I’m on call for our practice this weekend, through Thanksgiving. I’m not sure I need to give much intro to this other than to flash this current graph from the Massachusetts Department of Health:

Soooooo now you know what I’ve been paged about pretty much nonstop since Friday afternoon at 5 pm. Even now, literally just now this second, my pager is beeping at me: “Exposed to Covid. Needs test referral.” I am not exaggerating, this has been my past 48 hours.

Well, that and the usual women’s health on-call: UTI’s. Yup, urinary tract infections, Saturday night through Monday morning. Honestly, after all these years, I want to just stand on street corners with a bullhorn and yell: “LADIES YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE KINKY SEX YOU WANT BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY HAUL YOUR ASS UP TO THE BATHROOM AND PEE AFTERWARDS, OKAY?” Street corner to street corner, all across America.

And then back to COVID19. I feel like I’m seeing it and hearing about it a thousand times more so than last spring, and that’s a worry for sure.

But I’m a resilient old-school doc, and a little COVID19 won’t stop me from making a homemade low-carb vegetable minestrone soup plus whole wheat baguette croutons for Saturday supper:

This soup appeared on one of my shows ages ago, and I just can’t bother to
find that episode nor the recipe right now. Suffice to say, it’s healthy.

Today, Sunday, though, was almost a lost cause. The Patriots played at 1 p.m., so Hubby had to call the game and was gone all day. Now, let me be clear, I am VERY thankful that Hubby is still meaningfully employed in the midst of a pandemic, considering its devastating impact on professional sports as an industry. But regardless of why he’s not here, if I’m on call, it’s going to be a hard day. My pager went off continually.

Early on in this impossible situation, there was a crisis, and it involved our dog, Obi, and my son. Obi and the kids get along wonderfully:

On a fall stroll through the Eustis Estate, Milton, MA, November 2020
The dog thinks he’s a cat, breakfast one morning in November 2020

Obi is the eight-month-old love of all of our lives, and today he bit my son’s face. My 10 year-old son with autism was roughhousing with the dog. The dog started growling, My daughter warned, “He’s growling, look out, back off!” And apparently, my son did not back off. The dog snapped at him and scratched his face, which was shocking and scary. No real damage, but gives us pause. I’ve reached out to friends with dogs, and I understand this is a thing, especially with boy children and puppies. We have some training to do for sure. Any advice appreciated.

That was some drama. Other than that, the pager went off so much today, I never even had a chance to turn on the television to watch the Patriots game that my husband was calling for radio. And if anyone is curious, the real Patriots Behind-The Scenes During COVID series is featured on, including this broadcasting bit. Check it out!

At around five p.m., the pager suddenly went quiet, and I yelled to the kids:

“Let’s go outside and have a bonfire!!”

Lord knows kids love to burn stuff so that was no problem. Everyone dropped their headphones and screens and out we went:

Yes, it’s early evening and yes, it was this dark. I don’t get money or any bonuses at all from this bonfire company, but these burn so well and are so toasty warming, I highly recommend, for real. We had a ball making s’mores (BEFORE dinner) and just watching the flames, until Hubby got home from the game. He got home and we stood in front of the fire for awhile, decompressing:

Now, I know people want a nice fact-filled post about the COVID vaccine trials and What Am I Doing For Thanksgiving. I know because my patients have been coming in for their precious in-person visits over the past few weeks asking, “Dr. Tello, will you give this vaccine to yourself and your family?” and “I know you have a huge family, what are YOU going to do for Thanksgiving?”.

In reality, I know so little about the vaccine I can only say, “I need to learn all about it first.” That is the God-honest truth. And I’ll tell you this, as well: I am relying in large part on our own trusted Infectious Disease colleagues and what THEY think about these vaccines. I know these people and I know no one’s getting any kickbacks or diddly squat for sharing their opinion for sure. If they vet these products and give the thumbs-up, and then I’ll take that shot and send my kids to get it as well, no doubts.

And as far as Thanksgiving? There are personal and population concerns, all need to be taken into account, and priority given to infection control. If it’s going to be indoors, over fifteen minutes and/or involve eating/drinking, I’d seriously think twice about going outside your quarantine bubble. Us, we’ve maintained the same indoors quarantine bubble since March, as much as we can considering me and Hubby do work outside the home. Basically, Thanksgiving will involve our quarantine bubble. No travel, no extended family. We’re masked all the time, careful as we can, but I’m aware this arrangement is not 100% risk-free. I’m not shaming people whose arrangement is riskier; I’m not feeling guilty because plenty of people have arrangements that involve less risk. I don’t believe we’ll be contributing to the caseloads in December, and I trust everyone reading this has the same intent.

So now it’s 9:30 pm, I’ve had a nice little lull in the pages for a few minutes, and I have to get my two kids to bath and bed. After all, they smell like bonfire and my oldest got bit by a dog. Baths are in order.

Wish us all luck in the coming week. Stay safe, stay healthy!

4 thoughts on “COVID Call”

  • About a year after we got our rescue beagle, my then 8 year old daughter laid down next to the dog while it had a bone in its mouth. The dog bit her on the cheek- not a chomp but it broke the skin. We kept both the dog and my daughter LOL. We had a lot of training about animals being animals with very strong instincts that we need to respect. I think we all get so comfortable with our pets and think they are human- they do love us but they ate animals first.thanks for the post and happy thanksgiving!

    • Thanks- Yes we are training our son to be less of a puppy sibling and more of a master, and things are much better! It’s funny that we humans are the ones that need training 🙂

  • Oh, dear. Hope he is recovering well. Love the idea of the street corner PSA about UTIs. That was a real bugaboo of the long weekend. Hang in there and stay safe!

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