After almost nine months of avoiding COVID-19 and continually testing negative, I was finally exposed to the virus after my boyfriend came home from college for Thanksgiving and Christmas break. 

He lives in a Christian fraternity house at school and while they do take safety measures to avoid the virus, there was an outbreak among a high percentage of the guys AFTER everyone went home. My boyfriend got tested the day he came home, but started to feel sick two days later, he had a headache, back pain and some nausea. 

Since Thanksgiving was going to be in a few days, he quarantined at his house even though he had not received his results yet. After he quarantined, I got tested myself just to make sure. 

By Thanksgiving day, he was feeling better so we attended each of our family’s Thanksgivings together but wore masks and social distanced from everyone, even sat outside. After arriving at my family’s house, my boyfriend got a call from his mom saying that his test came back positive, so that meant I could potentially test positive as well. 

We immediately left and went to our houses separately. I stayed in my room that night while I was still waiting for my test results. At around 11 p.m., I got the email that I had tested negative, but my parents wanted me to remain quarantined just in case, and I am glad they did. 

The next morning, I woke up with a 101 fever, a terrible headache, chills and fatigue. I knew right when I woke up that my test results were inaccurate and I went to get tested again the next day when my fever went down and I was well enough to drive myself. 

The second day I experienced the same fatigue and headache, but I also had the worst back pain I have ever experienced and a cough started to develop. This was also when my taste and smell started to fade and I eventually lost it completely. 

The next day, I received my COVID test and I ended up testing positive. I had been quarantined for three days so far. After four to five days I began to feel better, my doctor did a video call to check on me and the county was texting me with messages about how I was doing. It was a weird time. 

Halfway through my quarantine and as I was getting better, the boredom started to kick in. All I could do was go on my phone or watch television…for ten days straight. The loneliness was like nothing I had ever felt before, and the fact that I could not interact with anyone was mentally challenging. 

Quarantine took me to one of the lowest points because it was so isolating, I was sick and it was the holidays. All I wanted was to be able to interact with my family and friends without a screen. My room started to feel more like a prison than a room. I could hardly get myself to eat because I could not taste or smell it, so I ended up losing some weight by the end of my isolation. 

I was so upset that I had to get such a bad case of COVID, but I was very thankful it did not get to the point of hospitalization. At the end of my quarantine, I received a text from the county alerting me that I could leave isolation and that was one of the best texts I have ever received. 

Even though I was out, I still stayed pretty distanced from my family and took extra precautions for their sake. I remember not wanting to go back into my room except to sleep for a few weeks after because quarantine was so traumatizing. 

Looking back, I wish I would have taken extra precautions when my boyfriend came home, but I had been too excited to see him. Having COVID made me realize how real and how serious it is, and since my case was so bad I cannot even imagine how it must be for those who are at higher risk. 

In regard to my mental state during quarantine, I had never felt so lonely and down before…and looking back I feel sad that I got to that place. Now, I make it a priority to cherish every moment I am with family or friends, I cherish every meal that I had not been able to taste for those few weeks and I take extra precautions to make sure I do not get the virus again or give it to someone else.