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If it isn’t crazy enough to think we are living through a historic disease such as COVID-19, I couldn’t believe it when I was recently diagnosed with it.

 

To make sense of it all, I documented my experience with symptoms, isolation and mental health throughout this time. Hopefully this helps anyone else who is also diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

Day One: Getting my diagnosis 

 

I woke up to a text from my best friend that he was COVID-19 positive. I was scared, as I hung out with him all weekend. I also had a cough, but I wasn’t thinking much of it until he told me his diagnosis. 

 

I went and scheduled a test, and while I was waiting for my results, I received a phone call. The call explained that I was going to be “assumed positive” and I would need to isolate myself in my off-campus apartment. However, out of respect for my roommate, I chose to isolate myself on campus. 

 

As I was packing my stuff, I received the results that confirmed I was positive. At first I was very scared, but the fact that I could isolate and worry only about myself was reassuring. I had to carry my things to the isolation dorms and settle in. 

 

Penn State housing and all the services had been extremely helpful, and I was keeping up my strength and hope. 

 

Day Two: First Full Day in Isolation 

 

On my first full day of isolation, I started to feel my symptoms head-on. I was very tired all day and felt weak. This was scary because I still was getting over the initial shock of having COVID-19 in the first place. I was also sore since I had to carry my things from my off-campus apartment to Eastview Terrace the previous day. 

 

The food at this point had been good, and Penn State was overall very helpful. 

 

Day Three: The Beginning of the Weekend 

 

Today was more difficult because it had been my first weekend not going out in State College. I experienced a ton of FOMO (fear of missing out), but I also had a lot of time to reflect. Because of my more risky behavior, I developed COVID-19 and put myself and others at risk. It was good for me not to go out and focus on myself that night. 

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Additionally, my symptoms had progressed. I still had a sore throat and stuffy nose, but I had regained a lot of my strength. 

 

Day Four: Loss of motivation 

 

On Saturdays, I am not used to having nothing to do. I just wanted to curl up and watch a movie, but it was extremely difficult getting comfortable in the dorm bed. I would suggest bringing some more pillows and blankets to get comfortable. I only brought an extra sheet and pillow, but they do provide a blanket. 

 

Additionally, I struggled to find motivation and did not want to do schoolwork. I spent this day calling my family who had been checking in, and it was so nice to feel supported.

 

My symptoms just continued with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. 

 

Day Five: Sunday Scaries 

 

On Sunday, I felt my worst so far. My day started out fairly normal, but then I started to feel really ill. I felt dizzy and confused, and was having trouble following a conversation. As I showered, I felt really weak and had to stop halfway through. Then, as I was lying in bed I felt even worse. 

 

I, however, realized that I had been forgetting to take my birth control for the past four days. I feel that this mostly contributed to my body feeling so off — with the combination of having COVID-19.

 

Day Six: Difficult Productivity

 

I was very happy to see Monday roll around. I think having school had been a great distraction to feeling ill. However, it was difficult to be productive. It was hard for me because I felt like I should have been focusing more on myself.

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I was also feeling guilty for my role in contributing to the spread of the virus. I know I did not get it purposefully, but I still do not know what negative effects I could have brought into the world when I unknowingly had it. 

 

Day Seven: Itching to Leave Isolation

 

Today was very difficult because I was just ready to get out of isolation. I was not very productive today and had little to no symptoms.

 

Day Eight: Becoming Bored

 

This day was the same as Tuesday. I was starting to become more depressed today because I had no energy to do schoolwork. Additionally, I had been fighting with friends about politics, which is difficult because I could tell we were both bored in isolation. I could not wait to get out of isolation, but going back to the real world was making me extremely anxious. 

 

Day Nine: It’s the Final Countdown!

 

The countdown is on. I was feeling a little weak today. I also had an earache, but I had a doctor's appointment later today. However, it was scary to think that I may not feel 100% getting out of isolation. 

 

During my doctor’s appointment, I was diagnosed with an ear infection. The physician’s assistant said it was probably due to my congestion and not covid-related. I am happy to have some antibiotics, though.

 

My anxiety about getting out was very high. Isolation was honestly a nice vacation for me, so I was feeling very nervous about being around people. 

 

Day Ten: One more day

 

Tomorrow is the day I get out! I had been feeling almost back to normal, which is great. I had therapy today which was very helpful in combating my anxiety about leaving isolation. However, I was becoming nervous about the long term effects of COVID-19 on my body. It is scary how little is known about this virus. 

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I was also scared to leave during such a crazy weekend at Penn State. With it being Halloween and the Ohio vs. Penn State game, everything was going to get so hazy. I wish people would really grasp that the virus is here in State College, but I also understand that people need to socialize. I just hope everyone does it safely

 

Day Eleven: Home at Last

 

I am home now! It felt so great to be home and feeling better. I feel lucky to be alive and to have had such a mild case of COVID-19. Just remember to be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands and understand your boundaries. 

Health Policy and Administration student at Pennsylvania State University.
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