Life with COVID-19: A true story


Emily Merrill

An accurate representation of what quarantine felt like, displayed by Kitty.

On Oct. 13, I tested positive for COVID-19. My first thought was, “Oh no, I’m adding to the West Texas A&M University’s statistics,” but I soon realized that being a statistic is not the most important thing of it all.

Let me take you to where I first caught the virus. It was a week prior from when I got tested. I had been dating this boy for about a month. I don’t really know if he called it “dating”, but we went on dates and that’s dating in my book. I say that because he wasn’t exactly the most loyal. Long story short, I caught the virus from him because he was seeing other girls. Let me be the first to tell you, dating in 2020 is not a good idea.

I started feeling like I had really bad allergies. My nose was runny and my throat started feeling sore. I just kept taking Zyrtec and hoping it would go away. Within a few days, I started to feel some sinus pressure. Not a lot, just a little. I was going home to see my parents that weekend so I tried to tell myself it was still just allergies.

The weekend of Oct. 9 was my old high school’s homecoming and I hadn’t missed one since coming to WTAMU three years ago. I was so excited and hopefully my symptoms would go away with the clean mountain air. My parents are both teachers so I love to go visit them at the school, I’m also what you call a “hometown hero” so I like to relive the glory days. I did my usual thing when I visit, say hello to my old teachers, go to the gym and see my parents. Masks are required in all buildings, and thinking back on it now I’m really grateful for it.

On Oct. 10, my symptoms peaked. I started to feel sinus headaches, fatigue, and coughing. While still being ignorant, I upgraded my theory and told myself it was a sinus infection. That day, I worked on horseback in 90 degree weather, leading trail rides for guests. Again, I was lucky because that is a very socially distanced activity. I finally told my parents that I had been feeling worse than what I had told them, and I had been feeling that way for a few days. They also believed it was a sinus infection but kept me from church that Sunday just in case.

When I got back from home, I immediately got tested. I knew deep down I had COVID-19. Sure enough my test came back positive. I was completely horrified, not because of the fact that I now had to quarantine for two weeks, but the fact I had gone to see my parents and others in my hometown. My parents quarantined and got tested along with about three others. I got very lucky, all of their tests came back negative and no one ever developed any symptoms.

The next step was to alert my professors and metally prepare for online work and Zoom. I also told my brother, Penn, that he would have to get all of my groceries for two weeks. He’s honestly the best brother in the entire world, and my best friend, so he had no issues and hoped I would get better.

My neighbor, Alejandra Camarillo, Allie for short, was so sweet and brought me home cooked meals sometimes.

“I was more than happy to deliver packages and bring her food. It’s always a positive experience to help others. I was also worried about Kitty, too, to be honest,” Camarillo said.

Kitty is my cat that I adopted a year ago. Her and I spent some quality time together of course. She is registered as an emotional support animal so I cherished all of the Kitty cuddles and play times during my quarantine.

The time that wasn’t spent on Zoom calls was spent sleeping. The days didn’t really drag on which is kind of funny to me. I only had one mental breakdown, and it was because my brother was only kind of mean to me. I called my mom every day, just because I wanted someone to talk to, and I would talk through my door to my brother for 30 minutes when he came by.

In the last week of quarantine, I went to go check the mail for my mail-in ballot. I remember being outside, with a mask and gloves of course, and feeling the sun. The sun was just so amazing and the fresh air matched it. I had never been so grateful for just having the opportunity to be outside.

Since quarantine, I have been going to class and starting to act like a normal human again. The social interactions still exhaust me somewhat but it will get better. I think there are some very important things that I learned while having COVID-19. I am not invincible, even though I am 21 and healthy the virus still found me. The virus is not fake, and it continues to spread. Don’t be afraid though, it’s here and it’s not going away anytime soon. Take precautions, wear a mask, wash your hands, and continue to live life the best you can in this “new normal”.