Living with COVID-19

Photo+illustration+of+a+family+with+COVID-19+quarantining+in+separate+rooms.

Addie Gleason

Photo illustration of a family with COVID-19 quarantining in separate rooms.

Turning on the news, you are greeted by reporters reciting recent statistics about COVID-19. Hospitals care for an endless amount of patients as they start to overflow. Stickers carefully placed six feet apart are seen in almost every store, with large bottles of hand sanitizer placed nearby. However, there is a disconnect in watching the news and actually living through it, trapped in your room, eating by yourself, missing connections with other people. People with COVID-19 are all around us, even in our schools. 

Sophomore Sophia Johnson got COVID-19 from a coworker at her workplace, McDonald’s, in the beginning of August. Despite living together, her mom tested negative. They stayed on different floors of the house to avoid spreading the virus.

“In reality I should have quarantined better. I wasn’t completely quarantined from [my mom]. The first week or so when I was sick we did a pretty good job quarantining, but after that week, once I was up, moving around more and feeling better, then we still kept our distance but sometimes we were in the same room together for a few minutes,” Johnson said.

With her symptoms changing frequently, Johnson spent a lot of time sleeping. At one point, she was unable to stand up for more than five minutes without feeling faint.

Sophomore Sophia Johnson takes the candles out of her cake during her birthday in quarantine. (Courtesy of Sophia Johnson)

“I know it was difficult for my mom. I was so disappointed when my test came back positive and she couldn’t do anything about it. She had to do so much more work around the house too,  because many days I was too tired to do anything,” Johnson said. “I definitely understood [the experience of having COVID-19] a little better after I got COVID-19. It felt more real to me and less like a what-if.”

Testing positive within days of her birthday was disappointing to Johnson as the countdown to the day she could get her driver’s license and a car came to a halt. She had also been looking forward to seeing her best friend and traveling to California.

“The time feels like it goes on and on when you have to quarantine [despite] starting to feel better,” Johnson said. “To families with COVID-19, do what the doctors tell you even though it’s frustrating. Talk to your family on the phone to know they’re there for you and wait until you really feel better to return to daily life.”

Headaches and fatigue were some of the worst symptoms of junior Michael Lolley when he got COVID-19. Lolley and his dad both had COVID-19, but at different times. 

[There were] no more family dinners. I didn’t get as many updates on what was going on around the house. The headaches were horrible. I never knew about them before they came; they were so painful,” Lolley said.

The hardest part of COVID-19 for Lolley was staying isolated. His parents would bring him food on trays and he would stay in his room.

A lot of people reached out to me to make sure I was okay while I was sick and I thought that was really nice. Some people I hadn’t talked to in months, or even years, reached out,” Lolley said. “I’ve always worn a mask but I believe all this doesn’t feel real until it’s a reality. Until someone you love or even you get it, it feels a little fake, and that’s I think part of what makes this so bad.”

Sophomore Ethan Larson did not get COVID-19, but his mom and stepfather did in November. The family disinfected the house every day and all six siblings tried to stay separated.

“I did not realize how much distance would come with [COVID-19] and all the cleaning. There were so many places the virus could be sitting around at,” Larson said. “Distancing from my family was not something I was used to. Even during the normal day I still try to talk with my family every once in a while but not seeing them at all was definitely odd.”

Distancing from my family was not something I was used to. The house [felt] a lot more quiet and less like a home.”

— Ethan Larson

COVID-19 impacted each of Larson’s family members differently. His younger brother did not attend an in-person middle school, except for his first day. His mom and stepfather were isolated from everyone.

“Usually you will hear conversations and sometimes sounds of wrestling, but that’s just a household with eight people. The house [felt] a lot more quiet and less like a home,” Larson said. “[Not being able to see friends] really brought me down because it meant I would be stuck with my siblings. I would only hear arguing and taunts, and not laughing and fun conversations. It killed my good-spirited mood for a month.”

Seeing family again after quarantine was a relief to Larson. He also got to see his dad, since they had been quarantining at his mom’s house.

“It’s never a bad idea to be extra cautious. Yes the quarantine is going to suck, but the quarantine is such a better alternative than risking the lives of people you know,” Larson said. “This pandemic is a big deal and some people do not realize the importance of all the guidelines. When we as a population can all see this and accept it, the fight to end COVID-19 will be almost over.”