COVID-19 is real, and it was debilitating

Shekinah Toro, Contributing Writer

I am one of the survivors of COVID-19. If you ask me whether COVID-19 is real, I will say yes, it is. 

I never thought I would get it. It felt so unreal. It was this new virus happening in another country far away from me.

In March, not only I, but everybody panicked about this unknown disease that was coming closer and closer to making itself part of our daily lives. No one was prepared to hear the news that a pandemic had begun, or that hand sanitizer, gloves and face masks would become our everyday accessories. 

I never thought I would see a supermarket without toilet paper or non-perishable food. I never thought the virtual world would become the new real world.

Schools closed. People lost their jobs. Supermarkets ran low on essentials. Events were canceled. Classes switched to online courses. People filed for unemployment benefits. The county locked down for weeks.

Everything we knew changed entirely in less than a month. And from then on, nothing was the same.

As a full-time student at Dallas College and a full-time employee, I was affected by this pandemic because I was now an essential worker. Everything closed, except for my place of work. Moving to online classes affected my grades as it was not an ideal system for my style of learning. Getting used to this new way of living was not easy. Because I did not have to attend classes in person, I started working more than 50 hours a week, exposing myself to this virus more and more every day.

From my workplace, I was the fifth person to test positive for the coronavirus in March. At first, I was scared. I could not stop crying because the news said how deadly this disease was. 

In my case, symptoms were milder compared to other people. I didn’t need to go to the emergency room. I was recommended to quarantine in my room for 14 days and practice social distancing with all my household members. Luckily none of my family members were infected.

The symptoms were variable. The first was a severe headache and fever. Two days later, my stomach hurt and I lost my appetite. My chest and back hurt, and I had a cough, then my throat hurt. A few days later I had no more symptoms, but I was still locked up. 

After two weeks, I was tested again. It came back positive, so another 14 days locked up.

 During that time, I decided to learn something different, such as how to play the piano. The moment my symptoms stopped, I focused on doing all my homework and studying because it was almost the end of the semester.

My workplace paid me for the time I was away. Tarrant County Public Health reached out and I became part of the positive COVID-19 statistics in Texas.

At the end of those two weeks, I was tested again. And it finally came back negative. After a month of quarantine, I had lost 10 pounds and my body was weak, but I was ready to go out into the world again with less fear and more caution. At first, I did not believe I had survived this. I felt so many emotions, but mostly I was grateful for life and health. Thanks to this illness I could understand I had to do everything to move forward and work for my dreams.

In early November, my sister tested positive for COVID-19 becoming the second person in my household to have this virus. She quarantined and was isolated for 14 days. 

Here we go again; I had to retake the test. Luckily, this time it was negative, and I socially distanced from my sister. I did not want to run the risk of getting it again.

We must comply with each of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s safety guidelines to stop the spread of this disease.