This is the true & harrowing story of how against all odds Betty managed to scare Karen even more than that time Betty chased her around the living room with the eye from a potato screaming 'It's a centipede!!'
Don't worry. I'm O.K. I mean I'm not, I've had a lifelong fear of centipedes which was amplified to genuine phobia by this Earth Hour event. I did however make it through Betty getting Covid O.K.
Just to recap, Betty is my 87 year old mother. You may recognize her from a few years ago when she sledge hammered through my kitchen drywall. Or more recently when she took a woodworking course and turned her own salt box with lid.
I know the typical route of a story like this would be to focus on Betty, the elderly woman who contracted a potentially deadly illness.
But if we're being honest here, and I always am, being worried sick trumps all other sicknesses. So I win.
Table of Contents
Thanksgiving always falls somewhere around the middle of October in Canada and it always happens at my home. 13-15 of us bump around each other in my little house before we all sit down to eat 65 minutes or so after I originally called everyone to eat.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli casserole, red cabbage, buns, turnip. Without fail.
Very occasionally, if one of us has watched an episode of Downton Abbey or some other show featuring civility, we might swap out the Campbells-soup-made broccoli casserole for fresh green beans.
Just like a real family of fictional lower level royals.
This year was different though. This year there were only 5 of us at my Thanksgiving dinner with my niece and her husband going to their cottage instead and my other niece spending it with her husband's family.
I'm not sure why they abandoned me. It's not like the other dinner hosts were giving out prize money or anything. I mean I could understand if my nieces had called me, grief stricken at the choice they were forced to contemplate and ultimately make after being teased and tempted by money.
I'm so sorry Auntie Karen but there are cash prizes at this other dinner - and little Charlie needs a new cane and a pair of his special shoes that let him walk and move while barely lifting his legs.
You mean a hockey stick and skates?
Yes, yes, exactly, I knew you'd understand.
I mean I GET greed. But wanting to spend 2-4 hours somewhere else? With - other people? Well that's just bullshit.
Sure. Maybe their new Thanksgiving society doesn't fight and nobody lights their fingernails on fire during dinner but do they have a Gobble off? Or measure each others heads at the end of the meal?
My guess is no because you don't normally come across that kind of whimsical dysfunction outside of a Ryan Murphy series.
Plus I've always been a generous and welcoming host. Not all, but certainly most years I've waited until EVERYONE has put down their pie forks before I tell them all to go home because I'm sick of them.
Suck on that level of graciousness Crawleys.
Also, not to beat a dead turkey but one year I even gave everyone an hour of contemplation and self reflection when I left the very dinner I was hosting to frantic-pick all the frost tender vegetables in my community garden.
Since it always comes in the middle of October, Thanksgiving also often comes with the first frost warning. I found this out just as I was about to serve dinner.
At the time running out the door screaming LUFFALUFFALUFFALUFFALUFFA wearing a pair of slightly singed oven mitts seemed like the right call. It still does.
As I was saying there were 5 people here on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. We ate, drank, and relaxed after dinner with coffee and Covid tests.
Just for fun. Because as I've explained, I am fun and my Thanksgiving dinners are fun. And nothing says fun like testing yourself for a potentially deadly illness.
Until the person sitting next to you gacks up a positive.
Before we get to the story middle, I think I need to explain the arrangement that was in the middle of the dining room table. As you can see it's now on my foyer tulip table. It had to be moved prior to the actual dinner because it read a little too "would you care to pay your respects to the body?".
Also it was the size of German Shepherd.
Like I said, Thanksgiving around here often comes the same weekend as the first frost warning. That was the case this year. The night before I was to host dinner, a frost advisory was issued and yet again I ran to the garden, this time screaming, FLOWERSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
I cut off every single bloom from my community garden flower beds then came home and did the same in my front yard. There were a lot of flowers. Good. I can Downton Abbey the shit out of my dining room table with them, I thought.
Instead I ended up with a 3 tiered monstrosity that blocked everyone's sightline. Looking back on it moving that flower arrangement may have given my mother Covid.
It was my sister, sitting to my mother's left who was responsible for the positive after dinner Covid test. She had no symptoms but did say she had a bit of a headache.
This is not abnormal at one of my Thanksgiving dinners so I didn't think anything of it. When she tested positive in our little game of Covid roulette we were stunned.
Exactly across from Betty was my brother-in-law, who tested positive for Covid the next morning.
I believe that flower arrangement would have provided at least as much protection as an N95 mask in terms of spittle blockage.
But I moved those flowers and 3 days later Betty tested positive for Covid.
The End (but not the end because Betty is O.K.)
At 6 a.m. my 2 sisters and I all received the same text message from my mother.
I think I have it.
Of course we knew what she meant. Although I didn't because I was drooling on the sofa downstairs away from my cell phone because I couldn't sleep in my bed and thought moving would alleviate that. It did.
Thank you for worrying that my sleep may have been disturbed by all this. It wasn't. Until 8:30 a.m. when I woke up to the phone ringing. Fish Pedicure was calling to tell me that Betty felt really sick and thought she might have Covid.
I called Betty right away and she sounded like death. Worse than that even, I thought she sounded a bit scared.
She didn't talk long, she didn't have the energy, but she ended the call by saying she was going to call her doctor.
WHAAAATTTTT??? O.K., now this is serious. Now I am getting very uncomfortable with everything happening around me. (this is where you can start to sympathize with me for the horrible worry I've had to endure)
Betty was going to call - the doctor?? This is a woman who has a strict, "If I don't feel better in a week I'll call the doctor" policy. This mantra is often repeated on a week by week basis for 7-8 months or until a bodily fluid starts coming out the wrong colour.
She does not call the doctor.
But she did.
If she had not called the doctor right away there is a very good chance that I would be writing this post from a very different perspective and you would need to feel even sorrier for me and my terrible awful experience with not having Covid.
Her doctor immediately called in a prescription for Paxlovid and I picked it up. She had the treatment into her within 12 hours of showing symptoms. Paxlovid works by STOPPING the virus from replicating itself in your body.
It prevents a few hundred virus particles from multiplying into billions. In the 12 hours since first showing symptoms her temperature went from normal to 101, she started coughing and could barely move. She felt nauseated and very weak.
The sooner you take the drug the better. She took it very soon. All thanks to me and my delivering it. I healed Betty with the power of my Volvo. Which is a 2007 so don't think you have time to stop feeling sympathetic towards me just yet.
On the second day, Thursday as I type this, Betty is mainly sleeping. Her fever came down a bit today and she could eat some of the turkey soup I made her. Fish Pedicure dropped some flowers and a new box of Covid tests on her porch today and Pink Tool Belt is sleeping at Betty's.
Betty will probably tell her to get lost in the morning because she's not awake to tell her to get lost right now.
Of the 5 people at dinner, 3 have Covid and for now I am not one of them.
I do still have a case of the worried sicks but I popped a bunch of peanut butter cups which completely stop worrisome thoughts from replicating into the billions as long as you chase them with Ruffles and dip.
At this rate of success I fully expect my Thanksgiving table to be set for only 1 next year.
Which will give me a very good shot at winning the cash prize.
For more Thanksgiving shenanigans THIS is what a real Thanksgiving looks like.