When I was about ten weeks pregnant with my older son, I started bleeding one day at work. My then manager rushed me to the nearest emergency room, from which I called my now husband, Anthony.
At the time, I was working in California’s Orange County, the county just south of Los Angeles County. Anthony was working on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory much further north, deep into Los Angeles county. His drive to reach me would be long and traffic-heavy, meaning I’d maybe be alone facing what could end up being some devastating news.
I remember calling one of my sisters while I waited, and then another dear friend. I remember sobbing on the phone. I remember Anthony suddenly being there, and the doctor eventually delivering the news: there was a fifty-fifty chance my pregnancy would last the next 24 hours.
The doctor prescribed two days of bed rest, saying I was only to leave bed to go to the bathroom.
I spent those two days knowing, with twin agony and hope, that what came next was completely out of my hands.
Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well. My husband and I agreed I’d stay in bed. We kept our kids out of our room, and I wore a face mask–and steered clear of my kids, against all my instincts–whenever I left it.
While we don’t know that what I’m experiencing is coronavirus, we don’t know that is isn’t, either. There’ve been local cases for a couple of weeks, at least one of which was just down the street from us.
We do know that there’s no use in my seeking out testing at this point, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health having advised narrow testing. Basically, per this L.A. Times article, tests should only be used “if a positive result could change how [a patient] would be treated.”
My symptoms, though unpleasant, are currently mild. As long as this remains so, there’s lots to lose and little to gain by my doing more than … waiting, and taking it slow.
Yesterday, I posted that I was resting and reading. I couldn’t decide which book I wanted to read; I was alternating reading a few pages at a time from a half-dozen different books.
I couldn’t pinpoint why I was so noncommittal to any book until mid-afternoon, when my body recalled that long-ago weekend in bed. Waiting. Worrying. Hoping. Knowing the outcome was utterly out of my hands.
When Anthony came to check on me soon after I’d reached this understanding, I explained why I was finding it so hard to choose a book. “All these books describe the world that was,” I told him. “They don’t inform me about the world yet to come, which my heart tells me can not be at all like what came before.”
What do I do with such an understanding? My body knew before my head did, having learned this lesson a little more than a decade ago:
Wait. Simply wait. The outcomes, within my household and outside of it, are almost completely out of my hands.
Until that weekend of bed rest back in 2009, I really believed my acts alone could change everything in any situation.
That weekend began teaching me that such perceptions were illusion. This moment is confirming that lesson.
So, today I’ll live today, knowing I can’t possibly know what’s to come tomorrow.
Remembering that my son did reach me on the other side of that waiting,
and that many outcomes–not just the worse–are possible.