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Covid Chronicles: When Covid-19 got personal

This is the third installment of the Covid Chronicles blog from a Castleton University Media Writing class detailing students’ experiences during the pandemic.

Rielly and her grandmother.

Waking up the day the pandemic started was like waking up in an alternate dimension. You see movies, and read history books about past pandemics, but they’ve always just been exactly that; history.

No one I know was expecting COVID-19 to have the effect that it did, and no one expected that they’d ever be able to catch it. For a while, it was hard to even grasp that it was real, and actually happening.

Quarantine was difficult, and the masks were annoying at first, but it wasn’t until June 13 that my family really had to face COVID-19 ourselves.

My grandmother called my mom that morning – to announce that she had tested positive for coronavirus.

I first remember the feeling in my chest, like something was holding onto me and squeezing just enough to make it harder to breathe, but not enough to take my breath away entirely.

I had seen the news.

I had read all the articles.

COVID-19 affected the elderly far worse than it would affect me. It was natural for me to start thinking of the worst possible outcomes when the world was losing its collective mind over this.

For days, it’s a waiting game. She’d been quarantined at her local hospital, and we were unable to see her for a long time, which made the waiting all that more unbearable.

My extended family gathered together for group calls a few times, just to talk and distract ourselves from the heaving amount of worry we feel for my grandmother. A week or so later, we get another call from her.

My grandmother sounds ecstatic.

The virus has passed, and she’s okay.

I let out a breath of relief that I realize I’d been holding back since the phone rang.

Although I had initially thought I was looking at one of the hardest times in my life, my grandmother made a steady recovery, and the experience gave me a reality check about how important wearing a mask is, and how important it is to self-distance whenever and wherever you can.