Last Thursday afternoon, I was working on a Nightly News story about nursing homes when my husband, Chris Bro, mentioned he wasn’t feeling so well. He said he was going to take a nap, which is unusual at 4 p.m. on a Thursday. A few hours later, Chris came downstairs looking pretty awful. I was busy getting dinner ready and he said he wanted to eat so he joined us at the table. “Your eyes,” I said. “They look so strange.” His eyes were rimmed bright red.
My next sentence was: "Something’s not right. You need to go to the basement."
Because I’d been traveling for work in March and I’ve gone into New York City from our home in the suburbs, we were concerned that I might catch the coronavirus. Our family had made a plan that if any of us got sick with possible coronavirus, we would move to our guest room and attached bathroom in the basement.
Thursday night, Chris grabbed a stack of books and headed downstairs. He hasn’t left that room since.
Chris is a very healthy 50-year-old who works out a lot. He’s been told by physicians that he has the heartbeat of an athlete (and indeed he was a college soccer player).
But right now he is quite sick. He says that moving hurts. Sleeping hurts. He’s had trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position and often wakes early. He has a dry cough. He has chills. He’s lost his sense of smell and taste. Even chocolate, his favorite thing on Earth, tastes disgusting.
Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.
Now the positives: He does not have a high fever. He can talk without becoming winded. He can breathe.
Our doctor advised us to buy an app called Oximeter. You put your finger over the camera lens on the phone and it reads your blood oxygen. He’s been doing that every few hours. He’s at 99 right now, which is really good, I’ve learned. Anything below 95, I was told by our physician, I have to take him to the hospital.
My mind knows that he’s probably going to be just fine. But I’m a reporter and I’ve been covering this for weeks. It’s hard for my mind not to wander into worst-case scenarios. I’m nervous that we’re at the day-four or day-five mark right now and I’ve heard stories of people getting worse at that point.
If I'm being honest, my biggest fear right now is that he will take a turn for the worse — that he won’t be able to breathe and that I’ll have to take him to the hospital. We have no family here so I made a plan with my neighbor that if I have to leave, and the kids are alone, she’ll help them. It makes me emotional because that’s my biggest fear: I won’t be able to take care of my kids.
I haven't been beyond my own backyard since Thursday.
I have two teenagers who are trying to help but they are also attending school virtually. I’m trying to make sure we have food. My neighbors have been amazing and every time they go out shopping they’re buying me things.
I'm trying to be a good caretaker. I'm bringing Chris his meals. I’m bringing him clothing. I talk to him through the guest bedroom door. We text. Sometimes we FaceTime.
I spent much of the weekend deep cleaning the entire first floor of our home. I’m tired.
As a reporter, I don’t like telling a story about myself. But maybe it will help somebody to know that we’re going through the exact same thing that they’re going through. I know that we’re not alone.
I also know that we are lucky. Lucky that we have so much support, that we don’t live in a tiny apartment, that we went shopping weeks ago and we have plenty of food. Lucky that we’re not in a hospital.
Yet this is exhausting and anxiety-provoking. I do a lot of reporting for TODAY on mental health. One piece of advice: If you’re going through what I’m going through, try to find an outlet, exercise or talk to a friend. I plan to talk with my therapist tomorrow to keep myself on track. We will get through this.