"She’s dead, and I’m quarantined. That’s how the story ends."

First it was a fever of 103. Then the doctors decided it was pneumonia and went ahead and admitted her. Then it was pneumonia in both of her lungs. If anybody was thinking it was the coronavirus, I didn’t hear it — at least not at first. Nobody in Indiana had it yet. Even if it was killing people in Washington state and starting to infect people in New York, it was basically happening on TV.

The best precautions weren’t taken in the early stages. A few nurses wore gloves or masks when they came to see Birdie, but that seemed normal for treating pneumonia. I didn’t wear anything, and nobody really asked me to. I was lying next to her in the bed or sitting in a chair and holding her hand. She didn’t have much other family, and if I got up to go out into the hallway for a few minutes, I’d kiss her goodbye.

Would it have gone any different if they knew what it was? Maybe. Or maybe they would have quarantined her right then, and I would have lost a few more days with her.

See, I could analyze this to death. I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.