Writing by Andie Reyes
I feel like I have been a good citizen of my country. I vote, I do not throw garbage in the street, I took all the precautions that the Mexican government has recommended to stay safe from covid, I believed that all the shopping centers had taken the necessary measures to be safe as they said on the radio.
Joan Didion once said ‘Life changes in an instant. You sit down to eat and the life you used to know is suddenly over’, and without a doubt that’s how my family’s life changed.
On December 31, my family and I enjoyed what would be our last dinner together sitting at the same table, our end of the year dinner was a delicious Mexican meal.
In my New Year’s wishes I pray for health, love and emotional stability, I hugged my cat and went to bed.
On January 1st I woke up with a sore throat and headache, my body felt different: tired and in pain. It was confusing for me because the day before I felt very good. For a few days I thought I had a common cold, but on January 3rd, I lost my sense of smell, I did not want to be alarmed and worry my family, but by January 4th I felt terribly tired. I had headaches and body pain like I’d never had before so my mother and brother told me that I must visit the doctor immediately.
My doctor asked me to get tested for covid because he was concerned that I had lost my sense of smell. My greatest fear would soon come, my mother began to feel the same symptoms as me. I did the covid test and it came out negative, but at the same time, my mother tested positive and she was immediately diagnosed with pneumonia. I will never forget the pain, the anguish and the fear of that day, my mother and I could hardly hold ourselves together. I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes through her mask.
I was so confused, If I don’t have covid why do I feel like this and why did my mother test positive? My doctor told me that we would do another test since there was a possibility that it was a false negative.
So I did another test which was more painful than the first as they tried to get what they needed to test me. The second test were positive.
My symptoms were now stronger than before, my nightstand was full of medicines, silence and loneliness reigned in my house. Those days were hard what with my mother’s pneumonia and my brother starting to get sick. I felt I had to be strong for them, I had to take care of them, despite being extremely sick myself.
At that moment I stopped thinking about myself, I told myself, “I am not sick, I am fine, I have to be strong to help my mother and my brother.”. We were alone at home, isolated and afraid, checking our oxygen levels and our body temperature on a regular basis.
I read all the articles I could about natural remedies for the immune system so I was buying fruits and vegetables that could help my family stay healthy. For two weeks I forgot about myself and I was caring for my mother while she cried when some doctors took advantage of the situation and scared her with strange diagnoses.
What the doctors failed to mention about having covid is what comes after your diagnosis and the mental anguish we went through. Waves of emotion like roller coasters plagued us. Thoughts of death. Scared of dying from covid but also the medicine because every time I take it I feel like dying? Will I be able to hug my family again?
I’m still struggling with the aftermath of Covid. My bones ache, my chest feels so tight that I feel like I can’t breathe, there are still days that I worry that my oxygen levels will drop, I’m scared whenever my mother coughs .
I recently read an essay written by Meghan Markle for the New York Times, where she states ..the losses we share and the importance of asking if someone is okay.
When I first read it, I could only sympathise with her pain – the pain of the loss unborn baby, but now that article has another meaning for me, when I read that line again “are you okay?” I read it as if someone had asked me, personally.
No, I am not. I am afraid, I feel alone, I am afraid I will never again enjoy the smell of a rainy afternoon, I am afraid this will make me live my life in fear and I am afraid for everyone going through the same thing.