What Having Covid19 Taught Me

24-year-old's story and thoughts about recovering from the coronavirus

What Having Covid19 Taught Me
Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

I don't have an amazing recovery story. I didn't come close to death and miraculously survive. I don't have some inspirational story to play on the news to help others feel safe. I'm just a young man that contracted Covid19 with mild symptoms and lived to tell the tale.

How did this all start? I was an essential-ish worker. I was deemed essential, but I don't personally know how essential pizza delivery actually is. I worked about 30 hours a week and took about 12 deliveries a day. That means I was around my coworkers, my boss, and 12 different homes each day. We had a mask policy, but my coworkers didn't always follow it, and our boss didn't fully enforce it. This left us exposed to all of each other's germs. On top of that, all of our deliveries were supposed to be contactless, but a lot of the customers would come to the door and take the pizza boxes out of our hands anyway. These two things made for an unhealthy work environment.

On July 14th, I was scheduled to work. However, I had not been able to smell or taste anything for the past 3 days, had an incredible headache, and dull chest pain. I told my boss that I did not think it was a good idea for me to come into work, and this is when she tells me that two of my coworker's family members had tested positive for Covid19. She told me it was highly likely we had all been exposed. I grew very anxious; So many thoughts were running through my head, and I had so many questions. I knew that none of my coworkers had isolated, and everyone had been to work as scheduled. Why were we not told about the exposure, and why did these coworkers not quarantine for the recommended 14 days? I felt angry, betrayed, and like my job did not care about my health or safety.

My chest pain grew more intense as the day went on, so I went to my local emergency room. When I got there, they took me back quite quickly to triage to ask me about my symptoms, get my vitals, draw blood, perform a chest x-ray, and have an EKG done. I was sent back to the waiting room. 4 hours had passed, and a nurse came out to tell us that there were a lot of sick people and no available rooms. This was disheartening news, but I knew I couldn't just leave. It was about 2 AM when they called my name back, and I had waited for a total of about 10 hours to be seen. When I got back to the room, I fell asleep, and the doctor came in another hour later to wake me up. He proceeded to tell me that I had a lot of Covid19 symptoms, and he wanted to test me. I panicked because I had previously heard that the test was painful. He assured me all would be fine and that a nurse would be in to administer the test shortly. When the nurse arrived, she had the test and a shot in her hand. I was given a huge steroid shot in my hip, and she walked me through the Covid test to relieve my anxiety about it. The test was done with a long swab that goes up the nose and into the sinus cavities. It's not painful, but it does have a burning sensation, and it makes the eyes water. They sent me home with an antibiotic and steroid prescription. The nurse told me it would take 3-5 days to get my test results, and that I should isolate until I get a negative result.

July 17th came, and I got the call from the hospital letting me know I tested positive for Covid19. I honestly was not surprised since I had been in bed for the past few days sleeping off my headache and fatigue. However, the news did scare my family members that I lived with. Both of my parents are immunocompromised, and it was extremely terrifying; I was more worried about getting the people around me sick than I was of getting worse myself. I got alarming news when a contact tracer contacted me and let me know that it was extremely likely that everyone in my house was exposed to the virus before I even knew I had it.

As of right now, none of my family members are sick or showing any symptoms of having the virus. Today, I still have lingering symptoms. I got my taste and smell back one day at a time, although it's not 100% yet. I still have dull chest pain that comes and goes, and I am still suffering from fatigue and a headache. I'm hoping that I will be fully up to par soon because I would like to donate my plasma. Not only will my plasma have antibodies, but I also have a universal plasma type. That means that my plasma will be able to help save lots of lives, and that's a silver lining to the uncomfortable past 2 weeks I've had.

I've also since quit my job. Being uninsured, I have a horrendously large hospital bill headed my way, and even though it's highly likely I got the virus from work, the company is not going to pay my medical bills. I do not want to work for a company that views me as disposable, nor do I want to put my family at risk again. I will be selling artwork on Etsy to make money to pay my bills until I can find another work-from-home job.

Through all of this, I learned that just because I'm young, doesn't mean that I am immune. Just because I might not die from this virus, doesn't mean that people around me are safe. I also learned that I am valuable, and I deserve health, happiness, and security. I will be taking extra precautions to keep me and my family safe during this pandemic from now on. I hope my story shows others how important it is to stay at home when possible and to always wear a mask.

Oliver Noah Johnson
Oliver Noah Johnson
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Oliver Noah Johnson

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