My experience having COVID-19

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Image via WebMD Blogs

Catie Ries, Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 17, began with my third COVID test since the pandemic started. After having been exposed to COVID twice during the summer, tested and receiving negative results,

a third test was just more of the same. Except for this time, it wasn’t the same experience.

 

This time I wasn’t getting tested because we learned we’d been exposed. This time I felt sick. I downplayed the feeling. After all, my family had been so careful about masks, social distancing and washing our hands. I was sure it was just a cold. My “cold” was quite mild at first, just headaches and tiredness. My mom’s “cold” was different. She had a fever and had a hard time breathing and doing even simple things around the house. She began tracking her blood oxygen level, and it stayed steady in the 91-93% range for an entire weekend. A healthy blood oxygen level is above the 95% level, so she decided to play it safe and called her doctor. When she described her blood oxygen level to the nurse, she was quickly put on the phone with her doctor who urgently said, “Mrs. Ries, I want you to hang up the phone and go to the hospital right now.” Four hours later, she returned home with a COVID  diagnosis. 

 

The next day, I found out I had COVID too. Up until this point, I had only read articles and seen news reports about COVID. I never thought it would impact my family. We had been so careful from the very start, wearing masks anytime we left the house, and sanitizing everything after going to the store. We even had to miss my Aunt’s funeral to avoid gatherings. We had done everything in our power to avoid getting sick, so how could this have happened? As it turns out, it was a simple mistake, a moment when my mom acted without thinking. After leaving a store, she took off her mask without using hand sanitizer first. The doctor told her it was as if she’d wiped every germ she’d touched in the store across her face. A five-second lapse and COVID was in our home. 

 

I am 16-years-old, I am an athlete and exercise every day. According to my doctor, I am perfectly healthy. None of that mattered because, contrary to popular belief, COVID-19 does not only affect older people. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Fewer children have been sick with Covid-19 compared to adults, but children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19.” 

 

My symptoms began with a slight headache that got worse as time went on. That one headache turned into 12 days of the worst headaches I’ve ever had. I slept 12 hours a day and was still exhausted. In addition to the headaches, I had one of the most common COVID symptoms – a persistent fever that lasted almost two weeks. The combination of fever, headaches and exhaustion had me feeling miserable, but there is something worse than COVID – worrying about your family when they have COVID. 

 

My mother was still having trouble breathing, and my dad was not showing any symptoms. He either didn’t get sick or was asymptomatic. My mother and I quarantined in one part of the house, with my dad in another. There was nothing we could do but wait it out and hope we didn’t end up needing to be hospitalized. A little over two weeks later, we were all feeling much better and had stopped quarantining. It’s been over two months and my mom still has breathing issues. Her lungs are healing, but it’s a slow process. 

 

It was simple for COVID to affect my family. Without care and caution, your family could be affected too. Everyone, no matter their age, needs to be careful. Download this infographic describing how you can protect your friends, family, and community from the spread of COVID, and think twice before you decide that going to one little party or visiting family isn’t a big deal.