The Reality of Testing Positive for COVID-19

This entirely true story is written in first person by a Videoms’ team member.

Hello everyone! I wanted to share the last month of my life and my experience with Coronavirus.

I recently finished an extensive travel trip. I went to Europe and the USA for the very first time, in a trip that was planned during the summer of 2019.

Unfortunately, I found myself at the wrong place at the wrong time at the end of the trip. I have an uncle in Northern Italy; he offered me to stay in his house the last weeks of February and the first of March. I used his house as a base to visit other close cities I was interested in, mainly Turin and Milan. After that, I spent one week in Paris, before traveling back to the States and eventually my home, Mexico.

I had been following the advice from the WHO since I was in Italy, but in Paris it became almost impossible to follow since masks were entirely unavailable and I needed to use the crowded metro at least twice a day.

Over the following 4 days after I returned home, I started developing symptoms… specifically sore throat, fever and coughing. I wanted to get tested since the day I arrived home, just to be responsible. In fact, I even asked my family when they picked me up at the airport to keep their distance;  I didn’t allow any hugs or anything with close physical contact. I was especially careful because my dad is diabetic, and at that point since I didn’t know I had Coronavirus I didn’t want to put anyone at risk, so I self isolated even before having symptoms.

After I developed my symptoms, I was able to get tested for free; the day was March 19th, the day after my birthday. They had my results ready by the 20th. I then had to go back to the government hospital I was tested the day before. I tested positive. Without any prior warning, they told me that I had to be quarantined on the spot. They didn’t allow me to self quarantine in my house as I had been doing before. I was taken to a building adjacent to the hospital, where other confirmed cases were also staying. I was told I would be there for at least 10 days, subject to change depending on my condition. Visits were forbidden and since I was not aware of the impending quarantine, I didn’t even bring my phone charger. I only used it when necessary, but even so, it only lasted for two days thereafter. For the remainder of my quarantine, I was entirely cut off from everyone and everything I knew.

I found out later that my whole family was then tested since they picked me up at the airport. Luckily, everyone tested negative.

There were 9 other people in the quarantine room with me. All men, from different backgrounds and ages. All of them had also traveled the weeks prior, so at least we had something to talk about.

Of our initial group, 3 of the men got worse every day, until they were transferred to Urgent Care. All 3 were over 60, and to watch them suffer like that was very hard. I don’t know what happened with them; I just hope they made it out ok. By the 5th day, half of the original room was either out of quarantine, or in Urgent Care. New people kept coming in.

It was definitely a time to reflect, and to meditate. It was hard for me just to be there, as I’m accustomed to having a device with me that I use when I’m bored. But I believe that being disconnected for 10 days was fruitful and helped me clear my mind.

By the 8th day, a new guy showed up, right around my age, but was way worse off. I don’t know why they sent him there instead of urgent care, since he had difficulty breathing; similar to the men over 60 that were taken away. That very same night I was awakened by his pleas for help; he couldn’t scream but he kept trying to. It was dreadful to hear him asking for help like that. I felt useless. I couldn’t do anything to help but to try to contact hospital staff, which took an excruciatingly long hour to come pick him up.

I was very lucky to have just mild symptoms, but not everyone is. We all have to do our part in this. I feel good that I didn’t help spread the virus by distancing myself. One of the guys in my room had recently been to a party right before getting quarantined, I can only imagine the amount of people he infected. I finally came out of quarantine just 2 hours ago. I’ve had no symptoms since the 28th, but I wasn’t allowed to go home yet.

I don’t know if I have the courage to call and ask about the 4 men that were taken to Urgent Care. I guess I don’t want to hear. My message is to please take this seriously, I know it’s hard to stay home for long periods of time, I know it feels like you are in house arrest, but it is worth it. By doing that you’re preventing someone from falling very ill, and possibly dying. Please take care of yourselves and your families.

It is not a reason to panic. By just following the guidelines you can do your part and help end this pandemic. We’re all in this together.

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