Of course, it’s not fun to stay home instead of going to social events, and it’s a bit difficult for a forgetful person such as myself to remember to bring a mask every time I go out in public.
However, having two-thirds of my family sick with COVID-19 was much worse, evoking feelings of fear and uncertainty as well as physical symptoms.
Before contracting this disease, I thought of it as impersonal, as something that would continue to keep its distance from me as long as I took precautions. And my family did take all of the correct precautions.
We took precautions but ...
Purses, pockets and car floors became littered with small bottles of hand sanitizer. Masks were stuffed in the glove boxes of our family vehicles. My family had used Walmart’s pick-up service religiously since March, and when the groceries made it into our house, we cleaned every single product with disinfectant.
But, as summer continued, more businesses re-opened, and my brother and I needed to work so we could make money for college (thankfully, my parents have both been working from home since mid March). However, this caused me to feel extremely guilty when we all tested positive because I figured that I must have brought it home from my job at a fast food place—though I was assured by my family that there was no way to know for sure.
My dad tested for COVID after feeling under the weather for a few days, and we learned a couple days later that he had tested positive. The next day, the other five members of my family (including me) were tested at the EXPO Center in Rock Island, which had free tests available at the time.
When our tests came back, it turned out that four out of our six family members were sick with COVID.
Loss of taste and smell was the worst
I started having symptoms the day of the test, which included headaches, fever, fatigue, and a loss of taste and smell for me. The loss of my senses was the worst part for me, as I had never experienced anything like it, and it left me with a sense of helplessness as well as dramatically reduced my appetite.
Both of my parents had a cough in addition to other COVID symptoms—making their experience much more difficult than mine. Everyone in my family was affected differently and got better at different rates, which goes to show how versatile this disease can be.
After quarantining for two weeks, everyone in my family was feeling marginally better, which I feel very lucky about, and I was able to go back to work after the allotted time.
I urge everyone to wear protective gear in public places and to wash your hands often in the hopes that it will keep you safe. But if it doesn’t, know what symptoms to look out for and quarantine yourself before you can spread it.
If you're wondering how you can keep yourself and others safe on campus this fall, here's how Vikings are taking care of each other in addition to wearing masks.