We know first hand that this virus is not a joke. In early April, one of our students became infected with Covid after her roommate returned from Italy and failed to self-quarantine. She quickly developed the known symptoms and spent two grueling weeks in the hospital, overridden by trying physical ailments and, most of all, fear. We were at her—virtual—side every single day and were deeply relieved when she was finally released. Here is the story in her own words:
I am writing to you, from Iași to share my COVID experience. I am sharing my experience for your sake, for the sake of my Blue Heron family, but also for myself, so I never forget how I am feeling right now.
It all started one day while I was in the placement center where I live. I had a little fever and everyone around me got worried really fast. Personally, I wasn’t scared because I knew I hadn’t been in contact with anyone who tested positive or who came back from a foreign country. I left for the hospital with nothing but my ID on me, feeling like I was heading to an exam that I could not flunk because I was prepared. “I’m ok. Tonight, or tomorrow the latest, they will discharge me,” I told myself.
After the first night, they ran another test. My fever was gone and all that was left was a dry breath and a little bit of a dry cough. ‘’Nothing but a common cold,‘’ I told myself. I was already taking the bedsheets off the bed to make it easier for the nurses to prepare it for the next patient. While I was doing that, my phone rang and I was informed that the police were at the placement center and they were being placed under quarantine. A cold shiver took over my body and, when the door to my hospital room opened, I burst into tears, even before the doctor told me that I had tested positive for COVID-19.
I needed all the strengh I could gather to get through this illness. COVID makes you feel powerless, as if your life is hanging by a single and very fragile thread. You never know when your immune system will give up, or even if you will wake up the next morning. Five days after my test came out positive, I started having the hard-to-bear symptoms: fever, chills and low oxygen. Although I had a fever, I was cold and I covered myself with every blanket and every piece of textile I could find. The next three days I stayed in bed, as I couldn’t even gather enough strengh to brush my teeth. When I could finally get out of bed, although I could hardly breathe, the pain was much more bearable.
This episode will forever stay with me, carved into my memory and soul, as the business card of this illness. Please stop treating this virus as if it were a joke or a mass manipulation, because it’s not. I don’t think any of us us are truly ready for it, but, at the same time, I don’t think we should give up the fight either.