By Sorayda Rivera
Student Life Editor

Graphic by Mary Mone

2020 was a time no one will ever forget. It was a dreadful year full of anxiety, fear, sadness and loss. I am aware not all things were terrible, but for the most part, it was tense. Everyone has their own COVID-19 stories and experiences. Some people grew emotionally because of the turbulent times the virus brought and some became wiser and stronger. There are over seven billion people on this planet and while most of our stories might have some similarities, everyone’s story is unique to them.
I live with a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3. My fiancé has type 1 diabetes, my mom is older with high blood pressure and her significant other has a list of health issues. We all have comorbidities and I feared the worst if we got sick with COVID-19.
You can only imagine the panic I felt and the anxiety I had to live with after hearing the news that this virus was especially deadly for those at high risk. I am high risk! I hated it. I hated having to change my life around because I was scared to die. I lived with that fear. The two times I had to quarantine, I felt scared and extremely depressed.
Then it finally happened. The day we all were dreading was here. COVID-19 had infiltrated my household. Our nightmare came true on Dec. 4 when my mom tested positive. She woke up that day feeling icky and I immediately had her get tested. Shortly after finding out of her results, I contacted a doctor who had experience treating COVID patients. She put our house on a strict regimen of over-the-counter and prescription medications, along with intense hourly breathing exercises.
For the first few days, my mom was OK. She felt ill but nothing horrible. By the third day, she was ready to go to the hospital, but I didn’t want her to go. I was scared if she went in, I might never see her alive again. So, I decided to become her No. 1 cheerleader and supporter. I knew being around her was not good for me, but I couldn’t let my mother and best friend wither away by this stupid virus. I would wear a face shield and a mask, and I kept my distance as much as I could. I would go to where she was laying every hour on the hour. I wanted her to keep her spirits up, and I needed to make sure she was following the strict doctor’s orders.
After a long and agonizing 13 days of her feeling ill, she finally began to make a comeback. She started eating again after having no appetite. She got her smell and her taste back, and she wasn’t in pain. Thankfully, she began to feel better because what I have learned is this virus has a domino effect, and shortly after she got better, we all started coming down with symptoms and positive results fast.
For me, it was quite a different experience than for my mom. My journey with the virus started with lower flank pain. My pain was getting progressively worse as the day progressed. I decided that same day to go to the doctor to get checked out. On the way to the doctor’s office, I began to feel overwhelmingly weird. I was feeling lethargic, and I was out of it. While I was in the examination room talking to the doctor, I began to experience a running nose and chest congestion. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on. I was getting sick so fast. I was still in denial that I was going to get sick. Foolishly, I had convinced myself I was immune to the virus. Boy, was I wrong!
Some people will say COVID for them was like having a mild cold or flu. I can honestly say those people are very fortunate to feel only that. For me, COVID-19 felt like I got ran over multiple times by a dump truck. Every inch of my body was in pain. My head ached, my eyes burned, and my brain was dead! The worst pain of all was the pain in my nasal cavity.
You know that tortuous feeling you get when water accidentally gets up your nose when you go swimming? After that happens, you know that burning feeling that follows that? Yeah, I felt that all the time. It was so miserable. Also, by day five, my stomach could hardly handle the cocktail of daily medications that were keeping me out of the hospital. I didn’t completely lose my taste and smell, but food still wasn’t appetizing.
The fun part began on day seven or eight. I began to have night terrors. I would wake up shortly after dosing off to sleep in a cold sweat, fearing for my life. It was so terrifying. I had three straight nights of experiencing a mixture of sleep paralysis, to crazy demon figures, to my Grogu doll walking across my room.
There came the point in the 12 days while I was sick that felt like I was never going to get better. I am an optimistic person, and even in the worst of times, I try to have a positive attitude, but the nights of pain and restlessness were tearing me down.
As you can see, I survived! My honest review about having COVID is that it sucked. I wouldn’t wish this sickness on anyone. While our experience was unpleasant, my family and I are blessed because we all survived. No one in my household had to go to the hospital, and a month later, we are all doing better. My biggest fear of the year has come and gone.
The sad truth is this virus does rob people of their health and their lives. People are still dying every day. Just this year, I have lost one of my favorite great aunts. It has not been easy coming to terms with her death.
Even though everyone in my house still got sick with COVID-19, I still believe in taking the proper precautions. This virus is very much real and very much alive. I believe in doing my part to help stop the spread of this nightmare.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! What an experience. I am so glad to hear that everyone in your family, as well as yourself, are doing so much better. My family also went through something similar in July of 2020 when the virus was spreading like wildfire so I understand how scary and robbing this nasty virus is. I know how hard it can be to talk about a COVID experience when it has done so much harm, so I thank-you for sharing.

  2. COVID 19 definitely took a toll on many families and I am glad that yours is doing better. I had a friend in high school that recently passed away due to the pandemic. 2020 was a rough year for many people and I think everyone has learned something from it.

  3. COVID has taken the lives of people around me and has put some in the hospital. It is terrifying and was a hectic year; I’m hopeful though that with the new information we have on the virus and vaccine we’ll be able to put an end to the coronavirus.

  4. I’m so sorry that you and your family went through this. I agree COVID 19 is not a joke. It is very hard to fully recover from it. I had it over 2 months ago and still feel as if I have brain fog. I’m more tired than I was before COVID 19 too. We have to all do our part to help limit the spread of the virus. There are charter buses at hotels who have brought medical professionals to Tyler to work in the COVID unit because we are numbers in East Texas are so high. It’s not going away anytime soon. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Wow! Your story is very interesting, and thank you for sharing it with us! I am so happy that you and your family are okay! I have never heard a COVID story like yours, so this really opened my eyes. I feel that now more than ever we need to put others before ourselves!

  5. I am so glad that your family and yourself as well are doing so much better. COVID-19 has been such a horrible experience to many families around the world. I’ve experienced the fear of getting COVID because of the high risks that my family is put in. Thanks for sharing your experience, that can change many peoples point of view of what this virus can cause.

  6. This new virus that entered all of our lives has definitely been the worst that has yet come. I am sorry that you went through this experience and I am glad you dealt with it in a very incredible manner. I was also afraid of this new virus since most of my family members have a weak immune system.

  7. That experience sounds like it could become some kind of movie. My cousin had COVID for a while, but he lived in another town so we never really had any close contact with the virus. I am glad that my household never got the virus and will forever be thankful for it. I am also glad to hear that you and your family are healthy and safe.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us but most importantly, thank you for doing your part and taking the precautions to not infect other people with this virus. I am glad that you and your family are now doing better but I am also sorry for the loss of your favorite aunt. I know it must have not been easy but you will get through it!

  9. Wow! Your story is very interesting, and thank you for sharing it with us! I am so happy that you and your family are okay! I have never heard a COVID story like yours, so this really opened my eyes. I feel that now more than ever we need to put others before ourselves!

  10. Really enjoyed reading your article. Sorry to hear your situation you had to go through. Hope all of your family stays safe as this new virus has really affected many people. Overall I really enjoyed reading this article. As mentioned before I hope everyone that’s reading this stays safe.

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience through this article! Stories such as these help spread awareness and (hopefully) allow people to see that we should all be taking the virus very seriously. 2020 was certainly a very stressful and mentally draining year, but we can only hope the rest of 2021 treats us better (even if the year has already kicked off with a rough start). I am glad you and your family are doing better now!

  12. Thank you for sharing your experience through this article! Stories such as these help spread awareness and (hopefully) allow people to see that we should all be taking the virus very seriously. 2020 was certainly a very stressful and mentally draining year, but we can only hope the rest of 2021 treats us better (even if the year has already kicked off with a rough start). I am glad you and your family are doing better now!

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