Editor’s Note: Madalyn Dudley is the 17-year-old daughter of Tim and Christine Dudley. Christine is the second Pulaski countian to test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Madalyn has graciously shared her thoughts on her family dealing with her mother’s illness and diagnosis over the last few days. Madalyn is a junior at Pulaski County High School.
As the progression of the coronavirus intensifies everyday, it seems the whole world has been panicking for those already affected, but tends to forget about the victims in our backyard. I have always deemed myself as an eager optimist ready to help others in times of crisis, but it never occurred to me that my family was also susceptible to turmoil. Little did I know that we weren’t just susceptible, but we would soon be the poster child for catastrophe.
My mom has always been a healthy woman who actively works to improve her well-being. She has been a vegetarian for 20-plus years and has had seemingly no health issues throughout my entire lifetime. She is the type of mom that brings home fancy organic food in order to “detox” our family and teach us healthy habits. Her career has been built on her desire to help others overcome their own health issues and her knowledge on each is overflowing.
When I think of health, the first picture that comes to mind is my mom. So obviously receiving news that she inhabits one of the most prominent diseases in the world today was a hard pill to swallow, but it wasn’t the oddest part of the situation.
My mom returned home from Las Vegas, Nevada, in the early morning hours of my 17th birthday. I popped in her room on my way to school just to say “hi” because she had been at a conference in Vegas since the previous Sunday. Obviously suffering from jet lag, she rose from her pillow to give me a soft, “Happy birthday,” but quickly fell right back to sleep. Of course when I saw her the thought of COVID-19 came to my mind, but it was the product of the constant media coverage I had seen on the virus throughout our nation. But the thought of my mom having it seemed as ridiculous as the thought of me getting a three-week break from school, but oh how the tides turn.
While my mom was gone, I planned a small get-together with my friends to celebrate my birthday last Friday night. In the hours leading up to the party, news began to surface that we may not return to school on Monday, but that hopefully we would resume class shortly. Most of us students just took at this as a precaution and started squirting our hand sanitizer a little more frequently, but other than that, business would resume as normal.
My party resumed as planned and I had an awesome night with some of my closest friends and was so happy my mom was finally home. We closed out a super long day at my kitchen table with my three best friends, two teenagers and my mom. It wasn’t until the next day when my friends left for work and I went to the kitchen for breakfast that it became clear that my mom was sick. It’s flu and allergy season of course, so I told my mom that I’d fix breakfast and she should go back to sleep. The day went on, my dad and I catered to my mom in bed and all of us relaxed in the house to follow the Governor’s rule to stay inside. Now that I know the result of the next few days, I’m so glad we did.
After two days of not much progress, my mom went to our local family physician to be tested for the flu but the test came back negative. At first we thought this could’ve been a simple mistake, but as the week went on my mom’s symptoms were slowly dropping hints that this was more than just the flu.
As many may know, our area does not have many COVID-19 tests at this time. You really don’t think about the repercussions of the shortage until your sick mother is in need of the test, then it’s pretty evident that this is an issue.
My mom felt guilty for using one of only 24 tests in the Danville area, but of course it was necessary to do, considering the outcome. It was disappointing to watch my mom have to jump through so many hoops just to prevent the spread of this virus any further, but I guess this is now our new normal until our area is provided with more resources.
After days of waiting to see if she could even be tested, the real challenge was waiting for the results. On Thursday my mom felt great, she got up, got dressed, and worked from our kitchen table for hours trying to catch up on work she had missed throughout the week. Because of her miraculous recovery, my family assumed that there was no way she would have healed so fast if she truly did have the virus, so we told ourselves we didn’t even need the results because we already knew. Obviously, the Lord was laughing down on us because just a few hours later my dad came into my room to tell me the results came back. The test, just like we needed to be, was positive.
Before I had even a second to process the news, my phone lit up with messages from friends.
“Does your mom have the virus? Is your family ok? Are the rumors true?”
I had never seen word travel so fast in my life! This took small-town gossip to a whole other level. My entire family waited several minutes to respond to anyone just because the news was so fresh, but a half an hour later we went to work. I say this because I literally felt as if I was working for a hotline. I called each and every friend that attended my birthday party, as well as parents who were concerned about the quarantine their child was instructed to take part in.
In addition I had 40-plus text messages to answer asking if my mother was alright and quarantined. My mom began to receive text messages about her stay in the hospital which was comical because she was never hospitalized and definitely does not plan on being hospitalized.
It’s hard to hear so many rumors about your family and be called a “liar” by some of your close friends, but I know that it’s just a product of lies being told by people everywhere on social media in an attempt to cope with the outbreak.
Our sense of privacy was essentially lost that night, but for good reason. My mom had recovered and was feeling fine and we wanted to ensure each and every person that this disease is not as gruesome as it would appear. We hoped that now that the news had surfaced, people would take the quarantine seriously. No one would have ever expected my mother, out of all people, to be diagnosed with COVID-19, but we are living in a world of uncertainty and no one knows who could be next.
I know that my fellow teenagers are getting irritable and that you really want to go out to eat for dinner but my mom should be the perfect example of why you need to stay right where you are. But take this with a grain of salt because my mom is also an example of how this virus is not something to be feared. Life will go on as normal, and I know this because it has been in my house for six days.
The directions you hear from our Governor and our health departments are not to scare you, but just to help ensure that this disease doesn’t reach anyone who could be seriously harmed by its effects.
Stay inside, wash your hands, and pray for our community.
Hopefully my health-nut mom can be an example to all families as we battle this together, because no one is immune. But we are a community that is strong.
As for my family, my dad and I are healthy and have been assured that if we were to show symptoms it would’ve happened earlier this week. Although they are monitoring our symptoms very closely and ensuring that we both are safe. Because of the shortage of tests, they are not testing us at this time because they do not see a need to waste the tests on healthy individuals. Only time will tell what is next for us but we are faithful to an awesome God and we know he has this under control.