Not Today Covid!
By Senior Airman Ruben Rios, 514th Air Mobility Wing
/ Published May 03, 2020
NEW YORK -- I'M GONNA DIE.
At least that’s what the 15 hours of 104 degree fever with the coronavirus felt like.
It seems that Covid-19 affects people differently. Well, for me, I’ve never been as sick in my entire life as I was with coronavirus. My head felt like it was overheating and my body felt like it was frozen. I was incapacitated for weeks.
Most others who have had coronavirus symptoms would probably agree that the virus is not fun, nor is being stuck in quarantine a vacation. You can’t go outside, you’re all alone, and you’re miserable from being sick the entire time.
Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life including my family, friends and two amazing jobs — at the firehouse and the Freedom Wing — with amazing coworkers, who checked in on me frequently until I was fully recovered.
Starting with chills and fatigue, followed by a fever, I soon knew I had the virus. Immediately, I called my primary care physician and was instructed to self isolate for 14-days. I was not prepared with supplies. However, I was lucky enough to have a support system which saw me through the weeks. I received a care package from my wingmen and my mother would leave homemade soup at my door every couple of days.
Once I finally started to feel better, the next step was to get tested, however, that would prove more difficult than I thought. At the time, testing was not as available and it took some time before I was able to do so. After two weeks I was finally able to get tested! To my surprise, I still tested positive.
And so, despite feeling significantly better (aside from poor respiration and coughing), my quarantine continued.
By this point, I had been out of work for a couple weeks and was beginning to go stir crazy.
Compared to what people less fortunate than myself were experiencing, I had it easy.
The unfortunate reality is that many people have passed away from this virus, with the total reported death toll currently hovering around 65,000 in the United States.
I can’t begin to imagine the mental and emotional toll that the loss of loved ones has had on people across the world over the past few months.
For me, the isolation and time away from work was enough to cause anxiety to start taking over. All I wanted was to get better and finally be able to return to work. However, every time I thought I might finally go back, I was told I needed more time off.
It took a couple of weeks but with the help of my support system, I was able to relax, recover, and finally go back to work.
Quarantine has forced those like myself in a single person household to be physically alone for weeks. Being alone can take a huge toll on a person emotionally and mentally. Therefore, it is important to understand that while we may be physically isolated, people across the world are experiencing the same thing with the hope of leveling the curve of this pandemic.
Personally, using Zoom, I was able to sit down to dinner with friends multiple times during my quarantine.
It might not be the same as hugging your friend and seeing them in person but today’s technology allows many ways to socialize with loved ones. There are many video chat apps that allow people to interact in a pseudo-normal capacity.
There are examples of people cooking together; working out in their living room; sitting down for a virtual dinner; or just chatting as if they were together in person. The greatest part is these apps allow multiple people to participate in any one conversation.
Just remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and look out for those going through a hard time, whatever or however it may be.
As Reserve Citizen Airmen we have access to Military OneSource where you can speak to a health and wellness coach or even receive confidential counseling. Military OneSource has free 24/7 support and can be reached at their website or via phone at 1-800-342-9647.
If the feeling of loss or any negative emotions become unbearable please speak to anyone you feel comfortable with or you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support. They can be reached 24 hours everyday at 1-800-273-8255.
Having contracted the coronavirus and living alone, I am forever grateful to the countless people who reached out to make sure I was ok—not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. My family, friends, coworkers, and wingmen helped me get back to a place of normalcy and I hope I can do the same for others.