time to care.There is a meaningful saying in shanghainese, “thank you for your family”, which is especially applicable in this context.

After my first diagnosis, a research team also affiliated with the Stanford emergency department reached out to me, hoping to follow up.They take a free nasal sample every day of our family.Their goal was to track how long it took a family infected to produce antibodies until all tested negative for a week.In order to avoid cross-infection at home, the doctors of the research team provided us with 10 surgical masks that they were also in short supply. Before I called the Chinese embassy in the United States and sent 40 surgical masks, we survived with those 10 masks and all three of our family tested negative for a week.

The “office” of the research team, which is backed by the gates foundation and other anonymous donors, is under a makeshift tent set up in a hospital parking garage.We performed nearly 20 nasal sampling tests with very limited capacity.Each time, though, we were left with a lot of tears in our eyes, but by contributing our viruses, we were able to advance the Stanford emergency room in the direction of self-testing reagents and home cross-infection.

During the quarantine, I read the diary of Anne frank.It was comforting to think that there were worse days than the novel coronavirus.Now, seeing the news that China is slowly “going back to the past,” I think of a quote from Anne on page 53 of the wisdom of improvisation: “it is wonderful to think that no one has to wait any longer!We can start now and slowly change the world.Everyone, great or small, can contribute to the promotion of justice. How wonderful!You always, always have something to offer, even if it’s just kindness.”

Catching the last flight home without concealment of the epidemic, I contributed my novel coronavirus to the Stanford research team as an “uninvited guest” and finally caught up with the wonderful episode of the “new coronavirus” series.

Author’s afterword:

On May 2, 2020, my grandparents and I all received the certificate issued by the Stanford research team — “negative covid-19 test for 7 consecutive days”.We are still waiting for the announcement of joining the blood antibody research program, hoping to make some more useful contributions besides viruses.

I suspect, and I hope, that this roller-coaster ride of the epidemic has come to an end after more than 40 days of ups and downs.

Looking out from town at the changing colors of the Pacific Ocean, I was still waiting for my flight back to Shanghai.I don’t know when I can go back, but I can’t let go of my grandparents in the small town.From now on, El Granada will also become my concern.

More than 1.2 million people have been diagnosed in the United States.

During the outbreak, the United States was also compiling another set of data — the 2020 census.

My grandparents told me they had reported me because I was part of their family.But under the ’72 rule,’ all census data would have to wait 72 years to be released.”In 2092,” said grandpa, “you’ll see the number you’re counted into the U.S. population. Try to live to 100.”

The only sign in town calling for statistics was stuck on the main road.

The Numbers are still going up, and the news in the United States is still talking about China this way and that.

The California sun, as warm as ever.

I went for a walk along the beach, and my heart and lungs were recovering as usual — between breaths, the real thing.

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