Atlanta CNN  — 

I live alone in my home surrounded by my family who live here, too… it’s corona-complicated.

I haven’t seen them in weeks. Not in person. I hear them, their footsteps, and my wife’s voice as she talks on the phone to others. The creak of the floor, the open and close of a door. The TV. The shower.

I am haunted by living ghosts.

Weeks ago my wife, Blis, and I planned what we’d do if someone in our family got sick, including how we would divvy up living space to isolate the patient. It’s a concern because my wife has an autoimmune disease.

Martin Savidge and his wife, Blis, made contingency plans weeks ago.

We had already stocked up. Being a journalist, you are pretty up on the information, and the virus writing was on the wall some time ago. But events have unraveled in ways I hadn’t fully considered.

I had been on the road about two weeks, in Alabama for an execution, then on the trail of the coronavirus, hopping flights to hot spots in Florida, Boston and New York.

Usually my family is thrilled when I tell them I’m headed home. This time I could hear the hesitation in my wife’s voice when I called with the news.

“You can keep going,” she said “It’s OK.”

I said CNN had told us we all were now going to be based and working from home.

“Oh,” was the reply.

It wasn’t that she didn’t love me. But for the first time in 30 years she wasn’t sure she wanted me… home.

I knew why. I was a threat.

The rest of the family had been sheltering in place. I was waltzing back with who knows what. And though I had no symptoms, I had to be treated like that patient we had hypothesized weeks ago.

Once at my house, in the garage, over the phone, I was told what my life would be.

“You will go up to the master bedroom” she said. She had already hurriedly evacuated her things. “That is where you live, eat and work.”

My heart said, “This seems pretty extreme.” My head said, “She’s exactly right.”

Savidge has quarantined himself in a bedroom to protect the rest of his family.

“Two weeks is what they recommend,” she added, referring to the self-quarantine guidelines. “And every time you go off on another story… the clock resets.”

So, in the bathroom, I have a cooler full of drinks, a coffee maker and sanitizing wipes.

In the bedroom, I have three computers for work, another to watch Netflix, and two phones that serve as communications and camera for video links to CNN and my team.

If I need anything, I call my wife or son and it materializes outside my door. There’s a knock, they retreat, I retrieve once they have vanished again.

I do leave the house each day to exercise. I call down. The rest of the family shelters in place till I’m out the door. We do the same in reverse when I come back.

Savidge used a tablet to continue his tradition of making a birthday card for his wife.

My biggest challenge so far has been a birthday card. I have made one for my wife every year of our marriage. Today, her birthday, I struggled. I managed some crude drawings using a tablet.

The hard part was getting it to print remotely downstairs when I couldn’t see if anything was coming out. It took several tries coordinating over the phone with my son, who was at the printer.

Finally, success.

On his wife's birthday, a slice of cake was left for Savidge outside his self-imposed quarantine room.

Then tonight over FaceTime, I joined my family singing “Happy Birthday.” Instead of blowing out the candles, my wife extinguished them with a wave of a magazine.

Moments later came a knock and a slice at my door. I never saw who delivered it.

These are the times in which we live.