This whole story started on the 17th of November, the day I woke up with a sore throat. In any other year, this would be considered normal; maybe you have a bit of a cold or drank too much the night before. Or even vaping is causing the soreness. I have vaped for a couple of years, going on and off. I would quit because my throat felt like crap, sometimes I would stop because I had no more juice. This particular time I believed it was the vape that was causing pain in my throat. I was wrong.

I woke up for media class at 8 a.m. My throat wasn’t feeling right, so all I thought from it was maybe I should simmer down on my constant vaping. I put the vape down on my desk in a drawer and began my class. This happened for the next couple of days before I thought anything of it. Crawling out of bed grew harder each morning (I took a high majority of my classes in bed, which I never did before), my throat got worse, almost to the point of strep throat pain. Then my roommate Nia went to the hospital to get checked out. The following day she got her results, which came back positive. At this point, I already knew I would have COVID as well. To this point, I still hadn’t picked up that vape.

On Friday the 20th, I went in with two of my other roommates, Hanane and Tay. These two did not have any symptoms, so we all masked up and hopped into my Mini Cooper. Thinking back to it now, this was a sure way for it to spread to the others if they did not have it already. We arrived at the hospital and followed the yellow guided arrows, putting on hand sanitizer at least four times. We gave our info to the lady behind the counter, gathered single-file two metres apart, and waited for our turn. My lady was a robust woman who gave off the cheerful “everything will be alright” vibes. This falsely reassured me of my already known verdict. We all got our tests done, and luckily today, the nurses were giving out mouth swabs instead of nasal swabs.

Isolation, until our results came in, was engraved into our brains, so instantly when I got home, I went to my room and hopped in bed. The following morning was a Saturday in which I had no outstanding assignments due. Today I was going to relax and watch movies. That is what I did until I received a text message from AHS which wrote,

COVID19 Test Result:
Ben is Positive for COVID-19. You must self-isolate immediately. Go to to start identifying your close contacts and get further health guidance. Do Not Reply”

I knew this was on the horizon, so I wasn’t really surprised. The thing that surprised me was that both Hanane and Tay both tested negative, even though we were in close contact the whole time, in a small car, plus I share a bathroom with Tay. That was confusing to wrap my head around, but it wasn’t my problem, back to hiding away in my room doing work and watching movies.

When Monday came, I decided to shave my head down to a buzz cut in between classes because of a previous bet I had made. If I got COVID, I had to shave my head. On Tuesday, I told my RSCH teacher, Jim. He wasn’t surprised I had contracted the virus, especially after reading my latest news story at the time. I went to a pumpkin carving party. Word went around quickly; every teacher I had would bring up my sickness. It wasn’t bad. It put all the attention on me, which also meant I had more time for classes. They wanted me safe rather than sick, plus they were letting me sleep in later.

As soon as my mum and family knew, that’s when I started to be healthier. The first thing my mum did was drive out to Calgary to drop off too many types of vitamins, chicken noodle soup in a box, lemons, teas, the whole nine yards. Every morning and every night, I’d take my 15 pills with lots of water. I would choke on them a few times, but all I needed was a little bit of fluid to help them down. After about nine days from my first symptoms, they began to deplete. I felt much better, and I think it was because of the hundred pills I had taken during these past days. I was getting ready to make a trip to Canmore to see family and friends.

You would think this isn’t smart and that I should get tested again, but that’s not how it works. When I was getting tested initially, I asked the nurse what I would do if my results come back positive and the required isolation time had passed. All she said is to wait until you get a full 24-hour period symptomless. That is what I did; nine days after my initial symptoms, I felt as healthy as a horse. I waited the extra day to be safe and headed to Canmore. Looking back at it, I wish I didn’t because the stress that came with going back and seeing everyone was immense. I was terrified that maybe I had not fully recovered and was going to spread it to Canmore. Thankfully I was, and no one got infected.

Ever since, I have remained more cautious with catching COVID, always wearing a mask and hand-sanitizing after every touch of something public.

Now there were a lot of cons to COVID, as you would guess, to highlight the few that bothered me the most: the throat pain; if you have ever had strep, then you would know the pain of each swallow, the fatigue; each day the hardest thing to do was get out of bed, and the headaches; throughout the day I would get killer headaches that would only dwindle from Advil. There were some pros I took from this virus: I survived; I could now say I had it and kicked its butt, my teachers went easy on me; they gave optional extensions to keep healthy, and I am the first to be in the second year paper; because of my COVID a student wanted to interview and write about me.

All in all, COVID-19 was no walk in the park. I may have kicked its butt, but for all I know, that could be dumb luck. Stay safe, wear a mask, and start listening to your kindergarten teacher by coughing into your elbow.

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