I woke up yesterday morning with several mild symptoms, a few of which are on the list of symptoms for the coronavirus. I know, not exactly ideal given where we are right now.

These are quickly becoming transformational times. The last societal overhaul was the financial crisis in 2007-2008. Before that it was 9-11. This one is called the COVID-19 pandemic.

So waking up sick with a wife and two young children at the start of a pandemic is a bit surreal. Let’s get the main thing out of the way; I don’t believe I have the coronavirus. I don’t have any issues breathing, and for all intents and purposes I think I just have a bad cold. But, I am trying to carry on as if I am contagious, and isolating myself from my family as much as possible.

So we disinfected surfaces, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls and other items and areas in the house. I began to worry about giving whatever I have to the kids, or my partner who has a pre-existing condition (pretty intense asthma). Then I started to think about her parents who live close by, and if I am putting them at risk.

Because even though I have not been tested, and despite believing I do not have the coronavirus, I still don’t know if I would test positive, and not knowing is enough to put your mind in a state of mild paranoia.

So I called Telehealth after reading the government’s self-screening process. It was too late at night to call the local clinic. Telehealth was fruitless, however, and after being on hold for 3.5 hours I gave up.

One uplifting part about being sick during a pandemic is the community vibe online. Social media, normally a place best known for arguments, venom, echo chambers and silly memes, all of a sudden became a place where people are reaching out and communicating their own experiences, offering advice, and being generally helpful. I tried to be careful by explaining that my symptoms seemed slight and did not check all the boxes indicating it was COVID-19, but people were still more than happy to offer kind words and any information they thought was relevant.

It also made me think about health care workers who are on the front lines or manning the phones to assist Canadians looking for help. Being on hold wasn’t something that made me upset. On the contrary, it made me think that Canadians by and large were taking this crisis seriously.

I went to bed after not kissing my kids good night, which bothered me more than actually being sick. I woke up feeling far worse than I did yesterday, but I still have no trouble breathing which apparently is a good sign that this is just a bad cold. Still, in the spirit of not taking any chances I will now separate myself from my family as much as possible, and continue to refrain from any physical contact with anyone.

At 7am this morning I will call the local clinic and speak to one of their professionals over the phone about my symptoms. They will decide whether or not I should receive a test, and hopefully provide definitive advice about how to make sure my family stays as safe as possible.