New way of living comes after diagnosis

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Older generations seem to be more at risk with COVID-19, but the spectrum of COVID-19 has expanded greatly over the past few months with the state of California surpassing 2.5 million COVID-19 cases. 

I knew I had COVID-19 on Dec.19, I didn’t get tested until ten days later  when my family and I had regained enough strength where we could drive ourselves to get tested.

One of my brothers was able to get tested sooner and came back positive. My mom, dad, and I received our results back on Dec.31 and they only confirmed what we all already knew; All of us had tested positive for COVID-19. 

It was a very frightening thing for me to read not only for myself, but especially for my family. In that moment so many things cross your mind because we have all seen what has happened to so many that have tested positive, we have all seen the case numbers rise, the death toll rise.

Immediately I knew that I had it along with my dad. My mom’s symptoms were not as intense until a week after my dad and I got sick. My brother was the last one to show any symptoms, they were the most mild he had a sore throat, loss of smell and taste.

I tried to worry my parents as little as possible especially since at the beginning when my mom still did not feel too bad she had to focus on my dad’s health. We were all especially on high alert for him due to his Type 2 diabetes. Data from San Joaquin Public Health Services note that 39.6 percent of the 806 deaths from COVID-19 in the county had a comorbidity of diabetes listed. 

For the most part I spent the first week in bed trying to not let my parents see how much pain I was in because I wanted them to focus on my dad’s health. 

I did not eat much, I had lost my taste and smell, my body was very weak, I had chills and fever at some point. What took me down the most was the worst headache I had ever experienced. The worst part is it lasted five days.

The headache gave me the hardest time. There were points where I could not handle it and just burst into tears and prayed for the pain to pass. I could not move my eyes around too much because it would cause the pain to be more intense and I could not sleep it off because it would not let me sleep and when I did manage to fall asleep I would wake up to the same pain.  

My days with COVID-19 were a roller coaster because I would start the day feeling better, eating, and walking around. Then an hour would go by and it all went downhill. 

I would be back in bed buried in blankets trying to stop the chills and manage the head pain.

After a week in a half I was the healthiest in the house. That’s not to say I no longer had symptoms, but everyone else in the house was just that much worse than I was able to help them out and help around the house. I took a lot of vitamins everyday and tried to eat as healthy as possible. I think that really helped me. 

By the end the four of us were left with a dry cough that did not let us talk much since it continuously interrupted us and occurred when we took in too much air at once.

I think a lot of people speak about COVID-19 and there are people who need to report on it, but most of the time what is not spoken about is the emotional and mental health toll it takes.

When we were in the clear there was an obvious sense of relief, but we were all just drained. We knew it was over, but there was this moment of epiphany where you just think to yourself, ok so this is what so many people around the world have experienced. 

In a way we felt connected to people who went through their own version of this, we felt connected to people we had never met.

I was mentally and emotionally spent once I recuperated because throughout the entire process I was in constant worry.

While I wish COVID-19 didn’t exist, now that my family and I have thankfully overcome this unscaved we have had to search for positives at a personal level in what seems like a sea of darkness. Apart from being thankful for regaining our health one of the most important things I am taking away from this experience ironically is how it brought people closer together.

In my experience it created something of a community support group, a group that treated my family like their own. Neighbors would voluntarily bring us dishes they had cooked as well as holiday drinks and teas they thought would help us. 

Other neighbors brought us groceries, my brothers friends dropped off all the possible medicine and vitamins we could need as they had gone through the same thing. Some family members also dropped off medicine, an air purifier and other necessities. 

People around us really took us in when they did not have to and everything was done safely. It would be dropped off at our gate and then I would go out and bring it inside the house. 

My perception on COVID-19 has changed. This is not to say I was any less safe before or any less grateful to our healthcare workers.

After having gone through it myself and seen the people that mean the most to me in the world go through having COVID-19 and having to tell my sister and my other brother they couldn’t come home I have become more anxious and cautious.

My family wore masks, gloves and carried hand sanitizer in my car. Now we also sanitize everything we bring into the house including ourselves. Meaning we spray the bottom of our shoes with a disinfectant my mom makes and spray some in the air and walk into it.

We stay home as much as possible if we need something from the store, only one person goes and we now make online payments instead of going in person. 

I have seen first hand how hard it is on family and I would never want to go through anything similar again. I would never want any other family to go through the same thing but the reality is that everyday the list of COVID cases is rising affecting thousands and thousands more.