COVID: A positive perspective
By Matt Wazio (TheLorian)
Last spring, as I packed up and moved out of my dorm room, I remember wondering if I would return to Loras before the semester ended. By the time I got home though, airports, churches, shopping malls–pretty much everything–was closed, and I knew I would finish the semester at home.
In those early days, I would gather with my family around the TV every day at noon to watch the Illinois governor talk about the latest news on the virus. He would go over charts showing how many more lives had been affected by COVID-19; how many people had it and how many had died.
We would go to the grocery store scared of the virus because so little was known about it. In time, we all learned a bit more about COVID and things lightened up –at least a bit. Still, the news each day seemed to tell the same stories of people catching COVID and some dying from it.
However, watching COVID stories on the news kept the virus at a distance; far enough away that I thought it wouldn’t touch me. I’m young, I wear a mask, and so I believed that I was taking every precaution to keep myself safe from this virus. I felt optimistic that a healthy twenty-one-year-old like me would only read the statistics, not become one.
That was until the email popped up in my inbox with the subject: COVID-19 RESULTS: POSITIVE. My heart sank. I had taken the test just to give my mom peace of mind so that I could go back home to spend time with my family. Yeah, my taste and smell had been a little off- a tell-tale symptom of COVID – but I didn’t think twice about it.
After I got that email, I became scared. I consumed every article I could find about the long-term effects. I read about all of the possible outcomes. This isn’t just the flu, it isn’t a cold. I learned about kids my age who had died from COVID-19. I was searching, not just for information but for hope. `
I read anything I could get my hands on hoping to read that this virus wouldn’t last long in my system. I lost my sense of taste and smell completely. But they were merely annoying in comparison to some kids my age who discovered comorbidities that they didn’t know they had; these exponentially increased their chance of dying from the virus.
That’s the rub with this virus; it’s indiscriminate in its very nature. Some get it and suffer very little, while others may die. It’s like walking down a row of slot machines at the casino. When I pull the handle, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I guess I got lucky. I only lost my sense of taste, not my life. But I still don’t feel like I hit the jackpot.
I’ve become thankful for the things I took for granted. I’m grateful I have access to healthcare, in the case that I needed it. I’m grateful for quick and available testing that others don’t have.
My experience with COVID-19 is not the story that many people get to tell. I was able to safely quarantine and not spread it to any immunocompromised individuals. The worst of my quarantine was the boredom, and not worrying about whether I would lose a job or my life. I’m also grateful that I was able to Zoom in to my classes without worrying about missing vital information that would impact my grades and my chances of graduating.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still concerned; those of us who have had COVID still don’t know what long-term effects may pop up in the weeks and months ahead. Nonetheless, I’m so thankful that my experience is one that I can live to tell. And if you think it can’t happen to you – think again.