Everybody has their own story.
We’re all dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. Schools closed for all of our kids. Each of us faces work challenges. We’ve all been affected – whether or not we got sick.
But I did.
My wife and I came down with COVID-19 in March. We were ill for about a month. Then, we were utterly exhausted for two weeks after that. It was a frightening experience.
Title: Vice President of Account Management
Home: Yardley, Pa.
Family: Wife, Genevieve; daughter, Arielle (17)
We also consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate. Genevieve and I have fully recovered. Thankfully, we never spent time in the hospital. I was even able to keep working (barely) on an important deal while I was sick.
Yet I think our family is still coming to terms with the emotional toll.
We’ll probably never know for sure how we ended up getting the coronavirus. We have our suspicions, though. My father-in-law passed away on the last day of February after a long illness. It was a terrible loss, but we take comfort in knowing that he’s in a better place.
Genevieve was there with her dad at a hospice care facility in Massachusetts. Afterward, she returned to our home in Bucks County, Pa., for a short time before we then headed back for the funeral on March 14. That’s when I started coming down with what felt like a bad case of allergies. But it was too early in the year for that – and this got progressively worse. The smell of the flowers at the service made me particularly ill. By the time we drove home, I had a fever.
My doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection. But then my wife started getting sick, too. Our doctor was able to get us tested (which was a challenge back then), and five days later, we got the results.
We had the coronavirus.
Between the two of us, we ended up with many of the symptoms you hear about on the news. Our sense of smell went away completely. We lost our sense of taste. Our skin was blotchy with red spots. We had chills. I ended up losing 10 pounds because I didn’t have an appetite for anything beyond grilled cheese sandwiches and orange juice. We were not in a good place.
When my fever spiked at 103 degrees, I thought, “That’s it. I’m in big trouble now. I’ll be in the hospital.” But that turned out to be the breaking point. The next day, my fever was gone.
Meanwhile, throughout all of this, I was able to keep shepherding that deal along. After ending a one-hour-long call, I remember stumbling into the next room and just collapsing in the bed. But doing some work helped keep me motivated.
And, eventually, we got better. (Dynamic Signal also closed that deal.)
Even though we’re healthy now, we’re still dealing with this. Our daughter just finished her junior year of high school. Right when her school closed, we got sick, and all the structure in her world disappeared. There was a gap of about three weeks where Genevieve and I couldn’t help her. Also, my wife and daughter haven’t really been able to grieve for my father-in-law. My wife hasn’t been able to be with her mother and support her.
That’s why, for me, it feels like so many normal things have been broken. Reassembling them is going to be hard to do.
There’s so much uncertainty for everyone.
I’m hopeful about the outcry we finally see for greater social justice. (I was even able to participate in a peaceful protest in my little town recently.) But I have mixed feelings about how the world is now opening back up from the lockdown. The economy does have to get going again because so many people are suffering financially. But I’m afraid more people are also going to get sick until there’s a vaccine.
I wouldn’t wish the stress that’s happened to our family on anyone else.
Five Questions with Jordan
What social distancing technology are you using?
I’m using Microsoft Teams more and more these days instead of Zoom because we are a Microsoft partner. Of course, the phone and Microsoft Outlook for email. Our internal Dynamic Signal platform, which we call Dispatch, is the best way to keep up on what’s happening around the company. It’s much better than a noisy environment like Slack because it’s so focused and organized.
What’s your new work attire?
I’m known for wearing suits when I visit customers. But now that I’m home, I’m generally wearing a T-shirt. If I’m on a video conference call, I’ll put on a golf shirt. But when I finally get out of the house, I’ll be wearing the best clothes I’ve got.
What’s something that keeps you sane?
For a while, at the end of the day, I would just get in my car and drive along the Delaware River. I’d get some fresh air and try to clear my head. Then my local golf course opened up. Now, instead of going for a drive, I’ll go hit some balls.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced?
My colleague Kim Ayala and I are pretty good buddies. I know what she goes through with her little boy. He’s the star of a lot of Zoom videos, by the way. It’s amazing what mothers are doing right now as they work and take care of their kids at the same time. But our challenge has been a little different. Our daughter just turned 17. What she experienced has been extraordinary. Her parents got sick. She was stuck in her bedroom for weeks. She was scared to death that we were going to wind up in the hospital. She lost all of the structure in her life. And we couldn’t do much about it. The feelings we have as parents, and not being able to help her, have left us with a lot of guilt.
What would you advise people about COVID-19 precautions?
It’s crazy not to wear a mask. The mask is to protect other people from you. It’s not to protect me from you. If you don’t do anything else, at least wear one. It’s just consideration for everyone else. That’s what will help get us back closer to our normal lives.