I tested positive for COVID-19…


The symptoms started out of the blue on August 21, 2021, when a friend and I went out to take my senior pictures. 

I remember being in the car and eating McDonalds when I started coughing every now and then. Overall, leading up to that day, I had just been a little tired, but I figured I was just getting used to face-to-face learning again after being remote last year. 

That could not have been further from the truth. My friend and I ended pictures early that day as we were both tired and coughing, her with a cold, and me with an unknown illness, which I thought was either a cold or allergies. 

By the time I dropped my friend off and got home my cough got worse, I felt some chest pain, had a headache, and was very tired. At around 5 p.m. Zaylee called me and told me she was exposed to someone who had COVID-19 from our school. I decided to take my temperature, which registered 98.3, and then made sure to limit my contact with my family members in my house. 

The next day my mom got a call that my younger brother was exposed to someone who had COVID-19 at his school. By this time, when I was laying in bed exhausted with chest pain making it hard to breathe, the possibility of me having COVID-19 seemed high. However, I was perplexed. I was fully vaccinated, I had worn a mask to school every day and was careful of who I hung around with. Though I never wore a mask at cheer practice, all our practices were outside. Though I could have picked it up from my younger brother, we were not around each other much in the past two weeks, so I was left confused. 

By August 23, 2021, my mom decided to take me to a clinic to get strep tested. Luckily, they didn’t send me to the hospital or deny me access. They tested me for strep and it was negative, so they tested me for COVID-19. It wasn’t painful, but very uncomfortable. After that, I was to stay at home in my room. By this time my younger brother had been running a fever and sleeping more than usual causing a concern that he might also have COVID-19. 

The next day I officially tested positive for COVID-19. Throughout this day I couldn’t keep any foods, liquids, or medications down, and the chest pain was unbearable. By 10 p.m. at night, I couldn’t breathe.

I remember walking down the stairs and holding my chest. I told my mom I couldn’t breathe and she rushed me to the ER. I was admitted quickly and they were able to give me a shot that helped clear my nausea so I could eat, drink, and take medications again. After the shot set in, they gave me medication. I do not really know what that medication for my lungs did, as in the moment, I was focusing on trying to breathe. 

I was quarantined until September 1, 2021, and couldn’t sleep lying down until two weeks after that. After I went to the ER, I lost my taste for a few days, and then for three days I could only taste cheese and apple juice, which sucked. I dreamt of eating chicken from the Cracker Barrel and remember sleeping and stressing about school a lot. 

By the end of my quarantine I had had 36 absences. I returned to school, still wearing my mask, and a little weak. I decided to keep it simple during cheerleading that week, not stunting and not doing as many kicks and jumps during the game. 

By this time my brother who is nine, had tested positive for COVID-19 but was lucky to have a less serious case, where he was only running a small fever and was very tired. 

My mother on the other hand got sick a week or two after we both got out of quarantine. She was really tired the first week, which after taking care of two sick kids who had COVID-19, would make sense. 

She eventually caught COVID-19 from my brother and I and had to go to the hospital. She was already immunocompromised and had one out of two COVID shots, but the virus took over and worsened her underlying conditions. 

I remember the morning she went to the hospital. When I came down the stairs in the morning to start my routine she told me to call my Nana, because she was having a hard time breathing and wanted to go to the hospital. My Nana came but by then we decided to call 911. Right before 911 walked in the doors of my house, my mom passed out because she couldn’t breathe. While 911 was taking care of her and getting her to the hospital, I had to go to school. 

She was placed in the ICU and was diagnosed with COVID-19 as well. She stayed in the hospital for three or four days. 

Luckily she was able to recover from COVID-19 and is doing well as of now. 

As a person who wears their mask and is fully vaccinated, I think the situation my family went through only highlights how the pandemic is still on-going. Even if someone is vaccinated they can still get COVID-19, but it will be less severe. I can’t imagine what would have happened to my mother if she would not have had her first does of the COVID-19 vaccination, or what would have happened to me if I had not had both of mine. 

At Seaman High School, students get to choose if they wear a mask, and though I agree with the statement that those people have a right to wear a mask or not, I don’t think they have a right to infect me with COVID-19. I could have gotten COVID-19 from my brother, a friend, a teammate, from someone in a store, or from someone not wearing a mask at school. According to the World Health Organization when both people are wearing masks and are in contact with one another, the chances of exchanging germs is lower than if one person is wearing a mask. 

I hear both sides of the COVID-19 pandemic in my family. One side agrees that people should wear masks, get vaccinated, and that we need to go into a lockdown, while the other side of my family believes that people don’t have to get the vaccine if they don’t want to, masks don’t work, and that we should continue as normal because the pandemic isn’t as severe as the media describes it. 

I enjoy that I can hear both sides and have always been encouraged by both sides to do my homework and look into the facts. As a journalist, there is nothing more important than factual evidence and though the COVID-19 pandemic has been full of misleading information here and there, there is no doubt that we are still in a pandemic and that it is killing people. 

September of 2020 last year I lost a family member to COVID-19 and that effect still leaves an imprint on my family. My Nana’s number one concern is making sure my younger brother gets his vaccination so he’s protected against COVID-19. 

The pandemic is something no one wants to live in, and I say this as someone who this pandemic stole a lot from. It took away family members, my exchange year in Germany, my high school experience, and so much more on my mental health. But for as long as it goes on I will still wear my mask and make sure to protect those I love.

It is my hope that this overview of my family’s situation with COVID-19 will provide an insight into the severity of this pandemic. People are dying and personally, I don’t find it hard to wear a mask or get a vaccination against this virus. All the news points to the vaccination being safe and masks working to protect us against the virus.

So, as someone who’s been through the virus before, wear a mask and get vaccinated. In the end it’s not a matter of whether we were right about our freedoms or not, but whether we were able to keep at least one more person alive and protected from this virus that came stomping on our lives. Don’t let the virus live, and make a decision to get us back to normal. I would love to be able to have my exchange year in Germany, see all my family members celebrating Thanksgiving and the 4th of July together, and graduate this year having gone to Prom, being recognized at senior night, and have classes in person.