Well-Run Machine


February 20, 2021

My phone dinged with the text message around mid-morning: “Jill, just got back the test results, and I am positive for COVID.”

This is from our son’s friend. 

He lives with us. 

He was exceptionally tired one day last week.  He even stayed home from work, even though he had no fever, thinking that one day of rest would snap him back to his normal energy levels. 

It was me who suggested he might want to take the test “just to be sure.”

And now, we are… sure of one positive test–and sure that he is well on the road to recovery.  (He found out he was COVID positive while preparing hit the slopes for the day; he’s back to feeling himself already.) 

I figured we should continue with this idea of “being sure.”  My daughter’s malaise of the past few days now seems more ominous.  The mysterious bite she has on her leg seems even less likely to be the cause of a night of chills, her congestion and her feeling of exhaustion. 

We had a change of plans this morning.  Instead of grocery shopping and running errands, I went online to register us for COVID-19 testing.  About an hour later, my daughter, my husband and I sat in our vehicles in the well-organized line at the hospital.

Within about ten minutes, the Vermont state COVID testing team member stood just outside our car. She was enshrouded in all the personal protective:  plastic face shield, face mask, surgical gloves and long plastic apron.

“Here you go,” she said with a small smile as she handed us a small ziplocked bag.  “First, blow your nose.”   We complied.  “You can put the used tissue in the bag,” she continued.  “Those are yours to keep.” 

She waited a few seconds to make sure we were ready.  “Now you see that black line on the back of the hand sanitizer?  That’s where it will come out.  Crack it and apply that.”  She waited a few seconds again as we did as we were told.  “Now take the cotton swab and poke it through the plastic wrapper with the stick end.  Take the swab and put it in one nostril at a time, giving it three full circles each time.” 

Then she meticulously placed each of our swabs into pre-marked and fully labeled individualized test tubes. 

“Expect results in 24 to 36 hours,” she said briskly.  “More information on the card.  And we already have your cell phone and email.” 

Later this afternoon, I completed the online registration for Son #2, who spent the day snowboarding.  He will go tomorrow. 

We are nearly twelve full months into this pandemic now.  My daughter and I marveled at the whole process of getting tested; it’s been fine-tuned and runs like a well-oiled machine. 

Somehow, my brain, too, seems to be turning on the same cogs of moving along the track that lies in front of me.  My self-assigned task of finding a silver lining, every day, day in and day out, is now ingrained.  Instead of dwelling on what I can’t do—like change the fact that COVID is now “in the house”–my thought right now is to marvel at the silver lining of true efficiency. 

Silver Linings…

started as my personal response to 2020’s global pandemic of COVID-19.  When I published them locally,  I was surprised by how much people responded to them.


I hope they bring some positivity to you, too, during this unsettling time

Purchase Silver Linings as a Book

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