I caught COVID – how I coped and cleaned. Whether you’re a house cleaner or homeowner, this virus is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
Coping with COVID-19 is not easy and the coronavirus symptoms day by day are scary. Knowing how to take care of yourself while sick is vital to recovery.
I’ll answer questions like how to disinfect a house or clean a room after an illness. And, I’ll tell you from firsthand experience what it’s like to have COVID.
Listen: I Caught COVID – How I Coped and Cleaned
Watch: I Caught COVID – How I Coped and Cleaned
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
I Caught COVID
I caught COVID. How I coped and cleaned during that time. It was at the end of June 2020, and my husband came home in the middle of the business day. And he said, “I think I have COVID, I’m going to go lie down.”
And I just froze for a second. And I said, “What does that mean? If you think you have COVID, and this morning before you left for work I touched all the same refrigerator handles, the same stairwell handles going down the stairs, the same shower door handles, and the same faucets in the bathroom. What are the odds that I also have COVID?”
I Didn’t Have a Fever
Now, I didn’t have a fever. And so, my first fear was, if he has it, do I have it as well? And am I well enough to take care of him? That was my thinking process. My second thinking process was, what about my team?
Because I have people that come by my house all day, every day, and they’re picking up and dropping off disks. They’re doing things for the business, they’re in and out of the house. Since March of 2020, we’ve been keeping our social distance. And so, if they come over to the house, they only touch the things that they touch. And we stand six feet apart, and all of our meetings have been standing up with the distance between us.
When they leave, I wipe and sanitize everything down and we go onto the next day so that there are no germs passed from day today.
I Had to Backtrack for My Husband
So, I stopped in my head and I said, “Has it been 72 hours since any of those people were over?” And the answer was yes. So, backtracking then was in my husband’s business. Who was he in contact with? Was it a customer? Was it a businessperson? Was it a salesperson?
Who was in his realm of influence that may have given him COVID or may have caught COVID from him? And so, my husband came home from work early.
The reason that I was so afraid is my husband has not called in sick in 21 years. And so, for him to come home in the middle of the business day and say, “I think I have COVID.” That is not a good sign. Right up front, I went on high alert.
I Had to Turn My House into an Isolation Hub
So, call and cancel your team. Don’t let anyone come over to the house. This is now an isolation hub. No one gets to come in or out for the next two weeks.
So, I was unsure if my husband actually had COVID so he went and got tested. He would not have the results back until the following day. Well, the following day he got up, and I have to preface this by saying he is OCD. He is the most careful person on the planet. So, he will not catch COVID. He’s been wearing a face mask, gloves, he sanitizes several times between every opportunity. There’s no way on earth he could catch COVID, or so I thought.
I, myself am on high alert. I’m not paranoid and I’m not a fanatic, but I, myself am on high alert. So, of the two people that I thought would catch COVID, it is not us.
His Test Came Back Positive
Well, the next day his test results came back positive, and he went and got tested again because we thought it must be wrong. When he was waiting for the second test he said, “Do you have any symptoms at all?”
I had been for a couple of days, feeling that somebody was ripping my heart right out of my chest. But I wiped it away saying, “Well, that’s part of being a business owner.” And my rationalization is that during COVID-19, during the 2020 spring, it has been the most boom of business for me.
And it has been the most trying time of business for me. It has also been the most challenging time of business for me in my 30-year career.
Cleaning is So Specific to the COVID Pandemic
And the reason is because cleaning is so specific to the COVID pandemic. And so, every question, every answer, every conversation has been dealing with the COVID pandemic from manufacturers, to cleaning companies. To the business owners of cleaning companies that clean houses, “Should we clean? Should we sanitize? Should we disinfect?” We launched our learning library at the beginning of this year. The courses that I had prepared for my group now became second fiddle or of second interest because of what happened and what was on the forefront was the COVID pandemic.
How do we integrate that? Then trying to reconnoiter the learning library so that it had new updated information required a whole bunch of stuff. So, I was thinking, the feeling of my heart like it’s being ripped out of my chest is stress from the weirdness of the business.
Then I Got Tested
But then I started thinking, “What if it’s not? What if I actually have COVID? What does that mean?” So, I went and I got tested the same day that my husband had his second test. And we went down to CVS, through the drive-through where you don’t even get out of your car.
They give you the packet of information through the window, you do the swabs, and then you put it inside the bag. You drop it inside the lab container, wipe the container down and drive off. You never even contact a human.
But there I was in the car with my husband because I’d been around him. And so, I’m thinking to myself, “If he has it, I probably do as well.” So, we started looking for symptoms that we both shared, which were few.
We Both Had Different Symptoms
We both had completely different symptoms. He had a fever of 103.9 for 11 days straight. And so, for him, it was his entire body shutting down, and he was sweating profusely, and hyperventilating. And both of us were on our last breath, which is a common symptom that we both shared. We could not breathe.
So, the other symptom that we both shared, was we both lost our sense of smell and taste. This is scary because even in the cleaning world they open up some bleach. Bleach for me has always had a strong smell. So to see if I did in fact have any sense of smell, I opened the bleach, and I’m like, “I can’t smell anything.”
My husband said, “I can’t either.” And I’m like, “Okay, that’s really spooky because neither of us can smell or taste anything.”
I Went on High Alert Shut Down
So, realizing that we both possibly had COVID, I went on high alert shut down. And this is where the coping mechanism comes from. My business is a business of no drama. And so, there’s not a single person on my team that is not human.
And so, if I were to say, “Oh, hey, I think we have COVID.” Oh, my goodness. The business would have gone into all kinds of excitement.
I didn’t want to do that, because as your body starts to shut down a little bit, and it starts to go into this hibernation mode, you have less and less energy to feel those kinds of conversations.
My Brain Was Messed Up During COVID
And so, what happened for me, and it was a gradual process, but once it happened, it took about six weeks to go in and out of it. What happened is, it was kind of erasing part of my brain. Although I was able to function, and I was able to carry on normal conversations, there are a lot of reasoning techniques and problem-solving solutions that left me. And I’ve never been in this situation in my life. It was incredibly scary for me during this COVID period.
I remember one night I had made some pizza in the oven, and I remember it was time to get the pizza out of the oven. And I went and I stood in front of the oven and I said, “I’m supposed to take the pizza out but I’m missing something. What am I supposed to have? Oh, yes, it’s hot. I’m going to burn myself if I don’t have some kind of a hot pad or something.” There were normal things that normally I would just do automatically because that’s the world that I live in. It’s automation, it’s systems and systemization. That was gone.
My Husband Struggled Mentally Too
My husband being incredibly OCD, one time I walked in the kitchen and the refrigerator door was open. And I was like, “Okay, I don’t think that’s supposed to be open. Why is the refrigerator door open?” It wasn’t like, oh, hey, the refrigerator door is open, and you automatically close it.
I was trying to think, is that right or is that wrong? And it’s wrong. We should keep the refrigerator door closed. But those pieces of my brain were gone. So, coping.
The coping part of it was, I had to realize that things are different for a little bit. And then, realizing at that moment, I have to go on high alert because now I realize I’m not functioning at high gear. I’m not myself. I’m not on my A-game. Now, I never had a fever. I lost my sense of smell, touch and part of my brain. The heart thing and the breathing was a struggle for me from the beginning all the way through until the time that I healed.
We Didn’t Have Anyone Over for a Month
We did not have any team members come over for a good month. We waited until the house was completely quarantined. And this goes to the next section of, how did you clean? I had to walk myself through this because I am a cleaning fanatic.
There I was with COVID, realizing I’m not on my A-game. I gave myself permission not to clean right then. And because I’ve isolated us in the home, there is no new strands or threads of threat coming into the home.
So, there’s no COVID coming in. There’s no COVID going out. The virus can’t live on its own forever. Eventually, it has to die down on the surfaces and then I can go ahead, I can clean them when I’m back to my A-game.
I Didn’t Want People Checking In All the Time
One of the things that I was most afraid of because I didn’t have the ability to communicate properly, was that I didn’t want a whole bunch of people calling to check in on me every day to have those conversations. Like, “What are the symptoms today? How are you feeling?”
I wanted to isolate it so that I could function with the few resources that I had available to me. So, the interesting thing about this is, when I started cleaning again, it was room by room and it was as much as I could do in the course of a day.
I would go to the next room and I would sanitize and wipe everything down from top to bottom, to make sure that the house was ready to go again before I had anyone back in the house.
I Learned That Anything Could Happen at Any Moment
I learned that at any moment in our business something could happen, where you lose your normal functioning abilities. It could be an accident, COVID, dementia, Alzheimer’s, it could be anything. And so, during that time, what precautions have you taken?
What steps have you taken to safeguard your business in the event that this happens? Now, one of the things that I believe in is systems, and so I set up systems in my business, even though my business has pivoted a little bit and we’re doing a lot of online training right now. One of the things that caught my attention was, although I was out of commission for about five and a half weeks, my team produced a daily YouTube show, podcast and blog for you every single day.
My Team Did Everything While I Was Out
So, I had pre-recorded some shows, and they went to task and they completely made every step of that production happen without me. And I sat there saying, “Oh, wow, that is so awesome.” So, you have to set up your business in such a way that if something were to happen, it run can without you?
Or do you have a failsafe in place where you will then sell your business at a certain place or a certain point? So, there are steps along the way, but as far as coping went, there was nothing I could do. My husband had the same brain eraser.
And so, he would try to communicate with me, and he would say things like, “I need a, a….” He couldn’t even come up with a sentence. And I’m trying to guess, a thermometer, ibuprofen, what does this mean? And then he would say, “Blanket.”
You Need a Plan In Place In Case Something Happens
So, we were struggling to communicate with each other. What happens if we get old and get dementia and we can’t communicate with each other? What are the fail-safes in place? And so, that has to be taken care of as well. It was a huge eye-opening experience for me, realizing that no matter how careful you are, you can still connect with this virus.
Once you connect with it, it can take you down in a variety of different ways. There’s no cleaning during COVID. You have to lie down, rest, you have to take the time off, and then wait until the virus itself kills itself out.
Then you can go ahead and start cleaning and picking up the pieces where you left off. Now, a few people that are close to me have asked me since then, “Did you have a bunch of people come in to fog, disinfect and all that stuff?”
I Didn’t Have Anyone Come Disinfect
I didn’t because the virus is no longer active and still happening after weeks of quarantine. And so, cleaning and sanitizing my house is probably all we needed. Again, we are not a hospital operating room. We did not bring anyone in. There was no re-introduction of germs to our house while we had COVID.
It was an unfortunate situation that could happen to anyone. So, I do have firsthand experience with it. I really don’t wish it on anyone. It is a brutal, brutal virus. And the people that I’ve talked to, that are in our network that have had it, we have all shared the same, our brains didn’t work.
I couldn’t complete sentences. Things that I normally do on autopilot were not autopilot anymore. It was like unraveling that.
We Both Made it Through
Anyway, good news. We pulled through. And we are both healthy now. And we are back to our old-fashioned selves. And thank you to my team who kept my business up and running through the entire process of it all.
Because my business could have easily just completely collapsed. As I said, I don’t wish it on anyone, but I’m glad we’re on the other side of it.
And if you’ve had COVID or you know somebody who has, please feel free to share your experiences. Because I do believe that by sharing this, we can all learn something from each other.Resources
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